Ok…I’m tired of being the guy who buys 10 phones a year trying to find the perfect one. It’s time to be truly honest with myself. I’m a Moto user.
I constantly flirt with other smartphones each year, HTC, LG, Samsung, and hell even Sony, but always come away disappointed. From the T-Mobile HTC G1 to the newest Pixels, I’ve literally owned some iteration of nearly all the major flagship Android lines. But I keep coming back to Motorola.
Smartphones are all about compromises — both for the OEM who produces the device, and the consumer who lays down a house payment for them. For me, Moto seems to consistently make the ones that I can deal with on my daily phone. I know this is all subjective, but in my usage case Moto wins out. This is all about personal preferences and how we prioritize them in our own lives. So here’s my list in most important order: battery life, relatively stock Android, really good build quality, camera, and updates. Let’s dive a little deeper into my psyche and see how Moto devices check these boxes.
This is all about personal preferences and how we prioritize them in our own lives. So here’s my list in most important order: battery life, relatively stock Android, really good build quality, camera, and updates. Let’s dive a little deeper into my psyche and see how Moto devices check these boxes.
Battery life is crucial for me. I work 10-14 hours a day inside a solid steel warehouse — that essentially means I work in a Faraday Cage, blocking all signal. Verizon is the only carrier that works and even then certain parts of the building are still an issue.
Moto sets a premium on battery life (on most models at least) that makes its lineup one of the few that can get me through a full day without reaching for a charger.
I don’t simply want my phone at work. It has to take the rigors of my work environment and then take me into the night for me to consider letting a phone be a full-time resident of my pocket. Just about every phone Moto has in their lineup fit this bill right now. While the Z2 Force falls flat a bit, you can still fix it with a mod. Some of the company’s lower-end devices, on the other hand, absolutely destroy the competition.
Stock Android. It’s a phrase that’s been thrown around so much that it’s nearing murky waters. One of the few non-Google OEMs that live by that is Moto (ironically this started while owned by Google). Basically, I want as close to what a Nexus has as possible. I don’t need added layers to the menus of the Settings app. I don’t need redundant apps for all the great options already provided by Google for Calendars, Photos, and Assistant. I want a modern OS that stays out of the way and occasionally offers useful tweaks like an ambient display and gestures — and that’s exactly what Moto offers.
Not only does the company ditch what’s unnecessary, it also adds what’s useful. That includes gestures for the flashlight, camera, and more that are convenient and easy, and there’s also great software features like Moto Display which is still unmatched by the competition.
I hate cases. I repeat…HATE them. How the phone feels is a huge deal for me. Putting a case on a phone to me is the equivalent of buying a new car and driving it around with a tarp over it. You buy a car for how it looks and drives. I feel a similar way about my phones. Many of the recent offerings from Android makers are too slim and slippery for my liking. Due to that, they lose certain ergonomics that make it comfortable to interact with the device. Moto has made a concerted effort since the original X to really make sure the phones have a really good design and feel. Build quality has also been great over the years. All the way back to my Droid Bionic up to my current Z Play, Moto has never left me with a fragile phone that couldn’t take the demand of my case free lifestyle.
This is the part where most people want to knock my choice of Moto phones. The camera. Look, I don’t expect my phone to make print-worthy works of art with its shooter. I need photos that let me quickly take a shot of my kid or document something I want to send to someone on Facebook. If it hits those marks, then it’s doing its job in my book.
I’ll admit it’s probably Moto’s weakest point, but it’s one I’m willing to concede in my preferences. Would I like to see Moto finally come through on the camera to compete with the LGs and Samsungs? Absolutely. However, for now, they are just good enough for me.
So, here’s the thing about Android updates. I’m honestly starting to think that I don’t want super fast updates anymore. My experiences with the Nexus line, and more recently the Pixel, have me seriously doubting that being on the first wave of new software is where I want to be on my daily driver.
Things always seem to be a little on the buggy side and break things for me like Android Auto. I think I’m comfortable with getting updates after everyone else has bug fixes in place. While Moto used to fall into the first group, they’ve more recently slowed their rollout of OS updates, and I’m OK with that. I think anyone who remembers their Lollipop update might agree.
That’s it. I’ve released my inner thoughts onto the web. I can’t take it back now. As I mentioned in my opening, this is all about perspective and what you want in a phone. If you value the camera as your number one feature, then a Moto might not be for you. If you want super fast update within a month, then a Pixel is most likely your top choice. If you want a striking bezel-less design, Samsung or LG are your best bets. But for me, Moto hits all the right sweet spots of compromise in a smartphone. I also reserve the right to jump ship if Moto starts faltering on any of the items on my list, but for now, I’m a Moto guy.