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Moto X Style (XT1572) Review

Ben Andrews reviews the top of the range Moto X Style with 20mp camera and large 5.7 inch screen.


|  Motorola X Style (XT1572) in Camera Phones
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Features
Handling
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Motorola Moto X Style XT1572 Product Shot1 Front

The Moto X Style is one of two flagship models in Motorola smartphone range, the other being the Moto X Force. The X Style screen isn’t smash-proof like the X Force is, but it is larger and yet the X Style costs significantly less, with the 32GB version retailing at around £350. 16GB and 64GB models are available as well, with all versions sharing the same 21MP camera.

Moto X Style Features

Moto X Style (3)

The Moto X Style features the same 21MP rear camera and 5MP front-facing selfie camera as in the Moto X Play and X Force. Low light shooting is further helped by a large aperture f/2.0 lens. Phase detection autofocus is also present to increase focusing speed.

While the X Style may not have the same milled metal look as an iPhone 6s, Galaxy S6 or HTC One M9, you do get the option to customise its rear panel. Different colours are available in addition to real leather and wood veneer finishes, although you can only spec these when buying direct from Motorola.

Inside there’s the same generous 3GB of RAM as in the X Force, so even the most demanding image editing apps should run silky smooth. Processing power isn’t quite up there with the X Force though, as the X Style utilises a 4+2 core processor configuration rather than dual quad core chips.

But there are no compromises with the X Style’s screen, which at 5.7 inches equals the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ and not only trumps the Moto X Force, but also other phablet sized smartphones like the LG G4 and iPhone 6s Plus.

Key Features

  • 21MP 1/2.4-inch image sensor
  • Fixed 27mm-equivalent lens, f/2.0, 4x digital zoom
  • Phase detection autofocus
  • 5.7-inch IPS LCD screen, Quad HD 1440 x 2560, 520 ppi
  • GPS / Wi-Fi / NFC
  • Ultra HD (3840 x 2160) video recording
  • HDR / panoramic shooting / 5MP front-facing camera
  • MicroSD slot, up to 128GB expandability
  • Splash resistant
  • Customisable rear panels

Moto X Style Handling

Moto X Style (2)

Where other style-conscious smartphones like the iPhone 6s, Samsung Galaxy S6 and HTC One A9 boast sub-8mm thicknesses, the X Style is somewhat chubbier at 11.1mm and its 179g weight makes it one of the heaviest flagship smartphones currently available. But the numbers don’t tell the whole story, as you’ll struggle to actually feel the extra weight over a 155g LG G4 and the X Style’s thickness tapers down significantly towards the edges and corners of the phone, making it easily slip into a tight pocket. Even so, this is still a very large smartphone in length and width and it may not suit those with smaller hands.

Build quality is a match for phones costing much more, although the X Style doesn’t quite exude same impression of premium material quality as you get from an iPhone.

But it’s doubtful you’ll notice this once the 5.7-inch display lights up. It uses conventional IPS LCD technology, which doesn’t usually trails the best AMOLED panels on contrast and colour vibrancy, however the X Style’s display really excels in these areas. Blacks are inky and whites mostly free from colour casts, though when compared to the Moto X Play, a slightly yellow cast is apparent. Maximum brightness is high enough to make the screen easily viewable under direct sunlight. The 1440 x 2560 resolution may be stretched slightly larger than with a 5.1-inch Galaxy S6, but at 520 pixels per inch, sharpness is in no way compromised and you won’t be spotting any individual pixels in a hurry.

Moto X Style (1)

The Moto X Style uses an identical camera app to other Motorola smartphones like the X Force and cheaper Moto G. It’s certainly simple to use with relatively few menu options, but this also restricts the amount of creative control. Where phones like the Galaxy S6 and HTC One A9 will give you ISO and white balance control, along with raw image capture, the X Style has none of these features. All you get is a single virtual control wheel that’s revealed by swiping inward from the left of the screen and includes a basic focus and exposure compensation utility, along with low light, HDR and panorama modes.

Unusually there’s no camera shutter icon, as you simply tap the image preview to capture an image. In theory, that’s about as easy as snapping a photo could be, but we missed being able to tap to select a focus point before taking a shot (you can select this option from the menu, but it isn’t available in the default shooting mode). It also means you’ve got no way of knowing whether the camera has successfully focussed, which is particularly problematic when shooting close-up subjects at the limit of the camera’s close focusing ability.

Moto X Style Performance

The performance section is where we look at the image quality performance of the camera. Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.


Motorola X Style (XT1572) Sample Photos

Images from the X Style’s 21MP sensor are vibrant, well-exposed and have plenty of dynamic range. If the camera detects a high contrast scene, the automatic HDR mode makes a noticeable difference to highlight and shadow intensity, whilst also boosting colour vibrancy. The effect is very noticeable, although in some instances it can look a little too intense.

High megapixel counts and small sensors aren’t necessarily a good combination, but the X Style manages to resolve plenty of detail and doesn’t apply too much noise reduction processing and image smoothing. If you really scrutinise, some distant detail like foliage can look slightly painterly, but it’s no deal breaker. Compared to a Samsung Galaxy S6, the Motorola’s results in good light aren’t quite as crisp or eye-catching, but they’re not far off.

Things are less impressive in low light, where noise becomes more obvious as the camera requires higher ISO sensitivities to compensate for the lack of image stabilisation. However, the benefit of relaxed noise reduction smoothing is increased detail retention, resulting in more natural-looking images.

Motorola X Style (XT1572) Lens test images

The front-facing selfie camera generates good enough image quality for social media sharing or 6x4 prints, however there isn’t enough detail for images to stand up to closer scrutiny.

The fixed focal length, 27mm-equivalent lens produces distortion-free images, while corner sharpness is almost a match for the centre of frame. However there’s no way of knowing whether the camera has accurately focussed for a close-up shot, without holding the screen, so judging the minimum focus distance can be tricky. We found it to be approximately 10cm.

Panoramas are captured at just 920 vertical pixels, which is less than a typical compact camera with a sweep panorama mode and inexcusable for a smartphone with this much processing power. At least the results are sharp and well stitched, but they’re still no match for panoramas produced by flagship Apple or Samsung smartphones.

Video - Videos recorded at the maximum Ultra HD 3840 x 2160 quality consume around 360MB per minute, which is fairly typical for this resolution. The results are highly detailed, vibrant and accurately exposed and the camera has digital image stabilisation for video recording.

Value For Money

The Moto X Style is available in 16GB, 32GB or 64GB versions, both with MicroSD expandability. The 32GB version is available for £350, which compares well to competing high-end smartphones. The HTC One A9 comes it at £419.99 with 16GB storage and MicroSD expandability and the same money will buy you a 32GB Samsung Galaxy S6. You’ll need to stretch to £500 for a Sony Xperia Z5 with 32GB internal storage and MicroSD upgradability, though this is fully waterproof and not just splash resistant like the X Style. A base 16GB iPhone 6s will set you back £539, or the LG G4 can be picked up for as little as £300 if you shop around, although this is about to be discontinued.

Have a look at more smartphones in our Top 10 Best Smartphone Cameras. You can also buy a MicroSD memory card and a case or bag to keep your smartphone safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to bags.

Moto X Style Verdict

Motorola’s 21MP camera is an impressive piece of kit that produces very good daytime image quality and reasonable low light results. But, as with the Moto X Force, the shooting experience doesn’t live up to the same standard, marred by the annoying touch capture interface and cut down controls.

The phone as a whole is also somewhat flawed as despite its larger than average size, it packs a battery with significantly less capacity than the X Force. Fortunately, Motorola’s Turbo Charger, at least, means you can recharge extra quickly, but it can’t do anything about the lack of a fingerprint sensor and the cheaper Moto G manages to be fully waterproofed and not merely splash resistant.

The X Style does compare well to the X Force though. The latter does offer slightly superior processing hardware and extra toughness, but you’ll have to part with substantially more cash, only to find its screen quality is no match for the X Style’s display. However it makes less sense alongside the Moto X Play, which will cost you almost £100 less, yet it boasts a bigger battery and includes the same camera, albeit without Ultra HD video recording.

Ultimately the Moto X Style is a good value smartphone with a decent camera, but it’s outshone by its cheaper siblings that offer even more bang for your buck.

Moto X Style Pros

Attractive image quality in good light
Ultra HD video
High-resolution screen
Splash resistant
MicroSD expandability
Customisable casing

Moto X Style Cons

Mediocre battery
Average low light performance
No ISO or WB control
Lacks real-time filter effects
Low-resolution panoramas
Not quite as sleek as some rivals

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

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Motorola X Style (XT1572) Specifications

ManufacturerMotorola
Front Camera
PixelsNo Data
Max ApertureNo Data
Smartphone Cameras
Smartphone Cameras
    Additional CamerasNo Data
    Lens
    Max Aperturef/2
    35mm equivalent27mm
    Optical Zoom0x
    Image Sensor
    Pixels21Mp (Megapixels)
    Pixels (W)5344
    Pixels (H)4008
    Sensor TypeCMOS
    Sensor SizeNo Data
    Sensor Size (width)No Data
    Sensor Size (height)No Data
    Aspect Ratio
    • 4:3
    LCD Monitor
    LCD Monitor5.7in
    Screen resolutionQuadHD (2560 x 1440)
    Touch ScreenYes
    Focusing
    Focusing modes
    • Autofocus
    • Face Detection
    • Touch AF
    Exposure Control
    Shutter speeds shortestNo Data
    Shutter speeds longestNo Data
    ISO sensitivityNo Data
    Video
    Movie modeYes
    Video Resolution
    • 1920x1080 FullHD
    • 4K
    Video FPS30fps
    Stereo SoundNo Data
    Other Features
    Image StabilisationNo
    Interface
    USBUSB 2
    Wi-FiYes
    Storage
    Internal Memory3000MB
    Power Source
    Battery Type3000mAh battery
    Box Contents
    Box ContentsNo Data
    Dimensions
    Weight179g
    Width153.9mm
    Height76.2mm
    Depth11.06mm

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