Let me just start by saying that I like the DROID Maxx and DROID Mini. Why conclude a review before I begin it? Because so many people have already concluded that they cannot like these phones. Motorola's new devices have proven incredibly polarizing among enthusiasts, especially to Google and Android diehards who held on till the bitter end to a fantasy (and that is what it was) that the company would come to the rescue of marginalized power users.
The T-Mobile Moto X got it's surprise update the other day with a couple nice fixes and enhancements, and now it's Sprint's turn to get the update. It's rolling out in stages, so mashing the update button won't do any good. Not that anyone's stopping you from trying.
The software, with the easy to remember version number 13.9.0Q2.X-116-MX-17-57-1, appears to have the same changelog we got with the T-mobile update, but here it is again anyway:
- Camera – Improved Photo Quality: Improved capture of natural light (auto-white balance) and color accuracy for more precise exposure in outdoor and backlit scenes.
The Moto X is still rolling out to all corners of the (American) Android world, but the T-Mobile variant is getting an update that improves camera performance dramatically. The difference is noticeable in a variety of situations, most notably in backlit and low-light settings. Presumably the update will hit other Moto X variants once testing and certification is completed by the carriers.
Low light – left: not updated, right: updated
The Moto X uses a fairly large sensor with 1.4µm pixels with an RGBC color array and F/2.4 aperture.
Republic Wireless got some well-deserved headlines last week when they announced that they would start selling the nearly brand-new Moto X on its hybrid mobile-WiFi network for $300 unsubsidized. But if that's still too expensive for you, it looks like the company intends to offer an even cheaper option, the Motorola DVX. A leaked slide for the wireless roadmap of Bandwidth.com (Republic's parent company) shows the phone coming out sometime in October.
So it looks like quite a lot of you were waiting on the Developer Editions for those new Motorola phones. Just over one day after Motorola posted the Developer Editions of the Moto X and the DROID MAXX on the company's official store, all three phones are unavailable. The Verizon Moto X Developer Edition is marked as "Out of Stock," while the GSM Moto X DE and the DROID MAXX DE are marked as "Coming Soon."
Motorola seems to have vastly underestimated the demand for these phones and their unlockable bootloaders, even at the hefty unsubsidized price of $649.99 for all three models.
In our review of the Motorola DROID Ultra, we labeled it a phone in search of an audience. Still, if you like the Moto X but prefer capacitive navigation buttons, or you like the larger display that the DROID Ultra offers, then maybe this phone is for you. If this is the case, listen up. Amazon has dropped the price of the handset down to $99.99 with a new two-year contract, a full $100 off the normal price, and they're offering it in black and red.
Republic Wireless is trying to do something crazy with mobile phone plans. It offers cheap rates on its prepaid service by routing calls and texts through WiFi when it's available. Getting compelling phones that had been tweaked by Republic Wireless to support this handoff has been a challenge, though. After some teasing, it looks like there's a killer deal to be had. Republic Wireless has announced it will sell the Moto X off-contract for $299.
Ever since Republic Wireless started its unconventional carrier experiment, there's been one common cry of lament among those who want to use it: "where are the good phones?" Republic's hybrid 3G-WiFi system requires some customized hardware, which means that new phones are few and far between for the unlimited, cheap-as-dirt Sprint MVNO. If you wanted an excuse to try out the service, here you go: a screenshot taken by Reddit user imaliamatoo indicates that the Moto X is coming to Republic.
If you've been eyeing up those new Motorola devices, but want a more open experience, now is your moment. Motorola has added listings for the fabled Verizon and GSM Developer Edition Moto X units and a Developer Edition DROID MAXX. All three phones clock in at $649.99.
The DROID MAXX is Verizon only, but does have an unlockable bootloader and a cool "Developer Edition" badge. The Moto X developer handsets come in either GSM or Verizon flavors, but only the Verizon version is currently in stock.