20 December 2013

Republic Wireless Moto X Review (and Plans)

About a month ago, I signed up with Republic Wireless. (Read my review of their service and plans.) Now I want to tell you more about their Moto X phone.

The Pros and Cons


  • The haptic buzz kind of sucks—it’s too light and too wobbly. Maybe not a big deal though.
  • The phone isn’t flat on the back. Yes, that makes it look cool. But imagine this: You’re at the kitchen table with a sandwich in one hand, and you try to swipe-text with the other hand. Unfortunately your phone’s curvy back makes it high-centered, so it spins freely, and it’s impossible to write your text. (Good thing the Moto X is always listening though, eh?)
  • The unlock-screen target icon has two locations. Sometimes it’s where Android puts it (down low) and sometimes it’s where the Moto X customization puts it (up high). It just makes it a little bit unpredictable, and steals nanoseconds from your life every time the screen comes on.
  • When I first got it, the always-listening feature seemed to be too sensitive. It would come on when my brother was talking to his phone in the next room. Now it seems the sensitivity has swung the other direction, and I sometimes have to speak the command twice. That’s super annoying. I would actually prefer too sensitive.
  • Republic Wireless hasn’t pushed Android 4.4 Kitkat to it yet. Because they customize the ROM for the hybrid calling, it takes some extra time. I suppose we’ll always be delayed on updates.


  • It’s so easy to get to the camera! You just twist it three times, back and forth—like you’re rotating your cola bottle to see the nutrition facts. This is especially nice when you’re driving. (But don’t do that.)
  • It has a cool divot on the back where the M-logo goes. Mmm, thumb candy. Yep. Thumb candy. You’ll keep coming back to it, I promise. (Unless you cover it with a case, which would be a shame to mask a chassis design this awesome.)
  • Yes, the body design is freaking awesome. It’s a good-looking phone. Not too big and not too small. Aesthetically, it might have out-iPhoned the iPhone. (Or maybe I’m just tired of seeing the same iPhone design year after year.)
  • The physical space has been maximized—the screen is large and the bezel is super thin.
  • The power and volume buttons are stiff enough that you don’t ever accidentally press them.
  • The Moto X is always listening! (She’s a kind friend in that respect.) You don’t ever have to pick it up or turn the screen on—just start talking. Even when it’s in your pocket, you can say, “Okay, Google Now,” and it starts listening to your commands.

Overall, I love this phone. I like it much more than my iPhone 4 or my Galaxy Nexus. (Yes, they’re old phones. I know.)

It’s the friend who always listens

The first night I had the phone, I got up in the middle of the night for a bathroom break. When I came back into my room, it was pitch black (Paleo style), so I just called, “Okay, Google Now,” across the room and the screen turned on, which gave enough light for me to navigate my toes safely back.

Non-geeks love it too

My mom had seen us playing around with the Moto X’s and saying “Okay, Google Now.” Then finally we said, “Okay, Mom, you need to give your new smartphone a test run to see if you can give up your dumbphone and make the switch.” So she picked it up. The screen was black, and she didn’t even know to look for the power button. Instead she just said, candidly, as if the device were smart enough to interact with her directly, “Okay, Google, let’s go.”

Well the screen turned on and it searched for “Let’s go.” Not what she was trying to do, but at least she got the screen on! Now she’s been using it for about a month. She activates most of her calls just by talking to the phone. Also, she’s slowly acclimating to the smartphone. She even checked her email on it once.

I think the iPhone is probably a better overall experience for a non-geek user. But Android has made some serious progress recently, and it’s getting easier and easier. (I don’t mean to debate this here, but as an example, my mom tried to open a picture, and Android asked her if she wanted to open it in Photos or Gallery. She was stumped.) And for such a low price, it’s a phone that’s hard to beat.

The Republic Wireless Moto X cell plans

I bought my Moto X from Republic Wireless. They subsidize the cost of the phone so it’s $299 instead of $549. That’s a great deal (about $12.50/month if you divide it over a 2-year contract). I’m also paying Republic just $10 per month for unlimited calling and texting (yes, I only use internet features when I’m on WiFi). If you’re interested in saving a ton of money, you might want to give Republic a try (they have a 30-day money-back guarantee too).

Use this link to buy your Moto X, and we’ll both get $20 off from Republic Wireless.

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— J