The Moto X series has returned after a gap—the Moto X Force was last seen in 2015. The Moto X4 (Rs24,999) looks beautiful, with Corning Gorilla Glass at the front and back. The light reflects off the back panel in an “S" pattern, because of the chemical coating. Then there is the gorgeous watch-like dial around the dual camera—with a radial pattern and concentric circles. The camera does protrude a bit, but you probably won’t mind that given how good it looks. The Moto X4 is compact, and the slight curve on either side of the back panel means it is easy to hold.

The 5.2-inch LCD display isn’t an AMOLED screen, so it misses out on pure white colours and overall vividness. But it has been tuned well enough for good colour separation. Brightness levels are good too, though there will be the occasional reflection-induced annoyance when you’re using it in sunlight.

Under the hood, you get a mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 chip, with 6 GB RAM—the latter being the highlight. This, with the clean Android, holds up well. Though the camera app takes a little time to load, the overall performance with apps and multitasking is slick and stutter-free. The Moto X4 makes up for the lack of a flagship processor with excellent battery life—the 3,000 mAh battery lasts a day of fairly extensive use, with 45% juice still in the tank in the late evening. For most users, this will last a day and a half on a single charge.

There are subtle tweaks to the extra features that Moto phones have, such as the Moto Display—this now allows for deeper interactions with new notifications, such as replying by text or voice without having to unlock the phone.

The Moto X4 has a 12-megapixel camera (f/2.0 aperture and 1.4 um pixel size) and an 8-megapixel wide-angle camera (f/2.2 aperture and 1.12 um pixel size). What this camera combination loses out with the smaller aperture, it makes up for by capturing more light with the larger pixel size than phones such as the OnePlus 5T (1.12 um and 1 um pixel size), for instance. Photographs taken in good lighting conditions come out well detailed and with good colours. Inconsistent lighting can sometimes throw off the contrast a bit, and you’ll see some artefacts too. There are a bunch of modes in the camera app too, such as Spot Colour and Selective Focus.

While the Moto X is no longer the flagship phone it used to be, it is certainly more powerful than the typical mid-range Android phones you can buy. This polished package is all about understated competence.

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