The Moto X is a great phone, but it has one fatal flaw: The price

Moto_X_Blue_TA

We pretty much knew everything about the Moto X from all the leaks and last week’s DROID announcement. There was really nothing to be surprised about except for one thing, and that one thing happens to be the biggest disappointment with the phone: the price. We heard rumors of $299 off contract, which made perfect sense based on the specs of the phone. Instead we got $199 on contract. I’m sorry, but that is way overpriced when you consider the Galaxy S 4 and the HTC One have better specs and are priced the same.

Motorola might argue that the Moto X will give the user a better user experience with it latest features, clear pixel camera, and battery performance, but it doesn’t take away that the specs are subpar and don’t warrant the same price as other phones that offer more. I was absolutely shocked when Rick Osterloh announced the pricing and said that it would not be available in the Google Play Store. I was sure that it would be offered for $299 and carriers would offer it on contract for either free or at worst, $99. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. Word is that Motorola is working on a cheaper version of the phone. Cheaper? This one is already perfect, just price it right.

I think the problem lies in that the carriers don’t want Google to sell the phone unlocked directly. Carriers want contracts and they also want control of the devices on their networks. However, most people buy phones at carrier stores, not the Google Play Store. Google could have priced it at $199 off contract, and most people would still walk into the carrier store and sign a 2 year contract for the phone. Okay, so I will go under the assumption that Motorola and Google sucumbed to carriers and agreed to not offer the phone directly, but they still had the opportunity to price it right with the carriers, and they didn’t.

Another issue could be the fact that the Moto X is assembled in the U.S. We saw this same issue with the Nexus Q, which was touted as being manufactured in the U.S., but was way overpriced.

I barely started my review of the Moto X, but I am expecting to really like it. I think between the camera, battery life, and quality build, it’s probably a winner. The big question will be if I would recommend it to anyone at that price? Call me crazy if you want, but I would be willing to say that the Moto X is the best phone on the planet today if it were free on contract and/or $299 off contact. Instead, it’s just another phone trying to get my attention.

» See more articles by Robert Nazarian


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  • Rafael

    i would have wanted Googlerola to go on a leap and sell it directly at the play store, but i guess there were the powers that be that prevented that from happening.

    1. google’s perception FROM the other oems…appearances do make a dent on their views.

    2. they have to potentially contend with “themselves”, cause the nexus line is coming around in a couple months.

    3. they need that initial traction, i have a feeling we’ll have the phone in two flavors: cheap, with this same internals with the price we all wanted on the first place. and the specs crazy one: with top of the line specs and improved performance (crossing fingers on dragon 800).

    • Ben

      The Problem is lots of casual customers will just see the price tag and have a look at the specs (aka the screen) and will then decide. And will then decide between samsung, htc, sony or moto. Not sure if it was a smart move to compete with the “powerhouses” directly, but time will tell. I still love this phone. I would easily go up paying up to 400€ for this thing what I think is justified. But hell, they wont even have it here in Europe in the near future or, well, ever. Give it a month and the new Nexus rumours will be back on track and get the attention of the “geeks” who were looking forward to the Moto X. They really need to restart the Motorola Brand with a bang over here, if the do not want to disappear completely. And the moto x with an off contract price cheaper than the One and S4 would have been a real chance – and time is not on their side, with LG and Sony gettimg stronger steadily.

  • Rudy Rivapalacio

    definitely disappointed over the price and lack of direct play store purchase option. i guess those of us who want to stay contact free will be stuck as the Nexus as our best option.

    at this price, you’re right. motorola is placing the Moto x straight up against the S4 & One. it’s a surprising move but then again apple has done pretty well with the “sell the experience, not the specs” strategy.

    would i get this over the S4 for the same price? maybe. will the general phone buying public? i doubt it but it will be interesting to see Googlerola try to convince them.

    • Wozn2

      Apple have managed to “sell the experience not the specs” because they have what is probably the most powerful brand in the world and a reputation for excellent design. Motorola have neither of these things and are effectively a “bit part” player even in Android terms. They needed to price the X so it was an easy sell. As it is, it’s going to be a long, tough sell.

      Expect to see a lot of Moto X components in Texas landfill by early 2014.

  • bungadudu

    At that price you will be able in short time to buy the Sony Honami, LG g2, note3, lumia 1020, iPhone 5s.
    All of these clearly offering immensely more bang for your bucks. (even though not offering replaceable back covers..)

    Considering this, I really don’t know why anybody would buy the Moto X.

  • paxmos

    Talking about deflation of excitement….Not worth that much at all…

  • cooldoods

    the Moto X has similar or better specs than the iPhone 5, with customized options baked into the price. “Made in USA” add quite a bit to the total cost. I don’t think the Moto X is overpriced at all, it’s just people’s contention that, being a Google company, the Moto X should sell at Nexus 4 prices and that is just stupid.

  • gautch

    Have we not learned anything? Seriously though, wait a month or two. These prices will always go down.

  • Joe

    Ah the attitude of the perpetually bored tech writer. The narrow focus on price and specs. Why not delve a little deeper., there are many people who would love to buy the phone because it is made in America. Look at the latest labor violations from the new iPhone factory in China, maybe google/moto want to do better….as in not just price and specs. When it was so time to purchase my next phone, a major priority will be where it is manufactured. If I could buy the phone off contract I would do so immediately, that’s the only killer for me.

  • Not made in america

    It’s not “Made in America”; it’s “Assembled in America”. The entire phone is made overseas in China. The pre-made parts are then shipped over to the US and assembled together. That is entirely different than “Made in America”.