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Why get the Moto X over ....


avash
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I have been sitting on an upgrade for a while and am trying to decide between the Moto X or the S3 / S4. This is for use primarily around the metro Detroit area. I decided this was the best place to post this somewhat lengthy "question" to see what other members may have to say.

 

What I am drawn to:

+ SVLTE and preferably SVDO

+ removable / large capacity battery or at least a "semi-easy" serviceable battery 

+ expandable storage

+ stock / near-stock Android without bloatware

 

What I don't care about:

- solid build, metal construction, etc (since I will cover it up with a case)

- tri-band (since it currently comes at the expense of SVDO/SVLTE)

- bloatware that takes up room and slows down the phone (Touchwiz)

 

Ideally, I would love to see a future Moto X with tri-band support, SVDO & SVLTE, expandable microSD storage, larger and/or removable battery (to allow for extended battery swaps with new rear cover) and retaining all the good things I've heard about the Moto X like active notifications and always listening but I don't expect that to happen, so I'm hoping to get some opinions since I'm sure many Moto X owners probably came from the S3 / S4.

 

Why I like the S3:

S3 and HTC One X were probably the last phones which supported both SVDO & SVLTE, One X's battery is near impossible to replace which is why I'm drawn to the S3 since I can swap out the battery easily for a larger one and keep on chugging for a full day of moderate/heavy use. Plus, the S3 has a microSD slot. Both are heavy on bloatware but CyanogenMod can probably fix that although I'm hearing that the latest S3 4.3 update pushes KNOX which creates a permanent "flag" that is tripped if you root, so I'm a little concerned that this may leave me stuck with Touchwiz if I don't want to risk warranty. I can live with the single band LTE and 3G coverage with ongoing NV upgrades. However, I'm concerned that this phone may just be a bit "old" and its display and speed alone may be rather behind the times.

 

Why I like the S4:

S4 loses SVDO but still keeps SVLTE. Faster, better and slightly larger (brighter) AMOLED display over the S3. Larger battery to keep up with the processor and display upgrades. Also am keen on the floating touch which claims that the phone will work with regular gloves on ... haven't tried it out but if it works as they say, using the phone with winter gloves on will be pretty sweet. Same concerns about KNOX upgrade being pushed out that may result in me stuck with Touchwiz to keep warranty.

 

Why I like the Moto X:

Still has SVLTE. Good display. Near stock with Moto X unique features like active notifications and always listening, everything I've read seems to indicate that this is the first phone that actually just "works" and does it really well. A little bummed about the lack of microSD but can get around that since they offer a 32GB version for only $50 extra, which is more reasonable than say Apple! I've heard the battery life is decent but this is probably my BIGGEST problem with the Moto X ... I want something that can stay off the charger from morning until night and work quite a bit. A removable battery (with options for extended) is ideal but even a larger battery that's somewhat "serviceable" is still acceptable.

 

Why I'm not drawn to the SPARK devices like Nexus 5, LG G2, etc:

Tri-band phones don't have SVLTE or SVDO (based on current line up). I think having SVDO/SVLTE with Network Vision upgraded 3G coverage and single band LTE (where available) will make more sense in the short term (2-3 years), at which point tri-band LTE may be more mature and hopefully, SVLTE makes a comeback. Sure, they're great phones but as someone who doesn't game on his phone, I'd prefer better network coverage for voice and larger backward compatibility for SVLTE and SVDO when possible.

 

So that's it ... I'm hoping other users, especially those who previously had an S3, S4, etc and now have a Moto X can tell me what's great and what's not. Thanks in advance.

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The motor x gets better life than what you prolly think it does. Multiple managers in my company have them and have had no complaints about them. It's actually a really efficient device and makes pretty good use of what it has sort of like what Apple has done.

It sounds like you want the best or literally everything and that isn't going to happen. Not one phone out there will fit your needs exactly so I guess you have to take some good with the bad. Coming from a guy who used to be Samsung only I'll say you can't go wrong with an s4 but all the bloat is most definitely a pain. Stock touchwiz is something like 7 gigs worth of os. Moto is really slim on their bloat if any and fits everything else better. It really sounds to me like Moto would work for you. I'd say try it and if you don't like it you have 14 days to return it.

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smalltimehack, thank you for the feedback. I wish I could have it all but I know that won't happen. 

 

The Moto X is what I'm leaning towards and have heard that battery life and bloat-free is well executed on the Moto X. It would be a no brainer if only they made a MAXX version with a larger battery, that would make me feel pretty good about it.

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You won't get stock or near stock android experience and expandable storage. The way the market is going, you shouldn't keep your hopes up about removable batteries and Micro SD's. The only company that is keeping that trend is Samsung, but you don't want Touchwiz. So pick your poison, cause you're not gonna get the device you want.
 

 

-Luis

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You won't get stock or near stock android experience and expandable storage. The way the market is going, you shouldn't keep your hopes up about removable batteries and Micro SD's. The only company that is keeping that trend is Samsung, but you don't want Touchwiz. So pick your poison, cause you're not gonna get the device you want.

 

 

-Luis

 

Most of Sony's handsets also offer a removable battery and microSD, but unfortunately they don't seem to like CDMA.

 

You can always modify the software on a phone. The hardware, not so much. You could try a custom launcher like Nova instead of Touchwiz, or flash a custom ROM like Cyanogen.

 

Unfortunately, I don't know if new S4's are shipping with 4.3 & Knox. I'm still running Knox-free on 4.2.2 until I get around to finding and flashing a good near-stock 4.3 ROM that leaves the bootloader alone but still includes the engineering screens.

 

Either way, if you decide you'd like an S4 w/ SVLTE, you'd have to pick it up soon, since Sprint will be slowly replacing it with the eCSFB-dependent tri-band version (SPH-L720T) over the next few weeks.

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OP: I don't think I'd go with a non-triband phone at this point in Sprints NV deployment.  I'd bet if you had sponsorship at S4GRU, particularly Premier Sponsorship, you would reconsider writing off the importance of a tri-band device and the advantages they bring for network connectivity and usability.  And, the sponsor maps Robert has produced show just how fast things are progressing as of late. It is really quite impressive.  I would think most sponsors here would agree.  Then again, maybe SVLTE really is requirement for you, though.

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As an aside, SVDO and SVLTE are soon to be things of the past. The single radio design of the current Spark devices is going to be the way most all devices will be produced, for quite some time, if Rob and AJ's premonitions are correct. It has been predicted that SVDO and SVLTE may never exist in future devices at all, until VoLTE appears.

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As an aside, SVDO and SVLTE are soon to be things of the past. The single radio design of the current Spark devices is going to be the way most all devices will be produced, for quite some time, if Rob and AJ's premonitions are correct. It has been predicted that SVDO and SVLTE may never exist in future devices at all, until VoLTE appears.

 

Hence, OP, why you should grab an SVDO/SVLTE-capable handset ASAP before they go bye-bye. It seems silly to have to rely on a hotspot to talk and surf at the same time, which our 3GPP brethren have been able to do on W-CDMA for quite some time now. Yes, battery life with two active radios is lower but that's a small tradeoff in my mind.

 

It looks like I'll be clinging to my S4 for awhile until VoLTE arrives, and selling any upgrades that come up in the meantime.

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Hence, OP, why you should grab an SVDO/SVLTE-capable handset ASAP before they go bye-bye. It seems silly to have to rely on a hotspot to talk and surf at the same time, which our 3GPP brethren have been able to do on W-CDMA for quite some time now. Yes, battery life with two active radios is lower but that's a small tradeoff in my mind.

 

It looks like I'll be clinging to my S4 for awhile until VoLTE arrives, and selling any upgrades that come up in the meantime.

W-wuh, really? Surfing while talking is that important? SvWiFi still works, and about the only time I'm out of WiFi is when I'm driving...

 

VoLTE is several years out on Sprint. Maybe a decade.

 

If you ask me, if I have the choice of no 4G and "talk while surfing" vs 4G (such as ESMR 800 MHz), or overburdened 3G/LTE and "talk while surfing" vs fast, usable LTE (EBS/BRS)... I'll take the improved service, every time.

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If you're in a very well covered LTE section, I would say go for the Moto X for your beloved SVLTE.

 

But you pretty much answered your own question. You prefer SVDO if possible, and like expandable storage and an easy to service battery. The only phone on your options list that checks all the boxes is the GS3.

 

As a previous owner of the GS3, I can definitely say I was satisfied with it. Sure, it comes with TouchWiz by default, but the GS3 (and the GS4) have amazing developer support, including official CyanogenMod support: http://download.cyanogenmod.org/?device=d2spr&type=stable. I also personally love the stock Android look and feel, so I was definitely running AOSP ROMs instead of TouchWiz.

 

As for how "old" it is, yes it is old relative to the performance and displays of today, but a 720p Super AMOLED display is pretty darn good, and I honestly don't think we need these 1080p screens at this size. The dual core Snapdragon S4 in the GS3 may be a year and a half old and much worse in terms of performance in current generation chips, but I think it handles most tasks very well, especially if you use a non-bloated AOSP ROM. Believe me, installing CM and SlimRoms on this phone made it fly, to this day. I really had no problem with it. If I really didn't care about tri-band, I probably would still have that phone. CM support continues and they're getting CM nightlies for CM 11 (KitKat), so there was really no reason for me to upgrade if Tri-band support wasn't a big deal to me.

 

I'm sure you can find a really cheap used GS3 off contract (I just sold mine on eBay for $180), so if you end up needing to upgrade again, you should be able to. I mean, if SVDO and expandable storage and battery is that big of a priority to you, the GS3 will definitely fit your needs.

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Thank you for all the feedback and I definitely appreciate it.

 

I went to the store today to check out the Moto X in person, really nice feel in the hand and almost felt "weightless".

Guy at the store was clueless on SVDO/SVLTE and tried to sell me on an LG G2 based on display size alone and was convinced it could do simultaneous voice and data. Also checked out the S4 again and was reminded how much brighter / better the display is compared to the S3 (my wife has one). They had an S3 in the case not out on display, I'm guessing they are not as popular anymore.

 

The S3 and the Moto X both cost $100.

The Moto X 32GB would be $150 if I wanted to offset the lack of microSD by going with the higher capacity.

The S4 will cost me $200.

 

Am I crazy to think that I could be happy with the S3 for the next 2 years for the two reasons below?

 

1) My primary area where I will use my phone also happens to be within 100km of the Canadian border and I've been reading up about the IBEZ exclusion zone limiting 800 rollout for both voice and data on the east side of Michigan, so it sounds like SPARK devices will only be able to benefit from 1900 and the eventual 2500 EBS/BRS band when it shows up. I would hope that NV deployment will improve coverage / capacity in the SE Michigan market if we'll only have 3G and 1900/2500 to work with. Also, deployment is a work in progress so I would expect to be able to benefit from improved 3G and 1900 LTE with the S3 to tide me over for the next 2 years.

 

2) I don't expect SVDO or SVLTE to make a comeback as new devices go triband, I also don't expect VOLTE to come around in the next 2 years that would restore simultaneous voice and data over what I hope would be much improved Sprint NV deployment. I feel like the S3 would let me get the most out of the network for the next 2 years and then reevaluate device strategy against how the network is doing. If VOLTE comes about by then or SVLTE makes a comeback, then it makes it easier to decide what device to get next. Otherwise, I would think the S4 and Moto X may still be available then, so I could still keep SVLTE and move to a better device than the S3 which be pretty ancient by then.

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W-wuh, really? Surfing while talking is that important? SvWiFi still works, and about the only time I'm out of WiFi is when I'm driving...

 

VoLTE is several years out on Sprint. Maybe a decade.

 

If you ask me, if I have the choice of no 4G and "talk while surfing" vs 4G (such as ESMR 800 MHz), or overburdened 3G/LTE and "talk while surfing" vs fast, usable LTE (EBS/BRS)... I'll take the improved service, every time.

 

I'm not a particularly heavy user of mobile data so I don't need the super-fast speeds that LTE on EBS/BRS will provide. LTE 800 coverage would be nice to help fill in some gaps (and why I'm disappointed they never released dual-band phones that could have retained SVLTE by giving up TD-LTE), but in a mature market the only place I usually fall back to Ev-DO is indoors, where I usually can connect to Wi-Fi. As you pointed out, SvWiFi still works, so it's fairly uncommon that neither LTE 1900 nor Wi-Fi are available. I'm also banking on folks such as yourself who don't mind the lack of simultaneous voice and data (or don't know the difference) reducing the load on B25.

 

I've also (*fingers crossed*) had good luck in keeping my devices in good shape, and only upgrade so as not to throw the ~$20/mo phone subsidy we have to pay away. Optimistically, my S4 could last me 4-5 years. 10 years would certainly be pushing it, but I doubt VoLTE will take that long given how aggressively Verizon is moving to roll it out. Once they do, they will undoubtedly sing its praises, even if they are undeserved, pushing other carriers to follow suit.

 

Otherwise, I would think the S4 and Moto X may still be available then, so I could still keep SVLTE and move to a better device than the S3 which be pretty ancient by then.

 

The current S4 is being phased out for the tri-band version over the coming weeks. I doubt it'll be available new in 6 months, let alone 2 years. Sprint expects all new smartphones released next year to be tri-band, and it is likely they will offer discounts on single-band devices to move them off their shelves more quickly. If SVDO is a necessity, the S3 is the only way to go. If the tower spacing is nice and tight where you live, SVLTE may be adequate, in which case go with the newest/highest specced device with SVLTE that you can afford.

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So Moto/Today Show is running a promo that knocks $150 off a no-contract Moto X or takes 50% off the Moto X through contract when using Moto Maker, until it runs out.

https://mdsupport.custhelp.com/ci/documents/detail/2/todayshow

registration code: todayshow50 

 

It makes it tempting ... posting here in case someone is about to buy the Moto X and can take advantage of some savings :)

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The current S4 is being phased out for the tri-band version over the coming weeks. I doubt it'll be available new in 6 months, let alone 2 years. Sprint expects all new smartphones released next year to be tri-band, and it is likely they will offer discounts on single-band devices to move them off their shelves more quickly. If SVDO is a necessity, the S3 is the only way to go. If the tower spacing is nice and tight where you live, SVLTE may be adequate, in which case go with the newest/highest specced device with SVLTE that you can afford.

 

Thank you for that info, I didn't even put two and two together when I heard that the S4 triband was going to go on sale, just assumed they'd keep selling both! Well, there's still the Moto X.

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I don't see many scenarios where you'd be on a call and either need to also surf the Web or not have access to wifi. If you a really need to surf the Web while on a call and you somehow don't have wifi, there are free options for you. Two of the most popular are Karma and Freedompop which give you free data every month and you just need to buy a hotspot. You can also look into T-Mobile's free 200mb for life deal with a tablet, as well. Just another option for you so you can look into a newer phone and still have the ability to use data while you make calls.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you for all the feedback / suggestions.

 

I decided to get the Moto X (16GB black standard Sprint version), just ordered online, looking forward to it.

Is anyone else seeing the Moto X 16GB for free on contract through Sprint.com?

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To sweeten the deal, you could take advantage of the Motorola Trade Up Program

http://www.mototradeup.com/?q=faqs

 

I am actually coming from a Motorola Admiral which is a total POS, so I'm actually glad to be rid of it and get an extra $100 back from Moto in the form of a Visa prepaid card. The Admiral is a phone I wouldn't even consider keeping as a spare phone, it was that bad (and I'm on the 4th device, having been replaced under ESRP).

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