When we first reviewed the Moto X it ranked as one of the best Android phones of the year, despite a lackluster spec sheet and a camera that could only be called mediocre on good days. Motorola claimed they were committed to improving the Moto X user experience, and the Android 4.4 update has proof of that all over the place.
It’s important to start this off by explaining how incredibly blurry the lines are between Google and Motorola right now. While Google owns Motorola, supposedly Motorola was being left to its own devices when it came to most day-to-day decisions. As such, the Moto X lacks some of the things Google has been pushing for the last couple of years, like a notification light and wireless charging. It’s not totally clear how much influence Google’s Androidteam has over Motorola’s hardware or what level of access Motorola’s software team has to Google’s Android team.
The Moto X was already a snappy phone, despite being technically underpowered when compared to the HTC One or Samsung Galaxy S4. With Android 4.4, it really flies. When compared directly to the Snapdragon 800-powered Nexus 5, the Moto X was able to slide around and launch apps just as quickly. Chrome, Facebook, and several other apps loaded with nearly identical performance. The only place where there was a clear advantage when it came to launch performance was the camera app, in which the Moto X was nearly two full seconds faster.