After many happy years with my Samsung Galaxy S3, I decided that it was time to update to a faster, larger smartphone. The GS3 is still humming along on the excellent Liquid Smooth 4.1 ROM (Android 5.1.1), and I will hand it down to my family. I am really going to miss the LS 4.1 ROM and its many customizations and power user features.
I considered the new Samsung 6, 6 Edge, and Note 5, but none had removable batteries or provisions for external storage. The latter is a deal breaker for me. I looked at the LG G4 as well, but a friend highly recommended the Moto X series. The new Pure (known as the Style outside the U.S.) indeed had everything that I wanted except a removable battery, which is going the way of the Dodo on high-end phones.
The Moto X Pure 2015 Edition (MXPE from here on) is also a carrier unlocked phone. U.S. carriers are moving away from the subsidised phone approach of the past. AT&T has their AT&T Next program if you don’t mind paying several hundred dollars over the retail cost, but spread out over several years. With the MXPE, you can plug in any nano SIM and the phone will connect to that network. No contracts, no bloated time payments, no hassles. Sweet. It also has an unlockable bootloader – another key consideration.
I won’t hit all the MXPE’s specs. You can read those on the Motorola website.
So, following my friend’s recommendation, I went to Motorola’s “Build Yours” page to customize my phone. I made mine 32 GB with a black & dark gray frame & front, metallic dark gray accents, and a black leather back. It looks great! I also added engraving and a custom boot greeting.
The timeline went by quickly. I ordered the phone on a Thursday night, Motorola shipped it from China on Monday and I had it on Tuesday. Now, that’s a small world!
Please excuse the crummy pictures. It’s raining outside for the next few days, so I had to do these indoors with my GS3’s camera. The phone looks MUCH better than the pictures. The screen protector is already on the phone in the pictures.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the Moto X comes with a migration tool. It works through NFC and WiFi to transfer SOME data from your old phone to your new one. After installing Migration on the GS3, I let it run overnight. It transferred all media and documents, but…
The catch came in that I hadn’t put the 128GB microSDXC into the MXPE yet. So, it copied all the targeted files from the GS3’s internal and external SD to the MXPE internal SD. It took me a while to sort that out. In the end, although Migrate is a nice tool that works OK, I would have been better off copying the GS3’s contents to my Ubuntu PC via WiFi, then copying them to the MXPE via WiFi. I actually did that the second time around – more on that in the next post.
Well, OK, here’s a preview. Unlocking the bootloader wipes the device back to factory – all the way back, including wiping the internal SD. After that surprise, transferring all the files via the PC and WiFi took a fraction of the time that Migrate took, and they ended up exactly how I wanted them. Although, the second time I only transferred a few app settings, deciding to really start fresh.
The Fosmon Touch is incredibly clear and works great. It came with everything needed to install w/o getting dust under it, and stickies to get any stray dust out. The glass is so much better than the plastic protectors that I’ve used over the years. You literally cannot tell it’s there.
The 128GB Sandisk is incredibly fast, and will hold tons and tons of stuff, including all my nandroid backups (more on this in the next post). I got it during an Amazon 1-day sale for 1/3 of MSRP. Stole it, really.
I needed the Aerb cutter because the Samsung GS3 uses a micro SIM and the MXPE uses a smaller nano SIM card. The cutter works because the internals of all the three size SIMs are the same size, and are located over the contacts. I simply put the micro SIM in the metal adapter, slid it all the way into the cutter, made sure three or four times that I had everything lined up right, held my breath, then pushed the handle down on a flat, hard surface.
It turned out perfectly. I didn’t even have to use the included sandpaper to smooth the edges. If I later need to put the SIM back in the GS3 or another phone, the Aerb comes with all the necessary adapters. This product is well designed and comes with excellent word and pictorial instructions on the outside of the box. Many kudos to Aerb.
The MXPE comes with a clear plastic bumper in the box, which I installed for now. I don’t want to cover the leather back with a case, so I am in the market for a softer black bumper. Not much out there yet for the new phone. EDIT: I found a nice bumper here and will wait until they are available.
I really like the Moto X Pure. The large 5.7″ screen enables me to work better with documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. The larger size still fits nicely in my medium hands. Motorola has done a nice job of integrating all the elements, and provided a virtually clean Android experience. The few Motorola additions are well thought-out and executed. I’m a very happy camper at this point.
But, I wanted a rooted phone, so on to unlocking the bootloader in the next post.