May 22, 2024

The Moto X4 has Alexa and a multi-device music streaming feature

LG’s V30 is clearly the most hyped handset at this year’s IFA, but Motorola’s got a surprise contender for the most interesting. While the Lenovo-owned company is clearly pumping most of its resources into its Z line of modular flagships, its return to the mid-range X line actually packs a couple of compelling surprises.

The company made its intentions to embrace Amazon Alexa clear back in February at Mobile World Congress — though back then, the plans just included a Moto Mod that sported the appropriate mic array for the smart assistant. The X4 will ship with Alexa functionality — it’s not the first phone to offer the feature, but it’s still a relative rarity.

And implementation on some of the existing products has been shaky at best. We don’t have a lot of information on precisely how the feature was integrated here, but it sounds like it’s pretty deep, given the fact that you can ask Alexa questions even when the phone is locked.

More interesting is the inclusion of a new Bluetooth from French startup Tempow that brings a kind of Sonos-like solution to the phone. Basically it makes it possible to stream audio to several different speakers or headphones at once, regardless of manufacturer. It’s not a super mainstream feature, but it’s a compelling one, as many manufacturers struggle to find ways to differentiate themselves in what feels like an increasingly homogenous world of phone makers.

I could see this being useful for streaming to multiple rooms in a home, assuming the Bluetooth protocol can reach that far. Or, I guess, as the promo video shows, a multi-person headphone party for an old school silent rave.

Other notable features include some contextual information added to the camera software that offers information about landmarks and scans business cards, similar to what Samsung’s been doing with Bixby. There are also dual-rear-facing cameras here that let you add a bokeh effect, similar to what the latest Moto Z offers up.

The handset will arrive in the States some time this fall, but it’s making a pitstop in Europe in September, priced at €399 ($416). It’s a bit of a mishmash of interesting features, but it’s nice to see Motorola trying new things out on its midrange.

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