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Motorola Moto X

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Control the phone without touching it

I know Cool Tools is not traditionally a phone/gadget review site, but the Moto X got so much small stuff right that it qualifies as a cool tool.

The biggest is the Active Display, which lets you check the time and notifications without unlocking the phone or even pushing a button. The sensors detect when you pull your phone out of your pocket (or pick it up off the table), and 90% of the time, what you need to know is right there. Because the X has an OLED screen, displaying grey text on a black background uses almost no battery power. That feature alone is such an incredible timesaver that even though my employer provided a brand new iPhone 5S, I find myself reaching for the Moto X first.

The other invaluable feature is being able to say “OK, Google Now” without touching the phone. In the car, this means I can make calls, start music, and navigate without taking my hands off the wheel. It just works, and I can’t imagine switching to a phone that doesn’t include this feature.

Yes, you can put many of the Moto X features on existing Android phones, but this is the only one that does it out of the box, and without sacrificing battery life. I’ve had mine for 6 months, and if I lost it today, I wouldn’t consider replacing it with anything else.

-- Aaron Weiss 04/8/15