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New Moto X smartphone torn down and talked up by iFixit

The new Moto X is the first major smartphone release from Motorola Mobility since it was acquired by Google.

That alone is reason enough to take interest in iFixit's teardown of the handset. The Moto X also has some solid components, a powerful camera, and leverages the proprietary Motorola X8 Mobile Computing System and a sizable battery to provide users with "an amazing 24 hours of 'mixed usage,'" iFixit notes.

The teardown site wound up giving the Moto X a repairability score of seven out of 10. That's well off the standard mark for many laptop and desktop PCs, but it's a pretty stellar mark for a smartphone. With a few specialised tools, the Moto X is a device you should be able to take apart and put back together without much hassle, though few people are going to want to do that with a smartphone, of course.

So how does Google serve up so much battery life with this handset? According to iFixit, the "secret is in the X8 Mobile Computing System." In short, the device's dual-core, 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro application processor works together with Qualcomm's quad-core Adreno 320 graphics processor, and single-core natural language and contextual computing processors to portion out processing duties in Motorola's custom system architecture, the site reports.

That means certain computing tasks are offloaded from the application processor and GPU to the ultra low-power cores, reducing power draw overall. The result: Lots of extended on-time courtesy of the Moto X's 3.8V, 2,200mAh Lithium ion battery.

So what else are you getting with this smartphone? The Moto X has a 4.7in 1,280 x 720 pixel AMOLED display, 2GB of RAM, and comes in 16GB or 32GB versions.

It's also got a 10-megapixel rear-facing camera, which iFixit notes is a 25 per cent upgrade on the rear camera in Apple's iPhone 5 but falls a bit short of the top smartphone camera currently available, the monster picture-snapper on Nokia's Lumia 1020. The Moto X's front-facing camera is a much more pedestrian 2-megapixel unit.

They popped out the motherboard in this device, giving us a nice, clean look at all the various integrated circuits (ICs) making the Moto X tick. Here's the rundown of notable ICs they found on the motherboard and elsewhere, in addition to the previously listed parts making up the X8:

  1. Toshiba eMMC NAND Flash module (16GB, labelled THGBMAG7A2JBAIR)
  2. SK Hynix RAM module (2GB, labelled H9TKNNNBPDAR)
  3. Qualcomm PM8921 Power Management IC
  4. Texas Instruments TMS320C55 Digital Signal Processor
  5. NXP 44701 NFC Chip
  6. Skyworks 77619-12 Multiband Multimode Power Amplifier Module for Quad-Band GSM / EDGE and Penta-Band (Bands I, II, IV, V, VIII) WCDMA/ HSDPA/ HSUPA/ HSPA+/ LTE
  7. Texas Instruments MSP430 F5259 Mixed Signal Microcontroller
  8. Qualcomm WCD9310 Audio Codec
  9. Qualcomm WCN3680 802.11ac Combo Wi-Fi/Bluetooth/FMNXP TFA9890 High Efficiency Class-D Audio Amplifier
  10. Skyworks 77737 SkyHi Power Amplifier Module for LTE Bands 12/17 (698-716 MHz)
  11. EPCOS 7 959 Wireless LAN/Bluetooth Filters (IF)
  12. 0V00660 A56G 1B
  13. Wolfson Microelectronics WM7121 Top Port Analogue Silicon Microphone
  14. Wolfson Microelectronics WM7132 Bottom Port Analogue Silicon Microphone
  15. Synaptics touchscreen controller

The iFixit reviewers wound up giving the Moto X a good repairability score (again, for a smartphone) for a couple of reasons. The device is fastened together with Torx T3 screws throughout, meaning you'll only need one tool to unfasten screwed-together parts. The use of pressure contacts and detachable cable connectors "make the modular components (cameras, buttons, headphone jack and speakers) easy to replace," the site notes.

But the Moto X got dinged for some other design choices, including the use of sticky adhesive on the back cover, the fusing of the digitiser to the display (though iFixit notes that the "display midframe can be separated, potentially lowering the cost of the replacement part"), and a taped-in battery that is "less accessible than we'd like."