Moto Maker - A Customized Moto X

A large part of the Moto X story is the ability for users to order their own customized variants with different color combinations and an optional customized engraving (at a later date) and line of text at boot. Initially exclusive to AT&T, the Moto Maker customization tool manifests itself as a web portal where shoppers can select from 18 different back colors, 7 accent colors, and a black or white front at no additional cost. In the future there will be additional patterns and materials available, for example additional textures and the wood materials I touched on earlier later in Q4.

The workflow is simple, either shoppers go online to Moto Maker directly, or (at launch) go into an operator store, see color samples, buy a 16 or 32 GB Moto X Moto Maker pass, and then either complete the Moto Maker customization option on a kiosk at the store or later from the comfort of their home. Motorola then assembles the custom Moto X in Fort Worth, Texas and ships to anywhere in the USA with a 4 day turnaround time. Shoppers who want to walk out of an operator store with a device in hand will have to opt for the woven white or black options as mentioned before.

The initial AT&T exclusivity is disappointing if you’re on one of the four other major wireless operators in the USA, however I expect the other operators to get brought in immediately after the exclusivity period ends, but there’s no word how long that is for AT&T. The Moto Maker part of the customization experience is also exclusive to the USA given the four day window Motorola is shooting for, so that means Canada, Latin America, and other markets get left out.

Motorola gave us a chance to play with Moto Maker before the Moto X launch and order a customized Moto X of our making just to try it out. I settled on a combination of olive back, white front, and silver accent color, plus the customized line of text on the back, for an overall somewhat tactical look (the "olive color" winds up being like a lighter olive drab, it’d be cool if Motorola had flat dark earth available). Anand went with a completely yellow lemon colored unit that looks very striking. The tool works very well and presents a 360 degree view of the device as you step through the process, it’s all very compelling, even if choosing a combination from the wealth of back colors and accents is somewhat daunting. I went through about 5 different permutations of Moto X colors before settling on the one I finally pulled the trigger on.

Motorola didn't exactly nail the 4-day delivery window for either Anand's or my own customized Moto X, and my back didn't get the customized line of text on it, although Anand's did. Mine ended up taking a little over a week to get delivered, but a large part of that was because they essentially built two Moto Xes in that timeframe due to the engraving issues they discovered. I'm willing to acknowledge that this first set of customized Moto Xes we were given the opportunity to order were technically during a "Beta" release of the Moto Maker, so hopefully kinks like the customized line of text not being present and the turnaround time are sorted out quickly. 

Anand's customized Moto X looks great in pictures, and I'm pleased with the way mine came out as well. It definitely adds something to the experience to be able to choose out your own color combination. 

The customization options are great for users who want to differentiate their devices from the uniform black or white squares that are pretty standard fare these days, and I expect the Moto Maker route to be a popular option given how loud Motorola will be about the customization aspect of the Moto X. After all, at no additional cost (unless you go for wood, more storage, the optional matching headphone accessories or a case) there’s really no reason you shouldn’t go for something custom or unique looking.

For some, the Moto Maker tool is probably enough to sell the device on its own, but customization options only go so far towards closing a sale. What Motorola has done however by offering an easy to use tool and quick turnaround is both awesome and unprecedented.

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  • Civilized - Monday, August 26, 2013 - link

    "...the network status logo and bars are also a different shade of blue than the battery and time icons adjacent to it."

    This one sentence perfectly sums up's mobile reviews. Great job Brian and Anand, the reviews have been consistently fantastic here.
  • teiglin - Monday, August 26, 2013 - link

    I don't know that it says much about Brian's reviews (I mean, seems pretty obvious just looking at the status bar), but it sure as hell sums up US operator software quality. That is fucking surreal, that AT&T pushes its logo into the phone firmware without even bothering to check the RGB values of existing icons. I just don't even...

    I like the phone a lot and would love to use Moto Maker to make one--this is definitely a speak-with-your-wallet thing; I really want Motorola to be successful with this--but I'm not suffering a locked bootloader, especially with this sort of blatant software flaw. When Maker is available for tmo or the dev editiion it'll be worth a second look.
  • Impulses - Tuesday, August 27, 2013 - link

    Isn't the different blue just the same AT&T blue that they use on other devices regardless of the present color scheme? I'm not trying to excuse theirbehavior either way, just saying, it might be happenstance rather than neglect.

    Frankly the tweaking of the signal indicators bothers me a lot less than the ever present AT&T tag on the far left... Probably because a lot of carriers and OEM are guilty of the former (AT&T has even tweaked the untouchable iPhone's bars...) yet no other carrier splashes their name on your notification bar like that.

    To be fair, I believe it does disappear once you actually have notifications, or it has on previous AT&T phones anyway...
  • SoC-IT2ME - Monday, August 26, 2013 - link

    Charge time of the GS4 - it takes just over 2hrs for a full charge, not 2.8hrs as per your graph.

    The Moto X looks like a great phone, but now that SAMOLED has improved with it's colour saturation, this screen seems to garish and overblown.
  • Honest Accounting - Monday, September 16, 2013 - link

    Who supplies the screen for the Moto X?
  • APassingMe - Monday, August 26, 2013 - link

    "I’d posit that the optimal size is...."

    Typo maybe?
  • Galcobar - Monday, August 26, 2013 - link

    Posit is correctly spelled, and used.
  • bakedpatato - Monday, August 26, 2013 - link

    Where did you guys get a box of 5.56 blanks? Anand's X does look quite nice.
  • SomeGuyonaBike - Monday, August 26, 2013 - link

    This is the second review I've read in which AT&T's address book sync service is described as being a big annoyance... What are the problems with this service? Does it periodically bug you to use it even if you choose not to, or something like that?
  • jeffkibuule - Monday, August 26, 2013 - link

    Why should software you never use be on your phone?

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