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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  • Friendly0Fire - Monday, August 26, 2013 - link

    I looked for a good replacement for my Nexus S which also had good sound quality and damn that's a hard task especially in NA. I just couldn't find anything short of ordering an international SGS4 and that's just way too expensive.

    It always makes me sad that we strive for these huge and pretty screens but entirely botch the audio outputs in most smartphones.
  • kwrzesien - Tuesday, August 27, 2013 - link

    Second this. A comparison to tablets would be a great contrast too...we find the iPad 3 headphone out to a Yamaha/Klipsch system superior to any phone (iphones and Androids), would be interested to see the results of the Nexus and Note tablets. Maybe including a comparison of Bluetooth (3/4) and Wi-Fi wireless sound too.
  • tuxRoller - Monday, August 26, 2013 - link

    No comment about its superior dynamic range? To my eye, it looked better than even the pureview 1028.
    Of course, you can't get past the moire artifacts, and lower spatial resolution.
  • Dan123 - Monday, August 26, 2013 - link

    How about the standby efficiency and how it affects battery life. I've seen some reports that it's not so good. You mentioned in the conclusion that you compared battery life without and without the touchless controls, I'd be interested to see how this feature affects standby efficiency.
  • PC Perv - Monday, August 26, 2013 - link

    I can't get over the whole irony around the mid-range phone and mid-range screen size. I thought the criteria used to determine "high-end," "mid-range" was the price. The reviewer says this phone is first high-end phone that doesn't sport a large screen, then turn around to say the price is a bit high. Can you get that? It is a high-end phone but the problem is that it's priced as one.

    Too funny.
  • Sm0kes - Monday, August 26, 2013 - link

    I think your missing the meaning of "high-end". A high-end phone is typically in reference to hardware specifications, design, construction quality, etc.. While this is typically directly related to price (bleeding edge tech and industrial processes cost more), a high price does not automatically mean quality.

    Also, the facts are pretty clear (for whatever reason) that in the last couple of generations the larger phones tend to have better specs than there smaller counterparts (e.g., HTC One vs. HTC One Mini).
  • Mondozai - Monday, August 26, 2013 - link

    I think you're missing the point.

    Your sentence:

    "While this is typically directly related to price (bleeding edge tech and industrial processes cost more), a high price does not automatically mean quality."

    Which is right, but why do you later not connect this statement with the original comment you were replying to? The Moto X is specced like a 2012 phone but is priced like a high-end 2013 phone, especially as the LG G2 is coming out in a matter of weeks and the Note 3 is announced within just 9 days. That doesn't make it a bad phone, but there's a disconnect on the pricing.
  • kwrzesien - Tuesday, August 27, 2013 - link

    The new gold iPhone will be the *only* high-end phone when it comes out.
  • Honest Accounting - Monday, September 16, 2013 - link

    What makes the specs 2012? Number of CPU cores? screen resolution? ...
  • mammaldood - Monday, August 26, 2013 - link

    Does the Moto X support aptX like other Motorolas?

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