Aug 01 AT 4:06 PM Dima Aryeh 29 Comments

How much can you really customize the Moto X?


The Moto X has been announced today and a heated discussion has already started. Some like it, some don’t. A lot of power users have denounced the device because it doesn’t meet our needs, but what about those who don’t care about specs and want a pretty purple phone with blue accents? Well that’s where the Moto X excels: customization. But how much can you really make your Moto X yours?

First, you have to choose the right carrier. When the phone is released, customization will only be available on AT&T. The other three carriers will get a black and a white model, with customization coming later down the line. While we think that’s the stupidest decision possible, it is what it is. So if you want a colorful phone, go AT&T or wait.

The first line of customization is simple color choices. At launch, you’ll have three areas of the device to color and a multitude of colors available to you. You can choose between 18 colors for the back, 7 colors for the accents, and two colors for the front edges. The accents will be the ring around the camera lens and the buttons on the side. The front will come in either black or white (and I like the idea of white phones with black fronts, so that’s awesome). This, plus the choice of either a 16GB of 32GB model, will allow for 504 different permutations of the device. That’s unique in our book.

You can also get the back engraved with your name or a personal message. Sure, that will absolutely destroy resale value, but most people don’t care about that. Then, you add your own wallpaper via the uploading tool on the site where you design it. The wallpaper can be changed at any time, but it’ll offer a little more uniqueness out of the box. The splash screen can also be modified with a custom greeting.

But that’s just the start, according to Motorola. New options and materials will constantly be considered and released. The first new material planned to be released is real wood. It’s currently in testing, because the material has completely different properties from plastic (don’t forget that the antennas need to be able to penetrate the casing!). But how awesome would it be to have a wood backed phone?

Customization goes further than just the device itself, though. Motorola teamed up with SOL REPUBLIC to offer accessories like headphones, speakers, cases, docks and more to those who purchase a Moto X. With your purchase, you can get a color matched pair of headphones from SOL. You can choose between the on-ear SOL Tracks HD or the in-ear SOL JAX earbuds. And if you get the earphones, you’ll also get free ear tips for life. It’s a great start, and hopefully Motorola will expand on color matched accessories in the future.

Because the device is being assembled at your command in Texas, they will ship it to you in four days or less. And best of all, the shipping is free. If you’re unhappy with the choices you’ve made, you can return it within 14 days (30 if you’re a California resident) and redesign it. Or, you can simply get your money back. That’s a pretty sweet deal.

So the Moto X is quite customizable and about what we expected. The color matched headphones are a nice touch. We’re loving the freedom in making the device yours, even if we’re not really loving the device itself. But it’s time for you to voice your opinion. Do you like the customization options? Will they appeal to a broad audience who aren’t techies? And is it enough to sell the phone? Tell us in the comments!

Dima Aryeh is a Russian obsessed with all things tech. He does photography, is an avid phone modder (who uses an AT&T Galaxy Note II), a heavy gamer (both PC and 360), and an aspiring home mechanic. He is also an avid fan of music, especially power metal.

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  • jamal adam

    Isn’t the 32GB version an AT&T exclusive too?

    • R.S

      If that’s true, it adds to the already “insult to injury” from them making the customization an AT&T timed exclusive.

      I saw the video and believe that some people will be drawn to the Moto X because of the customization. However, the timed exclusivity might make some of those look else where

      As for the wood back, I don’t see a wood being very good. If it’s all wood, it’ll probably be the same type of wood they use on those kid’s 3D dinosaur puzzles; lightweight but easy to leave impressions on.

      If it’s wood on plastic, it runs the risk of looking like a cheap decal.

    • AnthonyRyan

      from what i read yes but i thought just because the 32GB for AT&T is priced at $199 compared to the rest the 16GB will be priced at $199 then the 32GB $249 or whatever the price maybe. im not sure if im 100% correct but thats what i got from what i read and heard

      • AnthonyRyan

        never mind with that last reply AT&T is getting the 32GB and it will be $199 the other carriers will get the 16GB and it will be $199 which im sad about that but lets hope the whole exclusive 32GB is only for a short period of time.

        • jamal adam

          The 32GB is $249 and exclusively for AT&T and everyone is getting the 16GB for $199.

  • Arthur

    It’s a shame though that most of the customization’s are cosmetic/aesthetic’s. I don’t think anyone actually expected a PC or Laptop like level of customization but still it would be nice to have at least one hardware option other than 16 or 32GB version’s.

    Overall I am pretty disappointed with the X, mostly with the pricing. This is more than anything else before it I think in the Android world, Google’s and Motorola’s answer to the iPhone. With little focus on the hardware specs and more about software features to enhance usability in a package that is easy on the eyes and comfortable in the hand.

    Also Motorola and Google are trying to beat Apple to the customization race as it seems like OEM’s are putting less and less emphasis on hardware specs as a big seller instead concentrating on other more meaningful differentiator’s that can benefit a larger group of people without being gimmicky. Samsung has done thing, LG is doing this more and more, the G2 being proof of that with a fingerprint scanner and new implementation of its unique backpanel volume rocker buttons.

    Next year we will see top flagships going this direction more and more as this year is for the most part decided, Note 3, LG G2 still to be announced, Sony “Honami”, next Nexus based on the G2, a new Nokia before years end.

    • Scott Wilhelm

      That’s because the hardware differences have been done to death. Honestly, there’s not much further they can go…we’ve got 8-core cpus, phones with 2gb ram, LTE, 1080p displays…..hell, my phone has more power than my current desktop!!! The only serious improvement would be battery life, and that doesn’t look to be too far off. At this point there isn’t much further they can go, so the only hope they have of differentiating one phone from another is with exclusive software features.

  • mrfidgit

    did they give you phones for free? I mean, the customization is weak! YES, you have an option, IF you chose the right carrier and live somwhere not on the continent I live on. The phone could have been the revolution, really.
    I own a nexus4, not for the specs, but because it’s cheap, it gives me what i want (smaller than 5″, 720p, 1 day battery life on 4.3, unique body). Motorola does not offer that to me. I was more then willing to sell my nexus4 to get a wood/bamboo casing with white front having a near stock android experience. But what did we get? A well working phone (we get this on every other android-phone above 200$!), an okay, but not revolutionary customization option and US exclusive release. YAY! That pushes me, and other NONE-SPECS LOVERS! over to the upcoming Nexus5….

    I know this is all personal, but I dont like reading, that people ONLY dislike this realease becsue of specs! It’s just not true!

    • Dima Aryeh

      Techies dislike this phone not for specs, but because it doesn’t suit them. They can’t justify spending $200 on a device that isn’t $200 worth of phone. Yes, that $200 includes customization and being built in the US, so it’s TECHNICALLY worth it, but that’s not what techies prioritize. I absolutely agree with you that it’s not only about specs. Thanks for the comment!

  • Nate B.

    The exclusivity contradicts the entire phone honestly. Regardless if I’ll ever buy a device, when the business or market choices are ridiculous I get so frustrated. I love mobile tech. When it’s poorly handled it just frustrates me. Nothing is perfect but it’s always things that can be avoided that aren’t.

  • http://None Javier Bastardo

    Sol Republic buds option? That’s a nice unexpected touch.

  • Bradleybones

    720p 4.7″ display, 10mp camera. Not really a lot better than what I currently have and my phone is a couple years old. I guess the processor is a bit up over what I have, but at the price, it’s not enough to make me choose it over the LG coming out or possibly the Sony Experia Z. If it was $350, I might consider it as an upgrade for my wife’s phone since she’s a pretty basic smart phone user. But I’d just as soon get a less expensive mid-range phone rather than paying $600. I’m thinking the LG G2 is going to be the one that I’ll go with.

  • Orion78

    I knew this phone was nothing more than just hype. It’s too overpriced and what’s worse, the queens of exclusives(at&t) gets first digs at the customization? Wasn’t this one of the main selling points for this phone? And now its only for at&t for now? Just wow. I’m just glad this thing was announced already. Now we can move on to bigger and better things. I’m ready for the Note 3 or the next Nexus.

  • thekaz

    I’ve waited long enough for the HTC One to come to Verizon.. I certainly don’t want to extend my wait any more by waiting for custom colors to come to Verizon, especially since it doesn’t appear the off-contract price will be significantly lower than the HTC One for me to feel good about buying this phone.

    Too bad. I really WANTED to want it…

  • pjamies

    Dima, you comment about users actually liking (half of them ..) this phone and the prospect of having it exclusive on AT&T are way out of whack!
    I cannot remember having a new phone announced with so much negative feedback .. ever!!
    WOW .. !!!

    I guess my next step is to wait for the Nexus 5, which will hopefully have more luck than this
    announcement garnered!!

    • Dima Aryeh

      You have only looked at the techie side of things. I did not say half will like it, but I am SURE that many normal consumers will like the device a lot.

  • kazahani

    Antennas… Need to penetrate…Wood…

    I can’t stop myself…

  • graymoment

    I thought this phone was a brilliant idea, and that it had the chance to be a real game changer.

    The release seems totally botched and screams Motorola is not thinking like a Google company yet. The phone should have been released with the latest Android version and been available for customization on every carrier. Why give AT&T an exclusive? That seems to fly in the face of what Google stands for, in my opinion. It also seems like a $600 retail price for the 16GB version without any special materials is a little steep. I’m not saying it should be Nexus 4 cheap due to being assembled in the U.S., but $450/$475 for the 16GB/32GB seems more reasonable and likely to sell.

    • Scott Wilhelm

      How quickly we’ve all forgotten that Verizon had the exclusive rights to the Galaxy Nexus for months before any other US carrier got it….or how about the fact that well over 6 months have gone by since the Nexus 4′s launch, and T-mobile still has exclusive rights in the US as the only carrier offering it. Exclusives are nothing new to Google, and claiming this is a first is just plain wrong!

  • Pravas

    Pretty Cool…

    I loved the customizable option. Specially custom text at the back of the Phone.

    Way To Go.

  • MC_Android

    Motorola isn’t focused on the specs that much but rather on customization…and they are really pushing for the customization. Why couldn’t they design a phone with swappable face plates and battery covers with certain themes (black & red, blue/orange…etc) and material (aluminum/ceramic)? It’s completely achievable and would be cheaper to manufacture “blank” phones with a free set theme package. If you get bored, go on their site and order another one.

    This way you truly give customers an option of customization. When they realize their fluorescent green Moto X doesn’t look that great, they can go order another aesthetic package.

    With a removable back, you can swap batteries and add in a microsd slot up to 64 gb.

    This phone was a pretty big flop in my opinion considering all the hype it stirred for months.

    • herrdreizehn

      that was what i was hoping for since i first heard customization: removable backs = removable battery = sd card slot

      no sd card, not for me.

  • jerrbomb

    I love the idea of the phone and what it had to offer.. But ATT exclusiveness? 199 on contract? It’s being assembled heresies why so much.. It’s supposed to be affordable.. And don’t get me wrong it is.. But with those specs.. No.. Not worth it.. I’m not trying to troll.. I mean seriously.. I’m not.. But at this point.. I think I would rather stick with my GS4 until I see what comes next of Google-Rola.. And then what makes it worse.. Is for the price and specs.. I would rather she’ll out 199 for a new Moto on Verizon.. Ijs.. But it’s an awesome Idea and I love everything about it… Except price…

  • donger

    Customization only on AT&T for now? This is a fail! Let’s say I’m in the market for a new phone. Goes into AT&T store, saw this and the S4 side by side. Would get the S4 over this.

  • OnIn2

    I… just…don’t…get…it

    I can buy a case for $15 and change the color of the device. Who cares about color?

    • thekaz

      .. and add to the thickness of the device. To some people this really does matter.

  • Adam Snyder

    Pretty colors, but seriously need to work on the specs

  • vic

    One issue i suppose as far as customization is with the Power On Greeting /Splash screen greeting. The bad thing is that once you customize your greeting it cannot be changed. There are no options in the phone’s menu to change it or anything. I also contacted Motorola and the only option would be to send it back and re-customize it and wait for it come in, or they can send you a special code you can customize another one with a charge (full price i’m guessing) and send the previous one back and get your money back. For all this red tape just keep the dang thing and forget about it or carefully plan your greeting and understand you are gonna be stuck with it, or leave it with out a greeting. Hopefully Motorola will come up with a firmware upgrade to change this, but who knows.

  • johnny1987

    I have a question I wanted a white front with royal blue back and yellow accents. But all I can find at T-Mobile sprint and Verizon so I got a black on black. I read in this article that u have 14 days to exchange it to a different design if u want. Will they allow me to do this since I bought my phone at a Verizon corporate store. Please get back to me as soon as possible bc I bought it at a store versus threw moto maker? To order one three motomaker it says it will ship in 15 to 18 days but verizons site says they will have your custom made phone to you in 4 to 5 days. So which is it?