Custom Moto X has improved hardware and appealing looks

Custom Moto X has improved hardware and appealing looks

Summary: I wasn't that impressed with the stock white Moto X, but this custom designed model has improvements in hardware quality that make me a believer in Motorola's approach. Let's see if consumers show up too.

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  • Custom Moto X box and Skip

    Early last week I was given an access code for an evaluation custom Moto X. I ordered it on 20 August and even now the order status page still shows it as "Not Shipped." The custom Moto X arrived yesterday, 8 business days after I ordered it, and I have to say that the custom model is better than the stock white one I have been evaluating.

    A couple of the issues I had with the Moto X hardware included the loose and sloppy power and volume buttons and the cheap looking bezel ridge around the front. Neither of these are present on the black front, navy blue back, and orange highlighted custom Moto X I now have in hand.

    The buttons are both tight and fit as they should. The orange color highlights on these and the camera lens ring look awesome and I am pleased with my selection.

    The front is black and the display seems to meld right into the side with a minimal ridge. The difference in the black screen and two shades of white on the front of the other Moto X gives it low to mid range look. The black looks so much better and reminds me of the well-designed Motorola Droid Maxx.

    The black around the front transitions nicely into the Navy blue back. Speaking of the back, the blue looks great and has a soft touch feel that makes you want to hold and twist the device around in your hand.

    It looks like the Moto Maker service still has a few bugs to work out, but after experiencing it (see my screenshots of the process in this image gallery) and using a custom Moto X I think the service will help bring in Moto X customers.

    I see a majority of people wrapping their smartphones in cases so having the ability to customize the actual phone case and highlight color is a very appealing proposition and I hope it succeeds. As a US military veteran and patriotic person I also appreciate the fact that the Moto X is designed and assembled in the USA. I am willing to pay a bit extra to keep people here in the US employed as well.

    Related ZDNet coverage

  • Moto Skip provides quick unlock

  • First look at the custom back color

Topics: Mobility, Android, Smartphones, AT&T

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10 comments
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  • Value

    So what if they address rickety buttons?is it a good value at $199 with 16gb, no expandable memory, 720p screen and a slower CPU than the Galaxy S4? The customization options are only available to AT&T customers, rendering the MotoX as simply a black 16gb, non customizable phone on all of the other carriers.
    The value will be dependent on the contextual awareness features, which is still unproven.
    flyguy29
    • Fixes

      Let me add that fixing poor workmanship does not transform the MotoX into a good value at $199
      flyguy29
  • I still don't understand...

    How this qualifies as a 200.00 phone *ON CONTRACT*. Aside from LTE and and a few gimmicks, this hardly challenges the 300.00 OFF CONTRACT Nexus 4!

    This would have made an excellent successor to that phone, but to compete with the iPhone, Galaxy, One and upcoming G2? They're smoking crack.
    Playdrv4me
    • better why exactly

      > but to compete with the iPhone, Galaxy, One and upcoming G2? They're smoking crack.

      Why is that? What do these phones do (that is useful) that the motox doesnt? Can they last all day AND listen to voice commands hands free in the car? Do they have logically designed notification so you dont have to turn the phone on and off 20 times a day just to see the time and notifications? I find the motox a much more useful phone; well worth the $200 and easily as good or better than the phones you mentioned as "high end" just because of the pixel and cpu count. I have an S4 and a motox. The S4 lags often; so far the motox; not at all.
      MaryPhelps
    • Nexus 4 is the best deal...

      Nexus 4 is $200/$250 for the 8/16GB, respectively. The only problem is that it does not work on Sprint, Verizon, (and ATT, I think). I actually changed carriers to T-Mobile, but the service sucks (sometimes). Its not like I am in some boondox town...I live in LA where there should be no excuse. If you get good T-Mobile service, then (I agree) buying anything but Nexus 4 is foolish...
      Cain69
    • For some, it's not about the price.

      Sure the Nexus 4 is the best bang for the buck this month. However some of just want the best phone to meet our needs. I spend a lot of time in my car alone and look forward to mounting the moto x on the dash and using it's speakers and touch less control features to take/make calls, texts, email, and retrieve info. These unique abilities alone make the phone worth the money for me, maybe not you. As Google Now rolls out additional improvements, this phone can only become even more useful. Also, the pocketable size is a huge factor for me. I ruled out the S4 and One because they are too big. Another plus is a very fast and easy to use camera which again increases value for me. Ultimately, choosing a phone to best meet one's needs and wants is a task best left to the individual, whose number one priority may be to simply get one in pink.
      elotrolado
      • So you're looking forward to doing everything except concentrating on...

        "I spend a lot of time in my car alone and look forward to mounting the moto x on the dash and using it's speakers and touch less control features to take/make calls, texts, email, and retrieve info."

        ...driving. You're one of those hazards driving down the road.
        ye
  • Design Sense?

    You had me until I read this:
    > "reminds me of the well-designed Motorola Droid Maxx."

    Hard to trust your senses now.
    MaryPhelps
  • Stop the exclusive deal CRAP!!

    GOOGLE AND ALL THE OTHER OEMs PLEASE, PLEASE STOP THE EXCLUSIVE DEALS!!

    The "new" phone cycles are VERY short in the Android market. Today Moto X is the best (or at least new); in couple of months (or LESS) another newer, better phone will come along.

    I wanted to buy Nokia Lumia 920, they too were stupid to have exclusive - could not buy it. When I could - it was way too old. Now I guess, chances are good that I will not be buying the Moto X. It sucks because I would have liked it.
    Cain69
    • Agreed. Amazing how a manufacturer would willingly limit...

      ...their market. Barring any must have features from newer phone or problems with my HTC One I'm planning on keeping it a while. I've played the smartphone merry go round, spending thousands of dollars on the phones, and I'm stepping off. Hopefully this one will last a while.
      ye