Our custom smartphones just arrived, and they’re pretty freakin’ sweet


In case you haven’t been following along, both Michael and I had the opportunity to be among the first to beta test Moto Maker, Motorola’s new online phone customizing tool for the Moto X last week. The site is slated to go live to the public this coming Friday and will be exclusive to AT&T subscribers for the next few months.

We spent upwards of 45 minutes tinkering with all the options, mix-matching the color combinations and picking the colors we wanted.

About 10 minutes into placing my order, I decided it was probably a smart idea to reach out to Michael and make sure we didn’t order the exact same color scheme. Despite all the potential choices – 18 back colors, two face colors, and seven accent colors – Michael and I originally chose … the exact same scheme. Royal blue with yellow accents. Go figure. You can see Michael’s custom Moto X in the pictures and video below.

Seeing as he’s always the one whining about how warm tones are an awful color choice and cool tones are better, I let him take the royal blue with metallic yellow. Frankly, I’m glad I did.

Long story short, I tinkered with Moto Maker for another 30 minutes or so, trying out every color combination available. (I actually pondered the purple back color with metallic orange accents. Seriously. It looked very nice.)

Ultimately, I stumbled upon the perfect color combination – not too bold, but not too subtle. Looking through the color options one thing came to mind: the Ronin Lotus Exige. I picked the cement back color – a pale, matte finish gray – with metallic orange accents. I originally wanted to go with a white front, but it clashed a little with the gray back, so I went with the black front for a little more contrast.


Moto Maker also gave the option for a custom signature. Naturally, I went with my Twitter handle and the name of my company, CasperTek. To be clear, this is not an engraving. All across the Internet and even directly from Motorola, it’s referred to as an “engraving”. But the text of the signature is actually a digital print on top of the back plastic, not etched or carved out. Sadly, this custom signature option will not be available at launch. Motorola encountered some issues with the process, stating the option will need “additional work” before launch.

And the final personalization option was a custom signature on the boot screen, of which both Michael and I used “Moto 137”, of course.


The orange accents are a nice touch, even from the front. Oh, and safety first, boys and girls.

So we have devices in-hand, built to our own personal desires. But how do we feel about the process, the experience, or the devices themselves? Both Michael and I are exceptionally happy. Keeping in mind that our experience with Moto Maker was a beta test of sorts, there is little to complain about. We both placed our orders before 10:00 AM on Thursday, August 15. My Moto X arrived Monday afternoon around 2:30 PM, and Michael’s arrived early this morning after a few snags.

The build quality is spectacular. But it’s worth noting there were some burrs on the edges of the front trim on mine, which rubbed off over the first few hours.

And not everything was exactly perfect. The wallpaper I selected in Moto Maker did not come pre-set; the Google account I selected to have automatically logged in when the device arrived was not setup; and my device was completely dead upon arrival, as it was powered on in the box during shipping. But all of these things are tiny hiccups when you consider what Motorola has accomplished – a custom phone ordered, assembled, and delivered in only four days.

Motorola seems a bit frantic, trying to get everything squared away before the service goes live on Friday, but it’s keeping its composure and apparently having FedEx drop off deliveries literally overnight, after midnight.

Hats off, Moto. That’s dedication.

We have only one, minor complaint. (Of course we do, right?) The limited selection of front colors is understandable yet … gauche. It means, practically any color you choose (with the exception of a white or black rear color) will leave you with a tri-color phone. With either a white or black front, there’s no option for  a totally blue phone with yellow accents, or a totally red phone with black accents, and that dilutes the effect of some color combinations. To hear an audible rant on this between Michael, Stephen, and myself, listen to Pocketnow Weekly episode 058 around the 12 minute mark.


In all, we’re very pleased with the entire experience, though we’re not certain how long we’ll enjoy the color schemes we chose. I may wake up in a few weeks and decide I don’t like it. Preferences change, and that’s where simply buying a styled case makes personalization much easier.

Something tells me, however, that gray and orange won’t get old for me. And I have a feeling Michael will be swooning over his royal blue and yellow for some time.

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About The Author
Taylor Martin
Based out of Charlotte, NC, Taylor Martin started writing about technology in 2009 while working in wireless retail. He has used BlackBerry off and on for over seven years, Android for nearly four years, iOS for three years, and has experimented with both webOS and Windows Phone. Taylor has reviewed countless smartphones and tablets, and doesn't go anywhere without a couple gadgets in his pockets or "nerd bag." In his free time, Taylor enjoys playing disc golf with friends, rock climbing, and playing video games. He also enjoys the occasional hockey game, and would do unspeakable things for some salmon nigiri. For more on Taylor Martin, checkout his Pocketnow Insider edition. | Google+