Moto Maker Hands-On: Customising A Moto X Is Pretty Easy, Very Fun

We have a feeling the new Moto X from Motorola/Google is going to be a hit. It looks great, it feels great, it's fast, and it has added features that transcend the usual gimmickry. High on that list is Moto Maker, Motorola's online customisation suite that lets you order up a Moto X in any hue you choose. We got sneak peak at the service recently, and it's great (and easy).

For starters, it's a well-designed site. Everything is fast and shiny and extremely intuitive. Do you want a white or black front? Which of these 18 colours do you want for the back? How about the accents like the volume buttons and the ring around the camera? Want your name or email etched into the back? All of this is free.

You can zoom in on any individual part of the phone, or get a 360-degree view at any point in the design process. You can also pick the phone's wallpaper, set a custom welcome message, and even log in to your Android account so the phone will be ready to go when it arrives at your door. Additionally, you'll also be able to choose 16GB or 32GB of storage (the 32GB will be $US50 extra), you own case for the phone ($US30), and a matching colour of SOL Republic earbuds ($US30). These features will add to your price tag, unfortunately, but they're optional.

Our hands-on was with a not-quite-finalised system that will likely go live somewhere around August 23 (the rumoured release date for the AT&T version), and it showed. There were still a few bugs to work out. For example, sometimes you'd make changes on a screen then click over to the next, only to find out that some of your customisations have been undone, and you've got to go back and redo them. And we should mention that we don't yet have this customised device in hand, so we'll have to make sure it performs as well as the original. And that they got our order right.

Moto Maker Hands On: Customising a Moto X Is Pretty Easy, Very Fun

The bottom line is that this is a great, no-cost added value to an already great phone. We have a few suggestions though:

  • 1. Don't get something dumb inscribed on the back of your phone. Put your email address on it. You want someone to be able to easily contact you if they find your lost phone and aren't arseholes.
  • 2. Our impulse was to go with something understated, like the navy blue back with subtle yellow highlights. Then we realised that this is our one chance to design a phone that looks nothing like one you'd find in a store. Turquoise and magenta, then! The point is to have some fun with it. Take some time and try to put together a phone that reflects you.

Moto Maker will go live right around when the Moto X is released for AT&T. Big blue snagged the exclusive out of the gates, though Moto Maker will "soon" be available across all carriers and for the unlocked version straight from Google (still no pricing or release date on that).

The logistics are a little (although understandably) tricky when you buy from an AT&T store. You're given a loaner phone and a card with a code on it. Then you go home, design your personalised Moto X, and you should have it just as soon as they're done assembling and shipping it from Texas. Probably better to do the whole thing online, if you can.

Really, the only major ding against Moto Maker is that it's launching as an AT&T exclusive. We'd love to see this available for everyone from the get-go. Hopefully, we won't have too long to wait.