Moto X

Maybe now's not the best time to buy a Moto X, actually. Oh, don't get us wrong, it's still a damn good phone — good enough to make our list of the best Android phones as of August 2013 out of the gate. But Moto X also introduces a new era of custom-made Android smartphones. And that brings with us a few reasons why you might just want to hold off for a bit.

So here are a good seven nuggets for why one of the best Android phones available today might not be the best Android phone for you right now.  

1. Don't settle for just black or white

Moto X colors

The custom-designed Moto X is only available through AT&T, for now. But that will change. We know that Verizon plans on getting access to Moto Maker later this year, and it wouldn't surprise us to see the likes of T-Mobile and Sprint get in on the game as well.

Exclusives suck. But they suck a little less when we know they won't last forever.

2. More custom designs are coming

We don't know exactly what. We don't exactly when. But we do know that Motorola will be adding new designs to to the Moto Maker options. Specifically, you'll get new options for the back of the phone above and beyond solid colors. 

3. And, yes, that includes wood

Moto X wood

Somehow. Eventually.

4. You really, really want an inscription on your phone

This is going to cause some resale pain, but Motorola is still planning on fixing its inscription process so you can leave yourself a custom message on your phone. Within reason.

5. Let the manufacturing/assembly get dialed in

Every smartphone has manufacturing quirks, and you might not see a perfect fit and finish from the first devices off the line. (Often times, that's what we as reviewers end up with.) Moto X has the added complication of the custom designs and and the quick turnaround from assembly to your doorstep, in four days (more or less).

That's not to say that Motorola isn't doing its due diligence and quality control. It's just that this is a new process for smartphones, and there always are hiccups and improvements that can be made. That's true in any manufacturing process. 

Waiting a few weeks might not bring the certainty of getting a perfect phone up to 100 percent, but it'll certainly increase it.

6. Developer versions cometh

Again, we don't know when. But we know they're in the works. If you just have to have an unlockable bootloader, you'll want to wait for this.

7. There's always something 'better' coming

Moto X specs

The grass is always greener. And if you're the sort of smartphone enthusiast who obsesses over specs, sitting up nights deciding when to pull the trigger versus when the next big thing will hit -- well, there's not a lot we can do for you. Something better is always coming. 

Motorola will release something "better" at some point. Maybe even this year. So will other manufacturers. If the Moto X specs just don't do it for you, hang tight.


Reader comments

Why you might want to wait to buy a Moto X ...


Ever since getting a good camera on my note 2 I am not willing to compromise on camera quality anymore. That is what I am waiting for.

i must be the only person out there who couldn't care less about the camera attached to my phone. more power to you i guess.

Everyone I know with a DLSR still takes more of their pictures with their phone. Simply because it is easier and the phone is always on them. So it makes sense IMO to get the best camera phone you can.

*If* you always need to have your pictures stack up. All of the camera reviews on this phone do a head-to-head with pictures from better cameras. My life doesn't make comparisons like that every day. The vast majority of people I know take the vast majority of their pictures for themselves and to show to a few friends. Most of my pictures are just to remember things/people/places/times. I don't spend time thinking about how much better my nostalgia would be if only the colors in my picture weren't as washed out.

That and +9000 about the technique making a lot of difference. A lot of my GNex pictures are better than iPhone pictures taken at the same time/place by people with no patience or attention to detail.

Well said.

IMO the camera on my phones have always been sufficient for my needs. When I need to compose that award winning photograph I use a camera, when I just want to take a candid shot I use my phone and don't kid myself

I don't use the camera a ton, but I use it enough to care about camera quality
The average user does use their camera and cares about camera quality, I do think you're in the minority.

The Moto X has a 10MP camera. It's good enough. If you want a great camera buy the Nokia, or the Note 3, or even the LG G2.

You're not the only one. I'm really not that concerned with the camera on a phone. It would be nice to have a great camera, but in no way is that a deal breaker for me. I'll be getting the X in November when it is time to upgrade.

You're not alone, there are very few instances when I'll actually think about image quality, and most of those are cases when I have my digital camera with me as well (such as on hikes through national parks). There are a lot of other uses that are far more important than camera (screen quality, battery life, NFC/Wallet, speakers, process, memory, etc.)

I'm another. I expect a phone camera to be decent but it's never a deal breaker. I think there's too much emphasis on the camera. The most important feature should be obtaining and keeping a solid radio signal for calls and data.

Posted via Android Central App

Nope, I'm totally with you. I actually just skip the section of phone reviews that is about camera because I care so little. The ten pictures I take a year don't need to be that great.

The camera is only as good as the photographer. I still hear people complain about how "bad" the camera is on the Galaxy Nexus yet I still take stunning pictures with it every day. It's not perfect for every situation, but none are.

That's so true. I know people with iPhone 5 devices and they take the worst pictures with a phone that is supposed to have a great camera.

So many people complain about how crappy their photos are and they never consider that maybe they're just crappy photographers.


I have a Galaxy Nexus myself, and not that I'm tooting my own horn, but with ideal conditions, I can take pretty good pictures, compared to other people I know with 8MP-12MP camera devices, both iPhones & Android included.

Posted via Android Central App

You are very right! I do professional photography as a hobby and have a GNex, it isn't a DSLR by any means but it can still take an awesome picture when set up just right.

Generally, I'm taking pictures of something happening in the moment. No time to fiddle with settings. Camera should take good pictures on Auto setting.

I'm pretty sure there was never any indication that the X was ever going to hop the pond. At least officially.

I am waiting for Moto Maker to come to Verizon.

Posted via Android Central App

I'm waiting for the Dev Version to come to Verizon, black and white, 32 Gb, and unlockable. If the Next nexus doesn't come back to Verizon, I'll be getting the X because it is the only phone closest to stock android like my GNex.

Hey Phil:

I hear rumblings of Moto Maker coming to the other carriers, but what about the 32GB version? The custom colors are one thing, but 16GB is unusable the way I do things. I'd like this phone (realllly wanted a 4.3"ish sized phone) but if it doesn't have enough storage, I can't do it.

And I'm on Sprint, so please don't tell me the cloud or online. It just doesn't work.

Then maybe you should think about why you're on Sprint, if you can't access the cloud or online, that's kinda the point of a smartphone lol.

Though I've lived within 16gb on my nexus4 and I admit it was hard, I like the breathing room that my GS4 gives me now.

Between a family plan, refusal to have data limits (even if I can't really even access that much right now), and pricing, I'll stay with Sprint. They've yet to upgrade my area so I'm holding out that it will improve things.

I despised my time on AT&T and my wife constantly gets her calls going to voicemail out by us, and I refuse to give money to Verizon. T-mobile has about 0 coverage at my house so Sprint is really one of the more reasonable options I can pick.

I was with Sprint. Their 4G promises were a joke. They have over-promised and under-delivered. "Unlimited" is useless when my typical data rates were 200 kbps. Perhaps their LTE will be better, but they kept jacking up the price, adding "premium data" fees (without actually providing premium data).

I got sick of the endless delays in updating the Android OS on their phones (even the Galaxy Nexus and Nexus S). I finally paid the ETF and moved on. Do I miss Sprint? NOT AT ALL. GOOD RIDDANCE.

I completely agree with the other comment, if Sprint isn't working for you then why stay with it.

However with that said, I'm on Sprint have been for almost 12 years and have no problems with it at all. I use Dropbox, Google Drive and many other cloud services continually throughout the day.

Unfortunately Google/Motorola haven't released it anywhere other than USA and I've seen them on eBay, but at near $1000, so I have to wait.

Posted via Android Central App

The phone came out late, and comes across as a second-class citizen amongst high-end android devices where the current "de rigeuer" are big screens (close to 5" or more) with 1080 display.

I was going through the parts and trying to figure how much it would cost to assemble it, and there's nothing really pricey about this device.

This will be a "budget" phone within a few months. It will just be like the HTC facebook phone -- it will be a poor seller <---- Good comment from somewhere.

Moto X costs carriers just $350, so the price could drop fast.

I like the new Moto X but am holding out to see what the next Nexus will be. Still have a few months left on my VZW contract so no big rush on my end. I've always had a Nexus (N1, NS and GN) and am eager to get back to GSM.

me too. i have a few months left on Sprint contract with G-Nex. my plan is to buy Nexus 5 direct from Play Store as soon as it is available and switch to the new AT&T Go Phone 2GB $60 Unlimited Voice/Text Prepaid No Contract Plan. i may even eat the remaining Sprint ~$100 pro rata ETF just to be immediately free.

i wonder if Nexus 5 will have -

1. Active Notifications?
2. Always Listening Now aka "OK Google"?

not dealbreakers, just curious.

I would be shocked since manufacture "add-ons" rarely transition into a google play edition, let alone a nexus. It would be nice, but I would truly be shocked if they were added. Granted since goolge owns motorola in may change that. In other words, I have no idea haha.

And if they are, they would be put into Vanilla Android, opened sourced, and available to all OEMs since Google is pure android.

So no, they are not coming as Motorola has them. Maybe a form will be, but not like moto

Posted via Android Central App

isn't part of the point of Android to "share the innovation"? isn't that why the platform beats iPhone - because you have multiple hardware/software vendors all contributing R&D and innovation to the platform and that floats back to the OS as future features? so perhaps we will see these features added to Android 5.0 - Key Lime Pie - and the Nexus 5 will have the special hardware to support them due to the fact that it is THE reference design for the present and future of the platform.

There is Open source, and closed source. Vanilla Android is Open Source, Active Notifications are Closed source. You know this.

Samsung hasnt given away Smart Stay or any of its selling points.
HTC hasn't opened up Blinkfeed
Motorola Will not give away Active Notifications.

Google may come up with something similar, as will most of the other manufacturers in the coming months, but it will be a bit different.

yes of course i'm not saying it will be an exact duplication - i'm talking about a copying of the feature with perhaps a different spin on it and maybe even an improvement which takes it to the next level!

but could it be possible that google is giving us a sneak peak of what 5.0 could hold on the nexus 5? active notifications and always listening on devices that can support it, it could be a possibility. i believe google now is going to be a wayyy bigger part of 5.0

Probably not. Nexus phones are Google's vision on how Android phones should work/feel/be like and Active Notifications and Always Listening are Motorola's vision of what an Android phone should be. Even if Motorola end up making the Nexus 5 (I've only read rumors of LG or Motorola making it) I don't see anything but stock functionality for the N5.

I don't know about all the naysayers in response to you. It would seem to be in Googles best interest to do always listening, and I know they are researching snapdragon 800 is supposed to support it right?

I'm in the same boat as you. I love the looks of the moto x and everything it can do but I'm skeptically hoping that there is a Nexus in the works and that it is headed to Verizon. Still using my Gnex but its started to fall apart, your move Google.

Waiting for Moto Maker and 32GB for an unlocked or T-Mobile version. A price drop wouldn't hurt either. I'm still happy w/ my current phone, so I can wait for a company to hit my needs perfectly.

8) Can only get the 16GB version (11 GB available) on carriers other than AT&T, and 16GB is just not enough on a phone with no expansion option and tiered data services.

Me too! I love the size of my HTC Rezound and form factor except for the weight. I really hoped that HTC would refine that design, but that's what the Moto X is. It's the same height & width but lighter, thinner and with more battery and more screen real estate!

I just want basic black (for resale). I went to ATT to buy one outright but they did not have a 32GB in the store. Fail. No sale.

Come on nexus 5!

Sent from my SGH-I337

Exclusives suck, no doubt, but i can't help but be glad that the ATT exclusive is ironing out the wrinkles in the process before i can get it on Verizon.

Note 3 is my second choice to Nexus 5 IF a Nexus 5 doesn't materialize. i prefer Nexus 5 because of no-contract cost, fast updates, no-skin/bloat, more manageable size BUT i may not have the choice if Google pulls the plug on the Nexus program (as we know it). and i've lived long enough to know - never say never - and - anything can happen.

Trust me, there will be another Nexus this year. I'm in the same boat. Its Note 3 or the next Nexus for me. I want that big screen but Touchwiz really turns me off. To me stock is the most beautiful UI. If its based on the G2....then it could well be my next phone. It will be exciting. We'll see which one I pick.

any interest in a Google Edition Note 3?

i would still pick the Nexus 5 because the hardware matches the stock OS.

"Google Edition" devices give you a hardware buttons which is not 100% consistent with the Android UI.

I don't think there will be a Google edition. What would happen to the spen? I just hope they at least tweak the software a bit to make it look bearable. But I don't think they'll do that until next year. Who knows....I may just get the Note 3. But it will all depend on what the next Nexus will be like. I love my Galaxy Nexus and it will be hard to go back to a skinned device. Stock android, quick updates, and software keys have spoiled me.

I'm liking these kinds of articles on AC lately. Something other than just "news". More like mini-editorials.

Very well said! I had high hopes for this device too. However the price tag just isn't there for me. Maybe the next Moto phone will be a little bit nicer to make it worth its high price tag.

I don't NEED an unlockable bootloader, but, I figure if I'm going to spend full price on a phone to keep my unlimited on VZW, I might as well get a phone where I have the option to later. But, I still get the feeling I may ride my GNex until I completely fed up. It's close, but I'm not there yet.

You're right, it's more than just some silly colors, its a chance to take a trip back in time to last year for a premium price.

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Really? You've done nothing but bash this phone on EVERY SINGLE ARTICLE. We get it, you don't like it. Just give it a rest. Go outside and throw a football or something.

EDIT: This was in reply to tantai's comment, which has, since, been deleted. He still needs to go outside and throw a football, though.

Posted via Android Central App

Well I will have to wait anyway as I cant upgrade until November to upgrade, and by that time the mobile landscape will have shown all of its cards. And if last year is any indication, phones like the S4, Moto X and HTC One will have some killer deals come Black Friday.

I would like to see how the G2 handles everyday use, as I'm still scarred by my experience with my old LG G2X. And the new Xperia Z1 may be a sleeper.

But I still stand by my pick as the Moto X being the better overall phone.

Dude the G2 will be out in a few weeks.

Posted via Android Central App using this POS borrowed Thunderbolt while waiting for the G2 because I walked into the ocean with my GNex in my pocket.

Why do people act like every phone is interchangable? Maybe he wants a phone that has good specs at a fantastic sized, rather than specs he doesn't need in a monster brick that doesn't fit comfortably in your hands or pants?

This isn't a desktop computer. Chasing specs is meaningless.

I just bought a pair of Moto X's for the wife and I. I plan on selling my MX should the new Nexus 4 impress me...and I'm sure it will.

Pretty much what I plan to do...only I'm not sure if the new Nexus will impress me. They always have an Achilles heel.

Posted via Android Central App

Pretty much what I plan to do...only I'm not sure if the new Nexus will impress me. They always have an Achilles heel.

Posted via Android Central App

Consider a HTC One, GS4, or Droid Maxx. These are all great alternatives and they all have off screen buttons at the bottom. On the Moto X you can't use the space at the bottom where the buttons are for any photo viewing, games, books, web pages, or anything else other than some/most full-screen video playback. I like my Maxx HD and would love to have off-screen buttons, 2GB of RAM, and a faster GPU like the Droid Maxx does. Oh yeah, and great battery life is a wonderful thing!

I hate the off screen buttons. When I shifted from the GNex to the S3 the off screen button is the second biggest annoyance, right after Touchwiz.

The camera is getting a lot of bad press, but I've tried a Moto X in the ATT store and also a Droid MAXX at Verizon and came away somewhat impressed. In fact, I tested the MAXX vs. a Lumia 928 and have to say the Moto camera took better pics. And these were difficult shots - indoors, muted artificial light, and forcing the camera to shoot while I was not keeping the phone steady.

For the most part, I need a camera that will take pics of my family/kids/etc. indoors and still be somewhat presentable. Nothing fancy, just good enough to share on G+

The Moto more than exceeds this.

My galaxy nexus takes ok pictures, the part that needs improvement and upgrade is the video function..looking forward to see upcoming smart phones from Google and Motorola ;)

Posted via Android Central App on my galaxy nexus^^

"Exclusives suck. But they suck a little less when we know they won't last forever."

No, they pretty much just plain suck. European carriers don't/can't pull that bullshit. My understanding is that there you can just about get any phone you want and use it on any carrier you want, just swap SIM cards and you're set.

I always dreamed of having a cobalt or metallic blue colored device, I liked my cobalt blue Nintendo DS and Dell laptop. :P

I'm not much of a picture taker, I have a 13MP camera for when I go on trips or events, but my LG Optimus LTE (or Nitro HD) had the best camera despite it being 8MP, my HTC One X also 8MP isn't as good quality for some reason. None of my Blackberries ever had a decent camera, they were always garbage photos.

Just got the 16MB Moto X yesterday. Upgraded from a 3 year old Motorola Milestone. The Milestone was a workhorse and I would have stayed with it had it not been for the battery finally going bad. I decided to stick with Motorola because of the durability and the fact that the Moto X is still manufactured here in the USA (was unsure what the future held with Lenovo buying them).

My concerns were 1) only a dual core CPU, 2) screen resolution only 720p, 3) non-removable battery, 4) no micro-SD card slot, and finally 5) the reviews on the camera. However, I took into consideration how I used my old Motorola on a daily basis and came to the conclusion that what I needed was a reliable and effective communication device. Something to keep me in touch with the world. Not something that could play games or have a resolution that my eyes could care less about while glancing at the screen while on the go.

When it comes to a durable, reliable mobile device that will slip in your pocket, the Moto X satisfied what I was looking for. It's only been a day, but I love the Moto X. It's elegant, sleek, and very solid feeling.

I have every expectation that the Moto X will hold up as well as my old Milestone. Good phone to keep you connected while on the go, without the feeling of lugging around a small notepad.

Sorry none of your reasons to hold off held water with me. Manufacturing defects is a reason? Really? It's been out a while now!

The worst reason you cite is there is always something better coming. Because there is always something better on the horizon, that is the precise reason to NOT wait!! When it's time it's time!!

One reason you want to buy a MotoX right now. Off Contract price $208 on eBay for a 16GB model. Unlimited Data Plan lives for a while longer :-)