Moto X: Can customisation take on the big guns?

So, Motorola has announced its Moto X smartphone which was leaked before the event anyway. See also: HTC One 'Glamour Red' review.

The headline feature is customisation, not specs. Motomaker is something of a geek's dream – being able to create the phone as you order it by choosing the colour of the rear casing, front panel, accent colours (buttons and camera ring). You can also get the rear casing engraved and choose which wallpaper you want. See also: Samsung Galaxy S4 vs Active vs Mini vs Zoom specs comparison.

There are over 2,000 combinations possible, according to Motorola so no more "is this my iPhone or yours?" business. All of this excites the child in me who used to endlessly flick through the Argos catalogue, but what about the rest of the Moto X? Well it's all a bit puzzling.

Motorola Moto X colours

The customisation is only available to AT&T customers at launch so others will have to be happy with 'woven white' or 'woven black'. I don't expect the exclusivity to last all that long though.

The phone will be assembled in the US because apparently that's what people want: "[people want] The choice to have their phones assembled in America." states the press release. Motorola has also decided that the Moto X won't launch in Europe or the UK – apparently we don't want the choice to buy its smartphones in Blighty.

Despite a price tag of $199 you sign up to a two-year contract, the specs of the Moto X aren't that exciting. I'd have thought that a phone from Motorola would be the pinical of a device running Android since the firm is now owned by Google.

However, a 4.7in 720p screen, dual-core processor and 2GB of RAM is good but there are much higher spec phones on the market today (Samsung Galaxy S4, Sony Xperia Z and HTC One). And they cost about the same. It's not like the Moto X sells for a ridiculously cheap price like the Nexus 4.

That price will only get you 16GB of storage and there's no microSD card slot. Doubling storage to 32GB costs a further $50.

Ok, a 10Mp camera and a 2200mAh battery sound pretty good on paper but it's not really enough. The most bizarre thing is that the Moto X runs on Android 4.2 Jelly Bean even though Google announced and started rolling out version 4.3 a matter of days ago. Google has even allowed Motorola to tweak the OS which is surprising. This isn't the kind of collaboration between the two firms we expected.

Motorola with the support of Google is taking on the big guns of the smartphone world with what is essentially mid-range phone with the same price tag as a flagship device. Customisation is cool but it doesn't cut it in the fierce dog eat dog world of smartphones.

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