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Moto X With Bamboo: Unboxing and Hands-on

The Moto X with Bamboo. There she is in all her glory. Our unit arrived especially early, at least earlier than we had expected after Motorola’s announcement this week. All I can say after five minutes with the phone is that it certainly is beautifully made. We’re talking about a phone that features a real wood back here (“grass” for the technical folk). With wood or “natural” backs, no two phones should ever be alike. How often can you say that with a consumer electronic? 

Outside of the wood “natural” back, nothing is different here from the Moto X we have featured a dozen or so times on the site. So no, there won’t be a “natural” back review or anything along those lines. If you want to read a Moto X review, feel free to dive into the review we published months ago. What we will do is give this some time in pocket, on our desks, and throughout our every day lives to see how it holds up and then report back if anything stands out. Will the softness of the “natural” back expose itself to easy damage or will it weather nicely over time? We’re hoping the latter, but we should know before long.

For now, we’re going to enjoy the idea (and look) of a phone made with a natural material. Below, we have a quick unboxing and gallery for you to peruse.



moto x bamboomoto x bamboomoto x bamboomoto x bamboomoto x bamboo

moto x bamboomoto x bamboomoto x bamboomoto x bamboomoto x bamboo

Edit:  Fixed post to say “grass” and “natural” in many places, since the grass pundits have clarified that bamboo is not wood. Clearly, this is why I barely passed my botany lab during my undergraduate. It looks like wood, people.

  • John Garlits

    I’d like to see pics of the ebony version.

  • tbtregenza

    So what’s with the dark edge/smudge on the outside perimeter of the bamboo? I just returned my Bamboo Moto X because it had it (like in 4th, 5th, and 6th pic of gallery). It makes the phone look dirty. I also had bulges along the outside bezel, which made it look cheap as soon as they are noticed (they are admittedly difficult to notice). Not entirely impressed – will see what replacement looks like.

    • JM

      I just got my phone and am experiencing the same problem. It’s darkly smudged around the edges and on the back in a weird geometric pattern. It almost looks like some kind of adhesive or coating was applied where glue/paint (Verizon logo) was applied. Hate it – looks dirty and gross, and I’m very disappointed given how long I waited and how much I paid for an off-contract phone…

      • tbtregenza

        If it’s not too much trouble I’d ask if you wouldn’t mind going to the thread I started an Android Central and post pics or at least share your experience. There have to be more of us out there that are disappointed with the shoddy QC on this phone. http://bit.ly/1iztZJZ

  • Eric Mykleby

    So apparently the account my phone is on is a business account which means I can’t order from the motomaker site at all. Does anyone know a way to get this bamboo phone in this situation? I really can’t believe I just won’t be able to get this phone because of my stupid account.

    • SoCalPaul

      I fought with this for over a month and finally figured out how to get the Bamboo Back (or any of the wood backs) with a corporate or business account. You go to your Verizon Store (may work with other carriers) and purchase a redemption code for the phone without the wood back. When you get the code don’t follow the link that says “Design Yours” that comes in the email. You go directly to MotoMaker.com and build the phone you want and make sure to add a set of headphones or earbuds to the order (you will cancel them before purchasing but you must add them to the order or it won’t work). When you get to the screen where it asks what carrier you are with (don’t click a carrier) go to the bottom of page on right side and enter your redemption code. Enter your credit card info and at the last step it will review your order and at that screen you can cancel your headphones and you will just pay the $25.00 for the wood back + any taxes. It worked for me. I actually bought a phone almost a month ago and didn’t like the color but I kept being told you couldn’t buy the wood back phone with a redemption code so I finally decided to exchange the phone I got with a color I would rather have (I originally ordered Cherry Red and it looks like dark pink). During the return process they gave me a new redemption code and I kept playing with the system until I was able to figure out a way to get the Bamboo back phone. If you bought another color call Motorola and tell them you want to exchange it for another color and follow the directions above as it worked for me…

  • TC

    I think it’s gorgeous. I’m wishing I could trade mine in for the bamboo version. Great writing, videos, and pics.

  • chris_johns

    if anyone has an extra coupon please email me it…since i was never able to order bc it wouldnt take my address my girl finally said she would order it for me…but of course she wont deposit her check till tom and codes are already done…my luck so if anyone got any extras let me know id appreciate it

  • Dusty

    Not going to be using my code.


    expires 12/24 11:59EST


  • GreenMeansGo

    Oww! I just got a splinter. From my PHONE!!

  • Kris Cortez

    I’d get it. Let’s face it, plastic just makes your phone feel cheap.

  • Lars

    Looks tacky. Pass.

  • Cody Revels

    I get the whole uniqueness factor but I just dont think this is a big deal. Lol.
    Sure its different and each phone is unique but I just don’t really care about that.

  • DanSan

    not gonna use my code..

    TODAY-GVDW-GVUM-CON2-VM73 expires 12/24 here ya go friends

    • cyclonejason93

      Thanks. Using it now.

      • DanSan

        enjoy. its for the phone discount

  • Ian Smith

    the lighting in those pics is atrocious…

  • delrayser

    What’s the finish like on the bamboo? Is it slick, like a finished hardwood floor? One of the things I really love about the regular back is how it’s slightly rubberized, it doesn’t feel like there’s a chance it would ever slip out of my hand. I’m not sure how they’d duplicate that with bamboo.

  • OneForTheGoodDays

    I miss the slab… where’s the slab?

  • markus

    Unboxing movies are cool, and this phone is great, but please, for goodness sake, please clip your fingernails – it kills the video and it’s gross

  • Adam Truelove

    The Verizon logo really makes it nice.

  • Jeff C

    Kellen…I realize it was a Saturday article…but you gotta get some shots of that thing in better (outdoor?) lighting.

  • Mike Hilal

    Id rather have them up the specs and the battery size than soft “wood” back.

    • Jeff C

      Have you ever used a Moto X? This thing flat out flies no matter what I throw at it…and I consistently get 16+ hours of battery life.

      • 640k

        Your post should have been up-voted more. “Spec junkies” need to learn a lesson here.

  • Deiter

    I can see people getting this and then putting some cheap case on it so the back won’t get messed up, haha. Or worse, they’ll put an expensive case on it.

  • CronTab

    Saw the video and looked through the photos. I still don’t get the appeal of this wood (grass for you “I smart!” people) back. I guess “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” and all that.

  • AndroidUser00110001

    Zoom in on flash and notice how you can see the wood splinter for the flash cutout. They should have used some sort of gasket to seal it and just look more finished.

  • Adrynalyne

    Haha, epic article update.

  • Robert Montoya

    Not very good looking.

  • Jarmaut

    Looks tacky. I guess it does look better than carbon fiber. That’s even worse.

  • Wireless Gadget

    Wonder if you would have to take additional care with this material. There was a comment on using Pledge (LOL), since the phone could get warm with high usage (GPS, streaming videos and using date or a long call). I wonder would there be a chance of this phone becoming a fire hazard, maybe there should be a warning label, “caution, device is flammable as a result of extended use” or “keep device away from open flames” ….LOL!!!!

  • Jonathan

    Looks pretty sweet but just not for me

  • Xiria Seven

    Overpriced case for an overrated phone. No thanks.

    • x Frozen MANGO

      good one

    • HarvesterX

      I can’t upvote this enough. There’s a bamboo forest right outside my backyard…I’ll go make a bamboo back for anyone’s phone (just send me the original back so I don’t have to rely solely on specifications).

      Send in your $59.00 trakfones or your flip phones. Lmao I like the every phone is unique because of the wood (grass) back. But anyways… It still looks ugly as hell once you flip the device over and see that it’s just a Moto X and that the entire case isn’t bamboo (well the visible areas to he fair).

      Even if it was a flagship phone inside (you can argue all day at me, the X is just an average phone that you paid damn too much money for one way or the other) it would still be ugly. I love bamboo and seriously do have a bamboo forest behind me here, and have made lots of stuff from bamboo…this is as bad as that samsung commercial in making me cringe

  • James Briano

    Just watched the video…. that’s a very attractive phone.

  • Rick

    Bamboo is one of the hardest “woods” available to consumers for flooring, etc. It should hold up really well. Mine arrived – is beautiful.

    • needa

      me = a bit jealous.

  • rrrewwtt

    Can you sand the carrier logo? Is it treated, clear coat?


    Wonder if you could stain the back? Or at least polyurethane it….

  • Mike

    Can you imagine if Droid-Life decided to give one of these wood phones away. Most popular contest ever!

  • Ssl0408


    Expiration: December 24, 2013 11:59 PM EST

  • peggsie

    Hey Kellen, I’d be happy to do an extended test on your phone to see how well it wears over time for DL!!!!!!

  • MerryXmas

    All kellen wants for Christmas… A pair of man hands and a set of fingernail clippers!

    • Trevor

      I think his are the most beautiful hands in the world, nay, universe.

      • AndroidUser00110001

        Do you like when his hands touch wood 😉

        • Trevor

          How could I not?

    • OneForTheGoodDays

      Guy just had a KID…. give the man a break.

  • CaptainHowdy13

    I don’t see what everyone likes about that. To each their own I suppose

    • grumpyfuzz

      Hmm, 182 guest votes…

    • J. Mogley

      Ya, it doesn’t look very nice at all. I don’t get it.

    • Well, someone really doesn’t like the Moto X enough to up vote 100+ times two comments talking poorly about the Moto X with bamboo.

      • Adrynalyne

        Someone is exploiting Discus.

        • HarvesterX

          I upvoted it twice with both my discus accounts…the phone looks horrible. Put aside my feelings for the X, that would look horrible if it was on a phone I actually liked as well.

          • Adrynalyne

            That doesn’t account for the vast majority of guest votes.

    • Lars

      I don’t get it either. Pay more to make it look worse.

  • Bob G

    Ew Verizon logo.

    • Aaron

      why would did they have to ruin a nice finish that you pay A LOT of extra money for with a vzw logo. BS! can it be rubbed off?

    • Lucky Armpit

      Looked beautiful until it got to the Verizon logo. I’m a Verizon customer, I like Verizon, but don’t understand their obsession of putting their logo *everywhere*

      • Adam Truelove

        You actually LIKE Verizon. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say that before. Most people just put up with them because of their network, but still hate them.

        • PhillipCun

          I think that’s the ONLY reason to like verizon… their quality. For that, I love my $25/mo verizon service.

        • Lucky Armpit

          Yeah I know it sounds weird but I like Verizon. They may “hold up” our updates and have an unhealthy obsession with bloat but their customer service has always been fantastic. They have always treated me right and of course the great coverage doesn’t hurt.

          • AdultGameReviewsDotCom

            I have to agree. The customer support has been great – they’ve returned overage fees every time I called, or several times they changed my plan retroactively if I went over my minutes to save me money and even created an automatic downgrade to kick in at the cycle end. And I can say for about ten years they maintained this level.

  • Miguel Angel Portela

    The wood back is very cool but doesn’t it kinda clash with the front and, well, the frame?

    • James Briano

      The white front is a bit too reflective and cheap-looking for my taste. Otherwise, I find the combination very attractive.

      • Liderc

        Yeah it looks very odd. It’s like look at our amazing wood back, with a cheap looking plastic right next to it. Phone looks bad, no interest.

      • Lars

        White plastic generally makes anything look cheap. I never understand why people get white electronics.

  • iNomNomAwesome

    That seriously looks amazing, sucks that it costs so much extra though

  • William Peterson

    This would be a great giveaway… Yeah, I know… Dream on!

  • Skyskioc

    Hey Kellen, +1 on the DROID LIFE PINK Scissors !

  • corgimas

    Sorry DL… bamboo is not wood of any sort…. That would be like saying iOS is android

  • Ben Leonard

    thinking of selling my S4 for one!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • JoshGroff

      I traded my S4 for a One for a note 2 for a moto X. It’s by far the best phone off the bunch.

      Almost, if not all, system apps are modular and can be updated directly through the play store. (Quite amazing to see quick fixes to parts of the system just come through without requiring a huge install or the wait of an ota.)

  • Brady KEITH

    reminds me of a bowling alley. darker woods welcomed.

  • Damian

    Does it still have the dimple? I can’t really tell…

    • dizel123

      Watch the video, buddy

    • TowelieMeBanana

      Watch the video for crying out loud.

  • Higher_Ground

    looks bad ass!

    • Deiter

      Ya, it does like ass.

  • Batman

    Who is liable for splinters?

    • KOBALT

      Asurion will create a new tier of insurance coverage for this

  • ArcticGabe

    Boy, sure wood [sic] be nice to get one without the ugly logos …..

    • Tony Byatt

      T-Mobile version doesn’t have any logos I think…

      • JoshGroff

        T-Mobile version was changed to GSM unlocked on the site iirc, was never tied to them in the first place, so no reason to brand. (Makes it so perfect too.)

    • Stephen

      My custom Sprint Moto X has no logos..

    • KOBALT

      I’m sure there will be aftermarket ones from 3rd party company’s, eventually

    • Wireless Gadget

      Hmmm… Why not just sand it off?

  • wmsco1

    Looks awesome! Wonder if body oil will darken it, or has been treated.

  • Matt Holland

    The Bamboo phones will be on sale in-store at the Verizon at Mall of America on Monday. Gonna go check out out in person.

    • Walter Partlo

      I’ll have to go down and check that out.

  • Shawn Magm

    My favorite wood is flamed Hawaiian Koa. Flamed maple would also be beautiful, like on a Gibson Les Paul.

  • abhele

    cherry wood would be so sexy on this.

  • Tyler

    I think if you use this phone for a few months to have a revisited to see how it has held up if there are any dings or things you have noticed from the wood backs.

  • Damon C. Walden

    My only thought is that after the first drop you’ll have a removable battery. It seriously looks the business but I’m thinking it will split along the grain, regardless of what type of wood it is.

    On the other hand, a person COULD just be careful and not drop it 😉

    • Matthew

      I thought most people nowadays use cases anyway, which usually hide all these customized backs anyway

      • Damon C. Walden

        Just me personally here but I haven’t used a case in years. No screen protectors either, I’m just careful with my phones I guess. I have a left pocket rule so to speak, my phone is the only thing that goes in that pocket.

        • James Briano

          Me too.

  • happybana

    I really hope everyone copies this. This is awesome.

    • NexusMan

      I hope not. I hate copying.

      • lye

        I don’t participate in copying.

        • Maya Yoga

          I don’t participate in copying.

      • happybana

        But just imagine… top of the line specs with a wood back? I want wood backs to be a movement, so everyone can have that option, not just moto lovers. Spread the love, man!

        • RedBeaVeR

          Should’ve said “hope this inspires everyone”. The word copy doesn’t jive well in the mobile world 😉

          • happybana

            Meh, I spend all day helping people kid themselves for a living. In my free time I just want to be straight.

          • RedBeaVeR

            Yea but you don’t want to waste your free time replying nonsense comments either, do you?

        • Jaime Kerr

          Yo dawg, I put a wood back on the wood back of your back wood! Pimpin’ yo’ ride!

        • Matthew

          Just start manufacturing wood cases

          • JoshGroff

            A quick eBay search I did one day told me they already do. I guess they’re just not popular enough to sell in stores.

      • malcmilli

        i love copying

  • hyperbeatser

    they should offer a carbon fiber option in the future

    • trevorsalienarms

      Textured CF would be nice, but polished would be too VZW “DROID”-y I think.

    • Larizard

      And call it what? the Moto X-Droid?

    • Daniel Maginnis

      Yeah. I got that one. Its called the droid mini. Comes in white and black fiber.

      • hyperbeatser

        You’re all missing the point – yeah the recent droids have had woven kevlar backs that look like CF, but are they real carbon fiber? no.

        • Daniel Maginnis

          Kevlar is actually better suited for impact heavy applications. And this is real kevlar.

          • hyperbeatser

            I don’t know what you’re doing with your smartphones, but I don’t consider putting it in and out of my pockets and placing it on surfaces impact-heavy…

          • TheScientists

            Ever dropped your phone?

    • J. Mogley


  • Todd Bettenhausen

    I have to admit that thing looks very nice–much better than I expected. Motorola is hitting on all cylinders right now.

  • michael o’brien

    Thats a real wood back!!!! I am curious how the wood does. Did they choose bamboo due to the min. amount of expanding and contracting due to temperatures and humidity?

    • trevorsalienarms

      Likely it’s stabilized wood.

  • jeff manning

    Cut your fingernails

    • obsidianobelisk

      Cut your wrists.

  • Silver Veloz

    Nice looking. Can’t wait to see the upcoming “other” wood choices.

    • Adrynalyne

      Morning wood should be a popular one.

  • possomcrast1

    Wow. I’d very much like to get one of these, but I assume an X2 is coming some time soon and I already have an HTC One…My next phone will likely be a Motorola Device. I find it very impressive that I’m able to be proud to say that given the previous DROID era.

    • trd105

      X2 soon? its only been 4 months

      • alexis orms

        If this was the Moto of old the X3 would be out by now. Droid Bionic – Never Forget.

        • JoshGroff

          The droid bionic got hit with delay after delay, it’s not like they originally meant to do a back to back launch.

          • Cory_S

            Then they should had scrapped the product and skipped straight to the Razr.

          • JoshGroff

            And take a loss on a device they invested R&D and manufacturing costs into?

          • Cory_S

            Yes. Exactly.

          • alexis orms

            Much better to take a loss then to release a reputation damaging sub par product. I have a hard time believing the Razr was intended to be a successor to the Bionic. It had identical specs. That’s like saying the Nexus 6 (Nexus 5 2014 edition) would be identical to the old Nexus in every way but form factor, and screen.

            In my opinion the Bionic was either A. a hardware prototype for development of the Razr they released to make up some R&D costs. or B. A product management sent back to the drawing board because it was awful, and out came the Razr.

          • JoshGroff

            To be honest, I owned a Bionic and it wasn’t really that bad (ok, GB was terrible stock software wise, but I had it running liberty via safestrap,) especially after they rolled out ICS and jumped it to 1.2ghz just like the RAZR. Also, the removable battery was right up my alley. Also, the Razr was ~$100 more for the base model, so there’s that.

      • possomcrast1

        By soon I mean announced in March and on Verizon in May.

        • trixnkix637

          I’d expect it early summer (at the earliest), late fall (at the latest). I don’t think you’ll see them put out another flagship phone that fast. They’re not trying to be Samsung.

  • LionStone

    Thought for sure you were getting the pink trim like the one you posted a pic of on an earlier article!?

    As much as it may seem “soft”, these are hard woods and will hold up very well to wear & tear.

  • 918273645ams

    Looks pretty good. I’m curious to see how it will look after about a year of usage. I’m sticking with the Nexus 5 – not sure how long I’d enjoy a wooden backed phone.

    • NexusMan

      All phones, kept out of case, regardless of material look different after a year of use.

      • Grayson Carr

        Not mine, but I’m careful.

        • James Briano

          Famous last words… ; )

      • I agree with Grayson, I almost never use a case and my phones are always almost pristine

  • cbadz

    +1 for Saturday videos.

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    • Julia Miller

      I find it very impressive that I’m able to proudly say that given the previous DROID era. In other words Google has done a great job turning the company around.

  • Maxim∑

    Still staying with Nexus 5… looks nice but even with the wood being sealed I wonder how long this will last

  • wade_county

    Its gorgeous.

  • Tony Byatt

    Not bad…Moto X (2014) may be my next phone…

    I wonder the moisture resistance…

    • LionStone

      Hardwoods are naturally moisture/mildew/ insect resistant.

      • Adrynalyne


        “Had to use insurance on my Moto X today. It has termites.”

        • michael o’brien

          This was pretty funny. Bamboo doesnt get termites since it is not a wood.

          • Adrynalyne

            Its called humor. Some get it, the dense do not.

          • calculatorwatch

            Wow, you really did a lot of research on the interaction between bamboo and termites. I especially liked the map of the US where it appears that Arizona has been engulfed by termites.

          • Adrynalyne

            We have insurance plans to cover termites. They are everywhere!

      • michael o’brien

        Really…woods naturally expand when in a high moisture area, and they contract in low moisture areas. That is why when you buy hardwood flooring for your house, your supposed to let it sit in a room for no less than 24 hours so that the wood could get acclimated to the conditions to help control this.

        • LionStone

          That is why I’m sure they are curing and acclimating it as well…and since it is a “hardwood” it’ll have very minute, if at all, shrinkage.

          • michael o’brien

            I am not going to lie. I google’d it after I wrote it. When coming to hardwood flooring, bamboo for how cheap it is, and how its not really a “wood” but a “grass”, holds up better than most other woods, and it doesn’t soften up. It will expand and contract, but you only need to allow for it when the room is 20 ft or bigger. So yea, I think a 6 inch cell phone is perfect.

          • LionStone

            Ok, so now you think it’ll be perfect, hehe…Anyway, even though it is technically in the grass family, it is still considered a ‘Hardwood’ 🙂

          • kendokan

            More than likely it’s a veneer anyway. I doubt it’s carved out of a solid block of wood.

    • trevorsalienarms

      Mentioned it above, but for applications like this, it’s likely that it is stabilized wood.

  • adbFreedom

    Make sure to keep a bottle of Pledge handy 😉

  • Looks amazing! I can’t wait for the other “natural” backs.

    That’s like two months early too (shipping)!