Leather Moto X colors compared: which one is best? [PHOTOS]

By now you’ve heard all about the Moto X, know it’s specs, price and availability, and have seen it in action. What you haven’t been able to decipher, though, is how those sexy leather backs look in real life, how they compare, how they feel, if they’re durable, and which one looks best. Allow us to help.

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Above you’ll see 3 of the 4 color options for the leather backed Moto X:

  • Cognac
  • Natural
  • Navy

The 4th option is black leather and it will only be available, “in-store with select carriers,” but not online through Moto Maker. We’ve requested details on this color option restriction and are waiting to hear back from Motorola. But essentially, if you’re purchasing online, you’re choosing from Natural leather (light brown), Cognac leather (medium brown), and Navy leather (almost black).

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How each look depends dramatically on the lighting. Compare the above photos to the one below and you’ll see what we mean. This aside, we’ve tried to select photos that best represent how we feel these leathers look in real life, an important distinction when making an online purchase.

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Moto X with Navy Leather Back

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The Navy backed Moto X was nice, but personally my least favorite. The dark color made it less noticeable as genuine leather and it almost looked black. The darker the leather the easier to imitate as faux leather, so comparing this to something like the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, it still doesn’t stand out as much as you’d hope.

But given the hometown Chicago crowd it was nice to see the navy leather, red accents, and custom engraving that gave props to the Chicago Bears NFL team and fans. And it’s worth noting: if you’re looking for a great engraving, the darker navy leather seemed to provide a much better surface.

Moto X with Natural Leather

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The lightest of the leather shades is called natural: it looked and felt the most natural and was undeniably genuine leather. Definitely a great looking piece of craftmanship. There was one potentially small yet potentially big downside: scuffing and scratching being more visible.

When feeling the texture of the leather back, Chris rubbed his nail against the leather surface and it created a very visible scuff, the looks of which I didn’t feel were too attractive.

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But maybe that’s just part of the “breaking in” process. Some of the best looking clothes and fashion accessories look best with noticeable distress, so much that many style-focused brands purposefully distress items ahead of time. We won’t know if this is the case until the public has spent some time with the leather-backed Moto X in various colors, but we felt it worth mentioning as an early observation.

Moto X with Cognac Leather

This was my personal favorite of the three colors we previewed.

moto-x-cognac-leather

It was light enough to attract attention and stylistically provide that undeniable genuine leather look, feel, touch, and even smell- but dark enough to seem like it would better hide scuffing and scraping. That’s an early assumption I’m making, so please take other accounts into consideration- just my personal thoughts on the matter.

I’m not exactly the most prestigious of style aficionados, but I also feel like it would better match a greater percentage of… okay, maybe I’m thinking too much into this. I’ll just say the Cognac leather is definitely my favorite.

Which Moto X leather color option do you like best?

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  • NexusMan

    Thanks Rob for this fantastic piece! This was just what I was looking for. Like you, I like the Cognac the best. I’m so getting that. I already have a wallet the exact same color.

  • Del373

    I think I’d prefer one of the wood selections…from the pictures it looks like the leather scuffs pretty easily.

    • robjackson81

      I really like the bamboo and the teal.

      • Del373

        Me too. I really wish this phone had expandable memory capabilities, I’d totally go for a black front with the sort of gunmetal finish on the frame, with the teak (that’s the dark one right?) and either red, chrome, blue, or black for the volume rocker-power buttion-etc accents.

    • Wozn2

      Thats no scuffing friend, that’s “patina” ;-)

      • Del373

        No it isn’t. Or at least what I’m talking about isn’t. There are quite a few noticeable scuffs on the natural and navy leather variants. The first close-up of the navy shows a noticeable dark mark above the word “Bears!”. On the second two pictures of the natural leather there’s a couple of marks beside the camera and a large scuff in between the Moto and AT&T logos, and finally on the last image under the caption “Which Moto X leather color option do you like best?” the light shining on the Navy variant reveals what almost look like scratches above and around the personalized message, and just below the AT&T logo there’s a large indentation of some sort.

        My main point is while I admire Motorola’s attempt at being creative with materials to appeal to their customers’ sense of style, I wouldn’t buy one of these simply because I prefer more resilient materials on a device that may or may not be subject to mild abuse from day to day use. It’s the same reason I didn’t like the chrome finish on the previous models of iPod, it’s the same reason I’m not partial to devices that have glass or glossy plastic in their construction. If in the future they use a firmer leather or reinforce it with some sort of coating that’s resistant to scuffs then I’ll likely change my mind. Until then I’ll stick with devices that have either rubberized plastic/metal, brushed aluminum, or carbon fiber.

        • Wozn2

          Buddy, scuffs are “patina”. The little scratches and scuffs make a leather item your own. If you’re looking for something more resilient to damage, run, don’t walk, away from leather.

  • mattj78

    As long as this stays attached properly I’d love any of them but I think the Natural is my favourite. I like the beaten up leather look so I wouldn’t be concerned about it scuffing.

  • TalkingMoose

    If you’re one who like things always looking pristine, leather is not for you. Leather ages, scuffs, wears unevenly. Some see this as character, some see it and freak out.

    I don’t really get the idea of leather. If it’s about luxury and status, then you have to be very careful lest your phone starts looking scruffy. If you don’t care about status, why would you be interested in leather? I’m sure it will appeal to some people, though.

    • Wozn2

      If you are customising your phone anyway, it’s likely to affect the resale value. I bet you can replace the back, just not as easily as if it was designed to be removable.

      For something I use pretty much every 10 minutes when I’m awake, having a nice metal + leather “handfeel” – (c) Chris Chavez – would improve my experience with a device.

  • su2lly

    Natural for me. Am I the only wierdo worried about the smell of leather over time? I guess sticking it on the countertop in the bathroom would no longer be an option. I guess if it was in a case it might be ok but that defeats the purpose of having a luxury item like this.

    • meyerweb

      My leather wallet smells fine after more years that I’m likely to keep a phone.

    • Bill Fowler

      Get a sleeve to put I’m In. Then you have it covered when your laying it around. Show it off when you’re out!

  • https://plus.google.com/108596272537415356460/posts Jason Farrell

    Missing poll option:
    “I’m a vegetarian you insensitive clod! Leather == animal cruelty!”

    (No, not really :))

    • White Rabbit

      It’s not animal cruelty…THose were phone shaped cows, they’d never have survived in the wild.

  • Brian Menius

    That Cognac… oh my.

    I’m a bit surprised that black is their in-store exclusive, but I’m glad that’s the way they went if they had to have one.

  • Wozn2

    They made a great choice with the Horween leather. I’ve had many a watch strap from Horween and it’s superb quality top of the line stuff.

    Edited to add – loving the natural with black metal.

    • Bill Fowler

      I agree. Natural with black trim and face. Saweeeet!!

  • irishrally

    I don’t want leather on my phone.

  • meyerweb

    If the X were a better phone, I’d seriously want the black leather. But it’s basically the same hardware as an S5 with a smaller, non-replaceable battery and no micro-SD card. Not impressed.

    • stang68

      But the software…

    • chris_johns

      stock android and better build quality…to each their own

      • meyerweb

        I’m not willing to give up an SD card and removable battery for that. I can easily get stock Android on an S5 if that’s important to me.

        • bt

          You can get CyanogenMod, from someone using both unfortunately there is a difference, CM is far less stable…

          • meyerweb

            I don’t know why people think CM is the only AOSP ROM available. There are many others, many of them much better than CM

          • bt

            Because CM is the one that most people use, hence it is logical to assume that someone would put CM on their device if they were to mod it.

    • bt

      An S5 with stock Android, great build quality, quality materials, a much better look and a front speaker… And a bigger screen fitted into a smaller body, and more comfortable to hold with the curved back. The only real downside is the lack of waterproofing, but then I don’t use my phone in the shower :3

      • meyerweb

        And no replaceable battery, and no external storage. Both of which matter more than waterproofing. As far as size, I think the Moto is almost exactly the same size as the S5.

        • bt

          The Moto is a bit smaller, and with a bigger screen. The replaceable battery problem can be alleviated with a portable charger, which can hold several times as much charge as your battery, and can be more easily charged up than a battery. If you put lots of media on your phone you do need external storage, but why would you put lots of films on your phone? Watch them on your laptop if you’re out. Watching them on a bigger screen is superior.

  • bt

    I love the black leather option, very stylish. I may have to end up getting this if the Nexus X isn’t to my liking, Android L is too awesome to miss out on!