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Motorola Moto Z review

8.1/10 AVG.

Informr score
The Motorola Moto Z currently has an Informr score of 8.1 out of 10. This score is based on our evaluation of 36 sources including reviews from users and the web's most trusted critics.

What's good

  • Sharp screen
  • Plenty of power
  • Support for microSD
  • Fast, clear camera
  • Modular attachments

What's bad

  • No headphone jack
  • Limited availability (Currently Verizon only)
  • Thinness is a personal preference
  • Pricey if not interested in Moto Mods

Motorola has a reputation for building solid phones designed to do everything you want them to do without a bunch of flair or fluff. With the release of the Motorola Moto Z, Lenovo is steering the Motorola brand in a different direction. Does the addition of modular add-ons make or break the typical Motorola experience and how does it stack up with the competition?

We’ve scoured the reviews so you don’t have to! Let’s dive into what’s being said!

On a design front, the phone is very minimalistic. Sharp edges and a boxy design fit the typical DROID aesthetic--which is fitting as it’s currently a Verizon exclusive. At just over 5mm thick, the phone’s design shocked a few reviewers, with some even saying it’s too thin to hold comfortably.

Phone Arena chimed in on the overall design, saying, “The all-metal construction feels incredibly solid, the fingerprint scanner makes for a conveniently placed makeshift power button, and an angled ridge running the length of the phone's edge helps users maintain a steady grip.” In contrast, Gizmodo says, “Because the phone is so thin, it’s not the most comfortable phone [to use].”

Coming around to the front of the phone, you’ll find a 5.5-inch QHD (1440-by-2560) AMOLED display. Reviews on the screen are wholly positive apart from the typical elevated AMOLED color saturation. Engadget says, “In addition to very accommodating viewing angles, you'll get the usual punchy colors that come with AMOLED screens.”

Pushing all those pixels, you’ll find a Snapdragon 820 2.26GHz processor--a standard among flagships this years. Paired with 4GB of RAM, performance reviews are great. 32 or 64GB of internal storage and support for microSD cards up to 2TB leaves ample room for your favorite apps, games or movies. PC Magazine was quick to point out one issue--Verizon’s army of bloatware--saying, “The OS build takes up 8.37GB of the phone's 32GB, largely thanks to Verizon's bloatware.”

The phone runs Android Marshmallow 6.0.1 with some light tweaking from Motorola to add gesture controls and a few notification features and voice controls. Overall, reviewers loved the experience.

If you’re a fan of mobile photography, reviews raved about the cameras on the Motorola Moto Z. The front-facing 5MP lens features a wide-angle aperture and a dedicated flash. The rear camera is a beefy 13MP with optical image stabilization and laser-assisted autofocus. Gizmodo says, “That’s all a big bundle of jargon that boils down to great photos. I also love the Z’s Pro camera controls as a system of slider overlays. It’s all incredibly intuitive.”

With a phone so razor-thin, you have to make a few compromises. While the 2,600mAh battery might seem small on paper, reviews indicate that the phone has plenty of power to last the day. Engadget notes, "On days of heavy use, the Z would get me through the work day but give up the ghost not long after.” Other reviewers chimed in comparably. The phone also supports TurboCharge chargers, offering a 100% charge in just over an hour. The cord on the TurboCharger is hardwired, so be prepared to find a spare USB-C cord if you plan to charge or transfer data to your computer.

The other compromise is dividing reviewers--there’s no headphone jack on the phone. Instead, you use a dongle in the USB-C port to plug in traditional 3.5mm headphone connectors. This means no charging while binging on Netflix or listening to music.

Where the phone really strays from current flagships is the modular add-ons. Dubbed Moto Mods, the add-ons attach to the back of the phone using magnets. Current options include pico projector, extra battery capacity, a beefier speaker or stylish backs for the phone. Engadget put them to the test and declared, “Motorola's approach to modularity is the most elegant you'll find on the market right now.”

Overall, reviews of the Moto Z are positive. The Verge sums up opinions well, saying, “If Lenovo's goal was to stray from the pack and do something a little different, it succeeded. The Moto Z and Moto Mods are unique. They're fun. They're a little gimmicky. But they're definitely different.” If you’re looking for a little more power, be sure to check out the summary for the Motorola Moto Z Force before making a decision!

Operating system
2.2 GHz
Screen Size
13+ MP

What the Critics Are Saying...


Moto Z is an incredibly thin Android phone, yet it's still able to boast the specs of its rival and add modular accessories to the mix. This is a stepping stone to a fully modular phone. We only wish we could exchange its big camera bump for the sorely missing 3.5mm headphone jack.

- Matt Swider, TechRadar

The Motorola Moto Z wowed us when it was first revealed. The Moto Mods system is clever and some of the accessories are fun. But we can't help feeling that the Moto Z was compromised to make it a better modular phone. That thinness that's proclaimed doesn't result in a nice design and when you're us...

- Chris Hall, Pocket-lint

I really loved the Moto Z. It doesn’t seem to shine in terms of its specifications, its not the fastest smartphone or the best shooter, but it’s thinness goes unmatched and feels almost weightless. The entire experience feels really good thanks to small little features like the ability t...

- Zayne Seah, VR-Zone
Tech Advisor

The Moto Z is a mixed bag, successful in some areas and not in others. As long as you can deal with the jettisoning of the headphone jack and carrying a Power Pack Mod, the modular nature of the Moto Z makes it a compelling alternative to other flagships. It’s also arguably a better choice tha...

- Jim Martin, Tech Advisor

The Moto Z is virtually the best value phone for $999 you can buy right now, and that's before you consider any of the well-executed modules Moto has made too.

- Scott Plowman, Ausdroid

Prices (Where to Buy)

Common Questions

Motorola released the Moto Z on September 30, 2016.

We've got you covered! Download a free PDF copy of the Motorola Moto Z user manual here.

Motorola backs up the Moto Z with a 1 Year parts & labour warranty.

If your Moto Z has problems and is still within its warranty period, you could contact Motorola support or the retailer you purchased the phone from. You'll find Motorola's contact information here. If your phone is off warranty and needs repair for a physical problem such as a broken screen or bad battery, you should visit an authorized service centre or a local phone repair shop. You can also connect with others in The Informr Community Forum to find and share answers to questions.

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Quick view

Screen Size

The Motorola Moto Z's screen size is 5.5 inches with 1440 x 2560 pixels resolution.

2.2 GHz

There is a Qualcomm MSM8996 Snapdragon 820 Quad core 2.2 GHz processor (CPU).


The phone runs on the Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow (Update Available: 7.1.1 Nougat) operating system (OS).

13+ MP

You can take photos with the phone's onboard 13+ megapixel camera.

There is also a secondary front facing camera with 5+ megapixels resolution.

32/64 GB

Internal memory is 32/64 GB. An external, MicroSD, MicroSDHC, microSDXC (up to 2000 GB) expansion slot is available for increased storage capacity.


The phone is powered by a Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion), 2600 mAh battery. Motorola's performance ratings are 643 minutes, 373 minutes Wi-Fi surfing.

Moto Z Specs

Release date September 30, 2016
Regions available USA, Canada, United Kingdom
Mobile / Cellular Data
850/900/1800/1900 MHz
850/900/1700/1900 /2100 MHz
1700/1900/700/2100 /850/1800/2600 MHz
SIM card size
Dual SIM No
Operating System Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow (Update Available: 7.1.1 Nougat)

Compare Android Smartphones

Processor Qualcomm MSM8996 Snapdragon 820 Quad core 2.2 GHz
Internal Storage 32/64 GB
Hearing Aid Compatible Yes
Noise Cancellation Yes
SAR Head: 0.91 W/kg
Body: 1.19 W/kg
Languages English
Manufacturer Warranty 1 Year
Accessories Included AC Charger, Manual, Standard Battery
Power & battery
Battery Type Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion)
Battery Capacity 2600 mAh
Removable Battery No
Wireless Charging No
Fast Charging Yes
Video Playback Time Up to: 624 minutes
Internet Use (Wi-Fi) Up to: 373 minutes
Internet Use (Celluar) Unknown
Talk Time Up to: 643 minutes
Standby Time Unknown
Physical Characteristics
Design type Bar
Multi-Use Smart Phone / PDA Yes
Material Plastic
Colors Black
Dimensions [H x W x D] 15.3 x 7.5 x 0.5 cm (6 x 3 x 0.2 in)
Weight 136 grams
Water Resistant / Waterproof Unknown
Rugged design No
IP Rating No
Display / Screen
Type Color
Technology AMOLED
Colors 16.7 million
Resolution 1440 x 2560 pixels
Pixel density 535 pixels
Size 5.5 inches
Secondary Display No
Sensors Ambient Light, Proximity, Motion / Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Digital Compass
Graphics Yes
Themes No
Backlit Illumination Yes
Zoom / Magnification Yes
Screen Orientation Lock Yes
Multi-Touch Yes
Fingerprint-Resistant Coating No
Additional Display Features Capacitive touch screen, Corning Gorilla Glass
Input / Navigation
Sleep / Wake Key Yes
Home Key Yes
Mute Key No
Input Type Touchscreen
Navigation Type Touchscreen
Predictive Text Entry Yes
Physical keyboard No
Voicemail Key No
Any Key Answer No
Voice Commands Yes
Keypad/Screen Lock Yes
External Volume Control Yes
External Media Playback Controls No
Fingerprint Sensor No
Call Management
Wi-Fi Calling Unknown
Voice over LTE (VoLTE) Yes
Contact List Capacity Depends on system memory
Multiple Numbers Per Contact Email address, Other fields
Contact Groups Yes
Auto Answer No
Voice Activated Dialing Yes
Photo Caller ID Yes
Web / Email / Messaging
Web Browser Yes
Email Client Yes
Email Protocols POP3, IMAP, SMTP, Microsoft Exchange
Additional Email Features Gmail
Messaging SMS, MMS, IM
Push-to-talk (PTT) No
USB OTG Support No
Infrared No
Bluetooth 4.1
Bluetooth Profiles A2DP, AVRCP, OPP/FTP, HFP, HSP
Bluetooth Audio Codecs SBC
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n
WiFi Encryption No
Mobile Hotspot Yes
Memory Expansion Slot Yes
Expansion Slot Info MicroSD, MicroSDHC, microSDXC (up to 2000 GB)
PC Synchronization Yes
TV Out No
DLNA Support No
Data Tethering Compatibility Yes
Java Applications No
Brew Applications No
ECML / Digital Wallet No
Main Camera
13+ megapixels
8x digital
Yes (Dual LED)
Additional Rear Camera Info
Auto focus, Effects, Geotagging, Image stabilization, Multi-shot, Night mode, Panorama, Self-timer, Zero shutter lag, HDR, Slow motion recording
Video Recording Formats
3GP / 3GPP, H.264 / AVC, MPEG-4
Video Recording Parameters
Ultra HD (3840 x 2160 pixels), 30 fps
Front Camera
5+ megapixels
Additional Front Camera Info
Night mode, Front camera flash
Video Recording Parameters
Audio / Video
Audio Playback Yes
Audio Formats AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, MIDI, MP3, MP4, M4A, WMA, WAV
Radio No
Video Playback Yes
Video Playback Formats 3GP / 3GPP, H.264 / AVC, MPEG-4
Streaming Video Yes
External Speakers Yes
Headset Jack Yes
Custom Ringtones Yes
Vibration Alert Yes
Downloadable Ringtones Yes
Ringer ID Yes
Haptic Feedback Vibration Yes
Speakerphone Yes
To-Do / Task List No
Calendar Yes
World Clock Yes
Alarm Yes
Stop Watch Yes
Timer Yes
Calculator Yes
Currency Converter No
Weather Yes
Stocks No
Maps Yes
NotePad No
Voice Memos / Recorder Yes
Games Downloadable
Apps Downloadable
Included Software / Apps -
Additional comments Other Names (AKA): Motorola Moto Z Droid

Additional Sensors: Fingerprint sensor
Related Links Manual (PDF)
Motorola Moto Z Reviews
Where to buy Motorola Moto Z
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