- Sascha Segan , PC Magazine
The Motorola Moto Z Droid is a cool smartphone with removable backs, but it lags slightly behind its bigger sibling.
- Brandon Russell , TechnoBuffalo
The Moto Z is a fast, gorgeous, exciting phone but the mods are only half-baked at this point.
- Sharp screen
- Plenty of power
- Support for microSD
- Fast, clear camera
- Modular attachments
- 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!
Reviews (8/10 Avg. rating)
World's thinnest smartphone is also the best modular phone
A modular muddle
One of the most fun devices in the market
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 to both lock and unlock your devices using your fingerprint sensor, the ability to auto-activate the camera just by flicking your phone and so on. For S$899, the Moto Z is one of the cheapest flagships you can find, and it’s more than enough for the general public, so if you want a flagship... Full review
A flagship phone that's also modular
Great performance, high-quality display
The best case yet for modular smartphones
I really like the Lenovo Moto Z. Modular smartphones have been a bit of a gimmick to me so far. Only LG has produced something usable, and in that case only a couple of add-ons ever arrived, and they tended to add a fair amount of bulk in the process. The Moto Z’s slim frame and incredibly easy attachments makes it far more user-friendly, and there are already enough modules to prove that the idea has legs. We’ll be back to test some of them soon, but even if they aren’t up to scratch, the simplicity and effectiveness makes this the best use case we’ve seen to date.<... Full review
Beauty and a beast
Well-conceived ecosystem of Moto Mods accessories
Modular Makes it interesting
With Motorola Moto Z 32GB you invest on ecosystem and not just a mobile with accessories, because this phone can become film projector, a battery power house and many more. Other than modular the features just match the entry level or budget phone the price is beyond and I hope that this should c... More
With Motorola Moto Z 32GB you invest on ecosystem and not just a mobile with accessories, because this phone can become film projector, a battery power house and many more. Other than modular the features just match the entry level or budget phone the price is beyond and I hope that this should come down anytime soon
Manuals / User Guides
- Motorola Moto Z Manual (PDF)
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