The "1-Minute" Review
- 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!
Prices (Where to Buy)
Motorola released the Moto Z on September 30, 2016.
Motorola Moto Z prices will vary depending on retailer, age, special offers and whether or not it's purchased with a service plan. If purchased with a 2 year service contract for example, you would likely pay much less for the phone itself up front. Motorola's suggested retail price is $699.99. You can compare Moto Z prices from around the web here on The Informr.
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.