Motorola's Moto Z sports a premium smartphone design and attachments that are more than just a modular gimmick.
The promise of the modular phone has been around for years with Google's Project Ara kicking off interest in the concept before LG launched last year's G5 smartphone. But while Google shelved Project Ara and LG's G5 hasn't quite lived up to expectations, Motorola's Moto Z platform looks to deliver a comprehensive ecosystem of interchangeable features alongside a powerful Android smartphone.
The Moto Z family, which consists of the flagship Moto Z and the more affordable (and slightly thicker) Moto Z Play, are decent enough smartphones in themselves. Thanks to a clever magnetic system on the back of the phone modular attachments can be seamlessly added to the phone to add premium functionality to the device. With attachments created in association with third party companies like Hasselblad and JBL, Motorola aims to build a comprehensive ecosystem for its hardware.
Motorola Moto Z: What is it?
The Moto Z is the flagship device in the Moto Z family. Measuring just 5.2mm thick for the core phone, it is comfortably one of the slimmest smartphones you can ever wrap your hands around. The reason for this slim design is obvious when you look at any of the Moto Z Mods, which add considerable bulk to the phone, though not so much to become unwieldy.
In order to create the new interchangeable ecosystem, Motorola's engineers had to change up some of the internals of the phone. While the Moto Z houses a 5.5-inch Quad HD screen and Snapdragon 820 processor, the antenna has been redesigned to avoid dropping out when a metallic mod is attached, while Motorola added liquid cooling to keep things manageable.
While the phone itself is impressive, the key feature here is the selection of mods on offer to completely change up the functionality of the device. A dedicated Hasselblad camera mod, for example, turns your phone into a serious camera with a 10x optical zoom lens, dedicated shutter button and xenon flash. A JBL SoundBoost mod, meanwhile, adds a powerful speaker system and additional battery life to your phone for parties or barbecues, while the Moto Insta-share Projector lets you project your phone's screen up to 70-inches on any wall you can find, with no complicated cable or connection setup.
Motorola Moto Z: Price
Despite the Moto Z's flagship status, Motorola has still managed to keep the RRP under the $1,000 mark at $999, although it's important to remember that the cost of the phone doesn't include any of the Moto Mod attachments.
If the asking price of the Moto Z is too high but you still want to enjoy the Mod scene, the $699 Moto Z Play offers much of the same functionality with a slightly thicker design and bigger battery.
|Motorola Moto Z||$999|
|Motorola Moto Z Play||$699|
|Motorola X Force||$599|
Moto Mods: Price
JBL® SoundBoost Speaker
Hasselblad True Zoom Camera
Incipio off GRID Power Pack: Espresso Black or White
Incipio off GRID Power Pack: Espresso Wireless Black or White
Style caps: Black Leather
Style caps: Herringbone Fabric, Charcoal Ash, Crimson Ballistic Nylon Fabric, Silver Oak and Washed Oak
Motorola Moto Z: Specifications
Motorola Moto Z
|64GB with expandable microSD up to 2TB|
|2560 x 1440|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 with 2.2HHz quad-core CPU/Adreno 530 GPU|
|Colours||Black with Lunar Gray, White with Fine Gold|
There's certainly no restriction on the specs of the Moto Z, even before you consider Moto Mods. While it would have been easy for Motorola to skimp on things like the phone's integrated camera or battery life, it appears, from specs at least, that they have delivered a top-end phone.
Moto Z Review
The Moto Z tries something new, with an intelligent modular system that improves your phone's functionality.
"The Moto Z has been designed to try and accommodate a simple, intuitive modular ecosystem. For the most part it succeeds, with an intelligent system with impressive mod attachments, though the cumulative costs could be prohibitive, especially if Motorola’s new platform fails to take off."
Given the backtrack we've seen on LG's approach to modular devices with the LG G6, the risk of Moto not continuing this platform is very real, and makes the risk of purchase real.
Also worth considering
Motorola's Moto Z offers a fairly unique experience in today's crowded smartphone marketplace. While the LG G5 offered a modular ecosystem earlier this year, the implementation was clunkier than Motorola's offering. And while other major players are yet to enter the modular smartphone space, there are still plenty of solid offerings worth considering if the Moto Z isn't quite right for you.
LG G5 LG’s G5 kickstarted the modular accessory design for smartphones . The ability to switch out the battery and add in a dedicated camera module, or a B&O amplifier offers slightly different approach to the Moto Z, though interesting enough to make it one of this year's stand out devices.
Samsung Galaxy S7 Samsung’s 2016 flagship is still the phone to beat in 2016. It may not be modular, but with it’s incredible screen, impressive camera and fantastic battery life the Galaxy S7 still stands out in today's market. It also has a bit of competition from its slightly edgier brother, the Galaxy S7 Edge.
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|Free shipping for orders over $300. 12-month Standard Warranty included.||Samsung Galaxy S7 32 GB||
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|Fast shipping: Item leaves warehouse in 1-2 days||Samsung Galaxy S7 32 GB||
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|Free Kogan SIM card with device purchase.||Samsung Galaxy S7 32 GB||
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HTC 10 HTC has made a habit of creating well-designed smartphones that are big on features and performance. While the HTC 10 doesn’t quite live up to the benchmarks set by Samsung’s Galaxy S7, it is still an excellent option for anyone looking for a flagship device in 2016.
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