While the modular smartphone concept originally allows users to change any portion of the device to enhance its capabilities, it requires users to completely turn off the device before the upgrade. Motorola has come up with a solution that allows users to connect or remove any mod instantly with a snap. Read the Moto Z review, the flagship smartphone with the Moto Mods.
Moto Z Design
Before we get into the smartphone’s modular capabilities, let’s take a look at its design aspects of the Moto Z. As you can see, the device has a very slim body that measures about 5.2mm thick and weighs just 136g. The Moto Z which is built around a smooth metal frame is by far one of the slimmest, large-screen smartphones that I’ve tried till date. Speaking of display, the Moto Z features an impressive 5.5-inch AMOLED screen that offers a viewing sharpness of 2560 x 1440 resolution. In my time of using the device, the Moto Z’s display offered great viewing angles and deep colors. The outdoor visibility is decent and readable, to say the least, despite the 535 ppi brightness. The 72% screen-to-body ratio is clearly noticeable with the smartphone’s thin bezels, giving more display coverage. It should be noted that the display is protected with Gorilla Glass 4.
There is no doubt that you will notice the front-facing square-shaped fingerprint scanner. Yes, it looks unusual from what we have seen on other smartphones. However, the speed of the fingerprint scanner is not too fast or slow in my opinion as it takes about 2-3 seconds of delay to detect and unlock the device. There is also a neat feature that lets you unlock the device by simply placing your finger again on the scanner when the device is active.
Do you see two sensors on the right and left side of the Moto Z’s fingerprint scanner? These sensors are meant to detect any hand movement gesture so as the device can activate the Moto Active Display, which shows the time, notifications and status of the device without the need to press any button. While the feature does work as said, I did notice that the sensors sometimes take a bit of time or fails to detect any hand movement.
Since the Moto Z has a very slim body, Motorola had to miniaturize the size of the power button and volume rockers, which are placed on the upper right side of the device. The buttons do give a good feedback when pressed without any problem.
On the top lies the SIM card slot. However, there is one essential port that’s missing in the Moto Z: the 3.5mm audio jack. Yes, Motorola has omitted the audio jack to keep the smartphone as thin as possible. Thankfully, Motorola has included an audio to USB Type-C adapter in the smartphone box. The USB Type-C port is located on the bottom of the device.
The rear side of the Moto Z is what makes the smartphone different. Yes, the main camera module does budge out which has its own Moto branding. And be noted that we did not notice much wobbling when the smartphone is kept on a flat surface like a table.
It’s the Moto Mod pin connectors that allow the smartphone to snap to any type of mod in an instant. There is no need to turn off the device or remove any battery. The pins are located on the rear side. The rear side of the smartphone also features magnetic connections to hold the mods firmly.
Once you snap in any of the Moto Mods, the Moto Z smartphone showcases a “wave-like” animation on the display with a sound that confirms that the mod is connected and ready for use. While the magnetic connectors do hold the mods firmly, removing the mods might not be as quick as you think. Motorola has included certain openings in the Mods that allow users to snap off the mods off the Moto Z. I should mention that the rear side of the Moto Z easily attracts to fingerprints.
Moto Z Specifications and Performance
Through this Moto Z review we take a look at the capability of the smartphone, the Moto Z is surely a powerful smartphone that runs on near-stock Android 7.0 OS. The device is powered by the octa-core Snapdragon 820 processor with 4GB RAM onboard, which should be more than sufficient for all your multi-tasking needs. I did not see any slowdown of the device while using memory hogging apps such as Google Chrome and many other social IM apps. Gaming certainly is top-notch, thanks to the Adreno 530 GPU.
The 32GB internal memory can be expanded using the MicroSD card slot up to 256GB which should suffice for all your photo and video needs. Speaking of cameras, the Moto Z holds a 5MP camera on the front which is combined with an F2.2 lens, and the 13MP main camera on the rear comes with a brighter F1.8 lens. The main camera is backed up with optical image stabilization to reduce blur and laser AF with dual-LED lighting.
I should mention that the front camera has its own LED light as well. The 13MP main camera is capable of capturing up to 60fps for 1080p video recording, and up to 30fps for 4K video capture. We took some sample shots of the 13MP camera of the Moto Z, and also using the Hasselblad True Zoom mod that we will speak about at a later point of the review. I wouldn’t say that the camera quality is the best in the market, but it’s certainly sharp and good for both day and night shots. The Moto Z also packs a large 2600 mAh battery which lasted over a day of use that includes web browsing, calls, capturing some images, and playing with the mods. The battery also supports Turbo Charge that can offer up to 8 hours of use in 15 minutes of charge. The Turbo Charge did take less time to fill up the whole battery. The smartphone also features the latest Bluetooth 4.1 Low Power wireless connection.
While Motorola has made over dozens of Moto Mods, in this Moto Z review we got the chance to try out the JBL SoundBoost, the Hasselblad True Zoom and the Insta-Share Projector. Let’s inspect each Moto Mod.
With stellar and louder audio-visual experience in mind, the JBL SoundBoost is designed to bring in an easy Snap-On speaker upgrade for the Moto Z. The JBL SoundBoost is a bit on the thicker side because of the integrated dual 27mm stereo speakers that have a frequency range from 200 Hz to 20 KHz. Yes, the JBL SoundBoost is definitely louder than the built-in Moto Z speakers which aren’t bad either, but there are some details and information of the sound that went missing in certain instances.
What’s interesting is that the JBL SoundBoost has its own 1000 mAh battery so it won’t feed on the Moto Z until the mod’s battery drains out. The JBL SoundBoost also has its own USB Type-C port for charging. One design aspect that I liked about the JBL SoundBoost is that it features its own kickstand, a perfect way to use it in parties. The JBL SoundBoost also supports phone calls.
Hasselblad True Zoom
The Hasselblad True Zoom Moto Mod brings in the opportunity for users to capture images using the 10x optical zoom lens. The focal length of the lens mod is equivalent to 25-250mm for 35mm image sensors. However, the Hasselblad True Zoom features a 1/2.3-inch, 12MP BSI CMOS image sensor. The Hasselblad True Zoom has an ISO capability that ranges from 100- 3200. Images are supported with built-in OIS, and videos with electronic image stabilization to compensate shakes.
However, one thing that I didn’t like is that the Hasselblad True Zoom doesn’t support 4K video capture. On the contrary, the 13MP of the Moto Z can do 4K @ 30fps video. That said, the Hasselblad True Zoom does come with Xenon flash, aperture range from F3.5 to F6.5, and a dedicated trigger and zoom button. There is also a Pro mode with the Hasselblad True Zoom that allows you to tune the focus, white balance, shutter speed, and ISO. It should be noted that the Hasselblad True Zoom Moto Mod doesn’t have its own battery and is phone dependent.
This is easily one of my favorite Moto Mods among all. The Motorola Insta-Share Projector Moto Mod basically holds a DLP projector that can fire up to 70-inch projection on a flat surface. However, the maximum resolution pf the projection reaches up to 480p which isn’t that bad. The Insta-Share Projector also features its own kickstand and its own 1100 mAh battery. While watching a movie in YouTube via WiFi, the Insta-Share Projector ran out of power in 40 minutes of usage with its own battery, and went on for another 2 hours using the Moto Z’s built-in battery. Yes, the Insta-Share Projector can still work when connected to the power. It should be noted that the Insta-Share Projector Moto Mod can also be charged when the power is connected to the Moto Z.
The Insta-Share Projector also comes with a focus ring that helps to adjust the sharpness, according to the position of the kickstand or the size of the projection. However, the projection is best seen only when the room is fully dark. The Insta-Share Projector couldn’t showcase the projection properly when there was some daylight hitting the room.
MOTOROLA MOTO Z REVIEW VERDICT:
Through this Motorola Moto Z review it can be concluded that Moto Z is definitely a game-changer when it comes to the modular smartphone market. Unlike certain smartphones, there is no need to switch off or remove the battery of the Moto Z while using the mods (which is a great plus point). The Moto Z is easily one of the slimmest smartphones I've ever tried. It's got a good battery performance, even when the mods are attached. The main camera of the smartphone also produced some good shots. Speaking of mods, while I did enjoy using the Insta-Projector, the Hasselblad True Zoom and the JBL Speaker Boost, the price of these mods are quite expensive for the features it offers. For instance, the Insta-Projector cost AED 1299 which is almost half the price of the Moto Z itself. The Hasselblad True Zoom which costs AED 999 doesn't offer 4K video recording. It could have been better if the mods were a bit more affordable. The Motorola Moto Z is priced at AED 2299 in Dubai, UAE