Moto Z & Moto Z Force: Motorola’s Modular Phones Are Here

With Google’s Project Ara and LG’s G5 underwhelming, you could be excused for thinking that modular phones are yet another gimmick which would fade out with time but apparently not all hope is lost.

In a slightly surprising move, Motorola is having its own shot at the concept with its new Moto Z and Moto Z Force phones.

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The Moto Z’s hardware additions are aptly named Moto Mods and quite like the LG G5, where you can swap out the bottom part of the phone for a new one, here too you can replace the back cover to bring a completely new experience rather than with something cosmetic.

The options available at first are the usual ones, including a 2200 mAh battery cover and designer covers. But there are also unique covers such as a loud JBL speaker which also adds a battery, similar to a B&O speaker we’ve seen for the G5, and one which adds a 70-inch 480p projector on a wall which can definitely work as a makeshift solution for movie nights with friends.

Unlike LG, the Moto Z uses a 16-pin interface which doesn’t come in the way of day-to-day use and as a result feels more finished. The price of these accessories are not yet known but Motorola reckons they will match those of its rivals. For the record, the LG Cam Plus and B&O DAC module cost $70 and $150 (approx. Rs 8000-16,000), respectively.

Last but not the least, Motorola is trying the hardest to make sure this isn’t a one-off trend that fizzles out as soon as the phones are released. For the purpose, it is making sure that the accessories will be supported in at least the next two generations of the phone, a worthy step to make sure your investment isn’t deemed obsolete once the new phone comes out.

The Moto Z and the Z Force themselves are quite similar except for when it doesn’t matter too much. They both have 5.5-inch Super AMOLED Quad HD displays on the front.

They both have Snapdragon 820, 4 gigs of RAM and either 32 or 64 GB of expandable storage.

On the front is a fingerprint scanner and a 5-megapixel autofocus camera with LED. The main cameras have optical image stabilization and laser autofocus. And obviously, there’s Moto Mod.

But that’s where the similarities end. The standard Z model is an incredible 5mm thick phone which along with its sibling skips the headphone jack for a single Type-C port, for the sake of design.

The Z Force is thicker at 7mm. The design of the phones is reminiscent of the recent Moto G4 Plus.

Moto-Z-Force

There is also an added benefit to the Z Force’s display, that of Motorola’s ShatterShield feature which makes the display shatter and crack proof.

The camera on the back of the standard Z is a more common-affair 13-megapixel lens with dual-tone flash. The Z Force trades it for a better 21-megapixel unit. As expected, the battery on the latter phone is also a larger 3500 mAh unit, compared to a 2600 mAh on the standard version.

Both support Turbo Charging, though in the amount of juice provided in 15 minutes varies between 8 hours in the standard model to an impressive 15 hours in the Z Force. In all, bar the 2mm difference in design, the Force seems to be a much better phone overall.

The pricing of the phones isn’t known yet, but they will be made available globally by September.

The Motorola flagships of past were phones that felt humane without emphasizing too much on specs but also didn’t sell much. The new Z phones feel like the anti-thesis of the older philosophy and while the emphasis is still on the experience itself, the result is achieved in as different a way as thinkable.

If that doesn’t work, maybe the price which is less than that of the iPhone and Galaxy S7 would work.

Moto Z Specifications:

  • CPU: 2.2 Ghz quad-core
  • GPU: Adreno 530
  • Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
  • OS: Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
  • Supported Networks: 2G, 3G, 4G LTE
  • Design: 5mm, 136g; water-repellant coating; Moto Mods supported
  • Display:
    • 5.5” Super AMOLED with Quad HD (2560 x 1440) resolution
  • Memory:
    • RAM: 4 GB LPDDR4
    • Internal: 32, 64 GB UFS
    • Card slot: yes, up to 2 TB
  • Camera:
    • Primary: 13-megapixel, f/1.8, laser/phase-detection AF, OIS, Dual-Tone LED
    • 4K at 30fps, HDR, Slo-mo videos
    • Secondary: 5-megapixel wide-angle lens with LED Flash, f/2.2, 1.4um pixels
  • Connectivity:
    • Bluetooth 4.1 LE, NFC, Wi-Fi ac, Cat.9 LTE, A-GPS, USB Type-C
    • Fingerprint scanner
  • Battery:
    • 2600 mAh, up to 30 hours of usage; Turbo Power fast-charging supported
  • Price: TBA

Moto Z Force Specifications:

  • CPU: 2.2 Ghz quad-core
  • GPU: Adreno 530
  • Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
  • OS: Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
  • Supported Networks: 2G, 3G, 4G LTE
  • Design: 6.99mm, 163g; water-repellant coating; Moto Mods supported
  • Display:
    • 5.5” Super AMOLED with Quad HD (2560 x 1440) resolution
    • ShatterShield Display with crack-resistant coating
  • Memory:
    • RAM: 4 GB LPDDR4
    • Internal: 32, 64 GB UFS
    • Card slot: yes, up to 2 TB
  • Camera:
    • Primary: 21-megapixel, f/1.8, laser/phase-detection AF, OIS, Dual-Tone LED
    • 4K at 30fps, HDR, Slo-mo videos
    • Secondary: 5-megapixel wide-angle lens with LED Flash, f/2.2, 1.4um pixels
  • Connectivity:
    • Bluetooth 4.1 LE, NFC, Wi-Fi ac, Cat.9 LTE, A-GPS, USB Type-C
    • Fingerprint scanner
  • Battery:
    • 3500 mAh, up to 40 hours of usage; Turbo Power fast-charging supported
  • Price: TBA