Motorola was acquired by Lenovo, the world’s leading laptop manufacturer with plans to replicate the same success into the mobile world.
Lenovo has launched the Moto Z, the world’s slimmest phone which comes with ground breaking modular design and premiumspecs and innovative features.
TechMoran got a review unit and let’s see if Lenovo is winning or yet to.
Screen: 5.5 inch QHD AMOLED
Processor: Snapdragon 820, 4GB RAM
Storage: 32 GB internal with Expandable storage
OS: Android 6.0 installed but Android 7.0 update is available
Rear Camera: 13MP rear with OIS and dual tone, dual LED flash coupled with Laser autofocus.
Front Camera: 5MP with LED flash
Battery: 2600 mAh with turbo charging.
In the box
- Moto Z
- Turbo Charger
- Bumper case
- Style Shell mod
Note : Neither earphones nor USB Type C were packaged in the box. Sometimes reviews units have some components missing. There is a chance that these items will be available in the final retail box.
Moto Z has the most breathtaking design of all time. The metallic frame with rounded edges blend seamlessly with the 2.5D glass covering the front. The back has glass at the top and bottom antenna lines, with metal in between. The metal had subtle lines on it which would lead one into thinking that it is solar powered. But the most pleasing aspect of the device is how slim it is, at 5.2mm,the Moto Z is the thinnest phone from a global manufacturer. It is simply breath-taking. On top of that, the golden color model that I have reflects light with its rear panel making the phone shine like a piece of jewelry.
The only negative is in the easily oiled-up nature of the back panel and the unconventional front panel; there is a finger print scanner below the screen which weirdly doesn’t double as a home button. The phone uses on-screen keys instead. Most of the time I found myself pressing the fingerprint sensor expecting to be taken to the home screen. Also, I have some reservations with the sensors that are located next to the fingerprint, they are unsightly. I only wish that Motorola would have covered them. Fortunately, they are invisible on the black model. The good news is that the finger print is very fast and can save up to 5 fingers.
What I found surprising was the location of the speaker. The earpiece doubles as the main speaker of the phone. Perhaps this was a move made to keep the phone so slim. Nonetheless, the speaker is loud enough to hear even in a noisy room so you won’t miss any calls.
The display of the Moto Z is stunning; the AMOLED brings out rich colors. The saturation, however, is toned down. Unlike other AMOLED screens, the colors have a natural look even at “vivid setting”. Samsung screens have their colors popping out more. To some, the conservative and natural color representation might be a plus, others would have wanted more punch considering that this is an AMOLED display. Despite where you stand with color representation, you will greatly appreciate the sharpness of the screen. At QHD resolution, the Moto Z has over 400 pixels per inch. This means that even the smallest details will be very sharp with no pixilation whatsoever. All in all, the screen has richer colors than what you would find on an LCD screen and on top of that, the 2.5D glass on it is very smooth to the touch which adds to an overall premium feeling.
Performance and software
As you would expect from a high end phone like this one, the performance is to notch. The snapdragon 820 with 4gb RAM is the same configuration found in the Samsung Galaxy S7. The phone simply flies through the Android 6.0. Moto Z has stock software, which only helps the phone run leaner and faster. Only one app is not stock, the Moto app. This app holds all the magic that makes the phone unique from other stock software phones. The Moto app holds the options for activating and setting up the Moto Voice which can be used to control the phone hands free. This voice feature has been a signature of Motorola phones since the days it was owned by Google. The app also holds settings for Moto Display which senses when you are close and automatically turns on the display. The sensors below the screen are meant to make this feature flawless. Finally, the app has the Moto Actions, they let you do things like flip to mute, shrink the screen to one handed mode using one swipe and much more.
During the review period, I got a notification for an update to Android 7.0. The update brings along native split screen multitasking among other features. I will install the update and tell you how it runs on this device.
The 13 MP rear camera has dual-LED flash, which are also dual tone meaning that they preserve the natural color of the subject. It also has optical image stabilization for steady video recording and a hidden laser focus. The front facing camera is 5MP with an LED flash for low light shots. Initially impressions of the camera are positive with the phone taking decent pictures during bright and low light. Most impressive is how the flash doesn’t blow out the scenes. A more detailed photography dissection will be on the full review so make sure to look out for that.
In case you want more control with the snaps, there is a powerful manual mode dubbed “professional mode”. It has sliders to help you adjust exposure, ISO, white balance and more, the mode comes in handy under low light. I have managed to squeeze out more light into the images using this mode.
The battery is only 2600 mAh. Lenovo says that it can last for a whole day but we will have to put it to the test to prove that. On a positive note, the battery maintains its percentage while in standby very well. I once left it at 97% before going to bed at night; it was that same percentage when I woke up about 7 hours later. In addition, the charging is really fast. This phone takes less than an hour and a half to fill up from zero to 100%. It is so amazing at first you will think that percentage meter is playing tricks on you.
This is the phones claim to fame feature. It is Motorola’s shot at the modular phone concept called Project Ara, that they had kick started right before that division was taken by Google. LG G5 had tried to do a modular design but the Motorola’s approach is miles better. With LG you had to remove the phone’s bottom section, which would turn off the device , before interchanging the modules. On the Moto Z, all you have to do is snap the module in the magnetic back cover of the phone and the integration happens automatically, thanks to an array of pins located on the bottom rear.
All sorts of modules, called Moto Mods, have been made. Inside the box you get a free style shell mod whose purpose is to protect the pins as well as add a little personality to the device.
My favorite was the JBL Sound Boost mod. It is like a portable stereo speaker, but much smaller and connects via magnets instead of tedious Bluetooth pairing. It was really loud and had punchy bass. Even at the highest volume, it did not distort.
More manufacturers are producing mods for Motorola, we can only hope that this trend keeps up and we get a thriving ecosystem of this promising and genius technology.