Hands on with Moto Z

Hello Moto: We road test the super-thin, modular Moto Z smartphone from Lenovo...
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Hands on with Moto Z

Is the world ready for a top-line smartphone just 5.2mm thick?

Since Lenovo bought Motorola in 2014, the company’s had no problem going against the grain. The Moto G series offers an amazing Android experience at a rock bottom price, the X Force debuted a shatterproof screen, and now we have the Moto Z.

In a such a competitive market, it’s important to find something that’s going to set you apart from the rest. And in this instance, Lenovo has gone down the modular smartphone route. It’s not necessarily a new idea, but it hasn’t really taken off yet (see the shelving of Google’s Project Ara).

This is what you can expect from Motorola’s Moto Z...

Build

The most physically notable thing about the Moto Z is its super-thin design. At just 5.2mm, it’s one of the slimmest on the market. But despite its slender build, there’s a powerful 5.5-inch Quad HD display fronting the phone, with an astounding 535 pixels p/inch.

On the right-hand side are the volume controls and the power button - all identical in size and equally spread out. And on the top is a SIM tray/microSD card slot all rolled into one to save space.

On the base you’ll find the USB Type-C input, which doubles up as the headphone input, a bit like iPhone 7. Don’t worry though, you won’t have to buy new headphones, as you can also use an adaptor, like the one included in the box.

Moto Mods

The Moto Mods are a very cool aspect, all of which magnetically snap onto the back. There are four main versions available, from left to right:

  • Moto Insta-Share projector, which can turn any flat surface or wall in a 70-inch screen
  • Hasselblad True Zoom, turning the razor thin smartphone into a high-quality digital camera with 10x optical zoom and Xenon flash
  • JBL SoundBoost speaker, supplying high quality audio at punch levels. It also has a built in kickstand
  • Powerpack batteries, add extra hours to the smartphone’s 2,600mAh battery capacity with additional packs

You can of course opt to have nothing on the rear of the phone, but it comes boxed with a sturdy plastic cover to protect the magnetic strip, and a translucent bumper border.

All of the modules need charging up in their own right, but when they’re attached to the phone, they’ll essentially piggyback off its power if they don’t have any of their own. You get an extra symbol at the top of your pull-down settings menu, showing the module’s battery percentage.

Camera

Without the super-powered Hasselblad module, the camera still holds it own. The 13MP sensor is joined by a dual-tone flash, capable of shooting video in 4K resolution, and there’s optical image stabilisation built-in to keep everything blur-free.

Round the front there’s a secondary 5MP camera with its own dedicated LED flash. That means bright and accurate selfies, and Full HD video-call quality.

But before we jump into what's going on under the hood - can we talk about the fact Lenovo has brought back the iconic "Hello Moto" line for the Moto Z campaign? Check out the 60-second TV ad below:

Performance

But we digress... back to specs. First of all, we’ve got a powerful quad-core processor, made up of two halves (two 2.15GHz and two 1.6GHz). The larger of the pair looks after the kind of stuff that needs more power, like big games and streaming films, while the smaller will take care of the more menial stuff, like sending texts, and keeping the Android operating system running well.

The Type-C input we mentioned earlier supports Motorola’s TurboPower technology. After just 15-minutes plugged into the wall, the phone will have absorbed enough charge to last for seven hours, which will be near half of the 2,600mAh battery’s capacity.

Sound good? You’ll be able to order the Moro Z from the Carphone Warehouse website in the coming weeks, so keep an eye on The Lowdown for updates. And, if you have any questions, drop us a comment below.

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