You’re not going to believe this but the modular Moto Z you see here and the Moto Z Force and Moto Mods that were sent to me by Verizon to review for you all—they were sent to the wrong address. They’ve been floating in limbo for two weeks, hence the delayed coverage. Needless to say I have tracked them down and I can finally share my thoughts of these devices with all of you.
The Moto Z and Moto Z Force are nearly identical in terms of hardware, software and packaging. All we need to do is slide off the outer shell and lift off the top of the box and we’ll find the Moto Z and/or Moto Z Force sitting right on top. I’m going to put them off to the side for now. Also in the box is a wood themed snap-on back cover that fits the rear of both Moto Z devices. There is some standard get started paperwork in the box, a turbo charger is included as well, and it’s fused with a USB-C cable. Another unusual item included in the box is a male USB-C to female audio jack. Why is this included, you ask? Because Motorola has removed the 3.5mm headphone jack from both smartphones. Yes, both the 5.2mm thick Moto Z and 7mm thick Moto Z Force. The very last item in the box is a SIM card ejector tool—that’s it.
So as it stands, the Moto Z and Moto Z Force appear nearly identical. If we peel off the plastic of the Moto Z, we’ll find that it’s razor thin—one of the thinnest smartphones I’ve ever seen. It measures in at 5.2mm thick, which is why it doesn’t feature a 3.5mm headphone jack. It simply has no room for one. If you’re wondering why Motorola or Lenovo decided to make this phone so thin, it’s to help the device retain a slim profile with the Moto Mod attached. But taking a closer look at the build, we’ll see just how much the camera sensor protrudes from the rear of the phone. it is far from subtle. There is a 16 pin connector on the rear of the phone towards the bottom, trust me, you can’t miss it. This is where the modularity comes in. You slap on a compatible Moto Mod and the phone will automatically detect it and take advantage of its special functionality. It’s pretty cool. I’m going to follow up with a separate Moto Mods video to cover these Mods in detail because I’ve got three pretty awesome Mods to show off for you guys.
I think it’s worth mentioning in the build department is the metal frame. Both phones feature a metal frame but if we switch to the Moto Z Force, we’ll see that it’s not terribly smooth like the Moto Z. Two flat angles converge to a dull point. I’m not sure how I feel about it but it’s a subtle difference between the two models I’ve noticed. One of the reasons why the metal frame is different is because there’s more of it. It’s thicker because the phone is thicker. It’s about 2mm thicker measuring in at 7mm thick. It’s kind of strange how thick it feels on the hand after holding the Moto Z. Come on, it’s 7mm thick and it feels thick as it does.
The Moto Z and Z Force run the same software. It’s basically stock Android with some select Motorola customizations and tweaks here and there. The app drawer has a black background for example and the settings drawer feature some areas not found on stock Android such as a Moto Mods section. There is also an ambient display mode which features notifications and the time when you wave your hand over the screen. Under the hood, we’ll find a Snapdragon 820 quad-core processor with 4GB of RAM and the Adreno 530 GPU so plenty of power packed inside these guys.
There is a small, square fingerprint scanner in front of each device. Aside from its not so flattering appearance, it does work pretty well. It’s one of the fastest sensors I’ve used, not the fastest but certainly not the slowest. A neat little feature is the ability to turn the display off by long pressing the fingerprint scanner. It’s pretty neat, I wish it would be adapted on other smartphones.
While the Moto Z features a 13-megapixel camera sensor with an f1.8 aperture and laser auto-focus, Optical Image Stabilization and dual LED flash; the Moto Z Force features a 21-megapixel rear-facing sensor with a laser and face detection auto-focus, a 1.12-micron meter pixel size OIS and f1.8 aperture. I’ll save my in depth thoughts of the camera performance for my full review but here are some sample photos. The f1.8 aperture really does help capture some good low-light images.
Another difference between the two is battery capacity. The Moto Z features a 2600mAh battery while the Moto Z Force features an iffy 3500mAh battery; hence the reason why it’s 2mm thicker. I do wish Motorola would have added a 3.5mm headphone jack in the Z Force because I think it’s just thick enough to support one of these jacks.
There is a single front-facing speaker up top that is pretty loud and delivers a crisp sound based off first impressions. Unfortunately, they are not dual front-facing stereo speakers this time around. But overall, it’s the modular functionality that really piques my interest and I think it’s going to pique yours as well. We should have the Moto Mods video up soon for you all. The Moto Z an Z Force are exclusive to Verizon right now but they will be rolling out to GSM carriers later this year. The Moto Z can be purchased for about $620 off-contract while the Z Force costs about $720 off-contract.