Some of the best phones of the past few years have come from Motorola, yet the company hasn’t been able to usurp its larger, wealthier competitors. None of that matters because its new Moto Z and Moto Z Force, announced in June, might be just what the doctor ordered. Not only are these devices among the most beautiful smartphones we’ve ever seen but they introduce a few innovative ideas that could push the industry in an exciting new direction.
Motorola’s new devices tackle a tricky problem with a very elegant solution. While its Mod accessories don’t make the Moto Z modular in the traditional sense, it’s an impressive answer to the LG G5, which sounded great in theory, but was not executed as well as we’d hoped. Instead of piecing the Moto Z together, such as adding a new camera module or taking the device apart to insert a bigger battery, you can attach the Motorola’s Mods via a magnet on the back.
Once the necessary contact points line up, you’ll have a more enhanced device, plain and simple. There are only a few attachments in the early going but they’re implemented very well; there’s a JBL speaker, a projector, a battery pack, and shells that are essentially like skins. I’m not so sure how practical something like the speaker or projector will be, but the battery is a nice addition; it’s nice to be able to be able to quickly attach the accessories to the back through magnets.
While the Moto Z and Moto Z Force are largely the same, the Force is the more advanced of the two. Not only does it come with a larger battery but it features ShatterShield technology, which Motorola guarantees won’t crack or shatter. Sounds like a challenge to me. The Force also comes with a 21-megapixel camera, bumped up from the Z’s 13-megapixel shooter. We don’t expect the picture quality to vary all that much, if at all, but we’ll keep our eye on that.
Otherwise, both devices feature gorgeous designs, Snapdragon 820 chips, 5.5-inch QuadHD displays, 32GB or 64GB of internal storage, microSD support up to 2TB, USB-C, TurboCharging, and, sad to say, no 3.5mm headphone jacks. An adapter does come with the devices but the lack of a headphone jack will take plenty of getting used to; I mean, we largely live in a Bluetooth world but change is hard, especially when it potentially means the user experience will be worse—at least early on.
While the designs and specs are largely the same, the Moto Z and Z Force come equipped with different battery sizes. Because the Moto Z is so damn thin (5.9mm), the battery is limited to 2600mAh; the Z Force, meanwhile, comes equipped with a battery that’s 3500mAh. That’s quite a big difference though we’ll have to keep an eye on how it plays out during real world testing.
For a more comprehensive look and breakdown of the different Mods, check out the video above, and stay tuned for much more Moto Z and Moto Z Force coverage.