Motorola announced a third version of the Moto Z on Wednesday, along with the long-rumored Hasselblad camera Moto Mod. The Moto Z Play features a striking glass design with a chunkier frame the return of the headphone jack, while the Hasselblad True Zoom module brings powerful 10x optical zoom to the Moto Z lineup.
Moto Z Play Droid
The Moto Z Play Droid is an interesting new addition to the Moto Z family. You can tell you’re looking at something new almost immediately thanks to the glass-covered back, and a quick tour reveals that, yes, the headphone jack really has made a return. You’ll find it right next to the USB-C port.
The Moto Z Play offers the same 5.5-inch footprint as the Moto Z and Z Force but downgrades the resolution to 1080p. Combined with a 3510mAh battery that should mean plenty of power per charge even before you snap on an extra battery module. Motorola opted for a 16-megapixel shooter, falling in between the Moto Z and Z Force, along with a standard 5-megapixel front-facing camera. The device offers 3GB of RAM (down from 4GB on its sibling smartphones), along with 32GB of expandable storage.
It comes in a black design with silver accents or white with gold accents (Motorola sent us a black version to review). You’ll also find a familiar fingerprint scanner in front. I’m not crazy about the square-shaped sensor design, but it seems to work quickly and reliably based on my experience setting up the phone.
The company also included a few nice software tweaks to the phone’s Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow operating system. Twist the phone twice to quickly launch the camera, and repeat the motion to switch to the front-facing camera. Motorola also picked Google Photos for its default gallery app, which is great news for anyone already using the superb cloud storage service.
The Moto Z Play Droid launches on September 8 as a Verizon exclusive. You can pick it up with a payment plan for $17 per month or pay the full $408 upfront. An unlocked version of the device with AT&T and T-Mobile support will also be available starting on September 15 for $449.99.
Hasselblad True Zoom Moto Mod
Hasselblad’s highly-anticipated Moto Mod adds a powerful camera to the back of your smartphone, but all that photography power comes at a cost. The new module is extremely bulky, adding a significant amount of weight to the smartphone and more than doubling its thickness (and that’s when the optical zoom lens is still retracted).
The True Zoom module also packs a powerful Xenon flash, which promises to light up your subjects evenly. It offers 10x optical zoom, and if that’s not enough you can keep going with digital zoom for an even closer look. There’s a physical shutter button, which doubles as a manual focus when you press down halfway, and a knob for controlling the zoom.
The new module switches on automatically as soon as you open the camera and retracts as soon as you launch a different app or turn off the display. It even works with the Moto Z’s twist gesture for launching the cameras. Overall it seems like a pretty sweet gadget, though that extra bulk may be a turnoff for some.
Pre-orders for the Hasselblad True Zoom kick off on September 8 ahead of an official release on September 15. It’s available for $249.99 from Verizon or $299 straight from Motorola.
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