The smartphone market has many big fish fighting for the top spot every year. This never ending league gives users great products and amazing innovative new features and preferably at a worthier price. This year, the Samsung note series is on fire (well literally!) and hence their profits and dreams to reach or maintain (highly arguable) the top spot are “blowing up”. Motorola comes in with a promising device to capture the market Samsung has lost. Lenovo, after getting hold of the company this summer is taking the right steps one after the other. After their amazing Moto G 4th Gen devices they are back with Moto Z (renaming the X series) and Z force.

Amidst the super dramatic news and headlines with Google blowing off Project ARA people who were waiting for the launch of the same were left unsatisfied. The fact that google so casually called it off infuriated many people across the globe and left them wishing and wanting the modular experience.(note: If you don’t know about Project ARA you can read a detailed article right here) Motorola also came up with Moto mods for the same and gives the mobile modularity a new direction.

Well, not exactly new, LG brought in mods into their G5 but for some reason called it off with their next model, the v20 and hence Motorola could be in the driving seat this year. Lenovo undoubtedly has planned it well enough, releasing mod development kits all around the world slowly. They might just become the next big thing. Lets dive right into an in-depth review of the Moto Z Force and its brother, the Moto Z to see if it’s just the perfect timing that makes it a great buy or it really has something great under the hood.

MOTO Z DESIGN & DISPLAY

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Both the phones are very slim and feel great in hand with Moto z being only about 5mm thick. It surely stands out and can be easily called the slimmest and lightest out there in the similar screen size and price category. The Moto z force on the other hand is larger and has a couple of more mm but is heftier than its brother. The new big thing in market is the death of the 3.5mm jacks and Motorola is no different. To make the phone slimmer it has provided a USB C-type port to connect your earphones and has dropped their 3.5mm jack .

Whatever maybe the reason we felt the design more adhering to what Lenovo makes rather than the built quality that Motorola used to be known for. The metal bodies are shiny and the silver borders around the camera sticking out makes you doubt your idea of keeping the phone on a table (screen side up).

Now coming to the real selling point. Those little magnets staring at you at the top and lower thirds of the backing are not there for the looks. They accompany connector pins to hold your moto mods in place and get them working. You can put up back covers which stick to these pins and solve the aforementioned issues with design but you have to gamble adding 25-30 gm of weight to the devices making moto Z feel old and Z force heavier than we would like. Moto Z force has a bigger battery and feels more secure in hand (maybe because of the weight itself). All in all the phones may have Moto written above their finger print sensors, their designs shout out Lenovo to everyone who holds or sees it.

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Both the devices have 5.5 inch AMOLED displays with Quad HD resolution and a whooping pixel density of 535ppi. The displays are nearly perfect and are a treat to the eyes. The Moto Z force has Moto ShatterShield, making safer of the two by preventing cracks and shatters due to accidental drops.

 

PERFORMANCE

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 and Aderno 530 GPU accompanied by a 4 GB RAM simply makes these phones absolute outperformers in the performance department. They show off the tag Flagship and manage to work smoothly even if fully loaded with apps. This can easily be credited to the fact that the skins are really very close t vanilla android making it a ”lighter” OS and boosting up the multitasking features.

HARDWARE

32 GB or 64 GB are the on-board storage options available, with storage still expandable, allowing for up to an additional 256 GB, using microSD.moto-z-and-moto-z-force-unboxing-initial-setup-aa-5-of-24-840x560 The Fingerprint reader right below the display like in the 4th gen Moto G devices is a great performer as expected. Whats new is now you can long press iit to lock the device giving it a feature we never knew was needed at all. Audio on both devices is ordinary and nothing to brag about much with the front facing speaker managing to perform decently enough for you to hear but not great or loud enough to drool upon.

The missing 3.5 mm jack is missing as expected and is made up by providing a USB-C to headphone connecter in the box itself. Many would not yet be ready to welcome this change but its already a reality and people are actually learning to live without the 3.5mm friend. It would surely take some time to normalize but it in the end wont cause an issue unless you listen to music while charging your device. If connected with the given charging brick they charge as fast as 50% in 30 min which is pretty impressive. The Moto Z Force with 3500 mAh battery stayed alive (screen on) for 5 hours with very heavy usage while the Moto Z could stand only 3.5 hrs.

CAMERA

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This is where you see the difference in the two devices. The Z Force has the more powerful camera, with a 21 MP shooter, while the Moto Z utilizes a 13 MP sensor. Everything else is similar including the f/1.8 apertures, the inclusions of laser autofocus and OIS and 5MP front shooters. Everything else in the camera app department is exactly like the 4th gen Moto G devices. You can read about them here.

Well, this is what you’ve been waiting for, were going to discuss the MOTO MODS now.

THE MODS

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For now, Motorola has 3 mods

  1. Incipio OffGrid Power Mod which is a 2200 mAh battery bank that slaps onto your phone and helps it lasts much longer making moto Z a 4,800 mAh phone and Z force a 5,700 mAh phone. Power is drained either regularly to keep the phone as charged as possible, or in an Efficiency Mode, that does enough to keep the phone at 80%.
  2. Insta-Share projector which makes your phone a projector and can be used to project your whole device on a wall. This could come in handy for presentations and movies
  3. JBL SoundBoost Speaker which makes your phone a great speaker phone somewhat like an attached Bluetooth speaker without having to carry a bulky speaker along.

All these mods are super convenient to use and can be really useful and even fun to play with considering the hot swappability of these mods which means they can be attached and removed without even rebooting your device. The only downside is their pricing, the mods are actually quite expensive, especially the projector, and still can’t replace standalone devices like a speaker and a projector. Considering this is just a start and many amazing innovations can be anticipated because the mod making kit is easily accessible in various parts of the globe, Motorola has done a great job at showing us a working model of mods which is arguably the future of smartphones. Still not fulfilling the term “modularity” in my view, project ARA will still be missed a lot.

FINAL THOUGHTS

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The Moto Z and Moto Z Force are available only on Verizon in the US, priced at $624 and $720. Moto Z although could be bought unlocked for now and hopefully  the big brother will also come out of the Verizon-Only family and support GSM so that AT&T users can also get their hands on these beasts. If you are a Verizon user do not hesitate or think twice. Buy one of these beauties because moto mods is anything to go by the versatility will keep on increasing. If mods don’t interest you, or they are just too much for the pocket you can stll pick these devices up because they fulfil all the criterion of a high end device.

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