At the end of the keynote, just when it started to seem like the announcement may not even happen at all, Lenovo took the wraps off of the latest Motorola flagships to great dramatic effect. All the rumors and leaks that have led up to this launch have been true for the most part, and there are certainly some aspects to get really excited about.

A new moniker in tow, what do the latest high-end offerings from Motorola bring to the table? We find out, as we go hands on with the Moto Z and the Moto Z Force!

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As the name would suggest, the Moto Z takes things a couple of (alphabetical) steps ahead of the previous Moto X flagship line, by bringing modular capabilities into the mix. The great news here is that Motorola has managed to do so in a far simpler and easier to use iteration that what we’ve seen from LG. The very noticeable connectors on the back allow for various components and covers to be magnetically attached to the phone with a snap, and everything is truly plug and play here, without the need for the phone to be restarted, or to remove and swap the battery. Before diving into the various attachments that are currently available, let’s take a look at the phones themselves.

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Both smartphones feature 5.5-inch AMOLED displays with Quad HD resolutions, resulting in a pixel density of 535 ppi. This makes the devices quite large, not helped by the distinct top and bottom portions up front that house a multitude of sensors, but the overall footprint isn’t that much more than most other smartphones with similarly-sized displays. The Moto Z is also one of the thinnest smartphones around, with a thickness of just 5.2 mm, while the Moto Z Force does have a little more girth to it, likely to accommodate the additional layers that help make the display shatterproof.

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Under the hood, both smartphones come with a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, clocked at 2.15 GHz, and backed by the Adreno 530 GPU and 4 GB of RAM. This processing package is the current gold standard when it comes to 2016 flagships, and with the performance of other high-end smartphones this year being very impressive, we can certainly expect more of the same from the Moto Z and Moto Z Force. You also get the usual suite of connectivity options with these devices, including NFC, that can be useful for its application in mobile payment systems.

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Given how thin the Moto Z is, it isn’t surprising that the camera module on the back does protrude quite significantly. However, when a cover, or MotoMod, is attached to the phone, the camera ends up sitting flush with the extended body of the phone, which makes for another nice reason to pick up one of the stylish shells that Motorola has on offer.

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The additional thickness that is found with the Moto Z Force also allows for more room to pack in a larger 3,400 mAh battery, compared to the 2,600 mAh unit found with the Moto Z. The Moto Z Force also comes with the faster quick charging capabilities, with Motorola claiming that you can get 50% of the battery life back in just 15-20 minutes. Of course, the Moto Z does come with its own fast charging, but it won’t be as fast as what is available with the Z Force.

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Other differences between the two include the camera, with the Moto Z Force featuring a 21 MP rear camera, compared to the 13 MP camera of the Moto Z, and of course, the display of the Moto Z Force is also shatterproof. The Moto Z Force does make for a compelling device, but the ultra-thin Moto Z is what you may find more attractive at first glance.

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As mentioned, both devices feature different primary shooters, but the camera app remains the same, and is quite intuitive and easy to use. The cameras seem to work well from what we were able to see so far, and we can’t wait to put them through rigorous testing in upcoming reviews and camera shootouts to see whether they manage to stand out from the crowd in this highly competitive aspect of the smartphone experience.

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The Moto Z is an extremely thin phone, and the Z Force isn’t that much thicker either, and not unexpectedly, there has to have been some compromises made in order to achieve these aesthetics. In this case, this comes in the form of a lack of the headphone jack. Instead, what you will get is an adapter that plugs into the USB-Type C port, and that is how you will be able to use this device with regular headphones and earphones.

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On the software side of things, Motorola keeps everything very simple and familiar, with the devices boasting an almost stock iteration of Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Everything is where you’d expect it to be, and Motorola’s useful additions make a return as well, including Active Display, various motion gestures, and more.

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Of course, the big story with the Moto Z and Moto Z Force has to do with their modular capabilities. As mentioned, the implementation is far simpler, and doesn’t require the battery to be removed, or have the phone be rebooted. The peripherals just snap on to the device via the strong magnetic connectors, and you are good to go as soon as they are in place.

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For starters, there are a number of stylish covers, or shells, available, and considering how thin the Moto Z is, it almost feels like its needs these covers to really round out the look and feel in the hand. There are covers that bring a little more functionality to the table as well – including battery cases made by Incipio and a pico projector – that does make the devices quite thick, but allows for an easy to way to share information from your phone.

Finally, there is a JBL speaker that can also be snapped into place, and provides for a very enhanced audio experience. The speaker and the projector also come with built-in batteries that are utilized first, before these accessories start drawing any power from the phone itself.

So there you have it for this first look at the Moto Z and Moto Z Force! Overall, we are very impressed by what we’ve seen so far from Motorola’s latest flagships. There have been some trade offs made, such as the removal of a headphone jack in favor of a thinner profile.

The Moto Z and Moto Z Force do have some key differences between them in terms of features and specifications, but both feature the same modular capabilities, and with the execution far better this time around, this may be the innovative step forward that we were looking for.

What do you think of these two handsets and do you plan to buy either? Let us know your views in the comments below!

Joshua Vergara
Writer, blogger, and videographer - Josh is a former support technician that learned much about technology by fixing everyone else's. On the side, he wrote and performed spoken word, maintained his own personal blogs, and began his own video podcast. Now, he's here at Android Authority looking to put it all together!
  • This fingerprint button ¬¬

  • Mike

    I think it’s a bad move to have a physical home button AND on-screen keys. uses up so much space and already has a huge bottom bezel. the Moto wording there just makes it worse. love the modules tho and like just about everything else.

    • Yadwinder Gill

      That is not a home button, but only a fingerprint scanner. The home button is on-screen

      • Mike

        yeah should have said finger print scanner. still, I like how HTC and Samsung have capacitive buttons and no on screen keys because it lets you use more of the display more often. but to have both uses so much extra space

        • i_say_uuhhh

          It also doesn’t make alot of sense to have a fingerprint scanner on front and not use it as a home button. Would have rather had it on the back somehow and get rid of that humongous chin, the word moto is totally unnecessary. In all honestly I would have been happy with them just adding a finger print scanner to last years moto x pure edition with an amoled and the 820. That was a great phone.

          • Mike

            exactly. should have made it a home button and has capacitive keys next to it. could have made better use of screen space and made the gigantic chin more bearable

          • calden74

            I’m sure there will be a small utility released that will allow such functionality. It’s Android, if you’ve thought of it most likely there is already a solution for it. One of the biggest complaints about the Nexus 6 was that it didn’t have tap to wake, a month after it was released the community made it happened. Same with Instagram only being displayed in portrait, by using a small utility, Set Orientation, Instagram and any other app that is written for portrait only will always be displayed at the devices current orientation. The point is, wait a month before complaining, it’s not even in the hands of the users yet, who’s to know what happens between now and the final released version.

    • Carlos Capone

      I second the idea, the fingerprint scanner takes alot of space it even created large bezel at the bottom ( which i hate especially like sony phones the bezel are so large) they could have removed the on screen button and placed capacitive button at the bezel at least it would have sounded fine.. Apart from that the phones look great

    • ✡ Netanel ✡

      It doesn’t work as a physical home button…
      It only work as a fingerprints reader.

      • Jacek

        Then it shauld be on the back..

        • ✡ Netanel ✡

          Didn’t say it isn’t…

        • Eddie

          Where would you put in the back dingus? If it goes to the back the modules would block it or they’ll have to cut out another awkward hole in the modules.

          • jason froats

            I think they should put it on the side ,,into the power button..that just makes more sence to me..

          • On the camera circle, dingus?

        • stfu

          putting it on the back isn’t going to work for obvious reasons.

        • Fitzgerald42

          Says who?
          Besides, you have the whole purpose of this phone already occupying the back (not to ma lot of people prefer it on the front to begin with ntion a

      • stfu

        the back isn’t going to work for obvious reasons.

    • Mark K Lyngdoh

      I agree there’s a huge bottom bezel, but the plus point of having it is that we get more space for resting the thump while using the phone.

    • Steevey Dsouza

      Moto phones are now on sale only at AndroidSmartphoneDeals:com

    • Steevey Dsouza

      Moto phones are now available for a huge discount online only at AndroidSmartphoneDeals:com

    • Steevey Dsouza

      Moto phones are now available for a discount online only at AndroidSmartphoneDeals;com

  • 40jimlloyd40

    Axon 7 for me.

    • Scott Lowe

      Very true. That phone looks like the phone of the year to me. Software updates concern me, though. But otherwise, it has everything I’d want.

      • David Martrano

        Your right motorola wasn’t the best at updates. Maybe lenovo will change that. Again the Z force seems to have it all!!!! On paper yes real world???

  • It’s really something great, Something new, and more than what Lg did. We expect to look a lot of new module and the questions is how, lenovo will do to make more developper create news modules.

    • David Martrano

      Sounds to me lenovo is headed in the right direction. I was skeptical about the Motorola take over. But new company with great ideas. Now if their really smart they keep the price down. And keep the European addition unlocked as it is a verizon exclusive. I’m a verizon customer but hate exclusives especially AT&T’s s7 active. But money talks and you know the rest!!!!

  • Mike

    I think Moto had a home run on their hands; but they then dropped the ball by making the Moto Z Force a Verizon only – even after an initial exclusive period. Best battery, best camera and shatterproof screen all not available to anyone else in the world except Verizon customers. WTF.

    • Scott Lowe

      It’ll be available in other parts of the world (except Canada) come September, just like the Moto X Force (Droid Turbo 2) was outside the US as an unlocked phone. I hate Verizon, do I wouldn’t get the Moto Z Force just because of that.

      • Mike

        …It’s just that I can’t use no-interest carrier financing then. I’m shure this phone will be a big nut to swallow. And I believe that route opens one up to warranty issues.

        • PhukdNtheHead

          … So you want a non-carrier phone but with carrier provided financing?

          • Mike

            Right. Just like almost every other major manufacturer’s phone made and sold in the U.S.
            ie: Apple, Samsung, LG to name the largest.

      • Veteater

        Moto z force will actually have an unlocked edition coming in September like the Moto z.

        • David Martrano

          Very happy LG screwed up the module concept. Lenovo has much better ideas with the mods. Very smart snap on mods large battery & shattershield and much improved camera. Samsung has the right idea listen to the consumer and now Lenovo is doing the same thing. We as consumers know what we want. I will take Lenovo & Samsung over any other product due to their listening capabilities and much improved products. All you gotta due is ask. Thumbs up to them!!!!!

  • Scott Lowe

    I just don’t understand the general concept of carrier exclusive phones. It makes absolutely zero business sense to willfully restrict your product to one point of sale. Whether it’s AT&T with the Galaxy S Active phones, or Verizon with the Droids. It just seems really stood from a business marketing point of view.

    • Scott Lowe

      stupid not stood.

    • Anothermuse

      The Droids are a weird thing for Verizon. I don’t think they sell well either but they keep doing it. The one good thing that doing this exclusive deal to start might be that Verizon will spiff salespeople to push the Moto Z for two months. This would be good because particularly with the mods, you may need to push the public to give them a chance. I don’t mean oversell, I mean actually show people the product and explain it. When Moto was in Verizon last time, the sales people knew nothing about them.

    • David Martrano

      I hate exclusives but the Z force will be sold unlocked anyway. Still very interested in it. Taking the mods to new levels and with great innovations. Just the fact of a 70 inch projector, JBL sound system and battery pack sounds like apple pie & milk to me! I have the turbo 2 and I will upgrade due to the fact that this sounds like a wonderful package. To me innovations are what it’s all about!!!!!

  • Jay Turner

    I don’t mind the USB-C connection, I just don’t want them to pull an Apple where you have to buy the adapter separately. These phones do look great!

    • Anothermuse

      They are including the adapter

    • Veteater

      ↓Yes, adapter is included. If I were you, I would just leave the adapter plugged into my most frequently used headphones/earbuds and use them like that, so I don’t lose the adapter.

  • Captain Jack

    I don’t understand why there is a fingerprint sensor on the front taking up all the space. It would have been better if the keys were capacitive but moto phones don’t have capacitive keys. The place below screen looks awkward with the square sensor.

  • vitriolix

    It looks pretty ok with the modular covers on, but without, oh god my eyes

  • Kanoosh

    my only issue is that because they have those sensors on the bottom with the finger print reader, it will confuse people that those are all capacitive touch buttons .. they should of made them less visible.. other than that, everything else looks awesome and i love where everything is going in the tech industry with the modular era.. here is hoping that laptops and tablets get on it too soon.

    • Anothermuse

      Those sensors have been on Moto X for 2 gens, doesn’t confuse anyone. When you get the black face they disappear. The fingerprint scanner is ugly, but oh well.

      • Kanoosh

        that’s what i’m saying.. with the finger print reader button in between the sensors, people can easily mistake them for capacitive touch buttons given samsungs popularity with them..

        they should of made them more subtle or blend in with the phone..idk it just looks kinda ugly like you said. lol

    • Veteater

      True, that sucks. However, if you are in full screen mode and you tap the fingerprint scanner thinking subconsciously that it will take you home, it instead brings up the on-screen keys.

  • Daniel Hansson

    I have to admit I was a bit sceptical about the white Moto by Lenovo deal. I stand corrected. Moto z and Moto mods seem amazing. And the software hasn’t been messed with. All this and a really cool design.. I really want one of these! ☺

    • Michael Allen

      The software hasn’t changed, however since the sale there has been a trend of slower updates and older phones not getting the updates.

    • David Martrano

      Lenovo people used to work for samsung!!!!!

  • PhukdNtheHead

    Hahahaha. Gorgeous looking phone gets released, everybody is suddenly an industrial designer.
    1. Fingerprint scanner can’t be on the back since it would be useless with a module attached.
    2. That Jay Leno chin is necessary if you want Motorola’s wonderful ambient display. Those sensors are very functional, and basically become invisible with the black front. This is why Motonovo can’t use capacative buttons
    3. Ultimately, if you want Moto Actions/Moto Display as well as a fingerprint scanner (like everyone and their mother bitched about not having on the MXPE) they might as well be on the bottom bezel. This way actually takes advantage of the space while conserving functionality of modular back plates.
    Think before you start complaining about a phone that you probably won’t buy or about a company’s industrial design that you don’t even work for. Shit man

    • legendlord4751

      Spot on, people just like criticizing the smallest things so they can cling to some hope that the smartphone industry hasn’t stagnated, and we can still do more to drastically improve phones

      • PhukdNtheHead

        Really though! Bothers me so much when people bitch about the smallest things (OMG that logo above the fingerprint scanner)

        • David Martrano

          I don’t think there’s anything to bitch about. I’m glad Lenovo has moved in on the module options. Seems very simple, snap on mods without taking your phone apart. Great idea and has me very intersted. LG forgot how to develop a great innovation. So as far as I’m concerned the g5 is a flop. 5.3 inch screen an a 2800mamp battery!!!!! No thanks.

    • Veteater

      You are officially the smartest person who has ever seen this site.

      • PhukdNtheHead

        Hahaha too kind

    • Airyl

      1. Side mounted fingerprint sensor.
      2. The placement of the Moto logo is what makes it somewhat ugly, the chin would’ve looked better if the logo were at the top.
      3. See 1.

      • Michael Allen

        This is the biggest thing to me, the logo on the bottom chin. I admit it is a small complaint, but this could have been more easily removed.

      • Vintersorg

        Side mounted fingerprint sensor on a 5mm thick phone?

    • Jason C

      Finally someone with common sense commented on this

  • bobbybilly

    Is it water resistant too?

  • John Apel

    I think I like them. I would have to go with the black model to hide all those sensors on the front, but otherwise the design is decent. Not nearly as good as the S7 or HTC 10 IMO, but still not too bad. I also really like the idea of the Moto Mods, especially the ones that extend the battery life. I wouldn’t buy these over my S7 Edge, but I still think they seem like very nice devices with a lot of potential. I hope they sell well so that Motorola continues down this sort of path.

    • David Martrano

      I agree and I think Motororola/Lenovo are headed for great things with the modules. I’ve stated in many reviews the mods are the future. Looks to me there in the right hands. Can’t feel bad for LG, half assed get’s you nowhere. Competition is fierce in this market!!!!

  • Proshun Khondoker

    moto razor 2016 was supposed to b announced… they teased…. i was waiting for that phn… this aint fair. :(

  • Michael Allen

    It would have been cool if they went with no fingerprint scanner like last year but offered it built into the back of select modules.

  • Daniel Hansson

    Sounds like Lenovo wants to ” turn the page”

    • Fitzgerald42

      This was a Motorola developed phone. Concept preceded Lenovo’s involvement by a couple of years

      • David Martrano

        I did not know that thanks for the info

    • David Martrano

      Agreed, I’m dying to see what Lenovo’s update’s are gonna be like. I really want to see the implementation of the mods and how well there going to work. I like new ideas & innovations. Also hoping the camera is vastly improved on the Z force. I have the turbo 2 along with the edge and so far the edge’s camera is sharper. So will see if Lenovo lives up to it’s hype of improved camera. I hope so!!!!

  • misio87

    So no info on the Price :?

    • David Martrano

      I would hope Lenovo is smart enough to keep the price reasonable because were going to invest into the mods. I will purchase the first three the JBL sound, the battery boost and projector mod. This sounds so cool. This is a great time for the consumer!!! Choice is a wonderful thing….

  • Had Enough With the BS

    Great overview Josh !

  • Don Draper

    The bottom of the phone doesn’t look good to me. Coz of that square scanner I suppose,

  • Technobro

    R.I.P. Moto X

    • David Martrano

      It looks like lenovo is making a monkey out lg with the module concept. You don’t have to take your phone apart to install the module. Snaps on with a magnet, cool. As far as I’m concerned thumbs up to lenovo for a great idea. This is a great time for consumers!!!!!

      • Technobro

        It definitely is. That jbl speaker is insane!! Now all we need is third party modules. Then we can have crazy things like multiple micro sd and sim cards!!! Or even a smart drone attachment :}

    • David Martrano

      RIP G5 modules!!!!

      • Technobro

        RIP LG!!!

        • David Martrano

          Technobro, I loved the V 10 and thought they had a bright future with it. Maybe they will learn something from Lenovo and reintroduce the modules into the V10. Put the 820 & 4gb’s in it. After the g5 bust with the mods they need something good to happen. Only time will tell!!!!

          • Technobro

            LG’s good. They need to pick up sales in this dense market though! And 4 GB? 6 GB is the new deal. But seriously, I hate the spec war, it is a mask for innovation. LG had the right idea with the v10. Who cares what processor is in it? If it does its job and does it well while lasting, it’s a keeper. Time will tell.

          • David Martrano

            I like your term a mask for innovation. Have to credit Lenovo for mod concept. It seems their in the right hands. The Z force sounds exciting and can’t wait to get my hands on it. The turbo 2 is still a favorite for me. Now the next step mods for the Z force. Very happy that someone is keeping up with Samsung. Plus the large battery & improved camera. Just what the doctor ordered. I’ll say it again give the consumers what they want and your on the road to record sales. I think that’s a simple fact!!!!

          • David Martrano

            New idea why not put 6gb’s in the V10 with the 820. Then re-design your modular program. Come up with a better idea than Lenovo. I really liked the V10 & to me it’s a winner. If LG could pull this off they could compete with the best of them. It would be a shot in the arm that’s needed. Then why not dabble in the shattershield area!!!!!! Time will tell!!!!!

  • Lucas Goulart Francisco

    I liked the Z Force but the price will probably kill it where I live. :(

    • David Martrano

      It will probably be priced like the turbo 2.

      • Lucas Goulart Francisco

        Turbo 2 was 3,500 here.

        • David Martrano

          Where do you live inside ft. knox?

          • Lucas Goulart Francisco

            Brazil.

  • jasonlowr

    Looks hideous

  • Aloof

    Z Play is coming too. SD625 version of Z.. lol even Amazon has listed its screen protector as coming soon.

  • 1213 1213

    Front looks as ugly as always…

    • Mark K Lyngdoh

      Yes the design doesn’t appeal to everyone. but the idea of connecting mods with such ease is so fascinating that any design flaw is easily forgiven

      • David Martrano

        Hey Mark, seems we think alike as far as the mods are concerned. I’ve got a turbo 2 along with the edge as my daily. The edge blows me away but the mod concept seems to be the future. I really give lenovo a thumbs up for this design. The specs seem to match the edge with power the only question is can the camera match the edge? Well I can always trade my turbo for the Z force. Very interested!!!!!

        • Mark K Lyngdoh

          I’m very interested too David.

  • Lucian

    Really an interesting concept of modularity. Good choice. I love the design itself. The 3.5 mm jack isn’t so important to me, I can live with an adapter for my headphones. Even bottom bezel don’t look too ugly to me. But I think that Lenovo could do it much better. Moto logo on upper bezel and a small gap between fingerprint and display. 2600mha battery isn’t great but isn’t an issue when you simply snap a external battery on the back.
    Overall a very good looking smartphone. Love the modularity. Way better than Lg G5. Until project Ara will be on sale, I would definitely buy this and make it my daily driver!

    • David Martrano

      Talking about missing the boat. I had very high hopes for LG after the V10. You can’t go backwards in a market with such diversity. Prices and marketing are the keys to this peculiar market. Innovation, but LG did not follow thru and their sales are slumping. Oh well I think Lenovo has refreshing ideas. Might have to give the Z force a spin!!!

  • Mark K Lyngdoh

    i agree there’s a huge bottom bezel, but the plus point of having it is that we get more space for resting the thump while using the phone.

  • Mark K Lyngdoh

    LG G5 killer.. that’s what this is.

    • David Martrano

      Mark, LG is gonna take it in the shorts for their module concept. When you innovate something don’t half ass it and LG is guilty as charged. They made taking your phone apart a real mess. The way lenovo makes it sound like a pleasure & much fun with new toys!!!

      • Mark K Lyngdoh

        That’s right David. People are too lazy to even reboot their phone and to take out the bottom half with the battery is just too much a task. Apparently Lenovo understood that.

  • Mark K Lyngdoh

    I wonder why can’t they make the phone’s screen itself as the fingerprint sensor. That way one can touch anywhere without having to find just one spot as is the case right now.

    • Had Enough With the BS

      It’s coming …

  • cath evans

    I love my Moto G, but this thing is ugly! Looks more like a knock off Chinese copy from five years ago. So much stuff on the top and bottom bezels. Maybe it’ll look better in black? Oh, I’ve just seen the photo of the black version, so no…..

  • Friss

    If you know how to do business, Lenovo should not want to announce a device 120+ days before you can actually buy it, by the time most people have forgotten about it and secondly available in fall is a wrong timing as new iPhone and Note 7 will be release days after announcement.

  • Dave Granger

    What are the two dots on either side of the fingerprint reader?