moto z

Today at Lenovo’s TechWorld event, Motorola unveiled two brand new devices that aim to change the smartphone game, the Moto Z and the Moto Z Force. As you might guess by the Force name, the latter of the two models sees the return of Motorola’s ShatterShield technology.

Scaling in at only 5.2 millimeters thick and sporting full metal body chassis, these devices look to be rugged additions to the Android ecosystem. Motorola is calling these handsets “SnapPhones,” alluding to an allegedly groundbreaking technology that underscores their modular nature. Using “snap-like magic,” these devices can have whole modules attached to them, converting them into outdoor speakers, improved photography devices, or anything else that you can imagine. Motorola officially dubs its new modules “Moto Mods”, and addition to being super easy to attach, they can also be replaced on the fly — without the need to reboot.

See also:

These are the first MotoMods for the new Moto Z range

June 9, 2016

Motorola is calling this modular design a “full blown game changer” that appears to take the groundwork laid by the LG G5 and runs with it in an arguably more impressive direction. What’s the downside? Well, neither of these devices will have standard headphone jacks. This feature was abandoned in the interest of making the smartphones thinner and leaner, so if  you want to plug in conventional earbuds, you’ll have to use the USB-C to 3.5mm jack included with the smartphones.

Design and Specs

Display5.5-inch 2650x1440 AMOLED screen
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 820
RAM4GB
Storage32GB of internal storage with MicroSD expansion
CameraMain: 13MP
Battery2600mAh, 3500mAh for the Z Force
Fast Charging
SoftwareAndroid 6.0.1 Marshmallow
ColorsCustomizable via Moto Maker

As you can see from the table above, the Moto Z and Z Force offer compelling features that easily match up against the current frontrunners of the 2016 flagship race. Specs on the Moto Z (and the Force) include a 5.5-inch Quad HD AMOLED display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 SoC, and 4GB of RAM. Optical image stabilization and laser auto focus make the camera the Moto line’s most powerful offering yet.

Additionally, Motorola is saying that the Moto Z Force is guaranteed not to break or shatter thanks to its improved Shatter Shield technology. The real-life capabilities of this have yet to be seen, but these are pretty large promises from Lenovo and Motorola.

Expected Availability

While we don’t have specific release dates for these devices just yet, we do know that they will be heading to Verizon first as special “DROID Editions”. Following in September, unlocked models will be offered without the Droid branding, though it’s unclear if any other carriers besides Verizon will end up offering the phone. As for the Moto Mods? These will start going on sale this fall.

All in all, these appear to be very powerful offerings from Motorola, and we’re looking forward to seeing how they fare up against the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S7 and the LG G5. What do you think of Motorola’s latest? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments. 

Up next: Motorola just schooled LG on how to do modular design

Darcy LaCouvee
Darcy is the editor in chief at Android Authority. He follows the latest trends and is extremely passionate about mobile technology. With a keen eye for spotting emerging trends and reporting them, he works hard to bring you the best analysis, updates, and reports on all things Android. Darcy lives and breathes the latest mobile technology, and believes Android will be on a billion devices in the not too distant future.
  • I absolutely love it, save for the battery on the standard model (which can be fixed with the battery mod). I guess I’ll just comment on the Z Force. The specs are great, and although I think the phone itself looks hideous, I guess we’re supposed to use that pretty cover mod that was showcased on the ads (or other of those fantastic functional mods, although they’re not that portable) which even hides that unforgivable camera hump. Suddenly the LG G5 isn’t that interesting to me. My only concern is about how we’ll use cases…

    And holy crap, sometimes I love to not be American. This whole carrier exclusive thing would be a deal breaker for me.

    • WAIT A SECOND, NO HEADPHONE JACK?
      Yep, ignore the comment above. That’s not a deal breaker — it’s a deal disintegrator.

      • Arttu Laitinen

        really? You can’t use adapter? This is the such bad news?

        • You can. It’s just that I fear that having an adapter could be kinda uncomfortable or unpractical in some situations. Plus, I fear that the adapter won’t exactly let you charge the phone while you use headphones. Honestly, my last comment was just my immediate reaction and I think I can get around that issue, but one can’t deny that /having/ the headphone jack is better.

          • Arttu Laitinen

            I may be biased in this situation because I’ve used wireless headphones for a long time. At least when using the adapter, the headphones will be plugged at the bottom, which is more natural way for me. But yeah, I didn’t think about the charging issue at all when posting. That’s gonna be issue to some I’m sure.

        • Airyl

          An adapter?

          Please elaborate on how I’ll listen to music while charging my phone.

          • Captain Jack

            Yep that’s the point I want to ask everyone in favour of removing the 3.5 mm jack.

          • tyler_durden

            the phone’s too slim to include a big 3.5mm hole..

          • Captain Jack

            There’s a phone from a Chinese company slim like this but still having a 3.5mm jack. So that’s not a excuse to be given.

          • tyler_durden

            ok then, maybe this is an issue for many, I always use wireless headsets which are neat and hassle free.

          • tyler_durden

            stop complaining, get used to it… get a jaybird or sol wireless…

    • David Camacho

      the small battery will still be an issue because if you have the battery mod on then you cannot use any other mods

      • That’s why they shouldn’t even sell the standard Z in first place. It’s just a bad version of the Z Force. Specs are too similar to set them apart on price, and the only difference ruins everything.

    • Arttu Laitinen

      now that I think about this, how long the actual type-C jack is gonna last? I mean if you always use an adapter with headphones, and there’s like an extension in you’re usb-port whole time it is in your pocket, usb-port might bend right?

  • Alex Thorn

    Well I’m excited

    • David Martrano

      Me too, it’s about time the edge and 10, and g5 get some competition and let’s not forget the apple. It appears lenovo is bringing new technology to the table. Snap on magnetic mods. Turn the phone into a mini boom box. Plus projector & battery pack. If it works I want one. May the Z force bewitch you!!!!!!

  • Had Enough With the BS

    Moto Z by Lenovo
    is no better than Moto X by Lenovo.

  • Anothermuse

    So it’s still ugly, but much more interesting. A couple of thoughts though. The mods theoretically would be a one time purchase, meaning they’d still be good if you swapped the phone out in a year, though Moto locks itself into the same size factor. And the point they make of only certain people need certain features is valid.

    Now, if next year they can embed the fingerprint scanner into the screen and get rid of that Jay Leno chin, I’d have almost nothing to bitch about.

    Need pricing though. If the phone gets flagship priced at $600, plus $100 mods that’s gonna kill them. If they keep the base phone around $499, then $50-$100 mods, that could be the sweet spot.

    Another note, very little talk about the camera other than “our best yet”. OIS and laser focus is nice, assuming it works. All in all..very interesting.

    Now, Android Authority..Can you get an interview and get someone to go on record with commitments about upgrades and some hope of fixing their broke, broke warranty service?

    • Bob Carleton

      Honest question — it seems like every single phone that gets released nowadays has people crying “ugly!” and “OMG how can it be so hideous?” and “lol are you serious?” Um… it’s a rectangular bar with a screen, what makes it ugly exactly? Like… The Nexus 6P I could see people saying was kind of ugly because the back has that weird protrusion, but this… it’s flat? And shaped liek literally every other phone on the market? What makes a phone ugly vs not ugly at this point?

      • AntiHero R

        The bottom lip makes this one ugly, and the 6P is one of the best looking phones around today.

        • Bob Carleton

          What on earth? The 6p is literally a blank rectangle on the front. This is a blank rectangle with a button / fingerprint sensor on the bottom. And prevailing wisdom when the 6P was announced and everyone had to voice their opinion was it was hideous because of the protruding camera. It’s all nonsense.

          • Tim

            You see, when your dealing with blank rectangles small things make HUGE differences in appearance. I personally think the finger print sensor on the front makes the phone ugly. if the damn sensor was at least circular in shape I could stomach it. But that cursed square shape is ugly. It looks almost identical to the square button on my ugly old Nokia 7230 slide. The preference for me would be having a finger print sensor at the back. keep the front nice and clean. I want a true BLANK RECTANGLE for the front at least.

            The Nexus 5x is a good example of a “better” looking blank rectangle. to bad it has a rubbish battery. I also like the 6P and think it looks very good. That protrusion on the back is nice. Off course in the end what constitutes ugly or not is subjective.

    • My name is….

      Why do u want the bottom bezel to be gone?

      I ad a tiny lower bezel on Nexus 6 and it was a bitch to type, spacebar was too low.

    • Juarez

      Future phones will be compatible with actual models, the CEO addressed this at the conference

  • Scott Lowe

    They said nothing about the software side of things. As much as the hardware might be interesting, if these things have Lenovo UIs, and go away from the really good, mostly stock Android of the past few years, I won’t look twice at this. Plus, they said nothing about updates. You would think that a company that has had close workings with Google on Project Tango would get the timely software update thing figured out. We’ll see…

    • I’m honestly confused about it. In the keynote demonstration I saw the UI running with a skin, but minutes later I saw a The Verge video showing it with the same near-stock interface as last year’s Moto X Pure Edition (with Verizon bloatware of course).

      • Scott Lowe

        I didn’t notice that. I know that Lenovo talked about unifying the UI between them and Motorola. Asians typically like those different style UIs, while people in the US in particular (myself included) hate that crap. I guess we’ll see when they come out what kind of software they’ll have.

        • Juarez

          I think it’s mostly like before, since Moto G4 is more of it the same, only visible changes where in the camera software which is good, and the circular widget in the homescreen, so from a motorola user from the last 2 years I’m really excited for this Moto Z Force

  • Arttu Laitinen

    overwhelming amount of bloatware. But it is manageable if the phone is awesome. I’m really interested on how large of a battery mod they can make and still look cool? Did it have 3500mAh in its own?

    • Juarez

      The Moto Z force has a 3500mAh on its own, it’s a little bit thicker than regular moto z but the tradeoffs are bigger 3500mAh battery (alot of channels and a photo in the conference showed 3600mAh so not sure), better camera and shatterproof screen,
      also if you look carefully in engadget video, the battery module shows a “2200mAh battery” in the module so it extends the Moto Z Force to 5700mAh

      • Arttu Laitinen

        now that’s what I call a battery!

  • Julian

    Fuck you. Fucking logo on the fucking front.

    • Von_V

      Build your own fucking phone if you don’t like it.

      • Julian

        Unfortunately, I still somehow like the rest :/

  • Brian Obillo

    Lg G5 just got a hell lot prettier after seeing this. Seems phones that were thicker to pack a bigger battery or that could have (all moto x models, zenfone 2 line) are adopting this slim Iphone-like profile with their 2016 models while Samsung understood what people want and thickened their s7 line for bigger batteries.

  • Wolf0491

    So sony went X from Z and moto went to Z from X lol

    • Paco Inurreta

      A wild X-Zibit appears.

      • Wolf0491

        “throws master ball”

    • legendlord4751

      Wrong way round buddy

      • Wolf0491

        No it isn’t. If you read it very carefully I just worded it awful lol

        • legendlord4751

          Oh, so it is. Whoops XD

  • Nick Hernandez

    this better not cost more than $500 unlocked. Will have to wait and see it in person before i decide..any word of price drop on last years x? its at 299 on moto store with coupon.

  • Jack Edge

    Don’t mean to be negative, but why would anyone buy this over a lot of the other phones on the market? It’s hideous, it has a small battery, too thin, gimmicky modules, new name that’s less familiar and friendly to consumers, and NO HEADPHONE JACK! Are they crazy? Also, from what I’ve seen, it appears to have lots of bloatware, and if the Lenovo – Motorola UI integration goes as I think it will, we’ll be stuck with a crappy Chinese UI instead of the great stock Android UI we’ve come to expect. Not to mention the broken warranty system and questionable update devotion as of late. This had better be priced competitively, or I think the whole Motorola sale to a Chinese company that has been known to preinstall malware onto their computers was a bad idea.

    • Jack Edge

      And Verizon exclusivity. No thanks.

      • Jack Edge

        Maybe they did need something different, but the old design language worked for 3 years. As for the lack of a headphone jack, the only future it is preparing us for is a future where we have to buy adapters to plug in anything. Besides, they’re not losing money, and are making most from the Moto G.

    • Michael Allen

      It will most likely cost less than similar flagships and the force version has a shatterproof display.

    • Ronald Sims

      It will be sold unlocked in the fall. Also, If they kept the same old design language as they did last year, would people actually buy it? The lack of the headphone jack is jarring but this is going towards the future. People have to realize that this company is struggling and if it stayed the same and not make money, then this company would be dead. Also, it kept the stock UI we all love and Mods are good. Moto needed to change even if no long time fan liked it. I rather have them tried and fail at this than keep losing money keeping everything the same.

    • Arttu Laitinen

      so 3500 mAh is small to you? + battery mod. And of course it’s thin on its own, it isn’t intended to run without a mod on. How they could have implemented the mod features if the phone was thick?

  • daftrok

    Come on guys, get the facts right. There are two different cameras and two different sizes.
    Moto Z Droid Edition:
    Main Camera – 13 MP camera with OIS and 1.12um pixel
    Dimensions – 153.3 mm x 75.3 mm x 5.19 mm
    Weight – 136 g

    Moto Z Force Droid Edition:
    Main Camera – 21 MP camera with OIS and 1.12um pixel with Deep Trench Isolation
    Dimensions – 155.9 mm x 75.8 mm x 6.99 mm
    Weight – 163 g

    • Aloof

      Since the number of pixels aren’t the same on each one, why are the pixel sizes the same? Can anyone explain how pixel sizes are measured?

      • daftrok

        It’s because of the sensor size. Pixel sizes are determined by taking the number of pixels and laying it over the sensor. So even though the sensor on say the Xperia phones are 1/2.3″, the number of pixels shoots up to 21MP, meaning the pixel size is smaller. If however they kept that same sensor size and put less pixels (say 12MP), the pixel size will be much larger, which means better low light performance but less detail.

        However, a 4K screen is only 8MP so a 12MP picture is more than enough if you are not zooming in.

        • Aloof

          Hi, thanks for the explanation, but doesn’t that mean the Z force has a bigger sensor than the Z? To have the same pixel size with 21mp vs 13mp, the sensor has to be 13/21 times bigger (?) but in appearance both cameras are the same on the backs.

  • Michael Allen

    The force variant is almost perfect, save for the fingerprint and logo on the front.

  • Gibbs

    I hope it’s not expensive. And the battery is small :(

  • Captain Jack

    No 3.5 mm jack… Sorry… Not eligible for my money… End of discussion.

  • Gabriel Porto

    I don’t get it, they added a square as a fingerprint reader and they’re not using it as a home button? What are those two ugly bullets on the side of figerprint reader?

  • Ronald Sims

    I am impressed with this phones so far. Of course the lack of the headphone port is concerning and that is understandable. But Lenovo needed to change the Moto brand. Sure they could have keep the same design from the MXPE or the 2014 design, but then no one would by because it was the same design. Moto needs to gain money and appealing to the niche market did not work. It was losing money with Google, despite having great phones (the 2014 moto X, Moto G series, moto E, etc). This is an attempt to truly gain some ground and gain some monetary gains. Is this the phone that will save moto? Not really, but it might get some people to actually check out and buy this phone. Thus putting Moto as a brand in a better place.

  • bobbybilly

    Does it have the “shatter proof” screen?

    • Aloof

      Z Force does, might be significantly more expensive I think.