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Goodbye Moto X, say hello to Moto Z: what you need to know

Motorola's new offering in the Moto Z line is promising to be a game changer with hot-swap modular capabilities.

Published onJune 9, 2016

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.

These are the first Moto Mods for the new Moto Z range

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
Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
32GB of internal storage with MicroSD expansion
Main: 13MP
2600mAh, 3500mAh for the Z Force
Fast Charging
Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
Customizable 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. 

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