So long Moto X, it's time for Moto Z now.
Things have just wrapped up here at Lenovo's Tech World event, where Motorola unveiled the brand new Moto Z and Moto Z Force, the latest in its high-end smartphone lineup. These two phones, which at the core are identical, build nicely on Motorola's hardware and design chops, leveraging plenty of what it learned from the Moto X Pure Edition, Moto X Play and Droid Maxx 2 of 2015 — and they're super exciting.
Here are our first hands-on photos and initial impressions of the Moto Z and Moto Z Force.
A hands-on preview video
Words and pictures are one thing, but it's a whole other level of experience to watch us take a look at the Moto Z and Moto Z Force on video, actually using it in our very own hands. Watch and enjoy the hands-on preview above!
Stunning Moto hardware
At a quick glance, you wouldn't be able to tell apart the Moto Z and Moto Z Force. They both have a beautiful metal frame accented with a big pane of glass on the front and a highly polished stainless steel back, and look particularly stunning in the textures and finishes shown off today at the event — combinations of black, silver, gold and white. The combination of a perfectly flat back (save for a camera bump) and rather smooth, curved sides mean these phones are somewhat slick, particularly when you think about reaching around that 5.5-inch display. But there's no denying that the phones catch the eye and look awesome from the back.
All of the hardware quality you expect from Motorola.
The glass flows from the front right into the side metal with precision you expect from Motorola, and the metal around the sides is only interrupted by one port — a USB-C on the bottom. Yes, you read that right, there's no headphone jack on these phones — you'll need Bluetooth headphones, USB-C wired headphones, or a USB-C to headphone jack adapter.
On the front, the phones look a little bit more pedestrian, and very reminiscent of the look of the new Moto G4 Plus. You get standard proportions on the front, with the display centered between small, but not ground-breaking, bezels, with a new one-touch fingerprint sensor below and a loudspeaker, front-facing camera and a front-facing flash above.
On the inside, you're getting the specs you expect out of a mid-2016 flagship. Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, and what Motorola is calling its "best cameras yet" with 13MP on the Moto Z and 21MP on the Moto Z Force. The screen is an expected QHD resolution, and powering it all are a 2600 mAh battery in the Moto Z and a whopping 3500 mAh in the Moto Z Force. Both feature Motorola's Turbo Charging system, which will let you quickly fill up those batteries for 10 or more hours of use in just 15 minutes.
Lenovo is only showing off the "Droid Edition" versions of both phones, which this time around really comes down to just some Droid and Verizon branding on the hardware, and some customized software inside. But because of the modular components of these phones (more on that below), the hardware is identical externally and just about the same inside to make sure that everything runs smoothly no matter which models of the phone you're using.
As was rumored leading up to the announcement, Motorola has gone all-in with the idea of a modular smartphone, and it calls the system "Moto Mods." These swappable modules connect to the back of the Moto Z and Moto Z Force, and are interchangeable between both models thanks to their perfectly flat backs and identical back footprints. Once connected magnetically, the Mods can communicate with the phone over a series of 16 gold-plated pogo pins near the bottom of the back, passing data and power in both directions.
Moto Mods will be forward-compatible with new Moto phones.
The first three Mods available are a JBL loudspeaker with an integrated battery, a short-throw projector that can display up to a 70-inch screen, and a stylish battery pack that can boost your battery life without adding too much bulk. There are also a nice grouping of Mods that are just for looks, adding a wood, leather, cloth or rubberized finish to the back of your new Moto Z or Moto Z Force. Beyond that, Motorola is also talking about having Moto Maker available, for even more color combinations.
Speakers on stage took several shots at the LG G5, reminding everyone that the Moto Z's implementation doesn't require taking apart the phone, removing the battery or restarting — you just clip on the Moto Mods and you instantly have the capabilities it brings. Motorola is also seeding development materials to third parties so other companies can make Mods that are completely compatible with the phones. In a huge vote of confidence, Motorola is also committing to the Moto Mods platform by saying that future versions of the Moto Z line will also be compatible with Mods that are made today.
Moto software as we know it
One thing that we didn't really see much focus on in the launch was the software. Playing around with the Moto Z and Moto Z Force, we can see why — we're very much looking at the same great slimmed-down Motorola software as last year's Moto X line and the just-announced Moto G4.
The software interface on these Droid Editions of the Moto Z and Moto Z Force very much looks like what you get on a Droid Turbo 2 or Droid Maxx 2 today — and we can expect the unlocked and un-branded models to have similar software to the current Moto X Pure Edition.
So much more coming
We're still in the aftermath of the launch event, and we're wrapping up all of the coverage you deserve to see on the Moto Z and Moto Z Force — keep your eyes on Android Central for more!
- Our Moto Z review!
- Moto Z Play preview
- The Hasselblad True Zoom is a Mod to remember
- Moto Z specs
- Moto Mods custom backs
- The latest Moto Z news
- Discuss in our Moto Z forums