Hands-On The Phab2 AR Smartphone, Moto Z And Moto Z Force At Lenovo Tech World

Moto Z, Moto Z Force, and Moto Mods

During the keynote Lenovo's CEO said there are over 200 smartphone manufacturers, all making similar phones that do similar things, and Lenovo wants to differentiate itself. The way it plans on doing that is with its new Moto Z line-up of smartphones.

Moto Z Moto Z Force Stage
Lenovo announced two models; the Moto Z and the Moto Z Force. Both have the same flagship specs though the Force includes a display that is shatter resistant.

Moto Z Moto Z ForceSpecs Stage
Both Moto Z phones are packing some serious horsepower.

The biggest news with the Moto Z lineup, however, is that they are both modular. They support an all-new accessory line-up named Moto Mods.

Lenovo Moto Z Display
The Moto Z with a snap-on shell, speaker, and projector (details below).

Moto Mods are a new method Motorola has devised to bring additional functionality to its smart phones. These add-on devices snap onto the phone with magnets, and communicate via 16 flush pins on the back of the phones. You don't need to turn the phone off to attach them either. We demo'd all three of the Moto Mods that will be shipping "later this year" and here are our thoughts on them along with some impressive demos on video after the break. 

JBL SoundBoost
We saw a few demos of this add-on speaker system and we must say, it’s impressive, and adds not only more volume but also a bit of bass to whatever you’re listening to. You just snap it onto the phone while it’s playing anything with sound and you can instantly hear the improvement. The SoundBoost also has a built-in 1,000 mAh battery, which Lenovo said can run for 10 hours before it needs to suck some juice out of the phone it’s attached to. The SoundBoost also has a built-in kickstand, which is made out of an anodized metal and looks very cool in red. When you deploy it, you run into the only real issue with the boost, which is that it comes out of the back of the phone. It’s great if you’re listening to music, but if you’re trying to watch a video and are using the stand it’s not ideal because the sound is projected away from you.

Insta-Share Projector
This snap-on projector is capable of displaying an image up to 70 inches across at 480p resolution, and also includes an 1,100 mAh battery that is good for 60 minutes of projection time.  The demos we saw looked a bit washed out, but it also wasn’t very dark in the demo hall either, so it was not the best environment for this type of showcase. The DLP projector did work exactly as advertised, and was able to project whatever was on the screen instantly onto any flat surface. It charges via USB-C.

Incipio Offgrid Power Pack
This wasn’t really demo’d, since it’s just a battery. It was developed with Incipio and like the rest of the Moto Mods snaps onto the back of a Moto Z. There were a few versions of it on display though, including one designed by Kate Spade that was downright fashionable. Lenovo says the Power Pack is good for an additional 22 hours of battery life, and it can also be charged wirelessly.

The Moto Z phone was available for handling, and it felt incredibly thin yet strong and sturdy in the hand. We’re not even referring the Force model either, which has a display that cannot be shattered. The Z felt rather big in our hand, but we’re also used to using a much smaller phone. We only sampled it for a few minutes as most of our hands-on time was spent checking out the Moto Mods, but it felt very snappy overall. The thing that stood out most to us was that despite the phone being rather tall and thin, it felt like it had no flex whatsoever, as in even if you wanted to bend it you probably couldn’t without using a ton of force. It just felt very well-made, from top to bottom. The display was also quite stunning, and is easily one of the best displays we’ve ever seen on a phone.

The Moto Z will be available as a Verizon exclusive initially, with an unlocked version arriving later this year. Pricing is unannounced at this time.

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