Moto Z And Moto Z Force With Moto Mods Review: Excellent Execution

Introducing Moto Z And Moto Z Force With Moto Mods

Last month, the partnership between Motorola and Lenovo seemed to crystalize when the combined company stepped out with its first co-branded smartphone products that will ship here in the United States. Lenovo acquired Motorola's Mobility division from Google a couple of years back, but has rightfully lead with the iconic Moto brand for new smartphone (and smartwatch) product introductions since the acquisition. It wasn't until we saw Lenovo's Product Engineer/Spokesman, Ashton Kutcher take the stage last month at Lenovo Tech World to launch the new Moto Z and Moto Z Force, that it became apparent the assimilation of Moto within Lenovo was complete. 

The Lenovo-Motorola Moto Z Droid, Moto Z Force Droid, and their companion Moto Mods are a new series of Android smartphone devices and accessories that underscore the combined strengths of both companies. From the industrial design chops of Motorola's handset division, to the well thought-out feature execution that has made significant market impact for Lenovo with new capabilities, like 360 degree Yoga laptop hinge designs, the synergy between the two companies is quickly coming into focus.

Moto Z Phones and Boxes

Today, we're going to take a look at the culmination of this synergy with our launch review coverage of the Moto Z Droid and Moto Z Force Droid Android phones for Verizon's network, along with a few of the more interesting Moto Mods that add new levels of capability and functionality to the base smartphone concepts we've all gotten used to over the years.

Do the Moto Z and Moto Z Force Droids, and their snap-on Moto Mods, offer anything truly breakout among other Android flagship phones? We'll try to help answer that question and more on the pages ahead.

Motorola Moto Z And Moto Z Force
Specifications & Features

Moto Z Force Droid Moto Z Droid
Dimensions Height: 155.9 mm, Width: 75.8 mm, Depth: 6.99 mm, Weight: 163 g  Height: 155.3 mm, Width: 75.3 mm, Depth: 5.19 mm
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 up to 2.2GHz quad-core CPU with Adreno 530 GPU 
Software Android Marshmallow with Moto enhancements (Moto Display, Moto Actions, Moto Voice) 
Display 5.5” Quad HD AMOLED display (1440p [2560x1440] / 535 ppi), Moto ShatterShield 5.5” Quad HD AMOLED display (1440p [2560x1440] / 535 ppi), Corning Gorilla Glass 
Storage (ROM) Options: 32 GB, 64 GB, microSD card support up to 2 TB
Memory (RAM) 4 GB
Rear Camera 21 MP with: f/ 1.8 aperture, optical image stabilization (OIS), laser autofocus, zero shutter lag, color correlated temperature (CCT) flash with dual LEDs, Deep Trench Isolation (DIT)  13 MP with: f/ 1.8 aperture, optical image stabilization (OIS), laser autofocus, zero shutter lag, color correlated temperature (CCT) flash with dual LEDs
Front Camera 5 MP with wide field of view and extra flash
Video Capture 1080p full HD video, 60fps; 4K (30fps) 
Battery 3500 mAh, up to 40 hours mixed usage1  2600 mAh, up to 30 hours mixed usage1
Turbo Charging Up to 15 hrs of power in 15 minutes charging
Up to 8 hrs of power in15 minutes charging
Colors Black with Lunar Grey trim Black front lens
Black with Rose Gold trim, Black front lens
Fine Gold, White front lens
Audio Front-ported loudspeaker, 4-mic support 
Water-Repellent Water repellent nano-coating
NFC Yes 
Connectivity Moto Mods connector, USB-C port for headphones, charging and data transfer, 3.5mm to USB-C headphone port adaptor included
Authentication Fingerprint reader
Moto Z Droid: $624 or $26/month on contract, Moto Z Force Droid: $720 or $30/month 
Moto Z Phones and Power Adapters

The base specs of both the Moto Z Droid and Moto Z Force Droid read like a top-shelf Android flagship should, with Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon 820 SoC powering the pair with its quad-core Kyro CPU and Adreno 530 graphics engine. Also on board is a very healthy 4GB of RAM and 32GB or 64GB storage options for both phones, along with microSD card expansion up to another 2 terabytes.  Both Moto Z Droids have essentially the same base platform specs but differ significantly in a couple of areas. 

The Moto Z Droid is a super thin (5.19mm) variant with a 2600 mAh battery and a 2560X1440 QHD AMOLED display. The Moto Z Force Droid, sports that same QHD AMOLED display but it is sheathed behind Moto ShatterShield technology making the display virtually indestructible and in fact Motorola guarantees it not to crack or shatter. ShatterShield, along with the phone's larger 3500 mAh battery, makes the Z Force Droid a bit thicker (though still relatively thin) than the standard Moto Z Droid and it also comes with a slightly more stout AC power adapter as you can see. Finally, the Moto Z Force Droid has a 21MP camera with OIS, laser auto-focus, and an f1.8 aperture, while the Moto Z standard sports the same features but with a 13MP sensor and also f1.8 aperture optics. 
USB C To Stereo Mini Jack
Look Ma, no native mini stereo headphone jack...

Moto Mods
The Three Moto Mod Amigos

Unfortunately, or not, depending on your perspective, Motorola and Lenovo beat Apple to the punch and have done away with a discrete 3.5mm headphone jack, choosing instead to adapt to the legacy analog interface with a small USB-C adapter dongle. It works just fine and only adds a little tail to an existing headphone or ear bud setup; so we're OK with it. Regardless, some users likely won't be because you won't be able to charge the phones when headphones are connected through the dongle. 

And last but certainly not the least are Moto Mods which are snap-on back-packs of sorts that add new features to the Moto Z line. From left to right above are the JBL Speaker, Moto Insta-Projector and Incipio OffGrid Power Pack (2220 mAh) Moto Mods. We'll delve into these in more detail shortly, as well as how well they integrate with the Moto Z and Moto Z Force Droids. 

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