Lenovo has just taken the wraps off its next Moto-branded flagships: the Moto Z and the Moto Z Force which sit above the G-series in the pecking order, and are appropriately priced. Thanks to a plethora of leaks prior to the event, we weren’t exactly surprised by today’s announcement, as Lenovo showed off the colourful, customisable and modular smartphones.
As we expected, the new Moto Z phones are built mostly from metal with a solid unibody construction. The slightly rounded edges should help the phone phone feel comfortable in hand, but the back is a lot flatter than previous versions of the device.
One thing that’s made the X-series great in the past is Moto Maker, the manufacturer’s customisation tool which lets buyers choose the material and colour they want on the back, as well as metal accent tints and the shade of metal for the frame. The downside was that you couldn’t change it once you chose it, with the introduction of swappable Moto Mods, the new Moto Z lets you change the look whenever you want or even choose from a number of add-on modules.
Like in previous years the fashion-focused back coverings include various shades of leather, different types of wood and plastic. Other mods include a InstaShare projector, JBL SoundBoost stereo speakers as well as various battery packs from Incipio and Mophie, all of which connect to the phone using the 16 gold "magic" connect points on the back.
Many more MotoMods were announced, and there's also going to be a MotoMods developer program, to encourage hardware and software makers to build their own Mods. As a bonus, all current Mods will fit any future versions of the Moto Z, according to Lenovo.
READ: Moto Z (2016) feature
There are two models of Moto Z this year with different specs. Similar to last year’s, the regular Z is the more fashion-focused, thin (5.2mm) high-end smartphone while the Z Force is slightly thicker (7mm), more durable and has a bigger battery.
On the back we’ll also find the redesigned camera module, which sits inside a circular panel protruding from the back, to make space for the aforementioned MotoMods. The Moto Z has a 13MP camera equipped with optical image stabilisation, while the Z Force has a 21MP sensor, phase detection and laser autofocus and a dual LED flash, which also sits inside the round protrusion. Front facing wide angle cameras are 5MP.
Both the Moto Z and Z Force have a 5.5-inch screen with QHD resolution, but just like the X Force from last year, the Z Force has the ShatterShield display, which Lenovo says is virtually indestructible. From what we can understand from the press release and presentation, both come equipped with with 4GB RAM, a Snapdragon 820 processor and TurboPower charging.
The one area the Z Force should outperform the regular Z is in battery life. Moto Z can last 30 hours of use with its 2,500mAh battery, While Moto Z Force can push to almost two days of use with its much more capacious 3,500mAh cell. Because the Z Force has a bigger battery, it comes with the most powerful TurboPower charger they've ever launched. One interesting inclusion, or exclusion, is that this year's Moto flagships have a Type C connector, but no 3.5mm jack.
Both versions of the new Moto Z will hopefully run a fairly stock version of Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, meaning you won’t see too much in terms of duplicate apps or heavy skinning. That is unless, of course, you happen to be a Verizon customer in the States, in which case your network operator has taken some creative license with the software.
Moto Z will be available from this summer in the US, and from September globally. No pricing has been announced just yet.