Motorola and Lenovo in early June announced the all-new Moto Z and Moto Z Force. Then in August open third, Moto Z Play. These new flagship phones of 2016 aim to replace the original Moto X. With an ultra-slim, all-metal design, improved camera and more customization than ever before. This may be the best Moto ever, and everything buyers need now is here.
The Moto X has been one of the most popular smartphones over the past few years, thanks to its sleek design, low price, and wide range of customization. Now that Lenovo owns it, things are going in a different direction. It’s called MotoMods, which can transform the phone into something else entirely.
The thinnest and highest quality phone Motorola has ever produced. All three phones have a large 5.5-inch screen and tons of accessories. The Moto Z DROID and the unbreakable Z Force DROID were released on July 28. The unlocked model for all other carriers is available for pre-order today. Watch the video below for more details and a look at the MotoMods.
The Moto Z platform is a high-end premium product line that can finally compete with Samsung or Apple. It keeps all the customization of the Moto X while turning it into much more. MotoMods are also one of their biggest selling points.
Moto Z and Moto Z Force DROID
Both of these new phones will be known as Moto Z DROID Editions for Verizon Wireless. The regular Moto Z has a razor-thin, 5.5-inch display with a thickness of 5.2mm and specs to match the Galaxy S7.
Then the new Moto Z Force DROID has a slightly thicker, larger 3,500mAh battery and an unbreakable display. This is similar to DROID Turbo 2.
These phones feature a new fingerprint scanner, improved camera, all-day battery life and microSD storage expansion. Moto Maker’s customizable backs are still available, and 16 pogo pins on the back allow owners to magnetically attach unique accessories. Like Pico Projector, JBL speakers, external battery and more.
Unlocked Moto Z
At the time of the announcement, Motorola confirmed that the Moto Z will be available unlocked for most carriers later this year. It’s been exclusive to Verizon Wireless for the past few months. Moto Z unlocked as of September 22 ready for pre-order and will start shipping in October. No actual date has been given for the release date.
The unlocked Moto Z is the same device mentioned above but not tied to a carrier. So it works with AT&T, T-Mobile, Cricket, MetroPCS and all other GSM carriers. It won’t work on Sprint or Verizon. It retails for $699 including customization and all MotoMods still work as expected.
Pre-order today and we’ll update as soon as we get an official release date or when it starts shipping to buyers.
Moto Z Gaming
A month after the Moto Z release date, the company revealed another phone called the Moto Z Play. It will be available on September 8 from Verizon Wireless or unlocked on Motorola.com for $408 or $17 per month. This is a somewhat mid-range device that falls under the Moto Z above with a wallet-friendly price tag.
That’s good news, the regular Z and the new Z Play will both be unlocked and available on carriers other than Verizon. Giving buyers two phones to choose from.
The Moto Z Play has the same 5.5-inch display with a similar metal design, an octa-core Qualcomm processor with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. There’s a micro SD slot for expansion, a USB Type-C port, a 3.5mm headphone jack, a 16-megapixel rear camera and a massive 3,510mAh battery. Combine all that with the lower resolution display and this is essentially a Moto Z Force for those not using Verizon Wireless. Moto claims over 50 hours of battery life, and TurboCharging will give owners 9 hours of use after just 15 minutes on the wall.
It will be available worldwide in late September, but will be available to anyone in the US for just $408 from Verizon or Motorola’s website. This is the true successor to the $399 Moto X 2016.
Moto Z Design
The design is one of the best aspects of this phone. The company removed the plastic from previous phones and delivered an all-metal premium device. It is a lightweight aircraft grade aluminum shell.
Both phones have a 5.5-inch display that sits above the new square fingerprint scanner. Its camera is also bigger and better. Then of course the biggest aspect of design outside of MotoMods is Moto Maker. Ability to choose replacement backs from leather wood, fabric and more for a unique look and feel.
With a thickness of 5.2mm, the Moto Z is one of the thinnest smartphones on the market. Note that the regular Z has a smaller battery and a regular non-breakable screen. These features are reserved for Force DROID from Verizon.
Moto Z & Z Force Features
Similar to almost every other flagship smartphone released in 2016, these phones are also state-of-the-art. For those interested in all the details, the official spec sheet is here.
The Moto Z Force is technically Motorola’s “flagship” high-end smartphone this year. A much bigger battery with an even faster Turbo Charge (Quick Charge 3.0), a better camera, and other changes that we’ll detail below. Here is the summary.
The main difference here is that the Moto Z Force has an unbreakable display and a larger 3,500mAh battery with faster charging. The camera is also a larger 21-megapixel lens with phase detection autofocus and other tricks.
Moto Mods and Customization
This is where things get exciting. The new Moto Z series has a great all-metal design, but still has the customization that users love. Buyers can customize with extra storage at MotoMaker.com, choosing from metal colors, wood backs, leather, accents and more.
As we all know, there are also modular accessories that “snap” or magnetically attach to the back. The Moto Mods shown in the video above transform the phone like nothing else on the market.
Instead of having users remove the battery like LG and reboot the phone, the Moto Mods simply snap on the back. Plug in JBL speakers for better sound, a boost and longer battery life. These snap into place with strong magnets and circular camera ring. A pico projector can stream content up to 70 inches on the wall, a camera mod or battery life boost. Motorola will continue to work with partners and they should fit the 2017 Moto smartphone as well.
Motorola has now confirmed another MotoMod, the Hasselblad camera module. Just focus on the shot with 10x Optical Zoom and Xenon flash – lighting and distance never stop you from capturing the perfect picture. Plus, physical shutter and zoom controls, dedicated camera editing software, and more.
Hasselblad True Zoom will be available starting September 8 for $249.
Verizon first open Pricing for Moto Mods in the official app. It looks like the JBL Soundboost speaker Mod will cost $79.99, which is pretty reasonable considering it extends battery life and improves sound. The projector costs more than $299. Then, to extend battery life, the power packs go from $79 to $99 with wireless charging. That’s an average when compared to battery cases like the Mophie or Incipio for the iPhone 6s. Other accessories and the actual phone have been left out, and we’ll update when we hear more about pricing.
Moto Z and Moto Z Force Release Date
So when can you get it? Moto Z DROID and Moto Z DROID Force were released on July 28 and Play on September 8. Next, the Moto Z will be available unlocked for most carriers and will ship in October. Available for pre-order today at $699.
Unfortunately, the better Moto Z Force will only be available in the US from Verizon Wireless. Everyone else will have to settle for the razor-thin Moto Z with the smaller 2,600mAh battery or opt for the Moto Play.
Motorola has promised that these phones will be available worldwide in September. Just in time, they’re available for pre-order as we speak.