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REVIEW: Moto Z Is The Benchmark Smartphone When It Comes To Attach Mods

This goes with that is a marketing concept that was first used in the 1970’s by Melbourne based fashion house Sussan, the concept went on to be highly successful.

Now Motorola is having a crack at ‘This goes with that’ marketing with the launch of their new Moto Z which is an incredibly thin Android phone that is specifically designed to attach Motorola Mod devices such as a 10X zoom Hasselblad camera.

This 5.5-inch, 136-gram phablet’s capabilities can be augmented by attaching add-ons via magnets located on the rear of the device. Think cameras, projectors, speakers and the like.

Where LG failed in their execution of modular attach with their G5 I believe Motorola will succeed, even CES organisers have handed out an Innovation Award to Motorola for their Moto Mod attachments which include a wafer-thin attach battery, a JBL speaker and a Pico projector that beams up an excellent 70” screen.

The new Moto Z is the world’s thinnest phone at 5.19mm and in the hand, it feels incredibly comfortable.

I took the device recently on a trip to Hong Kong and Taipei, and at one stage I had to check my trouser pocket to see if the device was still there because it was so light.

The Moto Z comes with a USB Type-C port, because of this design change Motorola has done away with the 3.5mm headphone jack.

The reason why the Moto Z is so thin is because it doesn’t have to cater for a headphone jack. Much like the iPhone 7, you’ll either need to buy a pair of wireless headphones, plump for a pair of USB Type-C powered headphones, or use the bundled USB Type-C to 3.5mm adapter in the box to carry on listening to your favourite tunes.

The latter naturally precludes you from charging the phone at the same time – a flaw also present on the iPhone 7 – but here’s where the Moto Z’s modular design comes into its own, as you can easily avoid this problem by snapping the Incipio pack on the back, giving your phone an instant burst of extra energy without disrupting your music. The JBL SoundBoost speaker also comes with an extra 1,000mAh battery, so at least you’ve got some options when it comes to prolonging the phone’s stamina.

It also has a 13MP camera on the back and real-flash, also included is a 5MP front facing camera. The camera is better than several premium branded smartphones.

And yes the 20-megapixel attachment is superior when it comes to both zooming and shooting.

Moto Z Hasselblad

There is also a fingerprint sensor on the Moto Z which is responsive, only failing to register my fingerprints when my digits were covered in water.

Overall This is an extremely fun phone that deserves more retail expose. Currently it can only be purchased via The Good Guys and Harvey Norman and it comes with a retail sticker price of $1049.

While the Moto Z also happens to be incredibly thin-it comes with both a caveat, and some serious shortcomings when it comes to battery life which is between 10 and 12 hours at a stretch.

This can be overcome by using the battery pack.

But one word of warning, I left my battery pack behind when I switched to using the Hasselblad camera in the Qantas Lounge at Hong Kong Airport. It’s very easy to do when utilising the modular design.

Moto Z PowerPack

The 2,220mAh Incipio offGRID Power Pack mod, which Motorola claims can add up to 22 hours of additional battery life to your handset is essential if you invest in this device especially as the master body has limited battery life.

One design element that is a standout with the Moto Z, is that the magnetic attachment technology is reassuringly strong.

There’s no risk that a Moto Mod might become detached unintentionally at any point.

The Pogo-style pins on the back of the Moto Z enable modular accessories. These 16 gold-plated connectors that feed data back and forth between the phone and MotoMods.

Motorola is owned by Lenovo and one thing that this Company has a reputation for, is excellent highly functional design, a classic is the flexible hinge of their Lenovo Yoga notebooks, coupled with the Pogo style pins Lenovo has overcome design hurdles with clever engineering.

Viewed from the front, the Moto Z design doesn’t radically depart from the style of Motorola’s previous phones – the Moto X, for example.

Moto Z Shot

Another standout feature is the 5.5-inch display, the 2,560 x 1,440 resolution, which amounts to 535 pixels per inch.

The perfect sRGB gamut coverage of 100% means colours exhibit a wonderful sense of rich vibrancy all the time.

Combine that with a perfect black and contrast ratio, and the Moto Z’s display sits alongside the very best smartphone AMOLED screens available today.

The Moto Z does have a few extra features to help it stand out.

Chief among these is its front-facing proximity sensors.

Move your hand over the front of the screen and the lock screen will appear automatically, allowing you to see the time, date and any notification icons without touching the phone. The same thing happens when you pick it up off the table, too. It might not be quite as convenient as the S7’s always-on display, but it’s a neat touch that makes it more practical than many of its rivals.

Viewing angles are also very good.

Thinner than an iPhone and any Samsung Galaxy smartphone this device is a worthy flagship.

There’s also a lot of potential for MotoMods as Motorola is opening its platform to one and all with a developer kit that costs around $180. The possibilities for future MotoMods are exciting and, unlike Google’s Project Ara modular phone, it’s here now.

Conclusion
If you think modular smartphone technology is your thing, this is the system to go with. The Moto Z has everything you want in a smartphone. The fun starts when you start attaching the mods. I even had one American guy who had just purchased an iPhone 7 and had spotted me attaching the camera back over breakfast at my hotel claim that he was going to trade in his iPhone 7 for the Moto Z and Mods.

“This is cool and a massive talking point for friends and colleagues” he said.

Rating 5/5

Specifications
Processor: Quad-core 1.8GHz Snapdragon 820, Screen Size: 5.5in, Screen resolution: 2,560 x 1,440, Rear camera: 13 megapixels, Storage (free): 32GB (23.6GB), Wireless data: 3G, 4G, Dimensions: 75 x 155 x 5.2mm, Weight: 136g, Operating system: Android 6.0.1

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