Lenovo has been winning battles in the mid-range for a while since it acquired (and resurrected) Motorola. The Moto G4 and the recent G5 are proof of this. However, the Chinese brand aims higher, and therefore, in September 2016 we were able to see the Moto Z come out , a riskier and higher quality bet.
This ultra-thin and ultra-light mobile has a 1.8 GHz quad-core processor, 4 GB of RAM and Android 7 . In addition, a 13-megapixel rear camera with f / 1.8 aperture and a 5-megapixel front one. Besides, with this Moto Z we can access a peculiar system of modules, called Moto Mods. Let's see it now in detail.
Motorola Moto Z data sheet
|screen||5.5 inches at QHD resolution (1440 x 2560 pixels), 535 dpi|
|Main chamber||13 megapixels, f / 1.8, Dual LED flash|
|Camera for selfies||5 megapixels, f / 2.2, LED flash|
|Internal memory||32/64 GB|
|Extension||microSD up to 256GB|
|Processor and RAM||1.8GHz Quad Core Snapdragon 820, 4GB RAM|
|Battery||2,600 mAh, fast charge|
|Operating system||Android 7 Nougat|
|Connections||BT 4.1, GPS, USB Type-C, NFC, without 3.5 mm mini jack|
|Design||Glass and aluminum. Colors: pink, gold, white, gray and black|
|Dimensions||153.3 x 75.3 x 5.2 mm (136 grams)|
|Featured Features||Fingerprint reader, Moto Mods|
Design and display
Lenovo has really shone with this Motorola Moto Z in terms of design. It offers us a glass device with an aluminum frame that is really thin (5.2 mm). The rear camera stands out a lot, but for that we have the rear cover that Motorola includes with a fabric finish.
That back cover leaves the back completely smooth without practically affecting the thickness of the terminal. The cover can be removed to change it for the different Moto Mods . Moto Mods are a kind of modules that can be purchased separately and are attached to the rear, to improve their capabilities. For example, we can add a JBL speaker, a camera zoom or a projector.
The weight is also really surprising, since it is only 136 grams for a device with a 5.5-inch screen . Speaking of the screen, it is an AMOLED panel with QHD resolution, something that is noticeable during general navigation with the phone. Even so, despite the light and thin of this Moto Z we cannot say that it is a comfortable terminal to grip. At 75mm wide, smaller hands will have trouble getting a full grip.
As for the rest of the device, we find a small central button that serves as a fingerprint reader , but there are no more capacitive buttons outside the screen. However, we will not lose screen, since those screen controls disappear when we are not using them. What if we need them? We drag our finger like an inverted blind, and they will appear to us again.
On the bottom edge we find a USB type C port and… nothing else . Neither speaker nor 3.5 mm minijack port.
Despite the fact that the iPhone's commitment to eliminating the famous audio port has not had much follow-up, some devices have jumped on this boat. The Motorola Moto Z is one of them. When you open the device box, we will find a charger and a mini-jack adapter to USB type C. No headphones of your own.
Is it more comfortable or uncomfortable? In the end, this is a personal decision. Eliminating the mini jack allows you to take advantage of the space and make a thinner terminal , in addition to removing problems with cables. On the other hand, not everyone has wireless speakers these days, but everyone has stored wired headphones, which they would now have to throw away.
It is certainly striking not to see the speakers in the frame, or in the rear. Where are they then? The answer is that use of the hearing aid output . That is, the one we use to listen when they call us. And does that output have quality? In the case of the Moto Z, yes, and a lot.
This phone is characterized by having a tremendous volume, in addition to a really defined sound quality . For this reason, the bet to save an extra speaker has been round for Lenovo. A very good idea that other brands should copy.
On paper, Lenovo's Moto Z has optimal hardware. A 1.8GHz quad-core Snapdragon 820 chip, 4GB of RAM and an Adreno 530 GPU is a piece of equipment that promises high power. In addition, two models of 32 and 64 GB will guarantee that we do not run out of storage.
What happens in practice? Well, the terminal does not disappoint at all. It supports all kinds of apps and games , they can even be combined simultaneously and the system does not flinch. Our experience has left us with a good taste in our mouths and wanting not to detach ourselves from this Moto Z. Anyway, let's see what the experts say.
We have passed the Motorola Moto Z through the GeekBench 4 scan and the AnTuTu Benchmark , and these have been the results:
On Geekbench, the Motorola Moto Z has scored 1411 for single core performance and 4109 for all core set . For comparison, the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge scores 1446 in this area. In the joint performance, the OnePlus 3 would be the closest terminal in score, with 4015.
As for the AnTuTu Benchmark, the score is 132,811 . This result places the Moto Z in 34th place in the performance ranking, just below the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and the iPhone SE. In both cases, they are not bad phones to compare with, really.
This terminal was one of the first to receive the update to Android 7 Nougat, and we find it in its purest form. We can thus take advantage of functions such as the split screen, or grouped notifications , which are quite useful and optimize space a lot.
To take advantage of the split screen we just have to press and hold the right capacitive button . The screen division will then be opened, where we can choose how much they occupy, and will allow us to access the apps that support this feature.
Grouped notifications, meanwhile, come by default, you don't have to activate or deactivate them. In addition, in the start menu, if we slide our finger to the left, we access a Google Now menu with a selection of content that may interest us based on our interests.
These are just a few examples. In general, speed is a feature of the Motorola Moto Z , and we assume this is due to both Lenovo hardware and the latest Android software.
The Motorola Moto Z software is pretty bare bones . Essentially we find the basic apps, the Google package and some Motorola's own apps.
Among the predictable apps, Google Drive, Google Photos, Gmail, all Google Play, YouTube, Maps and Hangouts . Later, we find some newer elements that are an inevitable consequence of the move to Android 7 Nougat. For example, we have the Daydream app to be able to view content in virtual reality. Also in the same direction we will have the YouTube VR app, with the same purpose.
Motorola's own apps
The Moto application helps us to configure the hands-free and allows us to automate some actions through gestures or voice commands.
Among the actions we find a series of wrist movements that allow us to take quick screenshots , activate the do not disturb mode or silence the phone. Also by shaking the phone we can turn on the flashlight.
The voice commands are very similar to those of Google Now (which is already integrated into the software), and seek to facilitate access to messages, contacts or calls, in the style of a virtual assistant. Our test has been generally satisfactory, but it is true that speech recognition was not as efficient as could be desired.
It is quite appreciated that there are no pre-installed third-party applications . This allows you to take advantage of much more storage, and personalize the phone with the apps that we consider necessary.
On the front of the Moto Z we find a small square button, which is the fingerprint reader. It does not act as a button for anything else, it is exclusively a reader. That is why perhaps putting it in front has not been a good idea , since it makes the lower frame very large and screen capacity is lost. Even more so considering that there are also capacitive buttons on the screen itself.
Apart from that, the operation of the reader is flawless . Minimal pressure unlocks the phone instantly. In addition, the process of recognizing the fingerprint when registering is quick, so no time is wasted even when registering the fingerprint.
Just as in other terminals we can find alternative utilities for the fingerprint reader, this is not the case of this Moto Z. The only use of the fingerprint reader is to unlock the screen, and in some specific cases, the unlock of some apps that allow it.
In addition to the fingerprint reader, the Moto Z offers some other tools related to security. Entering in Settings
Body Detection is a possibility that allows the terminal to remain unlocked while it is being held or carried. This does not mean that the screen does not go black, it means that the fingerprint reader is not needed to unlock it. It is designed to make it easier and faster to use while holding the phone, and thus avoid constant unlocks. The moment the device recognizes that it is being left somewhere else, it will lock again.
Trusted Sites and Devices
Trusted sites extend the idea of body detection. It is an option in which we can select some places where our Moto Z remains unlocked . Linking with the phone's GPS, we can select places, such as our home, or a relative's home, where the phone does not require a pattern to turn on. The phone will recognize when we enter and leave these sites, and it will automatically lock and unlock the phone.
Trusted Devices are designed so that, when we have a device that we connect via Bluetooth nearby, the terminal remains unlocked. For example, if we have the smartwatch nearby or the car's Bluetoch system . In this case, it will be the connection or disconnection to Bluetooth that will cause the unlocking to be canceled.
Returning to the identification elements, the Moto Z offers a facial recognition system . To get it going we have to register our face initially. The idea is to take a capture where our face can be clearly seen from the front.
We can take several captures if we want to perfect the recognition. For example, a photo with glasses, and another without glasses , or one with her hair tied up and another with her hair down. That way, it will be easier for the phone to recognize our features in different contexts.
One last way to unlock is by voice. In the Motorola Moto Z we already have the Google Now Launcher installed, and we can perform searches using the "OK Google " command while inside the application.
In addition to that option, we can also enable the phone itself to be unlocked with that voice command . To do this we have to select the option Unlock by voice from the Smart Lock menu, and then activate the option "From any screen".
In doing so, we will have to register our voice up to three times saying “OK Google” . Once done, we must enable the Voice Unlock option. From then on, we can turn on the phone by saying “OK Google”. It usually takes a couple of tries, at least from our experience. One last point: to unlock the phone in this way, the screen has to be on.
The photographic section has been one of the ones that we have been able to enjoy the most during the test of this Moto Z. And it is that the rear sensor of 13 megapixels and f / 1.8 aperture is used a lot. The photos are very sharp, and admit both short and long shots. The Bokeh effect is also very successful.
Flash, HDR and timer
The camera menu is spread across the screen. On the one hand we have the HDR, which we find in the upper left corner. We can activate or deactivate it, or put it on automatic. The last option is recommended, since it is only activated in situations where there is a lot of contrast between light and shadow areas.
Then, in the center of the upper area, we have the flash. As in the previous case, it can be activated, deactivated or left in automatic. In this case, the automatic is not so recommended, since many times we may want to intentionally look for a lower light , and in those cases the flash would turn on and burn much of the image.
Finally, in the upper right area we have the timer. It is disabled by default, and allows us the possibility of including 3 or 10 seconds of margin from when we press until the photo is taken.
We now go down to the bottom of the screen. There we find the button to switch to the front camera, on the left, and the button for the different modes on the right. By marking this button, five options will appear. From bottom to top we have the option to choose between photo or video, panoramic mode, slow motion and professional mode.
Panoramic mode is nothing new. It consists of taking a photo in which the user sweeps from his left to his right , and the camera mounts a very long final photo. This mode tends to have many flaws, since many times the assembly is not done well and is not realistic, or there is a final fisheye effect. None of that happens in the Moto Z, where the result is quite natural.
Slow motion, as you can imagine, only works in video mode. It is also quite successful, and the slow motion effect can be customized to the area that we want. The Motorola Moto Z can make videos in up to 2K resolution, but the slow motion, at 60 fps, supports a maximum of Full HD .
The last mode is Professional Mode. This mode is designed to take full advantage of the possibilities of the phone, giving the most demanding user many tools to customize the result.
We have, on the one hand, the exposure setting, and the ISO setting, which ranges from 100 to 3200 . The aperture can also be customized, up to a maximum of f / 1.8, as well as the white balance. These tools are really useful to adapt to the context, with artificial and natural light, both on a cloudy day and on a sunny day.
Finally, we can adjust the autofocus, adapting to portraits, macros or landscapes . Any connoisseur of photography will enjoy taking advantage of this function, as well as the previous ones, to give their personal touch with each snapshot.
The front camera of this phone has 5 megapixels of resolution and f / 2.2 aperture . It may seem little, considering what we already find in many high-mid-range terminals (8 megapixels up). However, the results are quite good. It withstands the lack of light well, and offers a lot of sharpness.
As for the modes, it includes exactly the same as those of the rear camera , to which we must add the beauty mode, which ultimately what it does is add shine to the skin and erase wrinkles. It is not the most outstanding feature.
Autonomy and connectivity
The Moto Z has a 2,600 mAh non-removable battery inside . Although it may seem little for a device with a 5.5-inch screen, the autonomy does not disappoint. In our test we have exceeded 15 hours in normal use.
However, one of its best-achieved elements is fast charging. In just one hour, the terminal is fully charged . Thanks to this feature, we know that we have the ability to revive the phone with minimal charge. This can be very useful in emergencies or situations where we are away from home and in a hurry.
Far from our personal test, we wanted to do a more "objective" test, which would evaluate the autonomy of the battery. For this, we pass the AnTuTu Battery Tester. The result was 7,177 . To compare with another 5.5-inch phone, the Galaxy S7 Edge took 8047. It must be remembered that its battery is 3,500 mAh, so, considering the difference, the result of the Motorola Moto Z is not bad.
In the connectivity part, in this device we find a Bluetooth 4.1 connection, a fundamental connection since there is no minijack audio port. It also supports 4G and GPS connection. Finally, this Moto Z is prepared for electronic commerce from the mobile , since it has an NFC connection.
Moto Mods, as we mentioned at the beginning of this article, are modules that are attached to the back of the Moto Z , and that serve to improve different facets of the phone. The way to connect to the phone is through powerful magnets and a pin that connects them directly to the terminal.
There are currently four main Moto Mods: the JBL Soundboost, the Incipio offGRID, the Insta-Share Projector, and the Hassleblad True Zoom . The first is a JBL brand speaker, which will turn our Moto Z into a portable sound station. The offGRID is an extra battery, which can add up to 20 hours of autonomy to our phone.
The Insta-Share Projector, meanwhile, is a tiny projector where we can view videos, photos , or whatever else is seen on the screen at that time. Finally, the Hassleblad True Zoom is an analog zoom added to our Moto Z. With it, we can reach enormous distances without affecting the sharpness of the image.
Insta-Share Projector and Hassleblad True Zoom
These last two Moto Mods are the ones that we have been able to test together with the phone. The projector works fine, but it has some problems. For starters, it requires its own load, which takes away a certain freedom to carry it around and use it whenever you want . You have to charge it before, or have the phone charged while the projection is being done, since that will charge both the phone and the Moto Mod.
On the other hand, the scope of the projection is not too great . No, at least, if we want it to be displayed with quality. In addition, the bulb is quite small, so the content we project is not displayed as clearly as would be desirable. In short, a bit disappointing.
The Hassleblad True Zoom is another story. With this connected module, the possibilities are endless. We can make pictures of objects that are really far without the quality will suffer the least . The grain is conspicuous by its absence in these cases. Here are some examples so that you can see for yourself what we are referring to.
In general we find a device of a high level. The screen is very good, the fingerprint reader responds great and the camera is spectacular . The fact of having Android 7 and fast charging is another plus, as well as its low weight and finesse. Plus, the performance is accurate, the navigation is fast, and there are no hang-ups.
If we had to look for a weak point, this would be its price. Around 550 euros is a pretty big investment. Not that the phone is not worth it, since it is a really excellent terminal. What happens is that a user who is going to spend that money, may prefer to add 100-150 euros more and get an LG G6 or a Huawei P10 . There is no comparative advantage in that regard. Therefore, it is not really a defect.
Apart from that, the assessment of the Motorola Moto Z is very positive. A flagship phone with cutting-edge, modern and aesthetic features.