The Moto Z and its mods change the way we look at modular devices

moto Z review

You guys have probably seen the billboards all across the city and the online ads plastered across the internet. The Moto Z is the latest device from Lenovo’s Motorola Mobility, a company that, “…exists to invent, build and deliver the best mobile devices on the planet.” Have they?

Having used the device for a little less than a month now, as my primary device, here’s my two fils.

Timing is everything

The Moto Z was unveiled in the UAE earlier this month and its launch could not have come at a better time. From a “rival flagship” point of view, currently, the heat around the iPhone 7 is slowly cooling down while the smoke around the Samsung Note 7 is slowly clearing up. And now, operating in this current sweet spot in the timeline is the Moto Z.

Sure, there are other imminent launches in terms of a beastly powerhouse (LG V20) and a pure tech angel (Google Pixel) around the corner, but right now, IMHO, the Moto Z is owning the stage.

Let’s get down to it.

Its main features:

  1. The Moto Z is wickedly thin. Measuring an anorexic 5.19 mm, I sometimes feel that the device is way too delicate. It looks gorgeous, don’t get me wrong, it is built from military aircraft-grade aluminium and stainless steel. However, it’s smooth sides, skinny frame and light weight (136g) is a challenge to grip. Forget about whipping out this phone in a hurry. Luckily an easy fix would be snapping on its style cover that adds a few more millimetres to its frame and offers a better grip while held.
  1. The ‘modular’ thing. This is the most interesting part of the device – its magnetic Moto Mods that snap on to the back of the phone. If you’ve heard the term modular being thrown around before with the LG G5 and were mildly disappointed, worry not this is nothing like that. These accessories snap on to the back of the device and transform them in a way that needs to be seen to be believed. More on them in the video below.

The device rocks all the flagship specifications one expects from a flagship and it goes without saying that it’s fast and snappy. It runs the Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow and is backed by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor and 4GB of RAM. Scroll down for the entire list of specs. I won’t bore you with them here, I would rather talk about the…

Moto Mods!

But first, the …


At first snap, the camera isn’t something that will blow you mind away. It sports a 13MP rear and a 5MP front. What’s cool about it is that it features a flash on the front as well as the rear. The Moto Z camera isn’t a total write-off though, with Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), Laser Autofocus and a range of inbuilt photo modes helping it hold its own amongst the competition. The user interface within the camera application could be better IMHO, however that’s probably because the previous phone I used was the LG V10, a device known for its cameras.

It’s beefed up cousin the Moto Z Force (21MP rear) on the other hand scored a Photo sub-score of 87 and Video sub-score of 86 on DxoMark, making it one of the top 3 smartphone cameras out there.

Unfortunately, the Force will not be with us (see what I did there?) as Lenovo ME won’t be bringing it to the region.

Moto Mods!

  • Hasselblad True Zoom

moto Z reviewYou wouldn’t have to worry about the camera since one of the Moto Mods is a Hasselblad attachment that would even get your photographer buddies jealous. The attachment offers you 10x optical zoom and all you have to do is snap it on to your device. The attachment features a xenon flash and the ability to shoot in RAW. The build quality and ergonomics of the Hasselblad is nothing short of impeccable. The only drawback with this would be the fast that it runs off the device’s battery unlike the other two:

  • JBL SoundBoost Speaker


The Moto Z’s in-built speakers aren’t up to much in terms of depth and clarity, but you will be able to silence (quite literally) your judgemental friends with this speaker. Luckily, the speaker features a 1,000mAh battery that can be charged separately through a USB Type-C port and then snapped onto the device while they symbiotically share the energy between them. The battery is said to be able to last 10 hours, we haven’t had the time or patience to let it run for 10 hours straight, so we’ll just have to trust them on this. While comparing it to our preferred, go-to Bluetooth speaker the Jabra SoleMate, the SoundBoost was on par in terms of volume reach, depth of bass and the overall richness of audio.

  • Moto Insta-Share Projector


When the Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro released a while ago, let’s be honest here, we all wanted that tech for our smartphones. While there are several after-market projector accessories and Pico projectors available, none of them compare to the seamless connectivity and compact build structure that this thing offers. And that’s not even taking into consideration how user-friendly it is to set up and use. This compact piece of tech machinery is remarkable. It features a stand, a power button, a focus wheel and vents to promote airflow. It shoots out anything on your phone’s screen up to 70-inches at a 480p resolution. For the projector purists out there, Keystoning is done automatically, so worry not about angles.

  • Moto Mod’s Power pack


Locally, you have the option to pick up the Incipio power pack. The sleek shell snaps on to your device and re-charges it through its 2,200mAh battery. It is supposed to offer up to 22 hours. However we didn’t have one on hand to try it out. 🙁

  • Style Covers


Fashionable techies can opt for a range of stylish rear covers as well. I prefer using the device with its rear cover, as it adds a bit of thickness and grip to the phone. The cover sent across with the review unit was a black classy shell with a feel-good texture. Owners of this device will definitely want to buy more, so budget wisely!

To wrap it up:

As one of the best android phones currently available in the UAE market right now, the Moto Z is one device you have to seriously consider if you’re in the market for a smartphone. However this weekend will see the LG V20 unleashed as well, so check out GNTECH for a run down on the two hottest tech toys in town.

Regardless of the other devices out there, and the many more to come. The Moto Z has, without a doubt, raised the bar in terms of smartphone evolution. The range of attachments available, and the limitless possibilities in terms of future attachments, would get every single smartphone manufacturer rethinking their products going forward.

Moto Z Specs:

Operating System Android 6.0.1, Marshmallow
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor with Quad-core CPU
Memory (RAM) 4GB LPDDR4
Storage (ROM) 32GB/64GB, microSD Card support (up to 2 TB)
Dimensions 75.3 x 155.3 x 5.19 mm
Weight 136g
Display 5.5” AMOLED
1440p Quad HD (2560 x 1440)
535 ppi
Corning Gorilla Glass
Battery 2600 mAh
Water Protection Water repellent nano-coating
SIM Card Nano-SIM, Dual-SIM available.
Rear Camera 13 MP
Front Camera 5 MP
Video Capture 1080p (60fps); 4K (30fps)


Pricing in the UAE

Moto Z (comes with the JBL SoundBoost Mod and Moto Style Shell) AED 2,599
Moto Z Play AED 1,999
Moto Insta-Share Projector Mod AED 1,299
Incipio offGRID Power Pack Mod AED 299
JBL SoundBoost Mod AED 399
Hasselblad True Zoom Mod AED 999