Interface and Functionality

Clean, swift, and useful … with a side of bloat

Just as we'd expect from a modern Motorola smartphone, Android modifications are on the extremely light side, and what we do get is pretty well done. Tweaks include the Moto Display we just mentioned, as well as access to Moto Voice speech controls, and half-a-dozen or so gesture commands, like swiping up for one-handed access, or giving the phones a double-twist to get to the camera.

We also appreciate the level of support for landscape orientation, extending from the launcher itself through into system settings. The home screen layout isn't always great in landscape, but not having to spin the phone around when we're jumping in and out of watching video is a welcome feature.

Unfortunately, these two are Verizon phones (though at least they've resisted conspicuous carrier badging), which means a dose-and-a-half of software bloat. In addition to a glut of Verizon's own software, you get a bunch of we-didn't-ask-for-these freemium games (let us weep for the soul who thought selling a premium smartphone with a slot machine game was a good idea), as well as apps like Slacker, NFL Mobile, and Amazon Kindle, because Verizon loves striking pack-in deals. It's all fundamentally objectionable, and we're forced to just suck it up because Verizon will never change.

Processor and Memory

Brisk and responsive, just like a phone with best-in-class components should be.

It's not difficult to choose what hardware to put into a flagship smartphone right now: start with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, throw as much RAM as you can at it, and call things a day. And while that's exactly what Lenovo did here – what can we say? It works.

From the second you pick these phones up, software is fast to react, really showing how the combination of recent Android builds (both phones run Android 6.0.1) and top-notch silicon can really deliver a truly smooth UI.

The 4GB of memory the phones get feels sufficient for general usage – 6GB is a luxury that's just not needed here – and the 32GB of base storage is easily added upon with microSD expansion. If another manufacturer tries and tell you it can't build a thin phone while keeping microSD support, you just wave the 5.2-mm-thick Moto Z Droid in their lying face.

AnTuTu Higher is better
Motorola Moto Z Droid Edition 130195
Motorola Moto Z Force Droid Edition 143856
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge 128191
LG G5 134074
Vellamo Metal Higher is better
Motorola Moto Z Droid Edition 3888
Motorola Moto Z Force Droid Edition 3960
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge 3198
LG G5 3515
Vellamo Browser Higher is better
Motorola Moto Z Droid Edition 5721
Motorola Moto Z Force Droid Edition 5630
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge 4840
LG G5 4498
JetStream Higher is better
Motorola Moto Z Droid Edition 51.659
Motorola Moto Z Force Droid Edition 54.506
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge 60.315
LG G5 52.218
GFXBench T-Rex HD on-screen Higher is better
Motorola Moto Z Droid Edition 58
Motorola Moto Z Force Droid Edition 58
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge 52
LG G5 54.33
GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 on-screen Higher is better
Motorola Moto Z Droid Edition 30
Motorola Moto Z Force Droid Edition 31
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge 28
LG G5 17
Basemark OS II Higher is better
Motorola Moto Z Droid Edition 2366
Motorola Moto Z Force Droid Edition 2516
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge 1761
LG G5 1913
Geekbench 3 single-core Higher is better
Motorola Moto Z Droid Edition 2361
Motorola Moto Z Force Droid Edition 2348
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge 2318
LG G5 2344
Geekbench 3 multi-core Higher is better
Motorola Moto Z Droid Edition 5493
Motorola Moto Z Force Droid Edition 5450
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge 5433
LG G5 5442

Connectivity

When did data cables become so uncool?


The nice thing about a carrier-exclusive handset like these two guys are is that you know perfectly well you're not going to run into any issues with band support (god forbid). And indeed, both the Moto Z Droid and Moto Z Force Droid take full advantage of Verizon's expansive network with support for high-speed Cat 9 LTE.

Wi-Fi support hits 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac on both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, there's Bluetooth 4.1 LE, and the phones are both compatible with NFC interactions.

For physical connectivity, each phone has a single USB Type-C port – and that's it. This move has implications for audio output, which we'll get to in a moment, but also accessing phone data. The problem there is that the charger that comes with these phones has its USB cable permanently affixed to the power adapter, so it can't be disconnected and used to access phone data with your PC. We suppose picking up your own USB Type-C data cable is no big deal, but that's not an accessory everyone has sitting around just yet, and Motorola absolutely should have included it in the package.

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81 Comments

1. FlySheikh

Posts: 444; Member since: Oct 02, 2015

I'm impressed..

4. zex999

Posts: 92; Member since: Feb 14, 2016

Yes really impressed, I just wish it was a bit more affordable. Also, in my opinion this is not truly modular. The add ons just add to much bulk and thickness. Meaning this is not much different than phone cases that add extra battery time or other features, which pretty much every other popular phone has.

72. Bankz

Posts: 2550; Member since: Apr 08, 2016

This system is even better than anything google will put out with the ara simply because of its simplicity, execution, implementation and convenience. This might not be modular per se, but then its might be something actually better than that tbh With the Mods, anything is possible. Can you say that about a normal phone? Can a projector work with a normal phone with an accessory? Can the onecompute work with a normal phone through an accessory? The simple anser is, NO!!!

76. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

"With the Mods, anything is possible. Can you say that about a normal phone? Can a projector work with a normal phone with an accessory? Can the onecompute work with a normal phone through an accessory?" Actually, the answer is yes to all of the above, thanks to USB OTG. Here's how to use any projector (there's loads of portable ones) via OTG ( http://goo.gl/fIzf82 ), and an OTG continuum for all Android devices ( https://goo.gl/mDjvR7 ). Both do what those other two do for the Moto Z, for ALL Android devices. Moto Mods are just proprietary BS that'll get obsolete if you dare to switch to a non-motorola phone.

6. sgodsell

Posts: 7451; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

This is something new and these phones definitely bring some much needed innovation to the mobility rat race. I truly applaud Lenovo and Motorola for releasing this to the world. As far as the mods are concerned the really pricey mod is the projector mod. I don't see a lot of consumers purchasing this mod any way. You mentioned that some of the battery mods are expensive. However you forgot to mention that some also give you wireless charging as well. Not to mention some iPhone battery cases are more expensive and don't have wireless charging.

13. GreenMan

Posts: 2698; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

I'm impressed too, "Ya Sheikh"... Simply because of Stock Android... And the build quality seems pretty impressive too... I like the back panel's fit & finish & the attention to details... Although not a fan of the 'Camera Hump'... The only problem is "The Gargantuan" size... Even Samsung Edge seems 'Tiny' in comparison... I prefer phones that fits easily in my front pocket without peeking out... But that's just me, eh? G'Day!

45. FlySheikh

Posts: 444; Member since: Oct 02, 2015

Hahah!

26. zeeBomb

Posts: 2318; Member since: Aug 14, 2014

Moto G4 = 7 These two: nearly a 9 Ok

29. zeeBomb

Posts: 2318; Member since: Aug 14, 2014

But to be honest, this review surprised the heck out of me.The Moto Z still attained very loud sound of the USB 2 headphone well, camera is great, and the Moto Mods just proved it's infinitely better than the LG G5. Well done Moto, well done!!

81. rca30178

Posts: 6; Member since: Jul 25, 2016

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2. ThePython

Posts: 902; Member since: May 08, 2013

I hoped it would be a bit less expensive than most flagships, that's a shame. The price and the lack of a 3.5 mm jack kills it for me.

7. sgodsell

Posts: 7451; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

They give you a 3.5mm dongle in the box for you headphones.

51. ThePython

Posts: 902; Member since: May 08, 2013

A clunky solution. I've had bad luck with Motorola accessories, a new one will probably cost a fortune where I live.

3. donrox

Posts: 203; Member since: Jul 18, 2014

photos from both phones lack a lot in sharpness. Details look smudged even in daylight. Why isn't this highlighted in the review nor listed as a con?

37. MingLiangChen

Posts: 329; Member since: Jul 06, 2012

Is it that aggressive noise reduction from the X Pure 2015 again? I can't really view the photos because they cost me so much data :p

39. SYSTEM_LORD

Posts: 1168; Member since: Oct 05, 2015

The photos on the Force don't look bad, the color is good, the details are sharp, and they have clarity. The regular one looks bad in my opinion. I may have to get a OnePlus 3 or Axon 7 if they repeat the same (lack of) quality from the regular Z on their up and coming Z Play.

41. MingLiangChen

Posts: 329; Member since: Jul 06, 2012

I've used the X Style and X Play and I must say the X Play's camera, though being the same sensor, produces pictures that are more "uncomfortable" to look at. It might be my own unit, because I've seen pictures posted online that don't look glaring. Expecting the same from Z vs Z Play.

42. MingLiangChen

Posts: 329; Member since: Jul 06, 2012

Again, only zooming 100% reveals every flaw it has.

49. SYSTEM_LORD

Posts: 1168; Member since: Oct 05, 2015

Fair enough, but the 615 series (615, 616, and 617) don't have that great of an ISP. The 625 is supposed to be quite a bit better, and can handle 4K.

5. Babadook

Posts: 230; Member since: May 24, 2016

Kinda disappointed with the Force battery life and max/min brightness. But it's still between this and the new Nexus (assuming Verizon gets it).

8. roldefol

Posts: 4744; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

Wish the minimum brightness and color temp were better. Moto still gets stuck with last gen Samsung screens (though I think the Force uses an LG POLED like the Flex line.)

12. GreenMan

Posts: 2698; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

Moto Z Force, eh? Is it "Zee" Force or "Zed" Force, I wonder...? Oh well, G'Day!

14. Bankz

Posts: 2550; Member since: Apr 08, 2016

For a brand like lenovo moto to have a 9 in phonearena? Good gracious!!!! This phone must be damn impressive. With this phone, you know anything is possible. Just anything. The most innovative smartphone since the original iphone in my opinion and in close contention for being the best smartphone of all time.

18. roldefol

Posts: 4744; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

Moto still has a good name around here. Especially when they bring actual differentiating innovations like Moto Display, Shattershield, and the modular backs. Lenovo branded phones likely wouldn't rate as high.

47. nebula

Posts: 1009; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

I was scrolling down just to find someone who things alike me. 9 is too much given price tag. is this phone special? Yes and now. The good thing is module will be suitable for the next year model so they say so. I really i think I really like it because of modules, maybe implementation to be perfectly honest which is awesome. But c'mon that price!!! Last year pricing was spot on.Knowing how crap is they post purchase service which is almost oblivion f**k no.

16. libra89

Posts: 2298; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Wow, these phones sound pretty nice, but yeah I didn't think that they would be in the $600 and $700 ranges. I envisioned one being $500 something and the other $600 something.

17. MingLiangChen

Posts: 329; Member since: Jul 06, 2012

Are these reviews from different teams coming out at the same time again? @@

28. libra89

Posts: 2298; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

I think the timing is probably intentional since if you pre-order this phone, you can have it fairly soon.

43. MingLiangChen

Posts: 329; Member since: Jul 06, 2012

Great that we can watch every single review in one run for people who are die hard fans.

19. Ordinary

Posts: 2454; Member since: Apr 23, 2015

>no headphone jack >score 8.9 Prep time for you know who

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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