Camera

Whether you go 13MP or 21MP, you're in good hands


One of the big differences between the Moto Z Droid and Moto Z Force Droid hardware is the rear camera you'll find present, with the former getting a 13MP sensor, and the latter upgrading to an 21MP component with phase-detection auto-focus.

Both cameras employ optical stabilization, offer laser-assisted auto-focus, and have an ƒ/1.8 aperture.

They also share matching 5MP front-facers, with wide-angle lenses, an ƒ/2.2 aperture, and a couple decisions to help with low-light performance: big 1.4um pixels, and the all-too-rare presence of a proper front-mounted flash.

Image quality

Not the best anywhere, but really solid efforts from both phones

Much like the cameras we just looked at on the Moto G4 and Moto G4 Plus, you're going to see some very similar performance out of the sensors on these two Moto Z models. There's good reason for that: Lenovo can't risk there being a “bad” Moto Z Droid, so neither camera should exhibit obvious shortcomings – and we didn't notice anything of the kind. Basically, the Moto Z Force Droid takes everything the Moto Z Droid camera does well, and slightly ups the resolution.

Focus times are fast on both phones, even with the Moto Z Droid lacking phase-detection mode, and the camera app itself is swift to come up and start taking shots, whether you're launching it from your home screen or with a gesture control. Color accuracy is similar between the two sensors, as are exposures – though a bit surprisingly, in more than a few tests we noticed the 13MP Moto Z Droid delivering some better-looking shots than its higher-res cousin.

Really, though, these two are closely matched, and the worth of the Moto Z Force Droid's camera will largely be determined by your need for exceptionally high-res shots.


Taking a pic Lower is better Taking an HDR pic (sec) Lower is better CamSpeed score Higher is better CamSpeed score with flash Higher is better
Motorola Moto Z Droid Edition 1.3
1.7
688
333
Motorola Moto Z Force Droid Edition 1.7
2.2
562
567
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge 1.5
1.6
283
261
LG G5 2.2
2.7
505
480

Video recording

4K without a hitch

We're not let down when it comes to support for 4K video, with each Moto Z phone producing some sharp ultra-HD footage. Here, the benefits of the beefier Moto Z Force Droid were a bit more obvious to see, and its 4K video appeared slightly sharper to our eyes – though both phones demonstrated quick video re-focus times.

Full HD 1080p didn't disappoint, either, and both 30fps and 60fps modes generated satisfyingly crisp video. But while there's plenty of detail in these shots, we noticed the phone being a bit aggressive with video compression, resulting in plenty of artifacts on playback. Some artifacting is to be expected, but we would have appreciated a way to control the bitrate in order to minimize its effect on important shots.



Multimedia

Pour one on the curb for the humble headphone jack

The single front-facing earpiece speaker on each Moto Z phone may not be the fanciest around, and while it doesn't blow us away with real room-shattering bass, it does manage to keep things sounding clear and balanced even at high volume levels. As far as output goes, our tests showed both phones to be on par with much of their handset competition, though objectively we found ourselves cranking up the volume to max more than we'd like to – it's like the Moto Z phones don't sound as loud as they actually are.

But then there's the headphone jack – or the lack thereof. The Moto Z Droid has the excuse of being stupid-thin, but the Moto Z Force Droid follows its lead and decides to do all its audio output over USB Type-C as well. Motorola's kind enough to include a headphone adapter in the box of both phones, but that still feels like a less-than-graceful solution. Perhaps we'll stop harping on this issue in another year when the headphone jack on phones is really and truly dead, but for now it's still an adjustment we'd rather not be making.

Headphones output power (Volts) Higher is better
Motorola Moto Z Droid Edition 0.99
Motorola Moto Z Force Droid Edition 0.993
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge 0.707
LG G5 0.29
Loudspeaker loudness (dB) Higher is better
Motorola Moto Z Droid Edition 72.6
Motorola Moto Z Force Droid Edition 73.8
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge 72.9
LG G5 73


FEATURED VIDEO

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: 7430; 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: 7430; 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: 2290; 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: 2290; 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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