Welcome to the latest edition in our ‘Device Advice’ blog series, sharing our thoughts and insights into the most recent devices releases from the world of mobile, tablets and beyond.
Last month marked the UK launch of Motorola’s Moto Z family: the Moto Z and Moto Z Play. Both handsets have different specifications and functionalities – along with varying suitability for the user. The standout feature of both is their modular capabilities.
The Moto Z has been introduced by Motorola as the world’s thinnest premium smartphone. At just 5.19mm, this slim handset can be bulked up with interchangeable modules. These modules are attached with strong magnets and – compared to some completely modular phones like the LG G5 – Moto Z devices don’t need to be powered down in order to switch between modules.
One of the official accessories is the Insta-Share projector, which allows you to project content from your phone onto any flat surface. There’s no denying that this feature could come in very handy if you ever need to present something on the fly, however, it does come at a cost of around £190.
There are only a handful of MotoMods available at launch, but the possibilities of future module developments are almost endless.
Alongside its modular capabilities, the Moto Z boasts TurboPower charging, meaning 15 minutes of charge time will generate up to seven hours of battery life. This is a great feature, and Motorola has built a reputation for rapid charging times over the last few hardware launches. The battery life can also be extended further with a modular battery pack at a cost of £50 (£35 cheaper than Apple’s Smart Battery Case). This is probably the one modular add-on that’s likely to generate traction, especially in a device landscape littered with sealed devices sporting non-removable batteries.
One key feature of this phone, which can’t be found on its Apple rivals, is a Micro SD slot. This gives the user the option to expand the internal memory as much as they need. However, standing alongside Apple on this front, the Moto Z doesn’t feature a 3.5mm headphone jack. The device is shipped with a headphone converter for its USB Type-C port, but this does mean that the phone can’t be charged while the earphones are in use.
As most Motorola devices are marketed as mid-range or budget alternatives to the high-end smartphones, the Moto Z may seem expensive, at around £415. However, this is clearly Motorola’s latest flagship – and it has the features to match.
Moto Z Play
The Moto Z Play is the cheapest handset in the family, with a starting price of £308 after you’ve claimed the VAT back. Maintaining most of the features of the Moto Z, yet building on the battery capabilities of its sister devices, this smartphone can last for up 50 hours between charges – and its TurboPower charging ability means nine hours of power can be generated in 15 minutes. It also hosts a 3.5mm headphone jack, unlike the Moto Z.
However, the cheaper price does come with some downsides such as a lower resolution display and slightly less powerful processor than the Moto Z. It’s also marginally thicker and heavier.
There is certainly a shift in the Android camp at the moment. Samsung is facing a PR battle to reclaim buyer faith following the well-publicised Galaxy Note 7 fiasco, which it claims will wipe over $5 billion from its operating profit over the next three quarters. And, at the other end of the scale, Google has released the Pixel smartphone, replacing the Nexus brand of Google owned Android devices. The Pixel is a technical powerhouse, with core Google services such as free full resolution photo backup baked in to the offering. However, it’s an Apple priced product, and this will (somewhat needlessly) put some off. These two factors may leave some traditional Samsung and ‘Nexus’ Android buyers looking at what else is in the market, and the Moto Z series could benefit from this.