As iconic as the Razr was, Motorola is hoping its latest set of devices, which promise to be the first true modular smartphone platform, will become equally so. That’s an ambitious goal, to be sure, but the Moto Z and Z Force are also incredibly promising.
The Moto Z comes in two variants: the ultra-thin Moto Z and the thicker, but slightly more powerful, Moto Z Force. Both support Motorola’s modules, both feature extremely rapid charging — squeezing hours of battery life out of only 15 minutes of charging, according to Motorola — and both have 5.5-inch display.
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But the Z Force has a larger battery (that charges faster), a better camera (21MP, compared with 13MP on the Moto Z) and sports a “shatterproof” display. It’s also considerably thicker than the 5.2mm Moto Z. Those are all neat specs and both the Moto Z and Z Force would be impressive on specs alone.
The most impressive part of the modules is how they don’t feel gimmicky. They snap on and off easily and don’t feel like an afterthought. And they don’t make the Z Force or the Moto Z, which is astoundingly thin and light, feel bulky or heavy.
In fact, the 2220 mAh Kate Spade-branded battery pack is one of the thinnest and least bulky battery designs.
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This modular design does come with a couple compromises — most notably the 3.5 mm headphone jack. Motorola eschewed it in favor of the USB Type-C port. (Motorola executives also said the jack would create an “anomaly” in the product shape that would have interfered with modularity.)
We also have yet to find out pricing, which could make or break the line, for either device or the modules. In an interview with Mashable, Lenovo VP Nicklas Jonsson gave a big range for module pricing.
It is thought from $29 to — as innovation goes crazy and you think about narrower and narrower specialized verticals — it could probably run up to 500 bucks. When you start talking about content creation with stereo 360-video camera that works really well in virtual reality headsets where you create your own content — that’s probably going to cost a little bit more than just $200 to $300.”
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Both devices go on sale later this year; the Moto Z and Z Force will be available in August from Verizon (with Droid branding) and available more broadly in the fall.