Motorola takes a crack at modular smartphones with Moto Z flagships

Motorola takes a crack at modular smartphones with Moto Z flagships
Motorola takes a crack at modular smartphones with Moto Z flagships

Motorola overnight unveiled its latest attempts at a flagship smartphone, the modular Moto Z and Moto Z Force. The pair of metal-clad devices mark a significant departure from curved-back smartphones Motorola had become known for, instead offering a somewhat more conventional design with a couple of twists.

The Moto Z is billed as "the world's thinnest premium smartphone", measuring in at just 5.19mm at its slimmest point. Unsurprisingly, this is countered by a somewhat hefty camera bump. Motorola has also axed the headphone jack in its pursuit of thinness, and users will have to rely on USB Type-C headphones, an adapter (said to be included in the box), or Bluetooth.

Thin may be in, but the Moto Z's other key point of difference is modular functionality through swappable back plates. Some of these back plates, referred to as "MotoMods", will give the Moto Z new features, while others, "Style Shells", simply change the phone's look and feel. The first three MotoMods include a speaker from JBL, a clip-on projector, and a battery back. Style Shells will come in a range of finish and colours, including wood, leather and fabric. MotoMods and Style Shells snap on magnetically via a 16-pin connector on the back of the phone. These can be swapped without the need to restart the Moto Z.


In terms of hardware, the Moto Z has been kitted out with a 5.5-inch Quad HD display, a Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB of RAM, up to 64GB of expandable storage, a 2,600mAh battery, and a 13MP rear-facing camera.

The Moto Z Force is a drop-proof take on the Moto Z. In addition to what Motorola calls a "ShatterShield display", the Force has a beefier 3,500mAh battery, a 21MP rear-facing camera, and is slightly thicker. It measures in at 6.99mm at its slimmest point. Other specifications are identical to the standard Moto Z.

The Moto Z will see a global launch in September, although it looks like the Moto Z Force will be a US exclusive. 

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