Motorola returned to the market with its budget X series, and they have been trying to improve it ever since. From pricing to unique design to the Android experience, Motorola has made more tweaks than Apple has ever even thought of. But when Motorola couldn’t come with a plan to co-exist with its rivals, Lenovo stepped in to change all that.
Moto Z is the first phone after the acquisition, and we were safe to assume that there will be a design change. The back of the device has a more flat look, unlike the previous generation of the X and X Play. The glass back also gives a more elegant look. The snap on accessories takes forward the idea that LG introduced and failed to expand. It is the slimmest phone with 5.19 inches thick, weighs only a 136 grams and yet is the sturdiest. The design is the first thing which will fascinate you, so I’ll start the review by discussing this beauty in detail:
Design and Hardware
History has been proof that you can never go wrong with a mixture of metal and glass. And if you make a slab which is incredibly slim, you get the Moto Z. The back gives you a good grip, but it is also a fingerprint magnet. We also get a wood-styled back panel which snaps on quite quickly. The shell wasn’t convenient as the device kept slipping out of the hands. But it was nice to know that these shells were very lightweight and didn’t add bulk.
The round camera on the top with the Moto branding definitely grabs the eye and is the most prominent distinguisher. Moving down reveals two rows of golden studs which help in snapping mods perfectly.
The right side of the phone contains the buttons for power and volume which are very hard to distinguish because of similar size. The left side is empty, the lower part includes the USB C-type port and some more branding, and the top includes the hybrid sim and SD card slot.
Turning the device, the first thing which looks out of place is the home button and the chin – both of which are extraordinarily huge. Also, you can see the Moto branding above the button which looks gaudy. Talking about the home button – it doesn’t serve any purpose. It is basically just a fingerprint sensor and unlocks the device.
Motorola claims that the Z comes with nano-coating and can handle exposure to liquids moderately. We tested this by sprinkling some water droplets on it which it survived. We were too scared to submerge into the water even for a few seconds, but I can safely say that Moto X Play survived this test a couple of months ago.
I would give the design – 9/10
The 5.5 inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 2,560*1,440 sets it apart from the previous generations. For me specifically, display plays and important role in selecting my new phone and Moto Z really stands out from the competition. Apart from the great display from every tilt, I especially liked the way the screen brings out the colors, even when I’m under the bright sun. But the Vibrant mode of colors seems more enhanced than true, and therefore I prefer the standard mode.
Corning Gorilla Glass protects the Quad HD display, and I haven’t felt the need to use a screen guard for the phone, but it does pick up smudges and makes it hard to see sometimes, especially when you’re outdoors.
The Display definitely deserves a 9.5/10
There is no headphone- jack preset so the device ships with a pair of 3.5 mm earphones along with a type-C converter to listen to music. It is annoying, but it does not hamper with the sound quality.
Coming up to the speaker which is placed on the top, I am disappointed with the fact that Motorola didn’t focus more on the speakers. The quality is okay, but the sound seems fatigued and rather dull. We really expected more from the flagship. We didn’t try the JBL mod, but maybe Moto has a plan to utilize the mod as a speaker.
The sound didn’t satisfy the music lover in me, and I’ll give it – 7/10
Software & Performance
Z shipped with Android 7 and is expected to get an upgrade to O. The UI is once again very clean and minimum clutter, and bloatware is to be expected. But we’ve had some issues with the earlier Moto devices, and the same issues stayed persistent. For ex. Sometimes clicking on icons on the home screen open other apps. You’ll find more with daily usage.
Moving on to the main part – the performance. Fast – this is the only thing you need to know about this device. AnTuTu gave us 110,468, and Nova 3, Real Racing 3, Asphalt 7, Mortal Combat X, Temple Run, etc. ran incredibly smooth. Although I could feel just a little heat on the back, it was to be expected from a glass back. The quad-core 1.8GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 with integrated Adreno 530 took care of everything thrown its way.
There is no doubt that RAM management was excellent with the 4GB provided and I used it daily to juggle between business and pleasure.
I’ll give it 8/10 (Cutting some points for the heating)
The 2600mAh battery just doesn’t cut it for power users like me. Gaming non-stop brought it down from 100 to 55 in 30 minutes, and average usage lasted not more 8 hours. With claims that it could last 12 hours, I was hoping to get at least 9-11 hours.
I’m still charging the phone as I type this 6/10
I was saving the best for the last and believe when I say – This is the first Motorola phone with a camera which can actually compete with the best of Apple and Samsung. The stock camera app has been replaced to do justice to the excellent hardware.
The X Play had a 21-megapixel camera and also had an excellent camera but not as good as the 13-megapixel on Z. The bright colored photos impressed us; however the same cannot be said when you move indoors. The low light photography wasn’t great but got the job done. The flash was not of much help and reliance on just the camera and exposure pretty much did the job.
The clarity and texture of the photographs looked good, and the colors were not oversaturated, which is the issue with most Samsung devices. For average photography, the Hasselblad mod won’t be required.
I’ll give the camera a perfect 10/10
Motorola has done a great job with Z, and we can expect only good experience with the Z Play. The Lenovo acquisition has changed the design and for better. Also, the Change from curved back to a flat back and from using plastic to glass and metal also makes it actually look like a flagship.
Priced at Rs. 39,999, It is a bit expensive, but the features and especially the camera makes it worth it. So, if you’re looking for a flagship phone and are confused, Our verdict would be to go for Moto Z.