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Moto Z hands-on review: The 2016 flagship comes to Europe

Moto Z hands-on review: Whilst Lenovo’s big IFA announcements centred around the new Yoga Book and new Moto Mods, we also went hands-on with the Moto Z, which is now confirmed to be coming to Europe.

Moto Z: Specs at a glance

Screen size 5.5-inches
Screen resolution Quad HD (2560×1440)
Weight 136 grams
OS Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Front camera 5-megapixel/ wide-angle lens
Rear camera 13-megapixel w/ OIS, hybrid autofocus, dual-tone LED flash
Processor 1.8GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
Memory 4GB RAM
Storage 32GB. Expandable via microSD up to 2TB
Battery 2600mAh w/ TurboCharge fast charging

Moto Z: Hands-on review

The Moto Z has already been available in the US, along with the shatterproof Moto Z Force, but markets wanting after the company’s latest flagship have been out of luck until now. Whilst there are obvious similarities between it and its launch partner, the Moto Z Play, the standard Z trumps in more affordable sibling in a number of meaningful ways.

First and foremost it’s thin; at 5.19mm it’s one of the world’s thinnest Android smartphones around and as a result of that svelte profile it beat Apple to the punch in ditching the standard 3.5mm headphone jack. Whilst Apple’s bares the brunt of the backlash for a similar move it’s just pulled with the iPhone 7, Lenovo’s quietly rectifying its absence by bundling a Type-C USB to 3.5mm headphone adapter in the box.

Despite its waistline, the Moto Z packs some serious specs, with Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 820 flagship chipset running things, paired to 4GB of (DDR4) RAM and storage options ranging from 32GB to 64GB (market dependant), both of which also accommodate microSD cards up to a massive 2TB on top.

Moto Z hands-on review: profile

There’s also a 2600mAh battery, which Lenovo says gives you up to 30 hours and mixed usage and with the company’s own TurboCharge fast charging can offer up 7 hours of use from just 15 minutes charge.

On the front is a sizeable 5.5-inch Quad HD AMOLED display, which is undeniably stunning in person as well as a front mounted fingerprint sensor and proximity sensors for the approach gesture, which lets you check notifications simply by bringing your hand towards the front of the phone.

On the back is an impressive 13-megapixel primary camera backed up by optical image stabilisation (OIS), a laser autofocus array and, according to Lenovo, if boasts zero shutter lag. Pair the OIS to 1.12μm enlarged pixels, a dual-tone LED flash and the camera’s f/1.8 aperture and the Moto Z low-light capabilities also look as though they’ll pack a serious punch versus the competition. With that top-tier chipset you can also expect up to 4K video recording (with HDR) and there’s a wide-angle 5-megapixel front-facer for selfies in the club.

Moto Z hands-on review: camera

All of that tech is wrapped up in a metal frame, available in White and Fine Gold or Black and Lunar Grey (the latter of which better hides the front-facing proximity sensors). Despite being so thin, the metal body also ensures that the Moto Z feels strong and sturdy in the hand and as the name alludes to, the phone also supports Moto Mods by way of a proprietary magnetic connector on its lower back.

The company’s modular accessories grew by one at IFA, with the arrival of the Hasselblad True Zoom camera mod, which swaps out the Z’s standard snapper for a 12-megapixel sensor that packs a 10x optical zoom, physical camera controls, a xenon flash and RAW image support. Other ‘Mods include Incipio’s offGRID power pack, the company’s own Style Shells and the Insta Share projector. Find out about our hands-on experience with the latest batch of Moto Mods here.

Moto Z hands-on review: Moto Mods connector

Lenovo’s Moto Z is finally in the UK and starts at £499, undercutting its main rivals in Sony, Samsung, HTC, LG and Apple, whilst the Moto Mods range from the £16 Moto Style Shells to the £249.98 projector.

Stay tuned for our full review soon, but in the meantime, you can watch our hands-on review of the Moto Z from IFA here:

 

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