If you have been looking to own a modular phone, you should probably already know that Google’s Project Ara has failed and the LG G5’s modular capability has not been advancing at all after a year of its launch.


Well, that leaves us with 2 of Lenovo’s take on modular phones, the Moto Z and the Moto Z Play. Both are currently available in Malaysia and they cost RM2,699 (Moto Z) and RM1,899 (Moto Z Play).

Now that we know the price for both, let’s take a look if these devices have what it takes to make us take that chunk of money out from our wallet.

BUILT & OUTLOOK


Both the devices are made of glass on the front and back with metal all round. They definitely look very premium and elegant. With the thinness of the Moto Z at 5.2mm, it looks super fantastic when placed on a dining table.

The Moto Z Play however, is thicker at 6.9mm. It’s not a very thick phone but when you put it beside the Moto Z, this one looks really fat and unattractive. But both are very solidly built, though I’m not sure if the glass panels can survive drops on solid grounds.

Build and outlook rating:
8/10.

DISPLAY


Display wise, they are definitely on par with other flagships out there like the Galaxy S7 Edge and iPhone 7 Plus. The 5.5-inch screen looks good. Colours are vibrant and texts look sharp.

Though we cannot neglect the fact that the Z Play only has a 1080p resolution, which is definitely less appealing when placed side by side with the Moto Z which has a 2K resolution display. But honestly, the difference is very minimal, and not noticeable if we don’t compare both.

Display rating:
Moto Z 9/10, Z Play 6.5/10.

CAMERA


Now here come’s the most important thing to all of us when it comes to picking a phone.
Let me just say this. The cameras are OKAY… and they give a very Android feel when I was playing around with the camera. The interface is almost stock Android-like, which is what I dislike when it come’s to Android phones. Not sure if you know what I mean but yeah. Anyway.. let’s move on.

The Moto Z has a 13MP camera with f1.8 aperture while the Z Play comes with a 16MP shooter with f2 aperture. Both have laser autofocus but the former has Optical Image Stabilisation while the latter has Phase Detection Autofocus. In layman terms, they both can stabilise hand-shakes very well. 😀

I’ve actually battled the devices along with Galaxy S7 Edge and the iPhone 7 Plus so you can grasp how the camera performs in different conditions. Click on the thumbnails to enlarge.


Indoor lighting, moderate distant objects.

Moto Z Moto Z Play Galaxy S7 Edge iPhone 7 Plus

Food, close up.

Moto Z Moto Z Play Galaxy S7 Edge iPhone 7 Plus

Low light with high contrast lightings

Moto Z Moto Z Play Galaxy S7 Edge iPhone 7 Plus


Low light photos from the Moto Z Play have a noticeable amount of noise and this is due to the smaller aperture opening (f2 compared to f1.8 on the Moto Z). Photos tend to be on a cool side and less natural when compared to the iPhone 7 Plus.

Camera quality rating:
Moto Z 6.5/10, Z Play 5.5/10.

BATTERY PERFORMANCE

Both devices could actually last my day-to-day usage for 1 full day with the Moto Z dying by night while the Z Play surviving til the next morning.
This is due to the difference in battery sizes in both devices. The Moto Z has a 2,610mAH battery while the Z Play has a 3,610mAH battery. This is most probably why the latter is thicker (and not as sexy) as the Moto Z.

Battery performance rating:
Moto Z 7/10, Z Play 9.5/10.

UNIQUE FEATURES

The biggest selling point for these 2 devices are modular aspect. The phones can be attached to different mods on the back (via magnetic pins) and perform special abilities that no other phones can.


At launch, there are a few Moto Mods available; The Hasselblad True Zoom, JBL Soundboost, Insta Share Projector and Incipio Offgrid Power Pack. These are sold separately and are supposed to boost the Moto Z and Z Play in features respectively.


Here are the cost for each Moto Mod:
– JBL SoundBoost Speaker: RM599
– Hasselblad True Zoom Camera: RM1,299
– Insta-Share Projector: RM1,399
– Incipio offgrid Power Pack: RM499

Let’s look at my favourite one of all, the Insta Share Projector.


It’s basically a mobile projector that fits in your pocket. All you need to do is just snap it on the back of the Moto Z or Z Play. Then switch it on and whatever that is on your screen will be projected out. You can then point it to the wall and watch movies with your friends in the same room.


Should you buy this?
70% YES

The one is my 2nd favourite, the JBL Soundboost speaker.


Snap it on, and your music from Spotify, Youtube or whatever you are playing on the phone, will be blasted out from the JBL and boy it sounds AMAZING. The bass is deep, vocals are clear. Best thing? The kick stand is red, my favourite colour 😀


Now you should also know that, once the JBL is attached, the overall thickness and weight will increase. It’s not meant to be attached all the time, but to be carried along to parties or picnics.

Should you buy this?
90% YES

Lastly, I wanna talk about the Hasselblad TrueZoom (wooh.. Hasselblad~)


This attachment from the most reputable camera company on earth, is supposed to provide the Moto Z user a 10x optical zoom and bright photos even under low light with the onboard Xenon flash. In layman terms, turning your phone into a Hasselblad camera lah.

But guess what, it fails in taking photos every single time. It doesn’t focus properly when zoomed. Be it 1X, 2X 5X or 10X zoom, nothing can be focused correctly. All photos taken are blur and out of focused. It’s the worst Moto Mod available.

Should you buy this?
100% NO

CONCLUSION

Both the Moto Z phones are great looking, has top notch built quality and great displays. With the front facing speakers and also lightning fast finger print sensor, it’s definitely a good Android phone from Lenovo. Camera wise, it’s just average and if you can’t decide which one to pick, I’d say go with the sexy one, the Moto Z. Photos taken are better looking, it’s thinner and has a higher resolution screen.
For the Moto Mods, they are great in showing how these phones can be modular but not all of them works as advertised. The Insta Share projector is good but with it’s price, one can actually buy another phone with that kind of money.


In conclusion, these are the best modular phones you can buy in the market now, but if the Moto Mods are not your kind of thing, then there are better smartphone choices out there for the money that you are forking out.

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