Hands-On with Lenovo’s Moto Z Droid


I’ve always really liked Motorola’s smartphones. The clean version of Android built-in, the snappiness, the overall design – you could say I’m a Motorola fanboy (but I assure you I’m not as I can see all their faults just as well as I can see their strengths). But nevertheless I was especially excited watching Lenovo’s recent event when they unveiled the future of the Moto smartphone: the Moto Z and Z Force. I quickly realized just how interested I was in checking out one or both smartphones at some point, and finally I have my chance to do so. Motorola/Lenovo was nice enough to send us a unit of the Moto Z Droid edition for a review, and while I’ve only had the handset for a matter of hours at this point, I’m not ready to give you all my thoughts as my experience is very limited. I can, however, share my initial impressions so far and what I think about the smartphone at first glance.

After unboxing the Moto Z Droid, I was immediately met with a white glass front and a bunch of clutter. I was hoping I’d get a black model to hide all the sensors and stuff, but I wasn’t that lucky. Instead, I got the white model which reveals all of the sensors on the front of the phone. I personally don’t care for that much at all, so I thought it’d be worth noting.

Motorola includes a Turbo Charger in the box which is mounted to the wall adapter, so I can’t remove the two. However, it doesn’t really matter since I won’t be needing to use this charger for anything else other than the Moto Z.

There’s also a SIM removal tool (at least for me), a USB-C male to 3.5mm headphone jack female dongle since this handset don’ts include a built-in audio jack, a couple sheets of paperwork, and a Moto Mod (which I’ll get to in a second).

At first glance, the phone looks stunning… at least on the back. Like I said, I’m not a huge fan of the front with all the exposed sensors and clutter, so I won’t be praising it in this article. Some won’t agree with me that the back looks as good as it does, but I for one tend to like it very much.

One major problem I spotted right away was that the Moto Z (and likely the Z Force also since they both share virtually the same design) is basically a fingerprint magnet. If you pick up the phone once and set it down, it’s gonna look gross. The back is the most prone to fingerprint and isn’t very easy to clean. That’s why as soon as I pulled off its plastic film, I immediately connected the included Moto Mod to the back to hide everything.

See, in the box of every Moto Z and Z Force you’ll get a free Moto Mod to install. This isn’t the fancy speaker one and it doesn’t include an extra battery, but it does allow you to customize your phone with a wood-like texture that feels great to hold. I instantly loved the look this Style Mod (which is what they’re called) gave the Moto Z, hence I still have the Mod attached and can’t see myself ever taking it off.

Once I booted up the Moto Z (thanks to its 80% of battery juice), I set it up with my Google account, included SIM card, and my fingerprints. I’ve never had a fingerprint sensor on one of my phones before, so I thought a great deal about how I feel about it. And my verdict? I love it! It’s just so much simpler than punching in a PIN to unlock my device. Plus, it’s relatively fast too. In about a half of a second, I can get right into my phone and start using it.

After living with a Moto E 2015 for 8 months, my eyes had to readjust to the nice display of the Moto Z and it’s saturation. Honestly, I can tell you that this display looks awesome. I reminds me of the one found on the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. Sometimes, it looks a little saturated, but I don’t mind since I love bright colors.

One of the first differences between Motorola’s previous smartphones and the new Moto Z is the fact that this device doesn’t use the Google Now Launcher by default. Lenovo has built a new launcher for the Z which includes black transparent folders and app drawer while also restricts access to the Google Now pane. I don’t mind using the launcher, however I am pretty tempted to switch back over to Google’s home screen setup.

After installing a few apps like Facebook, Instagram, and CloudMagic, I started messing around with the Moto Z. And surprise, it’s buttery smooth. I can have dozens of apps open at once and reopen different operations even after extended periods of time. However, I do already have one complaint about using the phone…

I don’t know if it’s just the unit I got or not, but when operating the Moto Z, I started experiencing some pretty warm temperatures coming from the battery. I’m not sure if all units do this, but mine does. However, the upside of the battery is the fact that it charges very quickly. After using the phone for a while, I dropped to 55%. Then after having it plugged in for about a half hour, I was already at 100%. So yes, turbo charging works in case you were wondering.

I’ve taken a few photos with the 13MP rear camera and 5MP front camera, and so far I kinda like them. I still have yet to analyze different shots on my computer, so I won’t go to far into depth about them yet.

So to wrap this up, my initial first impressions of the Moto Z are that I really like it. Of course, I can’t say everything I like and don’t like about it yet, but I can say that as of now, it’s great. I’ll have my full review on the smartphone come later this August as I’m still expecting some Moto Mods to arrive at my doorstep. But nonetheless, I like it.

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