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Motorola Offers Customisability With Modular Moto Z Smartphone

Michael Moore joined TechWeek Europe in January 2014 as a trainee before graduating to Reporter later that year. He covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to mobile devices, wearable tech, the Internet of Things, and financial technology.

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Super-powered Moto Z is world’s thinnest smartphone, but there’s no headphone jack as Motorola makes another bold, if not divisive, design move

Motorola has continued its bid to offer more personalised smartphones with the launch of the super-thin modular Moto Z smartphone.

The Moto Z is 5.2mm thin and is built from from military aircraft-grade aluminium and stainless steel. But its the modular design, similar to Google’s Project Ara, that will attract most attention.

Before it was taken over by Google (and later Lenovo), Motorola was renowned for a number of unique designs, such as the Razr and Pebl flip phones and the world’s first touch screen device. The more recent Moto X also offered a host of customisation options, but these were mostly cosmetic.

Moto Z

Moto Z Side AngleWith the Moto Z, users can pick and choose from a selection of additional parts to add onto the device, which snap in using powerful magnetic connectors.

‘Moto Mods’ allow users to add additional capabilities like a portable projector or upgrade audio or video features. Motorola is also opening up the platform to the public to get some other great ideas.

That’s not to say that the basic hardware of the Moto Z is lacking, as inside, there’s Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB of RAM and the option of either 32GB or 64GB of storage, which can be expanded via microSD up to 2TB, making the device one of the most powerful on the market right now.

As for cameras, there’s a 13 megapixel rear camera with optical image stabilisation and laser autofocus, which will allow for more detailed images, even in low light. This is joined by a front-facing 5 megapixel camera which also includes a wide-angle lens and an extra flash, meaning selfies can be bigger and brighter than ever.

Unlocking can be done via a fingerprint reader, and the Moto Z will also feature some smart charging and power management tools, with the company saying that it can offer up to 30 hours of battery, which thanks to its TurboPower technology can give up to eight hours of power in just 15 minutes of charge.

And if that isn’t enough, Motorola is also making a more powerful version available. The Moto Z Force has a staggering 21 megapixel camera and larger, faster-charging battery, although it will only be available in the United States.

But despite giving customers unparalleled choice about the design and features of their smartphone, Motorola has decided to eliminate the headphone jack. Instead, users will have to use USB-C compatible headphones to listen to audio – a move unlikely to endear it to music fans have splashed out hundreds of pounds on premium equipment.

As for the standard edition, the Moto Z will be released in the UK this autumn, although there is no price information just yet.

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Moto Z

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