Motorola recently released the Moto Z Droid with an innovative modular capability, Moto Mods. Even though it is not a true modular smartphone like Google’s Project Ara, it sets a new standard in the modular space as it is one of the first modular device that is available commercially. There are only a few Moto Mods available right now with more to come in the future. Let’s take a quick look at the features again before diving into the review.
- Processor: Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 820 processor with up to 2.2 GHz quadcore CPU with Adreno 530 GPU
- Display: 5.5” Quad HD AMOLED display (2560 x 1440 / 535 ppi), Corning Gorilla Glass
- Memory: 4 GB of RAM
- Storage: 32/64 GB with an option of a microSD which supports up to 2 TB
- Camera: 13 MP; f/1.8 rear-facing camera, 5 MP front-facing camera
- Battery: 2,600 mAh battery
- OS: Android 7.0 Nougat with Moto enhancement
Design & Build Quality
Picking up the Moto Z Droid for the first time, we instantly fell in love with its design and build quality. The device measured at a thickness of only 0.2″, which makes the Moto Z Droid one of thinnest device available in the market.
Along the right edge of the device, users will find the power button and the volume buttons, which are evenly spaced. To help users distinguish the power button from the volume buttons, the power button is grooved.
At the bottom of the device, users will find the USB Type-C charging port. The Moto Z Droid also has a fingerprint reader located on the bottom of the display, which is pretty much the standard these days on new devices.
We notice that the device is now missing a 3.5 mm audio port. That’s because Motorola has decided to utilize the USB Type-C for audio instead. A USB Type-C to 3.5 mm adapter is included with the device but to us, it seems like a hassle to be carrying an additional thing.
Lastly, a nanoSIM and microSD slot is located at the top of the devices.
At the back of Moto Z Droid, users will notice the 16-pin connector which accommodates the new Moto Mods (we will be doing a separate review on the Moto Mods).
Overall, we love the build quality of the device but we feel that the design could be better.
The Moto Z Droid boasts a 5.5″ AMOLED display with a 2,560 x 1,440 resolution display (~535 ppi). With its AMOLED display, the colors displayed are sharp and vibrant. Just like the past Motorola devices, Moto Z Droid also has Moto Display, which shows user a sneak peak of notifications.
The Moto Z Droid display is protected with Corning Gorilla Glass 4, which is also a standard these days on many devices out in the market.
The Moto Z Droid is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor. With 4 GB of RAM, users no longer have to worry about slowdowns on the device. The Moto Z Droid comes with 2 different storage options; 32 GB and 64 GB. Motorola also included a microSD slot, capable of supporting microSD up to 2 TB.
Benchmarking with Geekbench 4, the Moto Z Droid scored a rating of 4048 for multi-core score. The score is a little low comparable to the Nexus 6P, which has a score of 4858. However, we did not notice any difference in performance, with resource-intensive games such as ShadowGun and Riptide 2 had no noticeable lags.
The Moto Z Droid has a non-removable 2,600 mAh battery. Motorola claims that the Moto Z Droid can last up to 30 hours. With its Turbo Charging capability, a 15 minutes charging time can provide up to 8 hours usage time.
Our usual battery test was also performed where we ran a video continuously in loop while the device was connected to LTE and Wi-Fi with Bluetooth and GPS turned on and connected to other devices. As for the screen display, it was set to 1/2 of the maximum brightness. We were able to obtain about 15 hours on it and approximately 29 hours of mixed usage from the phone.
Overall, we would say that the battery life is slightly below the hours stated by Motorola which is 30 hours but it should be sufficient to last an entire day on a single charge with normal usage.
The Moto Z Droid comes with a 13MP f/1.8 rear-facing camera with optical image stabilization (OIS). The device is capable of capturing 1080p HD video at 60fps and also 4K video at 30 fps.
Photos taken has a well-balanced color overall in decent lighting environments but fails to perform under poor lighting environments.
On the front is a 5MP f/2.2 wide-angle lens, which is great for all the important selfies and a dedicated front flash to capture images in low light conditions.
The camera software also comes with plenty nifty features. For starters, Motorola still has the “Twist Gesture” for quick launching of the camera app. Another improvement that we really love is the QR codes or barcode detection capability, which eliminates installing a barcode app.
One major improvement to the app is the “Professional” mode. In this mode, users can manipulate with the settings, such as adjusting the white balance, shutter speed, ISO, exposure compensation and focus.
Audio & Call Quality
As for the Moto Z Droid’s audio, we were disappointed when we found out that it does not feature dual front stereo speakers. However even so, the audio quality is one of the better ones we tested.
Utilizing Verizon’s network running on 4G LTE coverage area, calls were crisp and clear while making and receiving calls. The device also has active noise cancellation with a dedicated mic.
The Moto Z Droid comes pre-loaded with Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow; with updates to Android 7.0 Nougat. Verizon did have some of their apps pre-installed, which we are not really a fan of.
Motorola also included a few of its own signature features such as Moto Active Display and the “Twist Gesture” for quick launching of the camera app.
The Moto Z Droid is one of the best devices we tested to date, with its offering of modular capability, Moto Mods. From its solid build quality and a long battery life, paired with a high-resolution display, we really love the new Moto Z Droid.
Take away the Moto Mods, the Moto Z is still a good Android device that packs a punch, which can definitely rival with other top-tier smartphones. The only downside of the device is the lack of a 3.5 mm audio jack and a dual stereo speakers.