TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – When Verizon sent me the Moto Z Droid Edition I was super excited. Opening the box was kind of like Christmas morning.
It came packed full of expandable goodies. I will touch on those a little later. First, the phone.
The first thing you will notice when you take this 5.5-inch phone out of the box is wow…this…is…thin. Super thin in fact.
It’s also very light at 4.8 ounces.
Apple has been in the news lately for ditching the headphone jack. The Moto Z cut the headphone jack before it was cool…and you know what? I survived. Like Apple’s iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, it shipped with an adapter dongle so you can plug in through the port on the bottom.
That is the only opening on the phone. The back doesn’t come off, so no battery swapping. With that said, that is kind of the standard these days.
The phone ships with 32 gigs of memory but with a MicroSD card, you can expand it all the way to a whopping 2 TBs.
I want to pause this review for a second and talk about what TB…or terabyte is. One terabyte equals 1,000 gigabytes. So if you expand the phone up to 2 TBs your phone will hold about 4 million photos…about 1,000 hours of video and more apps than are probably in the Google Play store.
Okay, sorry. I get distracted easily.
The back of the phone…not so stylish. The camera bulge is kind of ugly actually.
The bottom half back of the phone has a series of metal, magnetic dots and a strip. This is for those add-ons we will talk about in a second.
Using the phone, I didn’t have any issues or notice any lag. The Snapdragon 820 processor does it’s job very well.
Android across most devices is relatively the same. Each company puts their own seasoning on….but after all, is said it done, it is the same beast. The Moto Z ships with Android 6.1 Marshmellow.
The biggest issue most people have with their phones are the battery life. So yes, the charging process will be included in this review.
First of all, it only comes with a wall charger. No USB here. To charge, you will either need to be plugged into an outlet or buy one with the USB end.
Now, with that wall charger comes what they call TurboPower. The claim is you can get a significant charge, up to eight hours of usage time, in 15 minutes.
When I started my test, the battery was at 23 percent. 15 minutes later it clocked in at 38 percent.
As for the camera, while very capable, it’s nothing special. The photos DO look great, don’t get me wrong…but they also look great on a Note 7, iPhone 7 Plus, Edge…pretty much any other high-end phone. So to stand out…you really need to do something special. For me, this phone didn’t.
It has a 13-megapixel rear camera and a five-megapixel front facing camera. As I mentioned, without any case..or mod (as we will talk about a little later) the rear camera sticks out way too far.
I took some great super close…or Macro photos. I always run any phone I check out through this little test, and it passed.
The screen is beautiful and bright. If you came looking for numbers it’s a 5.5 inch, AMOLED, 1440p Quad HD screen.
One thing that kept confusing me was the home button…just kidding. It’s the fingerprint scanner. If you have it learn your fingerprint…first of all it’s very snappy. No lag when reading your finger.
The issue I have, though, it looks like the home button. So way-way-way too many times I would tap it to go home, but end up putting the phone to sleep. I kind of hated that.
The home button is actually right above it, with an on-screen softkey.
Okay, that’s the phone. The focus of the review, though, is all of the attachments.
I received three add-ons, called “Moto Mods” to review with this phone, a projector, a speaker, and an extended battery pack.
Before we start talking about the mods, I need to say…these are crazy easy to use. Earlier this year I reviewed a phone from LG that tried mods. It wasn’t a quick swap.
With the Moto Z, it’s as easy as sliding it off. No switch to push in, no taking a battery out. They are held on by a magnet. A very strong magnet in fact. I’ve never felt like the mod would slide off. If you are going to use mods on the phone, this phone got it right.
One of them is surprisingly really fun, one is super practical, the other isn’t really necessary.
Let’s start with the speaker.
I probably used this one the least. This is a pretty straight forward mod. It makes your phone louder. There is a handy little kickstand for standing it up while you jam to music, or watch Netflix on the small screen.
This speaker adds quite a bit of bulk to the phone. Judging by just looking at it, it makes it at least three times thicker.
Sound quality for the speaker is great. I have no complaints at all. I am just a headphone guy. This mod will set you back $99.
Next up…and this should probably be your daily driver…is the extended battery.
Now, this is the mod I personally had on my phone the most. While the other two add quite a bit of bulk…the phone actually feels better in my hand with this one on. The phone without the mod has a very flat back, this gives it a nice little curve.
It doesn’t make it feel nearly as fragile or slippery told hold.
Okay, so it feels good…but how does it work?
It is a 2220 MAH battery. That is just short of doubling the phones actual battery.
The box claims it will add up to 22 hours of extra usage time. I found it added about 15 or 16. Not as much as the box said, but I was still quite impressed.
At $90, if you only buy one mod…this should be the one.
Last but not least was the sleeper hit for me. The projector.
I popped this open and thought wow..I have no idea what I would use this for. I go to meetings…but don’t need a projector. So i needed a real world use.
The first example of real world uses involved my six-month-old son, Alex. He has this show he loves on Baby First TV…you know, bright colors and the such. One day, I took him into our bedroom and pointed this guy at the ceiling. He LOVED it. Laying on our backs in bed, we were able to look straight up at the ceiling and see his show. That’s when I realized I loved this thing.
We like to have fun in our newsroom…using this projector also led to a couple random singing and dancing sessions as I put a music video up on the wall. It was really fun.
Now, one thing I need to note…it needs to be as dark as you can make it for this to look good. If you have even a little light, it will greatly reduce the quality of the picture.
This one was by far the most fun. Now, like the speaker…it’s bulky. This one is also pretty expensive. It will set you back $300. If you have the money to spend, check this one out. You’ll have a lot of fun with it!
So what’s the bottom line? In a sea of Android phones…this one stands out with its mods. If you take those away, it’s pretty run of the mill. If making your phone difference based on your mood is what you are going for…look no further!