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Rediff.com  » Getahead » Should you buy the Moto Z for Rs 40k?

Should you buy the Moto Z for Rs 40k?

October 19, 2016 13:01 IST

If you think you should then please keep another Rs 42,000 handy to buy the modular camera, projector, speaker and battery pack, that will justify your purchase, says Himanshu Juneja

Lenovo Moto Z

While the handset costs just Rs 39,999, mods like -- the Moto InstaShare Projector (Rs 15,999), JBL SoundBoost speaker (Rs Rs 5,999), Hasselblad True Zoom Camera (Rs 14,999), and Moto Mod Battery pack (Rs 4,999) -- will set you back by another Rs 42,000 in case you want to harness the Moto Z's real power and justify your purchase.

Last few years have seen rapid development in the mobile phone world. While this has delighted consumers around the globe, it has also placed phone manufacturers under much pressure to make their products stand out.

LG was one of the notable premium handset makers to switch over to the modular approach. While much was expected out of Google's project Ara, the movement fizzled out even before seeing the light of the day.

It seems that Lenovo has now decided to take the plunge with the Moto Z Play and the premium Moto Z.

With LG's G5 getting only a lukewarm response, will a premium modular device from Lenovo be able to hit the bulls eye? Will the lure of numerous attachments to choose from be able to justify a price tag of Rs 39,999?

We take a good look at the device to reach a conclusion.

Design

Lenovo Moto Z

The Moto Z is Lenovo's premium device, and the metal and glass construction doesn't belie that fact. With dimensions of 153.3 x 75.3 x 5.2 mm, the handset is spectacularly thin.

A good chunk of the credit for the thin profile should go to the omission of the 3.5 mm jack. The handset is quite light at 136 gms too. The users should also watch out for the sharp edges which the Moto Z is sporting.

Thankfully, there are options to apply shells at the back to increase the girth, and get a better grip while smoothening the contours.

There is the differently implemented fingerprint scanner sitting just below the display. Square in shape, this one is not a home button. There are the onscreen buttons for navigation, while the scanner locks as well as unlocks the device. Turn the handset over, and apart from the protrusion of the camera module, the metal connectors grabs one's attention instantly. These connectors allow the 'Moto Mods', the 'sold separately' modules to get stacked up and enhance the productivity of the device.

As for the button placement, the SIM tray is located right at the top, and the right edge plays host to the power button and the volume keys. The former has a slight texture on it for easy differentiation. Left edge has been spared of any button/slot responsibility, while the bottom edge sports the USB Type C connector.

Given the length of the handset, it may not be everybody's cup of tea to handle this phone with a single hand.

Display

Lenovo Moto Z

Call it competition, or the need to stand out, Lenovo decided to go all out with the display here. The handset comes with a 5.5-inch Quad HD panel.

The 1440 x 2560p resolution meant that the pixel density touches the 535ppi mark, delivering pin sharp images. The AMOLED panels meant that not only the blacks are deep, but also offers battery conservation. Moto Display only becomes that much better with the AMOLED tech at its disposal.

The colours are punchy, viewing angles are very good, and the same goes for the sunlight legibility as well. Users can avail the services of the Adaptive Brightness feature, which provides a significant boost to the display brightness.

Overall, there is no doubt that Lenovo has brought a classy panel for the Moto Z.

Specifications

The handset is beefed up accordingly to justify its price tag. The phone is powered by a 1.8 Ghz Quad Core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. The graphics are handled by Adreno 530, which is great to see. Arming the Moto Z with 4GB RAM completes the essentials list.

The handset comes with a heartening 64 GB onboard storage capacity, and users can further increase this by another 2 TB, by using a microSD card.The Moto Z carries a hybrid SIM design, giving users a tough choice to choose between an extra SIM card, or going ahead with the microSD option.

Connectivity

The LTE device has no dearth of connectivity options either. There are features like WiFi (802.11 ac), Bluetooth (ver 4.1), NFC and AGPS onboard.

Quite surprisingly, the LTE enabled device isn't touting VoLTE as one of it features, but looking at how Moto X Play got an update for enabling the VoLTE feature, one can expect the same here as well.

Operating system

Lenovo Moto Z

Keeping its image of providing a non-intrusive OS, Moto Z runs on the Android 6.0 Marshmallow with no heavy add ons. Users can unlock or launch the camera, or go to the Google Voice command from the lockscreen itself.

Once inside, the users will find minimal software footprint. Same goes for the notification and toggle options too. The search bar for searching apps should help in avoiding frustrating times.

There are the feature add ons from Lenovo/Motorola which enhance the user experience. The Moto actions like twist to launch the camera, chopping gesture for launching the torchlight are well known. There is also the Attentive Display here, which keeps the display on till the user is looking at it.

Pick-up-the-phone-to-stop-ringing works as advertised.

Then there is the flip for Do not disturb feature activation feature. The swipe to shrink the screen should prove to be quite handy and popular, as the Moto Z is not exactly a compact device. Moto Voice allows the user to set command for waking the device up without any physical contact.

Camera

Lenovo Moto Z

The Moto Z features a 13MP rear camera with dual LED flash, and Optical Image Stabilisation. There is also the laser assisted autofocus. As for the front facing camera, there is a 5 MP unit with its own flash system.

The camera app has been kept simple. The option to read bar and QR codes is a surprising revelation. Otherwise, the options include rapid switching between front and rear cameras, summoning features like HDR, timer, and flash via shortcuts, and the all important Pro mode. The all important HDR and Panorama modes are included too.

Users can toggle options like ISO, shutter speed, white balance, focus, and exposure via the pro mode.

The pictures captured by the handset are filled with details. The otherwise impressive pics may turn out with rare aberrations of looking washed out. This maybe due to software trying to over-adjust the white balance. A pro mode intervention may be needed. The night time photography looked above average.

Signs of aggressive post processing is evident in the pictures at times. Strangely enough, Moto Z is set to 16:9 aspect ratio and hence results in resolution of 9.7 MP instead of 13 MP. Change in settings to avail 4:3 ratio is strongly advised here.

Moto Z is capable of recording video in 1080p @ 60fps and 4K @ 30 fps. The videos looked decent with more than usable results. While shooting 4K videos, focusing proved to be a task in itself.

The front-facing camera produces good selfies, and even has the beauty mode added for the enthusiasts.

Moto Mods and bundled accessories

Lenovo has brought forward four mods for the Moto Z for the time being. These include the Moto InstaShare Projector (Rs 19,999), JBL SoundBoost speaker (Rs Rs 6,999), Hasselblad True Zoom Camera (Rs 19,999), and Moto Mod Battery pack (Rs 6,999).

Depending upon the interests and requirements, the users can opt for their preferred Moto Mod. As can be clearly seen, these are not going to be easy on the pocket.

Lenovo has provided a USB Type C to 3.5 mm adapter, so that the users can make use of the regular headset provided in the box. This really came across as skimping on the deserved USB Type C headset by lenovo. There is also the USB Type A-Type C cable, and a turbo charger as well.

Battery

At first look, the 2600 mAh battery pack on a premiumly priced device looks unimpressive. But the battery back up should last an entire day if one uses the handset with moderate to high usage pattern. The presence of turbo charging feature should allay some fears. Lenovo has done well to supply a compatible charger for the same as well.

Users can get the phone juiced up to 50 per cent from zilch within a matter of about 30 minutes.

Performance

Moto Z's performance was very assuring. Nothing really seemed to put a spanner in its plan to chug along smoothly while executing the tasks. From playing HD movies to intensive games like Asphalt 8, the handset proved to be a reliable performer.

There were incidents of the handset heating up, and one can somewhat attribute the thin chassis to this occurrence. Putting a shell case should bring relief from handling alarms. The fingerprint scanner is fast and accurate, leaving very few chances of cribbing. Same goes for the single speaker on the handset. The fidelity was not sublime, but the sound quality was adequate.

Verdict

Taking stock of the pros, Moto Z provides a solid option for the enthusiasts who want to hitch on to the modular bandwagon. The phone has a good overall design, powerful innards to drive a near stock operating system, and a very capable camera. All this powered by a battery pack which does the job.

At the same time, one cannot ignore the fact that this is not exactly a budget friendly device, and one has to purchase the 'Moto Mods' to fully harness and justify the purchase. The overall cost may turn out to be quite significant.

If money is not an issue, then Moto Z looks an impressive option, beating even the early adopter like LG G5. But for those who cannot care any less about the whole modular hullabaloo, Samsung Galaxy S7 and even the HTC 10 to some extent, remain a more plausible choice.

Himanshu Juneja