MUCH LIKE THE LG G5 before it, the Moto Z’s main appeal is its modular approach. The idea behind a modular smartphone is sound, but one that’s never satisfyingly delivered on its promise.
We’re pitting Motorola’s modular efforts against another trailblazer, the OnePlus 3. Ignore the Moto’s magnetic personality and on paper the two phones are strikingly similar. Are you better off with a straight-up handset, or do the Moto Z’s MotoMods serve as the building blocks to life?
Moto Z: 153.3×75.3×5.2mm, 136g, USB-C
OnePlus 3: 153x75x7.4mm, 158g, USB-C
Our Moto Z device came in an attractive black/gunmetal grey, and its razor-thin 5.2mm frame is made up of a mixture of aluminium and stainless steel.
The rear (when exposed) is a panel of Corning Gorilla Glass, on which you’ll find a series of electrical contacts and magnets for attaching MotoMods. Make no mistake, the Moto Z is a far-cry from the chunky, budget build of the popular Moto G series.
Seeing as the Moto Z was originally announced in June, it beat Apple to the punch by removing the headphone jack first. Not that that’s an accolade worth having, after all it’s a dumb move and we suspect one that’s driven by the Moto’s runway ambitions. An adaptor is included but it’s an extra cable to cart around and looks silly dangling out of the USB-C port.
This omission is especially irksome seeing as the “Style Shell” only adds to the handset’s thickness, but does offer a variety of customisation options that span different finishes and textures. Prices for these start at £16.
On the other hand, the OnePlus 3 has no such problems. A USB-C port lives next to a 3.5mm headphone jack on the phone’s bottom bumper, and the full metal unibody construction adds a little more to the weight without impeding too much on the thickness.
The fingerprint sensor can be found on the front of the two handsets – it’s capacitive in both cases, and doesn’t double as a Home button. However the Moto Z also has another trick up its sleeve, a second press will turn the display off and lock the phone.
While the OnePlus innovates with its buttons, the Moto Z only confounds. Due to their identical design and close proximity, the Moto’s power and volume buttons are easily confused. On the OnePlus, there’s no such confusion, and the addition of an Alert Slider is used to toggle notification behaviour.
Fingerprints stick to the Moto Z like something chronic, that includes both the screen and glassy rear of the device. However the OnePlus 3′ display is nearly as susceptible, so it’s a shame neither comes with a cleaning cloth.
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