Moto Z Review Rewind ⏪

Released in 2016 the Moto Z and its Moto Mods were primed to change the way we use our smartphones. 5 years later, 4 Moto Z versions and no Moto Z5 on the horizon the dream is dead.⁠

But, how has the original Moto Z held up since 2016 and is it still usable in 2021? ⁠

In 2016 Motorola released the Moto Z. This was the phone that was intended to change the way we think of and use our phones. What made the Moto Z special was not so much the phone itself, as it was fairly standard spec-wise when compared to other flagships at the time. It was a small patch around the back of the phone that contained pogo-style pins which allowed users to connect a variety of peripherals to the phone known as Moto Mods that was supposed to make the Moto Z stand out from the rest. While you could argue that the Moto Z did stand out, it was not in the way Motorola, freshly acquired from Google by Lenovo, would have hoped. 


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I recently had been listening to a few Android related podcasts talking about how manufacturers, the media, and tech reviewers (at least the top ones) discard an earlier generation smartphone as incapable of doing the job for users day-to-day. The podcast challenged that, and its hosts/guests discussed how many phones that are 2-3 years old can do just as much as the current generation. I decided to take that and run with it. I pulled my 2016 Moto Z out of the box, charged it up and committed to using it for a month. Let us find out how it went! 



Specs 

As I mentioned, the Moto Z specs were within the ballpark of other smartphones released around the same time. Powered by a Snapdragon 820 processor the Moto Z had a 5.5” AMOLED display, 32 or 64 GB of onboard storage which could be expanded via a microSD card, 4GB of RAM, a 13 MP rear facing camera and a 5 MP front facing camera. Also on board were a front facing fingerprint scanner and a tiny 2,600 mAh battery. It is worth noting that this was also one of the first Android phones to, at least temporarily, remove the headphone jack and provide a proprietary USB C to 3.5mm headphone adapter. The Moto Z launched with Android 6.0 Marshmallow and in true Motorola fashion slowly made its way up to Android 8.0 Oreo. This was back when Motorola committed to 2 Android version updates verses the single version update on its current phones. 


Moto Z Spec Sheet

Experience 

Using the 2016 Moto Z for the first few days had me thinking this was going to be a breeze and that there was no reason a phone of this age couldn’t be used as a daily driver. However, by day three, the battery life of the Moto Z was so poor I was not even making it to noon before needing to charge the device.  

This is where the point or the goal of Moto Mods started to show. One of many Moto Mods were various battery mods. I was fortunate enough to have the Motorola branded battery mod available which doubled my battery to nearly 5,000 mAh. Battery problem solved! 

The Moto Z is stuck at Android 8.0 Oreo which means that it is no longer able to receive security updates and features found in newer versions of Android will never be seen. In my month of use with the Moto Z I did not find I was missing any features that my Pixel or newer devices have. I missed having the option for gesture navigation, but the three-button method that Android used for years was completely adequate. 


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The screen size of 5.5” was good for 2016, but by today’s standards it was a bit of a challenge to enjoy content designed with larger and taller screens in mind. I also couldn’t stop staring at the mammoth-sized bezels found on the original Moto Z. The device has a 72% screen-to-body ratio. Today’s phones are pushing well into the 90% range. Even the final Moto Z, the Moto Z4 had an 84% screen-to-body ratio, while maintaining the exact overall footprint of the original Moto Z. 

The camera on the Moto Z, by any standard, is just not good. In 2016 when I first started using the device it could do ok in outdoor conditions, and in perfect indoor conditions the images were passable. However, anything with any movement or low-light and the camera started to fall apart. Today, it is much of the same. Using it next to a Pixel, or even its older sibling, the Z4, shows how far cameras have come. For me, the camera is the most important function of a smartphone. If the camera is bad, the phone is of no use to me. Battery life is a close second, and as I mentioned already, the Z’s 2,600 mAh battery has pretty much given up. 


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My experience with the rest of my Moto Mod collection is not exclusive to the Moto Z 2016, since all mods with across the entire family of Moto Z phones, but it certainly helped make the phone, which feels otherwise stale, into something more fun. 

The mods I have on hard are: 

  • Battery 
  • Incipio Projector 
  • Polaroid Instashare Printer 
  • Moto Gamepad 
  • Moto 360 Camera 
Mot Z with Mods

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I already discussed how the battery saved me from having to charge 2-3 times per day. The rest of the Mods worked great on the phone and like I said, added some incentive to keep using this phone despite its shortcomings and age. The Alexa speaker is staple day-to-day in my use of the Moto Z. Now, caveat, the Alexa hands-free app does not support Android 8.0 and the Moto Z, so the speaker is just a speaker, sans the smart/connected features. It was a bit of a letdown to be unable to use this feature, but even without it, the speaker sound excellent. 

Moto Z with Moto Mod Battery Pack

The Polaroid is just a party trick strapped to the back of a smartphone, but it is a lot of fun to use.  

Polaroid Instashare Printer Mod

The Instashare Projector did not get much this time around. However, I used to use it daily as a bedroom TV and was also a trusted travel companion ensuring we always had the movie or shows that we wanted to watch available. 

The gamepad had a lot of potential and is fun to use depending on the game, most games I play on my phone are racing games and the gamepad handles hat well for the most part, but the design of the controller can make its use a challenge from time to time. 

Finally, the Moto 360 camera is a fun accessory, makes for a great travel accessory or if you have a specific thing you want to capture. However, in day-to-day use, it is not something you really need. 

Final note on the Mods. They all sound great, and mostly work great, but the cost of Mods on top of what is, or was, an expensive phone is a roadblock to making this practical for most people. This brings me back to what I was eluding to earlier. The Moto Z 2016 cannot really stand on its own as a viable smartphone in 2021, 5-years after its launch. The Mods were the only thing that made the phone usable and to purchase all the Mods I own would cost you about $500 today. 

Conclusion – Can you or should you use a 5-year-old smartphone? 

For the most things sure. However, your experience is going to be severely compromised, and the lack of OS and security updates will leave you vulnerable to issues that do not make the tradeoff worth it. Any other 5-year-old phone, without the ability to augment its function using Moto Mods would leave most wanting to pull their hair out. In the end it was a fun experience, but I am happy to put the Moto Z back in its box and get back to using something more modern and up to date! 


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Is the Moto Z Dead?

What does the Moto Edge+ mean for the future of the Moto Z line?

This week we saw Motorola come back to the flagship game with the Edge + and to a lesser degree the Edge. But, what does that mean for the Moto Z? Motorola has release several devices since the Z4 went to market and since then the company has hardly made a peep regarding what is likely their most polarizing family of devices.


Moto Z4, Launched June 2019

The Edge+ is a true flagship beast. It has 5G, 12GB of RAM, a camera array that is led by a 108MP sensor, a massive 5,000mAh battery and wireless charging. It is a monster! Nearly every tech writer, blogger, pundit, etc. has had a Motorola phone at one time or another and every outlet I have visited since the announcement has had excellent things to say about the Edge+ so far. The only concern I have seen is related to the curved waterfall screen. As device makers move away from that design, Motorola is marking it as a defining feature due to user-complaints over touch rejection, or lack thereof. I will reserve judgement until I get one in my hands, but from a pure looks perspective, I think the device looks great.


Motorola’s new Edge+ flagship

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I have been reading media and fans a like argue back and fourth over the future of the Z Line. Many are saying the idea was a flop, they should have stopped after the Z2. While others are begging Motorola to keep the dream alive and bring out the Moto Z5. Motorola, when the original Moto Z launched in 2016, promised to give this form factor and mod-functionality going for 3 years. After the lukewarm reactions to the Z3 Play and the Z3, I expected that to be the end of the line.

However, one year on from the supposed end of modular phone experiment from Motorola, we were surprised by the launch of the Moto Z4. The Z4 though had a different feel right from the word “go”. It was positioned firmly in the middle-upper end of the mid-range phone market, and there was only one SKU last year. No Z4 Play. The Z4 was a mix of the flagship spec’ed Z and the mid-range focused Z Play line. For example, the Z4 had a mid-ranged Snapdragon 675 SoC and only 4GB of RAM. But it also had 128GB of storage, a 48MP camera sensor, a huge 4,600mAh battery and in-display fingerprint scanner.

I used the Z4 for most of 2019 and most of 2020 so far with a few other devices mixed in. Every time I moved a away from the Z4, I always had to keep it close by because it was a joy to use thanks to Motorola’s take on Android and more importantly the Moto Mods. I have 6 or 7 different mods and while I admit that most of them are not very useful or are too niche to justify there existence, the majority of them have become staples in my day to day. The projector has become the de facto TV in the bedroom, the Alexa speaker packs a serious punch for its size and the battery mod gives me an additional 2,200mAh of juice for a total of 6,800mAh of power.


Moto Mod Connector on the Z4

So, like many I wondered after the Edge and Edge + announcement. Is the Z line dead and gone? Maybe not…

I asked Motorola this exact question and their answer, well… Just read it.


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GadgetSyrup: Does the announcement of these two phones spell the end of the Moto Z and Moto Mods?

Motorola: “We aren’t defining motorola edge as a new franchise like moto z or moto g. We are approaching the top-tier, premium space in a different way than the competition and you’ll see how this unfolds over the years. For fans of moto z and moto mods, these products will continue to be available for purchase in North America.”

GadgetSyrup: Can you comment on if there will or will not be a Moto Z5 released?

Motorola: “Motorola does not comment on future products in our roadmap.”


It’s a pretty standard answer at the end, but as we near the one year anniversary of the Moto Z4, does this response from Motorola mean that there is hope for the Z line to see a 5th generation?

I honestly don’t think Motorola needs the Moto Z anymore. Despite my affinity for the device Motorola has had a tremendous amount of success with the Moto G series and more recently with the One family of devices. It is the success of those two lines that even made the Edge and Edge + possible. I’d be happy to see the Moto Z continue, but I think Motorola would do even better if they left it and the Mods in the rearview.

What do you think? Is it time for Motorola to say goodbye to the Moto Z for good?

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Motorola To Announce New Flagship Tomorrow (4-22-2020)

We’ve been waiting a long time, an eternity if you’re a die-hard Motorola fan like myself, for Motorola to finally being the heat with a flagship smartphone.

Tomorrow, April 22, 2020, looks to be the day!



Motorola dropped these three videos on their Instagram story today which show the waterfall edge display the devices are rumoured to have.

The devices we’re expecting is the Motorola Edge+ and possibly the slightly lower powered Motorola Edge.

The new devices, specifically the Edge+ is expected to be a true flagship with the following spec sheet:


  • Snapdragon 865
  • 5G
  • 6.7″ Super AMOLED display
  • 108mp main camera, 16mp wide-angle camera, 8mp telephoto camera, 25mp selfie camera
  • 8 – 12 GB RAM
  • 256 GB storage
  • 5,000 mAh battery

I’m excited to see Motorola finally get back into the flagship game after years of mid-range dominance with it’s Moto G line.

More to come!

Motorola Edge + Leak Gives Full Render of Upcoming Device

Motorola is on the verge of launching its first true flagship since the Motorola Z2 and Z2 Force and thanks to Evan Blass, noted leaker has provided us with what appears to be the press renders of the upcoming device.

Motorola is on the verge of launching its first true flagship since the Motorola Z2 and Z2 Force and thanks to Evan Blass, noted leaker has provided us with what appears to be the press renders of the upcoming device.


Rumored Motorola Edge+ Flagship Render

The Edge+ is expected to bring the goods on the spec front too. Here is what we know about the device so far

  • Snapdragon 865
  • 5G
  • 6.7″ Super AMOLED display
  • 108mp main camera, 16mp wide-angle camera, 8mp telephoto camera, 25mp selfie camera
  • 8 – 12 GB RAM
  • 256 GB storage
  • 5,000 mAh battery


There is no official word on when the device will launch, but we should expect to hear something from Motorola soon. A few media outlets are pointing to April 3rd for the announcement. However, any keen Moto fans will know that the date April 3rd on all Moto renders is a throwback to April 3rd, 1973. This marks the date Motorola placed the first ever call on a mobile network.


What are your thoughts on these leaks? If you ask me, Motorola is long over due getting back into the flagship game!

Motorola Moto G Power Preview

Motorola took the covers of two new mid-range Moto G phones today. Check out a preview of the Moto G Power.

Motorola took to covers off the latest editions to the Moto G family and they look very good!

First thing you’ll notice is that Moto dropped the number naming scheme used for all other Moto G phone since the Moto G2. I find this odd, since we say the Moto G8 Plus launch in late 2019. Oh well, I’m not that concerned.

There were two phones announced today the Moto G Power and Moto G Stylus

You can read more about the Moto G Stylus by clicking the link below



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First up though is the Moto G Power. I had a love hate relationship with the G7 Power last year. I loved the fit and finish of the phone, the size, the display and of course the insane battery life. However, the camera and the overall performance of the phone left much to be desired. It was still my pick for those who need a good, basic phone that has great battery life, but for my needs, I couldn’t make it work long term.



This year looks like the Power is taking a big step forward on the spec sheet, check it out!


Moto G Power Specs

Operating systemAndroid™ 10
System Architecture/ProcessorQualcomm® Snapdragon™ 665 Mobile Processor
Memory (RAM)4GB
Storage (ROM)64GB built-in* | up to 512GB microSD card* expandable
Dimensions159.85 x 75.84 x 9.63mm
Weight199g
Display6.4″ FHD+ Max Vision display
Battery5000mAh
Charging10w rapid charger
Water ProtectionWater repellent design
Rear Camera16MP (f/1.7, 1.12μm)
2MP (f/2.2, 1.75μm) | macro | minimum 2cm focus distance
8MP (f/2.2, 1.12μm) | 118° ultra-wide angle
Video CaptureRear main camera: UHD (30fps) | FHD (60/30fps) | HD (30fps)
Rear ultra-wide angle camera: FHD (30fps) | HD (30fps)
Rear macro camera: HD (30fps)
Front Camera16MP (f/2.0, 1μm) | Quad Pixel technology
Bluetooth® TechnologyBluetooth® 5.0
FM RadioYes
SpeakersDual stereo speakers tuned by Dolby
NFCNo
In-box AccessoriesCharger, USB Type-C cable, guides, SIM tool
ColorsSmoke Black
ExperiencesMoto Actions: Quick capture, Fast flashlight, Three finger screenshot, Screenshot editor, Flip for DND, Pick up to silence, Media controls, Swipe to shrink

That’s a pretty hefty spec sheet for a mid-range device but lets unpack a few oh the highlights.


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6.4″ FHD+ Max Vision display

This is a pretty good size and nice to see the Power finally get the proper FHD bump. The size is also slightly larger than last years G7 Power, which was 6.2″ and only 720p. It’s still LCD, but the G7 LCDs were very clean and crisp to look at.

The display also ditches the large forehead in exchange for a smaller holepunch display like that of the Moto One Action.


5,000 mAh Battery

Last years G7 Power had the same size battery and 2 days of battery life was an easy feat. I expect much of the same this year.


Camera

The G7 Power’s camera was fine, in some cases, but on the whole suffered to take consistently reliable shots and video. This year the G Power is getting a major upgrade on the camera. The array is a triple-camera setup with standard 16 megapixel shooter, an 8 megapixel ultra-wide angle camera and finally a 2 megapixel macro lens for ultra close ups.

I am most excited for the wide angle camera since being able to get more into a shot is always a good thing. Let’s hope the performance is there.

The samples Motorola provided appear to be very respectable, but as always we will need to see how it performs in the real world.



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I am also suspicious as to if we will see a Moto G to replace last years G7. The camera on the Power tells me no, but we will se if there is a standard G model for North America with the same specs as the Moto G8 Power.


Dual-Stereo Speakers

This is very exciting actually. Motorola’s single speaker setup on the Z and G series has always done well, but having stereo sound is always welcomed and is a big differentiator in the mid-range.


NFC

Again, the G series will not see NFC, at least for this device. I have become a big fan of Google Pay and will struggle to go back to a world where I need to use my actual card. I do have Samsung Pay on my Gear S3 Frontier, but it is clunky and slow to load. We will see how it goes when I review the G Power.


With all of that, pros and cons aside, I am very excited to see what the G Power will bring to the table once I get my hands on a review unit.


The Moto G Power will be available this spring in Canada with Videotron and Freedom Mobile. Pricing isn’t yet known for the Canadian market but US pricing bring come in at about $250.


What do you think about the Moto G Power, it’s upgraded camera and massive battery?

Motorola Moto G Stylus Preview

Motorola has announced the rumored Moto G Stylus today. A mid-range smartphone with stylus. Check out the Moto G Stylus Preview.

Motorola took to covers off the latest editions to the Moto G family and they look very good!

First thing you’ll notice is that Moto dropped the number naming scheme used for all other Moto G phone since the Moto G2. I find this odd, since we say the Moto G8 Plus launch in late 2019. Oh well, I’m not that concerned.

There were two phones announced today the Moto G Stylus and Moto G Power.

You can read more about the Moto G Power by clicking the link below



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This year we get a new Moto G entrant in the form of Motorola’s first stylus-enabled device, the Moto G Stylus. This device isn’t meant to compete with Samsung’s incredibly successful Note series, but more something that should clobber LG’s Stylo line. Thinking about it, the G Stylus is true to the Moto G mission which is to bring a premium like experience to the mid-range.

So, what does the Stylus bring to the table? Let’s check out the specs below.



Motorola Moto G Stylus Specs

Operating systemAndroid™ 10
System
Architecture/Processor
Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 665 Mobile Processor
Memory (RAM)4GB
Storage (ROM)128GB built-in* | up to 512GB microSD card* expandable
Dimensions158.55 x 75.8 x 9.2mm
Weight192g
Display6.4″ FHD+ Max Vision display
Battery4000mAh
Charging10w rapid charging
Water ProtectionWater repellent design
Rear Camera48MP Sensor (f/1.7, 1.6μm) | Quad Pixel technology
Macro Vision (2mp, f/2.2) | minimum xxxcm focus distance
Action Cam (16mp, f/2.2, 2.0μm) | Quad Pixel technology | 117° ultra-wide angle only
Laser autofocus (TOF)
Video CaptureRear main camera: UHD (30fps) | FHD (120/60/30fps) | HD (30fps)
Rear ultra-wide angle camera: FHD (30fps) | HD (30fps)
Rear macro camera: HD (30fps)
Front Camera16MP (f/2.0, 1μm)
Bluetooth® TechnologyBluetooth® 5.0
FM RadioYes
SpeakersDual stereo speakers tuned by Dolby
NFCNo
In-box AccessoriesCharger, USB Type-C cable, guides, SIM tool
ExperiencesMoto Actions: Quick capture, Fast flashlight, Three finger screenshot, Screenshot editor, Flip for DND,
Pick up to silence, Media controls, Swipe to shrink

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A lot going on with this spec sheet that really is pushing into the top end of the mid-range phone sector. As with the Power it is brining the Snapdragon 665 and 4GB of RAM. However, it also has a few key differences. Check out some of the specs that really stand out for the Moto G Stylus


The Stylus and Moto Notes

What would be the point of this phone if not for the Stylus!?

As mentioned the G Stylus is not a Note-Killer but it will certainly bring some really fun features to the mid-range. The pen with the G Stylus is a passive stylus, meaning it does not pack any of the fancy button tricks of Samsung’s Note line, but Motorola will be launching a new Moto app called Moto Notes which will give users the ability to take notes by simply pulling out the pen and writing on the screen.

The Stylus is a polarizing accessory for phones. You either love them or hate them. I haven’t owned a Note device since the Note 4, but I always enjoyed the ability to be more precise when poking around on a smaller display. I expect much of the same with the Moto G Stylus and its pen.


6.4″ FHD+ Max Vision display

Like the G Power, the G Stylus has a 6.4″ LCD display, the same size as 2019’s Z4 which has served me really well. I expect this display to be just fine in most cases.



Camera

On paper the G Stylus really takes a leap compared the the G Power. The camera array is a triple-camera setup with a 48 megapixel shooter which should do really well in most scenarios. Next is a 2 megapixel macro sensor like that of the Moto One Macro and also found on the G Power. The third camera is a 16 megapixel action camera. The action camera, taken from the Moto One Action allows you to shoot landscape video while holding the camera vertically for a better grip.

How will the cameras perform, only time will tell as the review units start rolling in, but I am expecting a big step over previous G series devices. Until then, check out a few samples Motorola has provided.



Dual Stereo Speakers

Like with the G Power we are fortunate to have a mid-range phone with stereo speakers. Most mid-range phones have a small top or bottom firing speaker that always underwhelms. Stereo speakers are a welcomed addition here for sure.


NFC

I get a lot of use of out Google Pay here in Canada since it is accepted virtually everywhere. The G series has never had NFC, and the G Stylus stays the course. It’s not going to be a deal breaker for me, but it will be a pain to have go back to the physical card.


Battery

The G Stylus does’t pack the camera chops of the G Power, but the 4,000 mAh battery is still impressive. Getting 1.5 to 2 days of normal use should be a breeze.


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With all of that, pros and cons aside, I am very excited to see what the G Stylus will bring to the table once I get my hands on a review unit.


The Moto G Stylus will be available this spring in Canada from Videotron. Pricing in Canada is unknown right now, but the US pricing will be around $300.


What do you think about the Moto G Stylus as Motorola’s first foray into a pen-based phone?

Upcoming Motorola Edge+ with Flagship Level Specs Confirmed by New Benchmark (Updated)

Late last week notorious leaker Evan Blass, aka EvLeaks, shared details of a new Motorola device sporting a stylus. Many assumed and reported that this would be the rumoured Motorola Edge+ device, while many also argued it wasn’t. Well regardless of that debate, the Edge+ is a real device and new leaked benchmarks show off parts of its spec sheet. Check it out.

Late last week notorious leaker Evan Blass, aka EvLeaks, shared details of a new Motorola device sporting a stylus. Many assumed and reported that this would be the rumoured Motorola Edge+ device, while many also argued it wasn’t. Well regardless of that debate, the Edge+ is a real device and new leaked benchmarks show off parts of its spec sheet. Check it out below.


Stylus-enabled Motorola Smartphone Leaked by Evan Blass


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According to the Geekbench results, the Edge+ looks like it will come with a SnapDragon 865, 12GB of RAM and Android 10. With the 865 SoC, the Edge+ will likely have 5G connectivity too.


SnapDragon 865 SoC, 12GB RAM and Android 10. Yay!

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There is no way to tie the Edge+ with last weeks stylus enabled device leak yet, but given the timing, I think we can assume they are the same device. For now at least. Geekbench testing doesn’t show us anything related to the device camera, battery or physical design but I am hoping that we see a design similar to that of the Moto One Zoom and its triple camera setup on the back.


Motorola One Zoom

If you have poked around on GadgetSyrup, you will see that I am a big Motorola fan so I am very excited to see some real-world testing of a new Motorola flagship smartphone.

Update: GSM Arena is reporting that the Motorola Edge+, G8, G8 Power and another mid-range stylus device will launch on Feb 23rd, a day before Mobile World Congress.

From GSM Arena: Just a day before MWC 2020 kicks off, February 23, Motorola will host an event where we expect to see the Moto G8 and G8 Power as well as a midranger with a stylus and the Edge+ flagship. The event is scheduled to kick off at 7 PM CET but that’s the only official information we have at the moment.


What are your thoughts on the Motorola Edge+? I would love to hear from you!

And while you’re here, follow GadgetSyrup on Instagram. Every like and follow makes a huge difference!

Motorola To Launch Moto G8 At Mobile World Congress

Motorola expect to launch the Moto G8 and G8 Power at Mobile World Congress

Last year on February 7th, 2019, Motorola took the covers off the Moto G7 series of phones, but up to this point we haven’t heard much about when the Moto G8 will launch. I assumed that the G series would take a seat for a later spring launch since Motorola is firmly focused on pushing its February 6th, 2020 release of the new Motorola Razr. It looks like my speculation was right.

Reporting from 91mobiles, Motorola will be heading to Mobile World Congress 2020 to show it its Moto G8 handset.


Moto G8 Render from 91mobiles

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The new G8 will depart from the traditional surprised robot camera bump and adopt the camera layout seen on recent Motorola One devices as well as the Brazil exclusive G8 Plus device that launched in late 2019.


What to Expect from the Moto G8?

The G8 will still firmly be in the mid-range category running a SnapDragon 665 chipset, a 6.39-inch 720 x 1,560 LCD display, 3GB or 4GB of RAM, 32GB or 64GB of storage and will be running Android 10 out of the box.

The camera on the G7 was passable, but suffered in low-light like most other mid-rangers. The G8 will hopefully bring an incremental improvement. The device reportedly will ship with a 16-megapixel shooter with an f/1.7 primary shooter, a 2-megapixel f/2.2 macro camera and an 8-megapixel f/2.2 118-degree wide-angle sensor. On paper, it sounds promising, but we will have to wait and see how it performs.

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Moto G7

Around the front of the G8 we’re expecting am 8-megapixel f/2.0 hole-punch camera.

Finally, the battery is expected to get a 25% capacity bump over last year moving up to 4,000mAh with 10W fast charging.

There has also been rumors that the G8 Power will launch along side the G8 with a similar spec sheet. Last years G7 Power was only a single camera module with a lower-spec chipset. The G8 Power could also see a 25-megapixel front facing camera similar to that of the Z4. The G7 Power sported a 5,000mAh battery last year, so I hope to see the same, or larger, capacity this year.

I have been a fan of the G-series Moto phones since they came out and got a lot of use out of both the G7 and G7 Power so will be eager to review these units as they come to market.

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Thoughts on the Moto G8 and G8 Power? Let me know!


Check out other recent Motorola news, including the rumored Galaxy Note competitor.

New Motorola Razr Camera Features

The new Razr is coming soon. Check out some of the Razrs camera tricks!

As Razr Release day nears, February 6th for those in the US, Motorola has posted a series of YouTube videos showcasing some the features and functions of the highly anticipated folding smartphone. In this video, below, Motorola highlights some of the camera functionality found in the Razr.

A lot of these features can be found in every other recent Motorola smartphone such as Smile Selfie, Portrait Mode, and Night Vision. Some new and notable additions are Portrait Lighting and one that is going to be key for me (and my five kids), Camera Cartoon. This feature uses to external display to show a cartoon smiley face which will help to keep everyone’s attention while capturing the perfect shot.


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A lot of really fun features are packed into Motorola cameras, but we will need to wait and see if the camera quality is there or not.

Check out more Motorla Razr coverage here

New Motorola Razr Comes With Nightstand Amplifier Because Why Not

The new Moto Razr is coming soon! Moto has shown off some new features including the box doubling as a nightstand amplifier.

Motorola’s new Razr is due in the US on February 6th, with other areas coming soon thereafter. As we get closer to the launch date Motorola US has started dropping videos on their YouTube channel highlighting some of the features of the Razr.

In this first video we see what the unboxing experience looks like. The video is short, but shows that the Razr comes bundled with a Turbo Power charger, “Razr Earbuds”, which will likely be USB Type-C, an accessory carrying case and a “Nightstand Amplifier”. Ok, it actually doesn’t come with that, but they are saying the box doubles as one. Motorola didn’t share anything more than that, so we will need to wait and see what this amplifier really does. I think we can likely assume it will simply function as an ersatz loudspeaker (like when you put your phone in a cup or paper towel tube).


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Check out the video below;

“Unboxing Razr”

You can check out more Razr videos on the Motorola US YouTube Channel here.

Motorola Working on a Galaxy Note-Type Device – Rumor – Updated

Motorola has been pushing phones to market at a very speedy pace since the start of 2019 with no signs of slowing in 2020. we now have fresh rumors of another possible Moto device, this time with a stylus.

Motorola is bringing new phones to market nearly every month it seems, and they show no signs of slowing. The Lenovo owned company is due to release the new Razr in only a few weeks, more Moto G8 decides are expected in the spring and Motorola has said they would be getting back into the flagship game in 2020 as well.

Now there are new rumors pointing to Motorola releasing a Galaxy Note-type device with a stylus. Evan Blass, aka @evleaks shared a photo of an unreleased Motorola device featuring a stylus and a shrunken down hole punch camera.


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Courtesy: Evan Blass, Twitter

At this point, we don’t know if a) this device will ever come to market and b) will it be another mid-range or a flagship spec’ed device. My fingers are crossed that we will see Motorola bring the heat and try to compete with the Note devices head on. However, based on the recent Motorola trend I think assuming it will be mid-range is a safer bet.

It’s also unknown what type of tech is in the stylus and how it is stored inside the phone. Time will tell!


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UPDATE: Evan Blass has leaked that the device will actually be a mid-ranger device known as the Moto G Stylus.


What are your thoughts on a pen-based Motorola smartphone?

Last Minute Gift Idea: Moto Z3 with Speaker Mod for $150

Pick up the Moto Z3 Play and Speaker Mod for $150!

If you’re looking for a last minute gift or looking for a decent phone for yourself you can pick up the Motorola Moto Z3 Play for only $150.

Best of all it also comes with a Moto Mod Stereo Speaker. On its own, the phone will set you back $299, but when you use the promo code “motomadness” the price is cut in half!

The Z3 it’s firmly a mid-range device with its Snapdragon 632 CPU, 3,000 mAh battery, 1080p display and 12MP/5MP dual camera around back, but it is still a snappy phone that holds it’s own very well.

If you are still rocking an original Moto Z or Z2 or are intrigued by the idea of Moto Mods, you can’t really go wrong for $150.

You can pick up this deal by clicking the link below, and don’t forget the promo code “motomadness


Moto Z3 Play + Speaker Mod

Motorola One Hyper

Motorola announced yet another phone in 2019. The Motorola One Hyper.

Motorola announced yet another phone in 2019. The Motorola One Hyper.

The Hyper may be my favourite phone from Motorola so far. Well, neck and neck with the Razr.

What makes the Hyper stand out? Most noticeably is the lack of a notch or cut out on the screen. This is thanks to the OnePlus 7 Pro-like pop up selfie camera that only shows itself when the front facing camera is turned on. Finally no more screen real-estate will be hidden, giving us a full 6.5″, 2340 x 1080 display to use.

The selfie camera is a 32 MP sensor, but we will have to see what the quality is like if I can get my hands on it. The 25 MP front facing shooter on the Z4 needs near perfect conditions to give a great shot, but honestly lets me down more often than not.

Around back the Hyper has a 64 MP sensor, which outputs quad-pixel 16-megapixel stills, and an 8-MP 118-degree ultra-wide lens. On paper, both sound great to me, especially the ultra-wide angle lens.

Moto One Hyper Pop-up Selfie Camera

Other notable features are a 4,000 mAh battery, 45W Hyper Charging technology, a headphone jack, and runs Android 10.

Are you excited for the Motorola Moto One Hyper?

Motorola Moto Z4 Long-Term Review: Long Live the Z and Moto Mods!

Check out the GadgetSyrup review of the Motorola Z4. Is this the last stand for the Z line and Moto Mods?

I have been using the Moto Z4 for about 4 months now. By my standards, that’s a really long time. Most phones that come across my desk I don’t use for a very long time. I do switch to and from a small set of some of my favourites. I was jumping between the Pixel 2 and Galaxy S9 for a good chunk of the year but I haven’t gone with one phone as a daily driver for this length for a very long time and I have no intention of switching in the near future (unless the Razr delivers on the goods!).

Before I dive into the review I want to get something off my chest. The Z4 is a great phone but it was a failure before it even reached customers or reviewers’ hands. The reason, you ask? Tech reporters and bloggers that are, well, lazy and bored… Let me explain.

Left to right; Moto Z3 Play, Moto Z4, Moto Z

When the original Moto Z launched in the summer of 2016 there was a lot of excitement about its seemingly endless possibility of functions thanks to the innovative Moto Mod platform. Thanks to a simple phone design and a series of pogo-pins on the lower back of the phone you could turn your phone into a projector, printer, loudspeaker or add enough battery to last for 2-3 days of use. Motorola promised to deliver more Mods over time, and they did to a certain degree with some notable ones being the Alexa-enabled speaker (which is great by the way) and the Moto Gamepad. Some companies like Incipio added battery and car accessories and premium camera maker, Hasselblad released a fully-featured camera Mod. For the record, the camera, which came out around the time of the Moto Z2 and Z2 Play was pretty bad. It was slow and the sensor was just bad. However, most Moto Mods were good to great but were on the expensive side.

Motorola, recently acquired by Lenovo, committed to a 3-year release of devices that would support the Moto Mod ecosystem. At the time, everyone applauded Motorola for such a commitment.

By the time Motorola released the Moto Z3 and Z3 Play the media, big and small were complaining that the Moto Z design was tired and too dated to continue. Effectively, the blogosphere wanted the Moto Z and its Mods to be taken out to pasture. I used, and reviewed the Moto Z3 Play, last year and it was a really good phone and I really enjoyed using it. Was the camera as good as my Google Pixel XL (1st gen)? No, the camera was not the greatest but was perfectly usable in most situations. Even more so after I installed the Google Camera APK. Most reviews though, said the phone was dead on arrival and should never have been released.

Fast forward a year and the Z4 was leaked, subsequently announced and by the time it reached reviewers’ hands, most were already jumping on the hate-train saying Motorola is wasting its time, don’t bother with the Z4 and no one wants Moto Mods.

Hi! I do! I want Moto Mods! I have several and have invested myself in the ecosystem. On top of the Mods, I really like the build of Motorola phones, both for their physical and software designs.

What’s In The Box?

  • Moto Z4
  • Turbo Power Charging Adapter
  • USB A to C Cable
  • The usual paperwork
  • Moto 360° Camera Mod

Moto Z4 Specifications

What I Liked About the Moto Z4

Moto Mods

When I reviewed the Moto Z3 Play last summer, the number one thing I said liked about the device, was the mod ecosystem. This is still the case in 2019 when I use the Z4. The mods are what make the device worth it. I will admit that the case for the Z-line living on is getting harder and harder to make and the odds a Z5 seem pretty slim right now. My only hope is the fact that they firmly positioned the Z4 in the mid-range with its 600 series Snapdragon CPU. Doing this makes sense and removes the need for a lower end Play device.

As for the mods though, they are incredibly useful and augment the experience of the phone dramatically. Here are the mods I have:

  • InstaShare Projector
  • Gamepad
  • InstaShare Polaroid Printer
  • Alexa Speaker
  • 360 Camera

I use the projector and speaker daily and the other three make at least one or two appearances a week. I will often switch to another device for a review or just for fun, but I always end up having to keep the Z4 at the ready becasue I have become too used to having the mods there.

The caveat is that the mods are still very expensive. They are coming down in price, so if you are new to the Z-line and want to use mods, now is the time. For example, the projector had an original $400 CAD price tag. Today it is available on Amazon for less than $175 CAD.

The other caveat with mods and Z-line beyond the Z5 speculation is the lack of growth in the mod ecosystem. When Motorola brought us the original Moto Z in 2016 there was a promise of dozens of mods and a 3rd party ecosystem. Today, there are about a dozen mods still available online and even less directly from Motorola. That fact worries me and should be a major point of consideration.

The Camera

The 48 MP shooter on the Z4 is great when used properly.

For years Motorola has been slated for having poor camera performance. The software that drives the Motorola Camera app has been feature-packed but always struggled to produce consistent and reliable output.

That is less of a problem with the Z4, but it is still a problem. Enter Google Camera…

Thanks to a dedicated community of modders one can get a version of the Google Camera app for almost every device available today. Including the Z4.

If you have or are considering the Moto Z4 I absolutely implore you to install this APK and use it as your primary camera app. I haven’t touched the Moto app for months unless I have absolutely had too, and I have not missed a beat.

The camera performance is little slow still, even with the Google app, but that is a byproduct of the Snapdragon 675 and only 4GB of RAM. However, as long as your patient and set your expectations, I think you will be just fine. I was coming from a Pixel and a Galaxy S9 which were very fast and had Snapdragon 835 and 845 CPUs respectively and the performance difference was not that noticeable from a speed perspective.

Battery Life

Thanks to the 3,600 mAh battery inside the Z4 making through a whole day on a single charge is possible. I have been using the phone for 4 months now and have not seen much regression in day to day battery life. I do, however, lean on my devices very hard and usually need to top up at least once to make sure I can make it through my typical day which normally spans from about 5:00 am to 10:00 pm. I have recently ordered a battery mod to give me another 2,200 mAh battery just for fun.

What I Didn’t Like About the Moto Z4

There is not a lot I didn’t like about the Z4. If I had to pick one thing, it is the in-screen fingerprint scanner. Last year, the Z3 lineup had a horrible side-mounted fingerprint scanner which I still absolutely despise. This isn’t that bad, but it is less than enjoyable. Thankfully, I spend most of my time having the Z4 connected to either my Gear S3 Frontier or a set of Bluetooth headphones that keep the device unlocked thanks to Google Smart Lock. When the fingerprint scanner does light up, I find that it is generally inaccurate and slow. Again, not a major issue based on my use case, but consideration to account for nonetheless.

I would also give the Z4 a slight knock for its build design. It is hard to articulate this, since the phone is, more or less, the same footprint as the original Moto Z, but the slight rounding of the backside of the phone causes Moto Mods to have a small, but noticeable gap between the phone and the mod. The original Moto Z was a perfect match to all mods, the Z3 was almost there, but the Z4 just does not fit mods well.

Should You Buy The Moto Z4?

Moto Z4 and Moto Z

For the majority of people out there, you would probably look at the device and think you can get a Pixel 3a for only a little more or a Motorola G7 for a little bit less and wonder, why consider the Z4. The decision to buy this device really comes down to two things; Moto Mods and performance. If you have owned a Z phone before or want to augment your phone use with a mod, even just a speaker or the 360° camera, then this phone is worth it. Also, consider that no new mods are likely to come to the market. On the performance side, the phone holds up and if you have never had a phone with flagship specs you likely will not know the difference. However, switching from a phone with an 8XX series CPU and 6+ GB of RAM, you will feel the slow down when using the Z4.

If you can get past either of these, then buy this phone! With Black Friday and Christmas coming up fast, you’ll be sure to see some deals on the Z4 too!

Thanks for reading! Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Motorola Razr (2019): What to Expect

The original Motorola Razr was a style icon and launched the phone industry forward in the early 2000’s is set to make a big come back!

Tomorrow, November 13th, 2019, is (hopefully) going to be a big day for Motorola fans. For the better part of the year, we have been teased with leaks and little nuggets of info about Motorola’s intent to bring back the fabled Motorola Razr, not just in name like the 2011 Droid Razr, but in actual form too.

Motorola is holding an event in Los Angeles on November 13th, where we are finally expecting to see Motorola unveil its first foldable smartphone and I think it goes without saying, the tech community and especially big-time Moto fans such as myself are very very excited.

What We Know About The Moto Razr 2019

Motorola Razr V3 – One of the first devices I owned!

The 2019 Razr is expected to come with a 6.3 inch OLED display, folding obviously, with a resolution of 876 x 2142. When closed, the Razr will also feature an 800 x 600 resolution display for notifications and to assist with selfies.

Despite the potential top-shelf look of the Razr, Motorola is filling the device with mid-range hardware like the Snapdragon 710 CPU, 2730 mAh battery, 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage. The cameras, three in total, don’t seem to have leaked yet, but I would like to see something similar to the 48MP sensor found on the Moto Z4 and Moto G8 Plus.

We have seen other manufacturers bring foldable devices to the smartphone market in 2019, but they have been riddled with issues. The Galaxy Fold was a flop during its initial launch and the Huawei Mate X may never see the light of day thanks to the US Governments obsession with blocking Huawei in that country.

Pricing has also been a major talking point for foldable devices, with the aforementioned Galaxy Fold and Mate X having a price point around the $2,000 USD mark. The Razr, if rumours are true, will hopefully come in around $1,500. This is by no means cheap, and in Canada, it will likely tip the scales around $2,000 CAD, but it is a step in the right direction and is likely thanks to Motorola going light on specs hooping to reach a broader audience. The Razr is also not a dramatic departure from the smartphone you are likely using today. It simply folds. The Fold and Mate X are essentially creating a compact foldable tablet, rather than a smartphone.

All things considered, I am very excited for Motorola to bring back the Razr and I really hope it delivers on the nostalgia factor, while also feeling like a step into the future of smartphones.

Motorola Moto G7 Power Review – Battery Beast!

If you need a phone with incredible battery at a very low price, this may the phone the for you! Check out my Moto G7 Power Review!

The Moto G7 Power is a monster on the battery front, packing a 5,000 mAh battery

In case you haven’t noticed, Motorola is releasing phones at a torrid pace. In 2019 we have seen a refreshed G7 lineup, a new Moto Z phone, the Z4, a refresh the E series and most recently an onslaught of Moto “One” branded phones. The most notable of those for me, the Zoom and the Action.

Earlier in the year though, Motorola kicked off this phone release cycle with the Moto G7 Plus, G7, Power and Play. I have already put the G7 through its paces when I reviewed it in August. Since then I have been splitting my time with the Moto Z4 and the Moto G7 Power. I will be posting a review of the Z4 soon, but in the meantime, let’s check out the G7 Power.

What’s In The Box

The Box Has The Power! So Much!!

I should mention that my device was an open box sent by Motorola’s PR team, so I didn’t get the full BNIB experience.

  • Moto G7 Power – 32 GB – Marine Blue
  • Motorola TurboPower™ 15 W Wall Charger
  • USB-C to USB-A cable
  • SIM Removal Tool (mine was actually missing, so I had to add one back into the picture)
  • Manual and Legal Documents

Pretty straightforward. I was surprised Motorola didn’t include a clear TPU case for the G7 Power like they did with the Play last year. They may have with the Play this year, but I don’t have one of those versions to compare.

Motorola G7 Power Specifications

My unit came with the following specs;

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 SDM632 Processor
  • 32 GB Storage with microSD expansion up to 512 GB
  • 3 GB RAM
  • Android 9.0 Pie
  • 12 MP Rear Camera, 8 MP Front Camera
  • 6.2″ LCD Display with a 720 x 1570 resolution at 279 ppi (FYI, not that great…)
  • Headphone Jack
  • 5,000 mAh battery

There is another version of the G7 Power that ships with 4 GB RAM and 64 GB storage. I have no idea why Motorola offsets the RAM based on the storage size, but that’s the budget market in a nutshell.

Normally I would do a “What I Liked” and ‘What I Didn’t Like” about the phone, but I am changing it up slightly here. Instead, I wanted to talk about a few of the highlights since the phone, for the most part, is very close in performance and day-to-day use as the Moto G7 Check out the G7 review right HERE.

The camera on the G7 Power held its own considering this a phone that sells for $249.99 CAD on Amazon in this configuration. Much like the G7, I reviewed before the Power, the camera app from Motorola offers a lot of functionality that I really like portrait, spot colour and Google’s AR Stickers, the performance of the software really holds the camera back. However, thanks to the booming community of devs that have ported the Google Camera app to almost every Android device on the market, I was able to up my photo game when using the G7 Power. Without this APK, I think I would have been incredibly disappointed with the G7 Power camera.

If you have a Motorola G7 or G7 Power and want to try the Google Camera port, you can download that right here.

The G7 Power has the … Power!

If the name Power wasn’t a good enough clue, the G7 Power hangs its hat on the size of the battery. Coming in at 5,000 mAh the G7 Power is an absolute monster. Getting through two days of use is a simple task for this phone. On average I was able to get through 3 full days before I dipped below the 15% battery mark. THREE DAYS! That’s insane considering most other phones I have been using, with my usage style, require a top-up on my way home from work mid-day.

The Moto G7 Power packs a mega notch. Think iPhone X + Pixel 3 XL…

One thing that was different about my usage of the G7 Power compared to most phones I use daily is the lack of Formula 1 Mobile gameplay. I’m a Formula 1 junky and the G7 power does not handle any sort of graphics-heavy game well. Basic games that require no heavy GPU/CPU load manage to work fine for the most part, but anything that is graphic intensive fails miserably.

One game that functions brilliantly on the G7 Power is Pokemon Go. I spent a day playing the Pokemon Go while mixing in the usual video, email, text and more. At day’s end, I still had just under 40% remaining on the battery. This phone is easily on the shortlist of devices that are best for playing Pokemon Go, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite or Jurassic World Alive (does anyone play that game anymore…)

The overall performance of the phone was pretty good, within the expectations I set out with. However, despite the fact it is nearly identical to the Moto G7 specs, I found it suffered from more slowdowns and app crashes than the G7. It is likely attributed to RAM with only 3GB to the G7’s 4GB, but it was noticeable. I would like to see if the 64GB/4GB version suffered the same way, but that is neither here nor there.

Bottom line though, should you buy this phone? No, I don’t think the benefits of the massive battery outweigh the negatives I encountered. Now, the caveat with my decisions, as I mentioned, the higher spec’ed model may not suffer the same issues. For that price, you would be better with the standard G7 which has dual cameras and a more appealing design.

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