Moto Z Droid

Moto Z Droid Review – Mods done right?

Moto Z Droid, ever since it was announced it sparked a lot of interest because of how Levono introduced the Mods to go along with their new flagship device. Strangely, the Moto Z Droid Force was available to Verizon users exclusively. The Force edition packs a little more punch, while the Moto Z Droid still is a heavy hitter. There’s event a Play version. Yeah, confusing…three different models for various markets. Either way, this review is focused on the Moto Z Droid and a few of the Mods.

Moto Z Droid Specifications

LTE Advanced With 50% faster peak speeds in more than 450 cities from coast to coast.
Standby Time – Up to: 14 days
Usage Time – Up to: 21 hrs
Camera 13 MP
Front Camera 5 MP
Width 2.96 in
Weight 4.8 oz
Height 6.11 in
Screen 5.5” AMOLED, 1440p Quad HD (2560 x 1440), 535 ppi; Corning Gorilla Glass
Battery 2600 mAh (non-removable), TurboPower for up to 8 hours of power in 15 minutes of charging
Operating System Android™ 6.0.1, Marshmallow
Storage 32 GB, 4GB RAM (Actual formatted capacity is less)
Expandable Memory Supports microSD card up to 2 TB (sold separately)
Colors Black/Lunar Grey or White/Fine Gold (Subject to availability)
SAR 0.91 W/kg (head), 1.91 W/kg (body)
Hearing Aid Compatibility M3/T3
Network CDMA 850, 1900 MHz; GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz); UMTS/HSPA+ (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz); 4G LTE (B2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 13)
Processor Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 820 processor
HD Voice Experience HD Voice, Video Calling and Simultaneous Voice & Data. Enable Wi-Fi Calling and make calls anywhere you have a Wi-Fi connection.

What I Like?

Build Quality – The Moto Z Droid is a solid phone. Gives the old school tough Motorola vibe. This isn’t the first time Moto has created an extremely thin device. Remember the old flip phone Razr along with the smartphone Razr? Those were pretty thin, but this is definitely one of the thinnest we have seen in a while.

All the materials feel and look premium. There’s not an area to which it seems cheap or poorly constructed. Well done Moto.

Moto Z Droid

Stock Android – Moto does the mix between their own OS skin and stock Android the right way. They add practical features without messing with the UI. Stock Android in my opinion looks the best compared to any skin other companies put on top of Android. Some are not as bad as others, but Moto does the right thing and simply leaves the UI alone.

The closer to stock Android the better the phone operates. Typically, any heavy skin slows the device down dramatically when put against the competition.

Snappy – The Moto Z Droid flies through tasks. Coming from using the Note 7, it seems as though the Moto Z Droid zips right by the Note 7. Don’t get me while using the Note 7 you don’t notice unless you put it next to another device or start using something else that uses stock Android or even the iPhone. DroidModderX did a side by side with the Note 7 and iPhone 7 and the iPhone blazed by the Note 7.

Back to the Moto Z Droid. The experience has been great in regards to flying through apps and tasks. It’s something to be appreciated.

Mods – I’ll explain each one a little more further down the review, but Moto developed these mods wonderfully. SO much better than what LG tried to do. LG screwed up when in order to use a mod, you would have to remove the battery. Moto on the other hand, simply place the mod on the back of the phone and rock it out. It doesn’t get much simpler or practical than that.

Moto Features – Motorola does a fantastic job with keeping the look and feel of stock Android with adding some features that compliment the experience. It’s nothing over the top, but are features that once you get used to having, you’ll want to have them with every device you own.

  • Camera twist to open. To quickly open the camera simply twist the device from anywhere on the phone, either the lockscreen or while the phone is opened up.
  • Driving mode – helps you concentrate on the road.
  • Voice commands  even while the lockscreen is on or off.
  • Lockscreen notifications at a glance by waving your hand over the phone.
  • Chop twice to activate the flashlight (but make sure you’re holding the phone firmly to avoid throwing the phone).
  • Swipe to shrink the screen for those with tiny hands 😉

Screen Warranty – The screen is built to withstand drops as it is, but if it happens to break Moto will warranty the screen. That’s great confidence and taking care of the customer.

Moto Z Droid

SD Card Support – Having the ability to use an SD card is great in a few ways. One, it’s cheaper than needing to buy the next tier storage option. For example, the Google Pixel if you want more than 32GBs you’ll have to shell out an extra $100 for the next level, which is 128GBs. SD cards cost a whole lot less than that. Two, you can add a ton more storage than what any phone can offer. Three, sometimes it’s just nice to have all media on the SD card rather than relying on cloud services.

Fingerprint Sensor – The fingerprint sensor itself works great. It’s fast and responsive and placed in my preferred area, the front below the screen. It is an odd square shape rather than the typical circle or oval. Regardless of how it looks, it functions efficiently.

What I Don’t Like

No Headphone Jack – Beating the new iPhone to the punch, Moto decided to remove the headphone jack. For the most part I use bluetooth headsets and speakers, but in my car an aux cable is used. My ride does not have a bluetooth audio system. Therefore, on many occasions really missed using my phone to listen to music and podcasts. Granted there are FM transmitters, could upgrade my audio system that includes bluetooth capabilities, or use a bluetooth adapter. BUT I find it hard to fork out extra money like that to accommodate a feature that should always be included with a phone.

Moto Z Droid

Button Placement – The volume and power button seems a bit to high up on the side of the Moto Z Droid. The device is tall already, which takes a little more effort to reach for those buttons. If the controls were centered more, it would be easier to use. This is not a deal-breaker, but something worth noting.

Moto Z Droid

Home Button – The Moto Z Droid uses on-screen home, back, and recent buttons. Which is fine most of the time. I have no issue with using on-screen buttons. What I do have an issues with is the fingerprint sensor is just a fingerprint sensor. There were many times where I attempted to use the fingerprint sensor as the home button. Design wise, I think it would have been better for this device to not use on-screen buttons and have capacitive button instead. By doing so the screen could have been extended and the fingerprint sensor could also be the home button.

Chin – Piggy backing on from the last point, the chin is pretty big because all there is down in that area are the motion sensors and fingerprint reader. Again if there were capacitive buttons the space would have been used more efficiently.

Moto Z Droid

Camera – The camera is not horrible. Motorola is getting better every release. However, there are times where the balance of the photos and video are just way off. Also, the camera app (Google Camera) is too basic. The app needs more features to where it is not needed to download extra apps that the stock app should already include. For example, including time-lapse.

Battery Life – Long story short, this phone never lasted me through the evening. Consider though, I am a power user. Meaning I am using the phone for everything. Emails, texts, photos, social media, watching videos, full brightness, streaming music, etc. If I were conservative and use power saving tactics, it would more than likely give a lot more life. Good news though is the Moto Z Droid has a really cool Mod, the battery pack.


Battery Pack – This is one of the more practical Mods offered out of the bunch. There were plenty of times where I was running out of juice and rather than finding a battery pack or wall outlet, all I had to do was slap the battery pack mod on the back and continue my business. The battery pack won’t give a full charge, but can get up to about 70% of a full charge. For those who like wireless charging, this mod gives that feature.

Projector – The projector isn’t one that I would use on a regular basis, but is very cool to have. It is recommended to connect to a bluetooth speaker to enjoy a full experience with better audio. The audio coming from the phone can get you by for videos not needing a cinematic effect.

Speaker – Speaking of audio, JBL has created a speaker mod that is another practical mod out of the bunch. It’s like a bluetooth speaker and phone in one. Once the mod is attached, the audio is taken over and takes the listening experience to the next level! Watching videos, listen to music, and playing games so much fun while using the speaker mod!

Back plate – Not the most exciting mod, but definitely something to consider if you don’t like cases and maintain a premium look. There’s a few choices of backplates such as kevlar and wood.

Camera – “Optical v. digital zoom. With 10x optical zoom, capture detailed photos from a distance without affecting resolution. Don’t worry about how far the subject is, just focus on getting the shot.” –

All these mods are cool in their own ways. They enhance the user experience. Motorola did a fantastic job implementing mods with the Moto Z Droid! So much so, LG threw in the towel. If you consider getting a mod I highly suggest the battery pack and speaker. Out of the batch, those are my favorites.

Moto Z Droid

Moto Z Droid Final Thoughts

There’s so much to talk about with the Moto Z Droid, which is a first for a stock Android based device. Again Motorola does a great job with adding to the user experience. This phone has become one of my top phones of 2016. It’s not perfect, but I have enjoyed using this device.

Purchase LinksMotorola | Verizon | Best Buy

FYI – Many mods are part of promos. Click the links and see what’s offered!

Thanks for taking the time to read this post and sincerely hope it was found helpful and enjoyable! Please feel free to leave thoughts down below in the comments and don’t forget to subscribe to Bane Tech on YouTube, Periscope, Google+, Facebook, Twitter & Instagram!

The Moto Z Droid was provided for review, but has not influence my honest opinion about the device. Thanks Verizon for sending this unit out for review.

Specs Source | Verizon

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