At a colourful event in Sydney this morning, Motorola took the wraps of its widely anticipated Moto Z and Moto Z Play for the local market, with the addition of their modular concept that actually feels like it might work, called Moto Mods. The Moto Z line was introduced to the world a couple of months ago, at a Lenovo event in June, with the worldwide release to follow later in the year. Lenovo didn’t quite hit the goal of a September release, but we’re only a little way into October.

Moto Z product photography

Moto Z

With the Moto Z, Motorola have made an incredibly tough phone that is just 5.2mm thin, to the point that in hand, without any Moto Mods attached, it almost feels too thin. However, in that razor sharp device fits a 5.5″ display, a Snapdragon 820 chipset, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage as standard. If that’s not enough, MicroSD is included for up to 2TB extra.

Motorola’s camera is easily performing with the best; the capable, 13MP shooter with a fast f/1.8 aperture lens, complete with OIS, performed extremely well at the launch venue which was fairly dimly lit, with fast refocusing on different subjects as well. Of course, we didn’t have much opportunity to actually explore the camera, but early impressions are promising.

As with many Motorola handsets before it, the Moto Z runs a fairly stock version of Android, this time Android Marshmallow 6.0.1, and — at this stage — while an update to Android 7.0 isn’t confirmed, it is rather likely if Motorola’s history is anything to go by.

Moto Z will go on sale tomorrow for an RRP of $999.

Moto Z Play

Though you might call it the Moto Z’s smaller brother, that’s probably not fair to say. In many respects, it’s the same as its flagship stablemate, but with a few key differences. The same 5.5″ display (though with a lesser 1080p resolution) is there, and visually, there’s not a lot between the two. In fact, the differences are mainly internal; the Moto Z Play takes second fiddle, with a slightly less powerful processor (a Snapdragon 625 for those who like details), 3GB of RAM and 32GB on board storage.

However, if that weren’t enough to tempt your fancy, there’s a whopping 3,510 mAh battery in this phone, and going by last year’s Moto X Play, the battery on the Moto Z Play could easily last two days of reasonable use.

Not being the flagship, there are a few other compromises, with a 16MP camera with f/2.0 aperture doing the primary photographic duties on the rear.

The two Moto Z phones are more similar than they are different, and I don’t think you’d be disappointed with either.

Moto Z Play is available from tomorrow for a RRP of $699.

Moto Mods

This was the drawcard for the Moto Z; we’ve seen many spectacular phones this year, and we’re about to see more in the form of Google’s Pixel, but Motorola’s drawcard is the modular system. This is something LG tried to kick off with its G5 earlier this year, but it was — by all reasonable accounts — mostly a failure; the idea was sound, but the execution flopped, letting down an otherwise excellent phone.

With Moto Mods, Motorola has got it much closer to right. First of all, they clip on to the rear of the phone securely with magnets. There’s no removing batteries or pieces of your phone to make them work.

Better yet, the modules on offer themselves are pretty decent, and with connecting them being as simple as putting two pieces together, they’re undoubtedly going to be more successful.

Moto Mods available at launch include a JBL speaker mod, which can easily fill a room with music, an Incipio Off Grid powerpack to get your phone from two days to maybe three or four, a Hasselblad True Zoom camera that turns your phone — quite literally — into something of an entry-level DSLR quality camera, and even a projector that can put your phone display up to 70″ on a wall.

There’s a heap of features amongst these, which we’ll go into in more detail as part of our review, but these were genuinely impressive. The Hasselblad camera, especially, would be a must-have for any photographer on the go who doesn’t want to carry a giant camera around.

All the Moto Mods are available to buy from tomorrow 13 October as well, as follows:

  • JBL SoundBoost speaker – $159
  • Hasselblad True Zoom camera – $399
  • Instashare Projector – $429
  • Incipio Power pack – $119 or $139 for wireless version
  • Style covers from $29

In each case, the Moto Z and Z Play, and Moto Mods, will be available from trusted retailers Harvey Norman, The Good Guys, Officeworks and the Motorola.com.au online store from tomorrow.

We’ve got a review unit with a full complement of Moto Mods on the way to Scott Plowman for a review, so expect to hear more on the Moto Z range in the coming days.

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$999 should have been the price for Moto Z force
$799 for Moto Z and
$499 for Moto Z play
I don’t know when these guys get an idea of pricing a phone in OZ.
(btw i am happy with my Moto G4 +)


They get an idea from the US RRP pricing;

Moto Z Force is irrelevant as it is US exclusive
Moto Z in US is $699 unlocked = $922
Moto Z Play in US is $449 unlocked = $592

then add GST and round to the nearest hundred for our RRP :P.

Lee Hall

Well compared to a pixel XL for over $1400 it’s pretty good value. These phones are premium in performance and build. You can add an SD card to have as much storage, buy a battery mod and speaker mod and still be under the price of a pixel 🙂

Lee Hall

Or the play, which apparently performs great despite having a lower specced processor, yet has a higher MP camera and better battery life. Then you have $700 spending money for mods


Agree, I just got a 3GB/64GB Snapdragon 820 Xiaomi Mi5 for $400.

James Weidner

Those are Australian dollars not the US dollars you are quoting. That’s why.

Adam J

Ah, now these pique my interest. Looking forward to the reviews.

Phill Edwards

Wasn’t there also supposed to be a Moto Z Force?


Verizon exclusive.


My Nexus 5 desperately needs replacing. I’ve been intending to get a Nexus 6P, but the Moto Z might have me rethinking that.

Anyone know how Motorola are doing on security and OS updates since Lenovo took over?

Jamie S

I read somewhere that some Moto devices only have up to the April Security patch.

George Boricean

I own the Verizon Force and it’s on September security update since 3 weeks ago.

Jamie S

Well that’s good to hear


That is good to hear. Fingers crossed they aren’t doing better security updates for US customers only, like they have done with lots of the hardware options and general availability. ;^)


Updates are bit slow say 3 months behind the nexus line, but they do promise update till Android O. My Moto G4 plus had it’s july security update got installed early last month.


They are not doing security updates. Plenty of articles around to back it up.

They do claim that they will add them when they are doing a general update to the phone which could come at any time.


That was my worry. That’s pretty poor service from Lenovo then, and something that has significantly deteriorated since they bought the Motorola brand, especially when their OS is so close to stock Android.


Updates are bit slow say 3 months behind the nexus line, but they do promise update till Android O. My Moto G4 plus had it’s july security pack applied early last month.


> Moto Z will go on sale tomorrow for an RRP of $999.

> Moto Z Play is available from tomorrow for a RRP of $699.

Silly prices which they are going to have to discount quite a bit, particularly when you can pick up an S7 for less that the Play.


How is it relevant that you can get the S7 for less than the RRP for the Play? You’re comparing apples with oranges. The RRP for the S7 is $1149 which is $149 more than the Moto Z, and has less storage. The Moto Z and the Moto Z Play will eventually sell for cheaper than RRP from the same sources that currently sell the S7 for less than $699, but you can hardly expect Motorola to price their phones to compete with grey imports. The more important issue is that Motorola release their phones so late into the cycle… Read more »


> How is it relevant that you can get the S7 for less than the RRP for the Play? As I pointed out “they are going to have to discount quite a bit”. It appears that there are effectively two prices for any phone, the RRP that Hardly Normal charge and mugs pay, and the real price that the phone goes for in the competitive marketplace. So listing a few; mugs and market price. LG G5 .. $1099 $429 S7 Edge $1249 $756 iphone 7 $1078 $934 Moto G4+ $399 $335 Pixel XL . $1269 ??? MotoZ ….. $999 ???… Read more »


My point was simply that the RRP they set for these phones are completely reasonable given the RRPs of their competitors. Motorola are not the ones that do the discount for the grey imports, so I don’t understand your suggestion that they are going to have to discount these phones. Besides some people want the security that comes with buying from an official Australian retailer, such as Hardly Normal, which gives you a local manufacturer’s warranty and a product which is intended for the Australian market. Incidentally where did you get that grey import price for the LG G5? I’m… Read more »


> Motorola are not the ones that do the discount for the grey imports Well you can bet the grey marketeers aren’t taking a loss on it. The price gets discounted along the way, which very probably means the manufacturer/distributor sells at below the market price to shift stock. Could also be stock that someone couldn’t shift and returned. As for the value of a manufacturer’s warranty, whilst it exists, it’s not anything like the value of the difference. Most phones work fine till you drop them or they are obsolete. Maybe $100 – but not the 50% discount we… Read more »

Yianni soc

Can you link me to the LG G5 for $429. Imma gunna buy one. Thanks.


No options on contract? Agree that the Z play is at least $100 overpriced for a snapdragon 625.

Lee Hall

Check out reviews, supposedly performs great, has a higher MP camera and battery battery life. It is a better phone than the premium model in some areas. The Z flies, seems motorola have done a great job optimizing these phones. It’s not all about specs


$699 for the Z Play? Yikes! It’s got a Snapdragon 625 under the hood and 32GB/3GB storage/RAM….

$100 overpriced in my opinion.

You can get an Oppo R9 Plus 6 inch with a Snapdragon 652 under the hood [way better SoC] and 64/4GB storage/RAM for the same price.


I really like the oppo phones but their problem is that they are stuck on 5.1 and won’t get updated unless you get one with a snapdragon and then you wait for project spectrum to make a 6.0 version which you have to flash onto the device yourself.


Word is they’re working on a Marshmallow update for the current ColorOS 3 range. Ausdroid asked Oppo and that’s the answer they got [I believe it’s in the F1s review]. Since the new R9s will be released with Marshmallow I can imagine the current range will also get that update later on. The ZTE Axon 7 ships with Marshmallow out of the box and is very competitively priced if we take in to account the prices that Motorola just announced for their new range.


If only the Axon 7 came in a colour other than gold…

George Boricean

The Z Play performed just as good as the Z Force with 30% better battery. I have them both and you cannot tell the difference in screen quality and speed.

Jamie S

Where are you located, where did you Z Play from and how much was it? I’m just not sure I could justify paying $860 for the Z Play and jbl speaker mod fora mid range phone

Das boot

Moto also has the g4 play up on their website and the good guys at $279


AND the Play?? Praise the lords!! I am picking one up tomorrow. JBL speaker Mod too; mayyyybe the battery Mod, not that it should be necessary.

Lee Hall

I get surprisingly decent battery life on my regular Z without the mod, the Play should have amazing battery life. If you regularly use the phone longer than a day without charging consider the mod, but otherwise no point, save your money for some other accessories. You will get through a day with ease! Plus you can always pick up the battery mod later 😀


Sweet, thanks for the info :). My current X Force has lasted me thru 24-36 hours usually without a recharge over teh last year, so I imagine the Z Play will last even longer; back to my Xperia Z2 days of 2-3 day battery before recharge!

Well, it will if I can find the Z Play :P. Neither HN nor GG have it listed on their website yet. Was hoping to go pick up in store after work tonight, but might have to order off Moto’s site for delivery.


Yep this is the news I have been waiting for! Moto Z Play with JBL speaker and battery mod for me.