The Moto Z is the first non-Google phone to be Daydream-ready

Moto Z set to become the first non-Google phone to be compatible with Daydream VR

motorola moto z 2016 news droid edition lifestyle
The Verizon-exclusive Moto Z Droid and the Moto Z Force Droid smartphones have been out for some time, along with a handful of Moto Mods. Now, Lenovo-owned Motorola is announcing a third device under the new Z line — the Moto Z Play Droid — and this one’s got a headphone jack. There’s also a new camera mod called the Hasselblad True Zoom that turns your Moto Z phone into a point-and-shoot camera.

Now, the phones are set to get even better with a Nougat update that will make the phones the first non-Google devices to be Daydream compatible. In other words, you’ll be able to slip the phones into the Google Daydream View or other Daydream headsets to enjoy the best mobile virtual reality experience to date.

As far as the phones themselves go, here’s everything you need to know.

All three devices are available in the U.S., but the Moto Z Force Droid will not be sold outside the country. The international names of the Moto Z Droid and the Moto Z Play Droid are the Moto Z and the Moto Z Play, respectively. Pre-orders for the GSM unlocked Moto Z and the Moto Z Play have begun through Motorola’s website, Best Buy, and Amazon. The devices are available as of October.

Per a recent statement from a Motorola spokesperson, customers should “expect to see Android N on the Moto Z family beginning in Q4.” And with Q4 around the corner, you will have Android Nougat on your Z family phone soon.

You can check out our review of the Moto Z Droid and the Moto Z Force Droid here, and you can expect one soon for the Moto Z Play.

Moto Z variants

Moto Z Play

The Moto Z Play aesthetically isn’t too different from its older brothers. The Moto logo on the bottom has now moved to the top, the flash and the camera on the front seem to have switched places, and the rear doesn’t have any lines at the top or the bottom — there’s a rounded-line pattern emanating from the camera, which sticks out just as much as before.

Of course, the 16-pin magnet connector that brings the Moto Mods to life is present, along with the front fingerprint sensor, and the volume and power buttons that sit on the right side of the device. But you’ll be happy to know that the 3.5mm headphone jack is present on the bottom of the device — Motorola controversially removed it for the Moto Z and Moto Z Force, forcing people to use the included converter, or buy USB Type-C headphones or Bluetooth earbuds.

The Play is slightly heavier and bigger than the other two Moto Z devices, but only marginally. It has the same Adreno 530 GPU, but it’s powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 625 and has 3GB of RAM. That’s a downgrade from the Snapdragon 820, which powers most flagships, and 4GB RAM on the Moto Z and the Moto Z Force. You’ll only get a 32GB storage option, but China will get a 64GB variant as well. Thankfully, there’s MicroSD support so you can add 2TB of additional storage.

The 5.5-inch Super AMOLED Moto Z Play also goes a step lower in resolution — it has 1920 x 1080 pixels, rather than the Quad HD screen for the other two. The rear camera has 16 megapixels, but the front has the same 5-megapixel-wide field of view as the Moto Z and Moto Z Force.

Interestingly, the Moto Z Play actually has a bigger battery than the other two devices, though it’s hardly an improvement. The Moto Z Force has a 3,500mAh battery, and the Moto Z Play offers 3,510mAh. You probably won’t notice a difference with the additional 10mAh.

The device runs Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow.

Moto Z

Design-wise, the Moto Z shifts from the Moto X form and opts for a more rectangular, but rounded device. On the back, you’ll find a large camera in the top-center, and 16 dots on the bottom. The dots come into play when you have a Moto Mod to attach.

The volume rocker buttons have been separated, and both, including the power button rest on the right side of the device. The front side features a fingerprint sensor on the bottom. Naturally, the device is running Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, and luckily, it’s the near-stock Android experience we’ve seen in previous Motorola devices.

The Z is powered by the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor that’s in devices like the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and the LG G5. It’s got a 5.5-inch, Quad HD AMOLED screen (2,560 x 1,440 pixels), 4GB of RAM, and comes with either 32GB or 64GB of storage. Thankfully, there’s MicroSD card support, and you can add up to a whopping 2 terabytes of additional storage.

The camera on the back is packed with 13 megapixels, and there’s optical-image stabilization to keep your shots and videos steady. You can film in 4K at 30 frames per second, and there’s a whole list of other functions such as the ability to scan QR codes and bar codes. The front camera only has 5 megapixels, but features a wide-angle lens to capture more content.

The Moto Z only has a 2,600mAh battery, but it features Motorola’s TurboPower technology, and a USB Type-C charging port that makes it charge faster — the company claims you can get up to 8 hours of power in 15 minutes of charging.

Moto Z Force

The Moto Z Force shares many of the same attributes as the standard Moto Z, but the camera packs 21 megapixels rather than 13, the battery is upgraded to 3,500mAh, and it boasts a shatterproof display — it uses the same ShatterShield technology behind the Droid Turbo 2.

Everything else is more or less the same on the Force, from the fingerprint sensor on the front, to the colors that the devices will be available in: Black with a grey trim and black front lens; black with rose gold trim and black front lens; and “fine gold” and a while front lens.

You can read our review of the Moto Z and Moto Z Force here.

Mobile

You forgot all about these 5 phones of 2018. Prepare to forget them again

The best phones of the year are memorable, exciting, and ones we all want to buy. But what about the others? We're not talking about bad phones, we're talking about forgettable phones -- ones that aren't even bad enough to be remembered.
Mobile

Put down the controller and pick up the best phones for gaming on the go

Which phones are the best if all you want to do is play some mobile games? We've done the hard work and put together a list of the best gaming phones on Android and iOS, so you can keep playing and winning.
Deals

Save up to $750 with the best smartphone deals for December 2018

Need a better phone but don't want to spend a fortune? It's never a bad time to score a new smartphone and save some cash. We rounded up the best smartphone deals available that can save you as much as $750.
Computing

Tired of paying a monthly fee for Word? The best Microsoft Office alternatives

Looking for a competent word processor that isn't Microsoft Word? Thankfully, the best alternatives to Microsoft Office offer robust features, expansive compatibility, and an all-too-familiar aesthetic. Here are our favorites.
Home Theater

Set your ears free with the best completely wireless earbuds

If you can't stand the tangle of cords, or you're just excited about completely wireless earbuds, you're going to need some help separating the wheat from the chaff. Our list serves up the best wireless earbuds around.
Deals

REI clearance sale extends discounts on Garmin, Fitbit, and GoPro devices

Beyond the things you typically expect to find at REI — like tents, skis, and jackets — there are tons of great deals on quality tech foryour outdoor adventures. From smartwatches to action cameras, here are the best tech deals.
Social Media

Instagram could be making a special type of account for influencers

Instagram influencers fall somewhere between a business profile and a typical Instagram, so the company is working on developing a type of account just for creators. The new account type would give creators more access to analytical data.
Social Media

#ThrowbackThursday is only the start: Instagram hashtags for every day of the week

Not getting your hashtag fill with #ThrowbackThursday or #ManCrushMonday? Here's a list of some of the more popular Instagram hashtags, so you can outfit your next post with the proper tag, regardless of what day it is.
Mobile

Protect your new iPhone with one of our favorite iPhone XR cases

Apple's new iPhone range is the toast of 2018, with beautiful style and more power than you can shake a stick at. But beauty can often be fragile -- keep the damage to a minimum with the best iPhone XR cases.
Computing

A dead pixel doesn't mean a dead display. Here's how to repair it

Dead pixel got you down? We don't blame you. Check out our guide on how to fix a dead pixel and save yourself that costly screen replacement or an unwanted trip to your local repair shop.
Mobile

Apple's iOS 12.1.1 makes it easier to switch cameras in FaceTime

After months of betas, the final version of iOS 12 is here to download. The latest OS comes along with tons of new capabilities, from grouped notifications to Siri Shortcuts. Here are all the features you'll find in iOS 12.
Mobile

5G Coverage

Curious about 5G and what it means for you? Well here is our awesome one stop shop for all things 5g.
Mobile

The Galaxy A8s is Samsung's first with a hole-punch camera cutout

Samsung is building exciting, technologically innovative midrange phones, and the latest to be revealed is the new Samsung Galaxy A8s, which may give us an idea of what the new Samsung Galaxy S10 will look like.
Mobile

Looking for flexible and inexpensive phone service? Check out our favorite MVNOs

Looking to switch from a major carrier to something a little more affordable? Luckily, there are a ton of great MVNO options to choose from. Check out our guide to the best MVNOs, from Boost Mobile to Google Fi.
1 of 2