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Lenovo Moto Z Smartphone Review

Andreas Kilian (translated by Andreas Osthoff), 10/01/2016

Moto-mania. Not only does Lenovo's new flagship Moto Z feature high-end technology, it also aims to attract customers with its modular expandability and extremely slim design. Does the concept work in practice or are there even any drawbacks such as reduced battery runtimes?

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For the original German review, see here.

The Moto Z is Lenovo's new flagship smartphone. Besides the powerful technology, it aims to convince particularly, with its unconventional construction: It impresses with a very slim case, and you can also attach additional modules at the back to expand the usage scenarios of the device or create a unique look. These so called Moto Mods are also compatible with the two siblings, the Moto Z Play and the Moto Z Force, and are supposed to support at least three generations of devices. You can get the Moto Z in the colors "White & Fine Gold" as well as "Black & Lunar Grey" for a retail price of 699 Euros (~$786).

Equipped with 32 GB of internal storage, 4 GB of RAM and a Snapdragon 820 SoC, the specifications are on par with the high-end competition. The list includes Android devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, the LG G5, the Huawei P9 Plus, the OnePlus 3 as well as Google’s reference model Nexus 6P. The Windows based Microsoft Lumia 950 XL and Apple's brand-new iPhone 7 Plus are also suitable rivals.

Lenovo Moto Z (Moto Z Series)
Graphics adapter
Qualcomm Adreno 530, Core: 510 MHz
Memory
4096 MB 
Display
5.5 inch 16:9, 2560x1440 pixel 534 PPI, capacitive touchscreen, AMOLED, glossy: yes
Storage
32 GB eMMC Flash, 32 GB 
, 22.8 GB free
Connections
1 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, Audio Connections: Adapter cable USB Type-C to 3.5 mm headphone jack, Card Reader: microSD up to 2 TB (in combination with the 2nd SIM slot), 1 Fingerprint Reader, NFC, Brightness Sensor, Sensors: Accelerometer, Proximity, Hall, Magnetometer, Gyroscope, USB-OTG, Moto Mods
Networking
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.1, GSM / GPRS / EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz), UMTS / HSPA+ (850, 900, 1700, 1900, 2100 MHz), 4G LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 17, 19, 20, 25, 28, 38, 40, 41), SAR Head: 0.304 W/kg, Dual SIM, LTE, GPS
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 5.19 x 155.3 x 75.3 ( = 0.2 x 6.11 x 2.96 in)
Battery
9.8 Wh, 2600 mAh
Operating System
Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Camera
Primary Camera: 13 MPix (auto focus f/1.8, 2160p video @ 30 fps)
Secondary Camera: 5 MPix (fix focus f/2.2, 1080p video @ 30 fps)
Additional features
Speakers: Mono speaker front, Keyboard: virtual, PSU, audio adapter, SIM-slot tool, Style Shell Nylon, plastic bumper, Moto-App, 12 Months Warranty, fanless
Weight
136 g ( = 4.8 oz / 0.3 pounds), Power Supply: 97 g ( = 3.42 oz / 0.21 pounds)
Price
699 EUR

 

Thanks to the extremely slim profile of just 5.2 millimeters (~0.2 in), the case of the Moto Z is a real eye-catcher – even other very slim rivals such the Huawei P9 Plus (7 mm/~0.27 in) and the iPhone 7 Plus (7.3 mm/~0.29 in) appear comparatively thick. We have to be fair though and mention the camera bump, where the thickness is 7.3 millimeters (~0.29 in). It is also not very compact for a 5.5-inch smartphone with a width of 75.3 millimeters (~3 in) and a height of 152.7 millimeters (~6 in); the bezel underneath the display is particularly large. A weight of just 136 grams (~5 oz) is  unusually light – even the LG G5 with a smaller display is noticeably heavier (+21 grams/~0.7 oz).

Despite the slim construction, we are completely convinced by the stability. Although it is possible to twist the smartphone slightly with moderate force, you can only hear minor creaking sounds. In practice, this flexibility does not affect the usability– quite the contrary: The device leaves a very robust impression despite the slim profile, which is also supported by the flawless build quality.

The Moto Z is made of airplane aluminum, stainless steel and Gorilla Glass – an appealing combination of materials. Unfortunately, the back  attracts a lot of fingerprints, which is not easy to remove. The modular expandability should be the reason for the slightly rough transition between the sides and the back cover – other devices provide better ergonomics.

Lenovo Moto Z - Front
Lenovo Moto Z - Rear
Lenovo Moto Z - Rear with fingerprints
Lenovo Moto Z - Camera
Lenovo Moto Z - Moto Mods contacts
Lenovo Moto Z - Physical buttons
Lenovo Moto Z - Box
Lenovo Moto Z - Audio adapter
Lenovo Moto Z - Power adapter

Size Comparison

Connectivity

The integrated USB Type-C port of the Moto Z supports the USB 3.1 standard, so data can be transferred quickly to a PC. We saw average transfer rates of around 75 MB/s when we copied a large video file to a PC and back to the phone, which clearly exceeds the performance of devices with USB 2.0 ports. The connector also supports USB OTG. Some users will miss the usual 3.5 mm headphone jack, but at least there is a corresponding adapter in the box. Wireless connections can be established via NFC, Bluetooth 4.1 as well as Wi-Fi Direct. The wireless transfer of the display content is only possible via Chromecast, but not Miracast.

22.8 GB of the 32 GB internal storage is free out of the box. If you forgo the dual-SIM functionality, you can expand the storage via a microSD-card by up to 256 GB right now (up to 2 TB in theory). It can be formatted either as a portable or an integrated storage. The advantage of the former is that files on the card can also be used by other devices, in which case, you cannot install apps on the card.

Underneath the touchscreen is a very reliable fingerprint scanner, which is surrounded by infrared sensors on the left and right. They enable the smartphone to recognize movements without direct contact and will show the time as well as notifications on the display. This feature is handy, but cannot completely replace the missing notification LED since the information is not displayed permanently.

Top: SIM/microSD-slot, microphone
Top: SIM/microSD-slot, microphone
Bottom: USB Type-C
Bottom: USB Type-C
Left: no ports
Left: no ports
Right: Power button, volume rocker
Right: Power button, volume rocker

Moto Mods

One highlight of the Moto Z is certainly the expandability features via Moto Mods. These additional modules can be attached to the back of the smartphone. The position is secured via magnets and there are some contact points for electrical connection.

The simplest mod category is Style Shells. They do not offer any additional functionality and add some protection for the back, but their main purpose is the creation of an individual design. There are some positive effects though: For starters, the mod will compensate for the camera bump, so the stability is much better when the device is lying on flat surfaces, but the hard transition between the side frame and the rear is covered, so it is more comfortable to hold. Lenovo ships the smartphone with a black Style Shell type "Herringbone Nylon", which provides a convenient tactile feel, but not a lot of grip for the hand despite its three-dimensional surface structure. Thanks to the magnetic fixation, it is very easy to attach and remove, but the connection was not perfect and we heard a crackling sound from time to time. The box also includes a transparent edge protection, which provides additional protection and is easy to attach.

There is also a Mod if the standard smartphone speaker is too quiet or unbalanced for you: The JBL Soundboost speaker is fixed by strong magnets on the back of the Moto Z, so it is pretty much impossible to remove it accidentally. Once again, we noticed that the attached module can be moved around a bit, but it is no problem in practice. Thanks to the handy fold-out stand, you can easily place the smartphone module combination on a table. Sounds are played directly through the speaker. It comes with an additional integrated 1000 mAh battery, which can be charged either via the integrated USB Type-C port or the USB port of the smartphone when it is attached. Handy: The Moto Z shows both battery charges. The additional module will obviously affect the slim smartphone profile. With a thickness of up to 18.3 mm (~0.7 in) and a weight of around 285 grams (~10 oz), the combination is quite a lump in the pocket. We will evaluate the sound performance in the Speaker section. The module is available for a list price of 99 Euros (~$111).

The third module for our review is the Insta-Share-Projector, which is currently the most expensive mod for the Moto Z-series at 349 Euros (~$392). It tips the scale at 263 grams (~9.3 oz) and has a thickness of  16.3 millimeters (~0.63 in), so the dimensions and the weight of the smartphone-module combination beat the Soundboost speaker. The Insta-Share module also comes with its own battery (1100 mAh), which can be charged either directly at the module or via a USB port on the phone. One charge will last about 60 minutes before the smartphone battery is drained. The chassis of the Moto Mod is covered by a soft-touch finish, while the fold-out stand is made of brushed metal. You can turn the projector on by pushing the power button. While the sharpness is adjusted manually via a rotary control, the parameters for the adaptive brightness control as well as the automatic or manually adjustable keystone distortion can be controlled via the smartphone display. The picture quality is actually decent for such a small projector, but it will not be sufficient for movie enthusiasts at 854x480 pixels and up to 50 Lumen. Nevertheless, the performance is okay for occasional use such as the quick presentation of your holiday pictures. The room should be as dark as possible, because the luminance of the projector will be sufficient for larger projections in this case – Lenovo advertises a diagonal size of up to 70 inches. One practical issue could be the rather loudly spinning fan. The projector is shipped with a carrying bag for secure transports. 

Besides the Moto Mods that we have tested, Lenovo also offers several Style-Shells, an additional 2200 mAh battery for 89 Euros (~$100) as well as a Camera Mod with an integrated 10x zoom for 299 Euros (~$336). However, the latter has already been criticized by some reviewers. Whether Lenovo’s modules really have an advantage over external solutions such as Bluetooth speakers or pico projectors will depend mainly on the intended scenario. The easy handling as well as the open-source interface is definitely convenient, so third-party manufacturers can develop new modules as well, which should improve the variety of the Moto Mods.

Style Shell Nylon
Style Shell Nylon
Style Shell Nylon
Style Shell Nylon
Style Shell Nylon with transparent bumper
Transparent bumper
JBL speaker
JBL speaker
JBL-Lautsprecher
Insta-Share projector
Insta-Share projector
Insta-Share projector
Insta-Share projector
Insta-Share projector

Software

As per usual for Motorola, the Moto Z is shipped with an almost standard version of Android. There are only minor adjustments, including the preloaded Moto app, which configures several comfort features such as the flashlight activation via gesture or specifically adjusted notification screens during standby. It is commendable that there are no unnecessary third-party apps.

Homescreen
App drawer
App drawer
Quick settings
Recently used apps
SIM-card setup
microSD as internal storage
Moto-Mods information (speaker)
Software version

Communication and GPS

Besides the usual GSM and 3G frequencies, the test model also supports numerous LTE bands. The maximum transfer speeds in 4G networks are up to 300 Mbps downstream and up to 50 Mbps upstream.

The Moto Z also supports 2x2 MIMO WLAN including the modern AC standard with a theoretical transfer rate of up to 866 Mbps. Our measurements with the reference router Linksys EA8500 confirms high speeds: The test model is even at the top of the comparison in the receiving test and still in a very good second position in the send test. Data connections are also possible via NFC as well as Bluetooth 4.1.

Networking
iperf Server (receive) TCP 1 m
Lenovo Moto Z
Adreno 530, 820 MSM8996, 32 GB eMMC Flash
491 MBit/s ∼100%
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
A10 Fusion GPU, A10 Fusion, 128 GB NVMe
427 MBit/s ∼87% -13%
LG G5
Adreno 530, 820 MSM8996, 32 GB eMMC Flash
303 MBit/s ∼62% -38%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Mali-T880 MP12, 8890 Octa, 32 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
303 MBit/s ∼62% -38%
OnePlus 3
Adreno 530, 820 MSM8996, 64 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
286 MBit/s ∼58% -42%
Huawei P9
Mali-T880 MP4, Kirin 955, 32 GB eMMC Flash
249 MBit/s ∼51% -49%
iperf Client (transmit) TCP 1 m
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
A10 Fusion GPU, A10 Fusion, 128 GB NVMe
395 MBit/s ∼100% +10%
Lenovo Moto Z
Adreno 530, 820 MSM8996, 32 GB eMMC Flash
360 MBit/s ∼91%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Mali-T880 MP12, 8890 Octa, 32 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
290 MBit/s ∼73% -19%
OnePlus 3
Adreno 530, 820 MSM8996, 64 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
256 MBit/s ∼65% -29%
Huawei P9
Mali-T880 MP4, Kirin 955, 32 GB eMMC Flash
205 MBit/s ∼52% -43%
LG G5
Adreno 530, 820 MSM8996, 32 GB eMMC Flash
151 MBit/s ∼38% -58%
GPS indoors
GPS indoors
GPS outdoors
GPS outdoors

Outdoors, the Moto Z will quickly locate the position with an accuracy of 3 meters (~10 ft), but it can take slightly longer indoors. Our bicycle ride shows that the smartphone does not locate the position as often as our professional navigation device Garmin Edge 500: The Bridge area in particular shows clear deviations. However, the overall distance between the two models is just 1.8%, so the performance should still be perfectly fine for everyday navigation purposes.

Lenovo Moto Z - Overview
Lenovo Moto Z - Overview
Lenovo Moto Z - Bridge
Lenovo Moto Z - Bridge
Lenovo Moto Z - Turning Point
Lenovo Moto Z - Turning Point
Garmin Edge 500 - Overview
Garmin Edge 500 - Overview
Garmin Edge 500 - Bridge
Garmin Edge 500 - Bridge
Garmin Edge 500 - Turning Point
Garmin Edge 500 - Turning Point

Telephone and Voice Quality

Phone app: Call list
Phone app: Call list
Phone app: Dialing
Phone app: Dialing

Thanks to a total of four microphones, the Moto Z promises good voice quality during calls, and we can confirm this after some test calls. There is hardly any criticism during normal calls; the only minor issue is a quiet background noise at the earpiece. Our voice is very clear on the other side of the call and this hardly changes when we switch to the hands-free mode, where the sound is only slightly tinny. One positive aspect is the clear voice of the call partner via the speaker of the Moto Z, especially since the volume is more than sufficient for quieter environments. A headset is not included. 

Lenovo uses the familiar Android design for the phone app. All the important features are easy to find and use. Besides favorites, you get the usual things such as a history, a numbers pad and direct access to your contacts. There is also a search bar at the top.

Cameras

Picture with the front camera (click for original)
Picture with the front camera (click for original)
Picture with the main camera (click for original)
Picture with the main camera (click for original)

The front camera of the Moto Z has a 5 MP sensor and provides decent details and usually a sufficient dynamic range. It is also possible to take Full HD videos at 30 frames per second. One highlight is the LED flash at the front, which enables better pictures in dark situations, but obviously changes the picture impression.

At the back of the smartphone is a 13 MP main camera with optical image stabilization, an f/1.8 aperture as well as a laser autofocus system. While the colors of the pictures appear very vivid thanks to the HDR mode, the Moto Z lacks sharpness when we compare the results with the high-end competition. Vegetation in particular is usually rather blurry when you look at a crop. The edges are also slightly blurry, which are often easy to see even without zooming (as in scene 2). In high-contrast areas – such as the sky you can see through the leaves – also show stronger chromatic aberrations or blooming, respectively, compared to the Huawei P9, for instance. The Moto Z takes very bright, low-light pictures with the activated HDR mode in particular, but the quality usually suffers from visible picture noise.

The main camera takes videos at a resolution of up to 2160p and 30 frames per second. You can also select 60 frames per second, but the resolution will be dropped to Full HD. The quality of the UHD videos is decent, and we like the pretty smooth picture during camera pans and the good audio quality. The image stabilization works well, so the picture is very steady, even you walk around. Only the autofocus caused some issues by refocussing the picture even though it was not necessary.

The camera app can be launched directly from the standby via a double tap on the home button. It offers an automatic as well as a manual mode, where you can adjust many parameters such as the white balance, ISO value and the focus point. There are modes for slow-motions as well as panorama. However, the latter disappoints with visible picture errors and a pretty narrow maximum camera angle.

Image Comparison

Choose a scene and navigate within the first image. One click changes the position on touchscreens. One click on the zoomed-in image opens the original in a new window. The first image shows the scaled photograph of the test device.

Scene 1Scene 2Scene 3
click to load images
Sample picture
Sample picture HDR
Sample picture
Macro shot
Sample picture HDR
Panorama – horizontally
Panorama – vertically

To check the color accuracy of the Lenovo Moto Z’s main camera, we take a picture of the X-Rite ColorChecker Passport under controlled lighting conditions and compare the results with the reference colors. The picture is not edited afterwards and there is no manual white balance. While the deviations for the grayscale are comparatively low, we can clearly see deviated colors: Red colors are much darker, and the reverse applies to bright blue and green tones. We can also see that the whole picture is rather blurry.

We get information about the picture quality of the camera lens as well as the resolution of the sensor by taking a picture of our test chart under controlled lighting conditions. We can see a distinct sharpness decrease towards the two right corners – but in the center the performance is not very good since fine lines already appear blurry. That other high-end devices perform better is shown by the comparison with the smartphones Google Nexus 6P as well as Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.

Crop (Moto Z)
Crop (Moto Z)
Crop (Nexus 6P)
Crop (Nexus 6P)
Crop (Galaxy S7 Edge)
Crop (Galaxy S7 Edge)
Picture of the ColorChecker colors. The reference color is displayed in the lower part of each patch.
Picture of the ColorChecker colors. The reference color is displayed in the lower part of each patch.
Test chart (click for original)
Test chart (click for original)

Accessories and Warranty

15-watt power adapter
15-watt power adapter

The Lenovo Moto Z is shipped with the usual service brochures, a card slot tool, a 15-watt power adapter (5V, 3A) with a fixed USB Type-C cable, an audio adapter with a flexible retaining strap, a Style Shell as well as a transparent plastic bumper for the metal frame of the chassis. However, a headset or a data cable are not included. We have already mentioned several Moto Mods to expand your smartphone features.

Lenovo offers only a one-year warranty for the smartphone.

Input Devices and Handling

The touchscreen of the Moto Z is made of robust Gorilla Glass 4, which provides good gliding capabilities for the fingers. The precision is also convincing, so even longer texts are no problem with the preloaded standard Android keyboard. The handling leaves a pretty smooth impression in general, which is supported by the quick reaction of the position sensor when you rotate the display. It is also handy that you can launch the voice control in standby via a predefined keyword (can be set up in the Moto App).

The physical buttons have a firm pressure point and are easy to find with the fingers, but they are not always perfectly reachable due to their position at the upper right side. 

A fingerprint scanner is located beneath the display that  worked very reliably during our review. Not only can it be used to unlock the device, but also to deactivate the display. You do not even have to touch the smartphone to get the current time or notifications, a gesture above the smartphone is sufficient. Thanks to the two sensors that are located on the right and left next to the fingerprint scanner – which are much more noticeable on the white version of the Moto Z – the smartphone recognizes the corresponding gesture and activates the display. This is very handy, but cannot fully compensate for the missing always-on display or a notification LED, because it is not possible to show incoming messages permanently.

Keyboard portrait mode
Keyboard portrait mode
Keyboard landscape mode
Keyboard landscape mode

Display

Subpixel array
Subpixel array

Thanks to a resolution of 2560x1440 on the 5.5-inch screen – hence 534 PPI – the Moto Z produces razor-sharp images. With the activated brightness sensor and a completely white picture, we can measure an average luminance of up to 490 cd/m² and the brightness distribution is still pretty even at 92%. The more realistic test with evenly distributed bright and dark picture contents (APL50) determines an even brighter picture at up to 556 cd/m². The maximum value you can reach manually is lower, at 345 cd/m². These results are not outstanding within the comparison group, but the performance is solid.

One noteworthy aspect is the PWM flickering – as with most AMOLED panels – at a frequency of 250 Hz. This is also the case for the maximum luminance. Subjectively, we mainly noticed it when the time was displayed on a black standby screen.

486
cd/m²
498
cd/m²
512
cd/m²
470
cd/m²
485
cd/m²
502
cd/m²
469
cd/m²
485
cd/m²
506
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 512 cd/m² Average: 490.3 cd/m² Minimum: 5.87 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 92 %
Center on Battery: 485 cd/m²
Contrast: ∞:1 (Black: 0 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 2.1 | - Ø
ΔE Greyscale 2.6 | - Ø
100% sRGB (Argyll) 88.14% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll)
Gamma: 2.23
Lenovo Moto Z
AMOLED, 2560x1440, 5.5
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Super AMOLED, 2560x1440, 5.5
LG G5
IPS Quantum, 2560x1440, 5.3
Huawei P9 Plus
AMOLED, 1920x1080, 5.5
OnePlus 3
Optic-AMOLED, 1920x1080, 5.5
Google Nexus 6P
AMOLED, 2560x1440, 5.7
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
AMOLED, 2560x1440, 5.7
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
IPS, 1920x1080, 5.5
Screen
Brightness
490
552
13%
774
58%
366
-25%
431
-12%
365
-26%
297
-39%
553
13%
Brightness Distribution
92
96
4%
91
-1%
87
-5%
84
-9%
90
-2%
93
1%
97
5%
Black Level *
0.43
0.35
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
2.1
1.59
24%
6.5
-210%
5.1
-143%
4.1
-95%
2.34
-11%
2.67
-27%
1.4
33%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
2.6
2.01
23%
8
-208%
5.5
-112%
3.3
-27%
1.03
60%
2.81
-8%
1.3
50%
Gamma
2.23 108%
2.01 119%
2.22 108%
2.24 107%
2.1 114%
2.23 108%
2.08 115%
2.21 109%
CCT
6843 95%
6321 103%
8699 75%
7388 88%
6550 99%
6429 101%
6379 102%
6667 97%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
88.14
82.12
-7%
68.08
-23%
89.38
1%
66.31
-25%
63.1
-28%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
100
99.98
0%
97.46
-3%
100
0%
99.79
0%
99.83
0%
Contrast
1823
1591

* ... smaller is better

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM detected 250 Hz100 % brightness setting

The display backlight flickers at 250 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 100 % and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

The frequency of 250 Hz is relatively low, so sensitive users will likely notice flickering and experience eyestrain at the stated brightness setting and below.

In comparison: 57 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 6668 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
5.6 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 2.8 ms rise
↘ 2.8 ms fall
The screen shows very fast response rates in our tests and should be very well suited for fast-paced gaming.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 2 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (26.7 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
10.8 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 5.2 ms rise
↘ 5.6 ms fall
The screen shows good response rates in our tests, but may be too slow for competitive gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 3 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (42.8 ms).
Picture mode
Picture mode

The Moto Z has two basic color modes you can select in the settings. We can measure average DeltaE deviations compared to the sRGB reference of just 2.1 (colors) and 2.6 (grayscale) in the "Standard" mode. This is within the ideal range under 3. The color temperature is also just slightly increased at 6843 K compared to an ideal value of 6500 K. Changing to the "Intense" mode will increase the average DeltaE deviations compared to the sRGB reference to 5.9 (colors) and 4.2 (grayscale) as well as the color temperature to 7246 K – even though the average DeltaE deviations are slightly lower compared to the wider AdobeRGB color space (around 4).

Grayscale (Standard, target color space sRGB)
Grayscale (Standard, target color space sRGB)
ColorChecker (Standard, target color space sRGB)
ColorChecker (Standard, target color space sRGB)
ColorChecker (Standard, target color space AdobeRGB)
ColorChecker (Standard, target color space AdobeRGB)
Saturation Sweeps (Standard, target color space sRGB)
Saturation Sweeps (Standard, target color space sRGB)
Grayscale (Intense, target color space sRGB)
Grayscale (Intense, target color space sRGB)
ColorChecker (Intense, target color space sRGB)
ColorChecker (Intense, target color space sRGB)
ColorChecker (Intense, target color space AdobeRGB)
ColorChecker (Intense, target color space AdobeRGB)
Saturation Sweeps (Intense, target color space sRGB)
Saturation Sweeps (Intense, target color space sRGB)

The Moto Z also works pretty well outdoors, where the smartphone benefits from the high contrast of the AMOLED panel as well as the decent maximum luminance. Only direct sunlight is a challenge for the screen and you cannot see a lot of the actual content.

Outdoors under direct sunlight
Outdoors under direct sunlight
Outdoors with overcast sky
Outdoors with overcast sky

There is not much criticism for the viewing angle stability either. The brightness drop from the side is moderate and the colors are not that much paler.

Viewing angles
Viewing angles

Performance

As it should be for a modern flagship smartphone, the Moto Z is equipped with a powerful Snapdragon 820 SoC consisting of four Kyro cores. However, instead of a maximum clock speed design of 2.2 GHz (LG G5 or OnePlus 3) the cores can only reach up to 1.8 GHz in this case. The integrated Adreno 530 GPU is also slightly slower than the mentioned rivals at 510 MHz. But what are the effects on the benchmark scores? Fortunately, we cannot see a huge difference in many tests. Our test model performs very well compared to the high-end rivals, and we can only notice a disadvantage in the Geekbench 3 and 4 Single-Core tests, where the models LG G5 and OnePlus 3 with the same SoC are about 15% faster. The Moto Z can even take the top spot among the Android competition in PCMark – overall a good performance.

AnTuTu Benchmark v6 - Total Score (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto Z
129197 Points ∼57%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
128749 Points ∼56% 0%
LG G5
124244 Points ∼54% -4%
Huawei P9 Plus
98413 Points ∼43% -24%
OnePlus 3
142090 Points ∼62% +10%
Google Nexus 6P
79502 Points ∼35% -38%
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
94122 Points ∼41% -27%
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
165399 Points ∼73% +28%
Geekbench 3
64 Bit Multi-Core Score (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto Z
5450 Points ∼14%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
6480 (min: 6415) Points ∼17% +19%
LG G5
5507 Points ∼15% +1%
Huawei P9 Plus
6556 Points ∼17% +20%
OnePlus 3
5645 Points ∼15% +4%
Google Nexus 6P
4587 Points ∼12% -16%
64 Bit Single-Core Score (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto Z
2080 Points ∼44%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
2170 (min: 2120) Points ∼46% +4%
LG G5
2396 Points ∼50% +15%
Huawei P9 Plus
1929 Points ∼41% -7%
OnePlus 3
2398 Points ∼50% +15%
Google Nexus 6P
1335 Points ∼28% -36%
Geekbench 4.0
Compute RenderScript Score (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto Z
6326 Points ∼77%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
2805 Points ∼34% -56%
LG G5
6499 Points ∼79% +3%
OnePlus 3
7085 Points ∼86% +12%
64 Bit Multi-Core Score (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto Z
3946 Points ∼14%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
5503 Points ∼20% +39%
LG G5
3833 Points ∼14% -3%
OnePlus 3
4097 Points ∼15% +4%
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
5630 Points ∼20% +43%
64 Bit Single-Core Score (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto Z
1480 Points ∼26%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
1840 Points ∼33% +24%
LG G5
1674 Points ∼30% +13%
OnePlus 3
1754 Points ∼31% +19%
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
3476 Points ∼62% +135%
ANDEBench PRO
3D (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto Z
58.87 fps ∼45%
LG G5
47.42 fps ∼36% -19%
OnePlus 3
62.91 fps ∼48% +7%
Platform (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto Z
404.1 Points ∼6%
LG G5
298.6 Points ∼4% -26%
OnePlus 3
246.4 Points ∼4% -39%
Storage (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto Z
14580 KB/s ∼14%
LG G5
6137 KB/s ∼6% -58%
OnePlus 3
6959 KB/s ∼7% -52%
Memory Latency (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto Z
5740 KOps/s ∼71%
LG G5
6035 KOps/s ∼75% +5%
OnePlus 3
6059 KOps/s ∼75% +6%
Memory Bandwidth (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto Z
19176 MB/s ∼91%
LG G5
19035 MB/s ∼91% -1%
OnePlus 3
19937 MB/s ∼95% +4%
CoreMark-PRO/HPC (Base) (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto Z
4834 Points ∼75%
LG G5
4959 Points ∼77% +3%
OnePlus 3
5098 Points ∼79% +5%
Device Score (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto Z
15951 Points ∼61%
LG G5
13173 Points ∼51% -17%
OnePlus 3
13768 Points ∼53% -14%
PCMark for Android - Work performance score (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto Z
7637 Points ∼92%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
4660 Points ∼56% -39%
LG G5
5581 Points ∼67% -27%
Huawei P9 Plus
7159 Points ∼86% -6%
OnePlus 3
7101 Points ∼86% -7%
Google Nexus 6P
4716 Points ∼57% -38%
BaseMark OS II
Graphics (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto Z
4321 Points ∼50%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
2203 Points ∼26% -49%
LG G5
4807 Points ∼56% +11%
Huawei P9 Plus
1512 Points ∼18% -65%
OnePlus 3
4813 Points ∼56% +11%
Google Nexus 6P
2424 Points ∼28% -44%
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
2040 Points ∼24% -53%
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
6875 Points ∼80% +59%
System (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto Z
3398 Points ∼52%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
4080 Points ∼62% +20%
LG G5
2925 Points ∼44% -14%
Huawei P9 Plus
3932 Points ∼60% +16%
OnePlus 3
3537 Points ∼54% +4%
Google Nexus 6P
1798 Points ∼27% -47%
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
1386 Points ∼21% -59%
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
6582 Points ∼100% +94%
Overall (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto Z
2356 Points ∼62%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
2074 Points ∼55% -12%
LG G5
2079 Points ∼55% -12%
Huawei P9 Plus
2019 Points ∼53% -14%
OnePlus 3
2496 Points ∼66% +6%
Google Nexus 6P
1405 Points ∼37% -40%
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
1465 Points ∼39% -38%
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
3097 Points ∼82% +31%
Basemark ES 3.1 / Metal - offscreen Overall Score (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto Z
542 Points ∼29%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
733 Points ∼39% +35%
LG G5
543 Points ∼29% 0%
OnePlus 3
631 Points ∼34% +16%
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
1177 Points ∼63% +117%
GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7
1920x1080 T-Rex HD Offscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto Z
77 fps ∼6%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
81 fps ∼6% +5%
LG G5
74 fps ∼6% -4%
Huawei P9 Plus
41 fps ∼3% -47%
OnePlus 3
89 fps ∼7% +16%
Google Nexus 6P
44 fps ∼3% -43%
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
27.11 fps ∼2% -65%
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
91.96 fps ∼7% +19%
T-Rex HD Onscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto Z
53 fps ∼12%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
51 fps ∼11% -4%
LG G5
47 fps ∼10% -11%
Huawei P9 Plus
43 fps ∼9% -19%
OnePlus 3
60 fps ∼13% +13%
Google Nexus 6P
33 fps ∼7% -38%
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
18.75 fps ∼4% -65%
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
57.71 fps ∼13% +9%
GFXBench 3.0
off screen Manhattan Offscreen OGL (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto Z
41 fps ∼8%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
38 fps ∼7% -7%
LG G5
42 fps ∼8% +2%
Huawei P9 Plus
18 fps ∼3% -56%
OnePlus 3
47 fps ∼9% +15%
Google Nexus 6P
25 fps ∼5% -39%
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
17.54 fps ∼3% -57%
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
58.71 fps ∼11% +43%
on screen Manhattan Onscreen OGL (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto Z
26 fps ∼7%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
27 fps ∼7% +4%
LG G5
30 fps ∼8% +15%
Huawei P9 Plus
19 fps ∼5% -27%
OnePlus 3
46 fps ∼13% +77%
Google Nexus 6P
17 fps ∼5% -35%
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
11.81 fps ∼3% -55%
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
55.17 fps ∼15% +112%
GFXBench 3.1
off screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Offscreen (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto Z
27 fps ∼6%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
28 fps ∼7% +4%
LG G5
31 fps ∼7% +15%
Huawei P9 Plus
10 fps ∼2% -63%
OnePlus 3
31 fps ∼7% +15%
Google Nexus 6P
16 fps ∼4% -41%
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
41.3 fps ∼10% +53%
on screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Onscreen (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto Z
15 fps ∼9%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
15 fps ∼9% 0%
LG G5
17 fps ∼10% +13%
Huawei P9 Plus
11 fps ∼6% -27%
OnePlus 3
30 fps ∼17% +100%
Google Nexus 6P
9.5 fps ∼5% -37%
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
41.5 fps ∼24% +177%
GFXBench 4.0
off screen Car Chase Offscreen (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto Z
16 fps ∼5%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
15 fps ∼4% -6%
LG G5
18 fps ∼5% +13%
Huawei P9 Plus
6.2 fps ∼2% -61%
OnePlus 3
18 fps ∼5% +13%
on screen Car Chase Onscreen (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto Z
9.8 fps ∼0%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
7.9 fps ∼0% -19%
LG G5
11 fps ∼0% +12%
Huawei P9 Plus
6.8 fps ∼0% -31%
OnePlus 3
18 fps ∼1% +84%
3DMark
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Physics (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto Z
1828 Points ∼61%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
2002 (min: 1539) Points ∼66% +10%
LG G5
1695 Points ∼56% -7%
Huawei P9 Plus
2336 Points ∼78% +28%
OnePlus 3
1789 Points ∼59% -2%
Google Nexus 6P
1142 Points ∼38% -38%
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
1522 Points ∼51% -17%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Graphics (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto Z
3718 Points ∼48%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
3015 (min: 2895) Points ∼39% -19%
LG G5
4468 Points ∼58% +20%
Huawei P9 Plus
1042 Points ∼13% -72%
OnePlus 3
4633 Points ∼60% +25%
Google Nexus 6P
2302 Points ∼30% -38%
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
4235 Points ∼55% +14%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto Z
3023 Points ∼61%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
2710 (min: 2421) Points ∼54% -10%
LG G5
3277 Points ∼66% +8%
Huawei P9 Plus
1188 Points ∼24% -61%
OnePlus 3
3424 Points ∼69% +13%
Google Nexus 6P
1877 Points ∼38% -38%
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
3034 Points ∼61% 0%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto Z
20948 Points ∼29%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
19610 Points ∼27% -6%
LG G5
20997 Points ∼29% 0%
Huawei P9 Plus
15331 Points ∼21% -27%
OnePlus 3
21771 Points ∼30% +4%
Google Nexus 6P
14983 Points ∼21% -28%
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
15626 Points ∼22% -25%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics Score (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto Z
26659 Points ∼6%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
33031 Points ∼7% +24%
LG G5
32109 Points ∼7% +20%
Huawei P9 Plus
21807 Points ∼5% -18%
OnePlus 3
34023 Points ∼7% +28%
Google Nexus 6P
34758 Points ∼8% +30%
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
63386 Points ∼14% +138%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Score (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto Z
25135 Points ∼13%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
28671 Points ∼15% +14%
LG G5
28730 Points ∼15% +14%
Huawei P9 Plus
19936 Points ∼10% -21%
OnePlus 3
30241 Points ∼15% +20%
Google Nexus 6P
26876 Points ∼14% +7%
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
37746 Points ∼19% +50%
Lightmark - 1920x1080 1080p (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto Z
24.33 fps ∼67%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
13.31 fps ∼36% -45%
LG G5
25.26 fps ∼69% +4%
OnePlus 3
23.32 fps ∼64% -4%
Epic Citadel - Ultra High Quality (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto Z
59.8 fps ∼97%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
60 fps ∼97% 0%
LG G5
55.8 fps ∼91% -7%
OnePlus 3
59.6 fps ∼97% 0%
Basemark X 1.1
High Quality (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto Z
33028 Points ∼75%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
32273 Points ∼73% -2%
LG G5
25532 Points ∼58% -23%
OnePlus 3
33064 Points ∼75% 0%
Medium Quality (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto Z
41445 Points ∼92%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
41091 Points ∼91% -1%
LG G5
28538 Points ∼63% -31%
OnePlus 3
Points ∼0% -100%
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
33082 Points ∼74% -20%
PassMark PerformanceTest Mobile V1
3D Graphics Tests (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto Z
2461 Points ∼72%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
2131 Points ∼63% -13%
LG G5
2168 Points ∼64% -12%
OnePlus 3
1913 Points ∼56% -22%
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
2017 Points ∼59% -18%
2D Graphics Tests (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto Z
4781 Points ∼47%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
6382 Points ∼62% +33%
LG G5
5498 Points ∼54% +15%
OnePlus 3
5727 Points ∼56% +20%
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
5495 Points ∼54% +15%
Memory Tests (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto Z
8912 Points ∼15%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
6136 Points ∼10% -31%
LG G5
10573 Points ∼18% +19%
OnePlus 3
11024 Points ∼19% +24%
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
25299 Points ∼43% +184%
Disk Tests (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto Z
68378 Points ∼50%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
36364 Points ∼27% -47%
LG G5
100164 Points ∼73% +46%
OnePlus 3
91875 Points ∼67% +34%
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
48907 Points ∼36% -28%
CPU Tests (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto Z
170521 Points ∼63%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
225427 Points ∼83% +32%
LG G5
162632 Points ∼60% -5%
OnePlus 3
182968 Points ∼67% +7%
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
49294 Points ∼18% -71%
System (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto Z
8795 Points ∼66%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
8049 Points ∼61% -8%
LG G5
8724 Points ∼66% -1%
OnePlus 3
8196 Points ∼62% -7%
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
8420 Points ∼63% -4%

Legend

 
Lenovo Moto Z Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 MSM8996, Qualcomm Adreno 530, 32 GB eMMC Flash
 
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Samsung Exynos 8890 Octa, ARM Mali-T880 MP12, 32 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
 
LG G5 Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 MSM8996, Qualcomm Adreno 530, 32 GB eMMC Flash
 
Huawei P9 Plus HiSilicon Kirin 955, ARM Mali-T880 MP4, 64 GB eMMC Flash
 
OnePlus 3 Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 MSM8996, Qualcomm Adreno 530, 64 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
 
Google Nexus 6P Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 MSM8994, Qualcomm Adreno 430, 32 GB eMMC Flash
 
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 MSM8994, Qualcomm Adreno 430, 32 GB eMMC Flash
 
Apple iPhone 7 Plus Apple A10 Fusion, Apple A10 Fusion GPU / PowerVR, 128 GB NVMe

Unfortunately, the Moto Z is not convincing in the browser benchmarks: While it is average in the BaseMark OS II Web test as well as Mozilla’s Kraken 1.1 benchmark, it falls behind in the other tests. Subjectively, there are no performance issues since even complex websites are quickly loaded.

Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto Z
3154.7 ms * ∼5%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
2564.1 ms * ∼4% +19%
LG G5
3461.1 ms * ∼6% -10%
Huawei P9 Plus
2792.3 ms * ∼5% +11%
OnePlus 3
2920.7 ms * ∼5% +7%
Google Nexus 6P
4193 ms * ∼7% -33%
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
5552.9 ms * ∼9% -76%
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
1102.7 ms * ∼2% +65%
Octane V2 - Total Score (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto Z
7771 Points ∼16%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
13191 Points ∼27% +70%
LG G5
9731 Points ∼20% +25%
Huawei P9 Plus
12058 Points ∼24% +55%
OnePlus 3
9155 Points ∼18% +18%
Google Nexus 6P
8804 Points ∼18% +13%
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
8059 Points ∼16% +4%
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
26053 Points ∼53% +235%
WebXPRT 2015 - Overall Score (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto Z
112 Points ∼15%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
163 Points ∼22% +46%
LG G5
108 Points ∼14% -4%
Huawei P9 Plus
130 Points ∼17% +16%
OnePlus 3
122 Points ∼16% +9%
Google Nexus 6P
116 Points ∼15% +4%
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
113 Points ∼15% +1%
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
204 Points ∼27% +82%
JetStream 1.1 - 1.1 Total Score (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto Z
47.5 Points ∼14%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
75.12 Points ∼23% +58%
LG G5
49.7 Points ∼15% +5%
Huawei P9 Plus
70 Points ∼21% +47%
OnePlus 3
54.4 Points ∼16% +15%
Google Nexus 6P
47.4 Points ∼14% 0%
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
46 Points ∼14% -3%
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
168.08 Points ∼50% +254%
Vellamo 3.x - Browser (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto Z
5344 Points ∼71%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
7198 (min: 6255) Points ∼95% +35%
LG G5
5473 (min: 4080) Points ∼72% +2%
OnePlus 3
5814 (min: 5467) Points ∼77% +9%
BaseMark OS II - Web (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto Z
959 Points ∼62%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
994 Points ∼64% +4%
LG G5
900 Points ∼58% -6%
Huawei P9 Plus
1049 Points ∼68% +9%
OnePlus 3
1112 Points ∼72% +16%
Google Nexus 6P
791 Points ∼51% -18%
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
837 Points ∼54% -13%
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
1542 Points ∼100% +61%

* ... smaller is better

Lenovo has not economized in terms of internal storage of the Moto Z: At 74.93 MB/s, it is particularly fast with random writes – but the Lenovo also manages good results in the other tests. Samsung's Galaxy S7 Edge is still ahead when we look at sequential read transfers, but it is otherwise beaten by our test model. The situation is  the same for the microSD-slot: We measured 45.64 (write) and 78.51 MB/s (read) in combination with our reference card Toshiba Exceria Pro M401 (THN-M401S0640E2, UHS-I Class 3, read up to 95 MB/s, write up to 80 MB/s). Both results are good and can actually meet the expectations for a high-end device, even though the memory card would support even higher transfer rates.

AndroBench 3-5
Sequential Write 256KB SDCard (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto Z
45.64 MB/s ∼52%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
50.36 MB/s ∼58% +10%
LG G5
45.53 MB/s ∼52% 0%
Huawei P9 Plus
24.95 MB/s ∼29% -45%
Sequential Read 256KB SDCard (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto Z
78.51 MB/s ∼81%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
76.43 MB/s ∼79% -3%
LG G5
78.53 MB/s ∼81% 0%
Huawei P9 Plus
62.48 MB/s ∼65% -20%
Random Write 4KB (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto Z
74.93 MB/s ∼49%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
15.79 MB/s ∼10% -79%
LG G5
16.22 MB/s ∼11% -78%
Huawei P9 Plus
51.23 MB/s ∼34% -32%
OnePlus 3
18.23 MB/s ∼12% -76%
Google Nexus 6P
11.79 MB/s ∼8% -84%
Random Read 4KB (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto Z
117.15 MB/s ∼68%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
86.71 MB/s ∼50% -26%
LG G5
89.26 MB/s ∼52% -24%
Huawei P9 Plus
39.33 MB/s ∼23% -66%
OnePlus 3
137.62 MB/s ∼80% +17%
Google Nexus 6P
20.1 MB/s ∼12% -83%
Sequential Write 256KB (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto Z
168.32 MB/s ∼82%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
145.11 MB/s ∼70% -14%
LG G5
141.26 MB/s ∼68% -16%
Huawei P9 Plus
140.38 MB/s ∼68% -17%
OnePlus 3
153.3 MB/s ∼74% -9%
Google Nexus 6P
122.51 MB/s ∼59% -27%
Sequential Read 256KB (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto Z
439.66 MB/s ∼55%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
487.34 MB/s ∼61% +11%
LG G5
427.65 MB/s ∼54% -3%
Huawei P9 Plus
284.27 MB/s ∼36% -35%
OnePlus 3
408.71 MB/s ∼51% -7%
Google Nexus 6P
236.33 MB/s ∼30% -46%
BaseMark OS II - Memory (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto Z
2190 Points ∼50%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
2072 Points ∼47% -5%
LG G5
1478 Points ∼33% -33%
Huawei P9 Plus
2667 Points ∼60% +22%
OnePlus 3
2052 Points ∼46% -6%
Google Nexus 6P
1136 Points ∼26% -48%
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
1945 Points ∼44% -11%
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
1319 Points ∼30% -40%

Games

Thanks to the powerful Adreno 530 graphics, even the high resolution of the Moto Z (2560x1440 pixels) is no problem when you want to play games. Even very complex games such as “Asphalt 8” or “Dead Trigger 2” are running – as expected – completely smoothly on the test model. “Asphalt 8” obviously has an FPS limit, because all settings top out at 29 frames per second.

Both the touchscreen as well as the integrated position sensors work very reliably while gaming. Another positive aspect is the position of the speaker at the front, because you can hardly cover it accidentally when you play games.

Asphalt 8
Asphalt 8
Dead Trigger 2
Dead Trigger 2
Asphalt 8: Airborne
 SettingsValue
 high29 fps
 very low29 fps
Dead Trigger 2
 SettingsValue
 high60 fps

Emissions

Temperature

Considering the slim construction of the Moto Z, you might think that the surface temperatures would take a hit. At up to 42.2 °C (~108 °F), however, they are in the standard range for a powerful smartphone, and the subjective heat development is not too high under sustained loads either. The increased idle temperatures of up to 36 °C (~97 °F) at some spots is hardly noticeable, but measurable.

Are these temperatures the result of a throttling SoC under sustained loads? We use the two GFXBench Battery Tests to answer this question. The T-Rex test showed a performance drop of around 7.4% after 18 iterations – Samsung's Galaxy S7 Edge reduced the comparable initial performance by up to 54%. The more demanding Manhattan benchmarks caused a greater drop by 16.2% after 12 iterations, but some rivals with the Snapdragon 820 SoC are worse: The performance of the LG G5, for example, was reduced by up to 30%. However, the initial performance was higher, so the test model is roughly on par after some test runs, despite the lower throttling percentage. The OnePlus 3 does not have such problems, and its Snapdragon SoC can always maintain the full potential.

GFXBench T-Rex: Performance
GFXBench T-Rex: Performance
GFXBench T-Rex: Frame times
GFXBench T-Rex: Frame times
GFXBench T-Rex: Battery consumption
GFXBench T-Rex: Battery consumption
GFXBench Manhattan: Performance
GFXBench Manhattan: Performance
GFXBench Manhattan: Frame times
GFXBench Manhattan: Frame times
GFXBench Manhattan: Battery consumption
GFXBench Manhattan: Battery consumption
Max. Load
 36.1 °C37.2 °C40.8 °C 
 35.8 °C37.3 °C42.4 °C 
 35.6 °C37.5 °C41.4 °C 
Maximum: 42.4 °C
Average: 38.2 °C
38.3 °C39.9 °C37.2 °C
39.4 °C40.6 °C36 °C
39.9 °C40.6 °C36.1 °C
Maximum: 40.6 °C
Average: 38.7 °C
Power Supply (max.)  34.3 °C | Room Temperature 21.9 °C | Voltcraft IR-260
Thermal image Moto Z
Thermal image Moto Z

Speakers

Speaker measurements
Speaker measurements
Speaker measurements – JBL Moto Mod
Speaker measurements – JBL Moto Mod
Lenovo Moto Z with audio adapter
Lenovo Moto Z with audio adapter

The mono speaker of the Moto Z is located behind the opening of the ear piece and therefore projects the sound directly towards the user. At up to 83.9 dB(A), it is not quite as loud as the modules in the rivals LG G5 and OnePlus 3, but the performance is still sufficient in many cases thanks to its good position. The sound quality is decent for a smartphone and there are no annoying distortions even at higher volumes. Bass is, as usual, not really powerful, and this is actually one area where the additional JBL Soundboost speaker (also see chapter Moto Mods) comes into play. It can be attached to the back of the smartphone via magnets and immediately handles the audio output. At up to 95.2 dB(A), it is much louder than the internal speaker and covers the deep frequencies much better. Our measurements also show a much wider frequency response, which results in a subjectively richer sound.

Since the Moto Z has dispensed with a standard 3.5 mm headphone jack, you have to rely on the provided adapter when you want to use your usual headphones. Subjectively, the sound quality via adapter is mostly flawless, but we sometimes noticed small interferences. They happened when we pushed the Home button shortly after the audio playback stopped, for example. The adapter blocks the USB port, so you cannot charge the battery while you listen to music.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2031.636.22525.430.63125.328.54032.928.15033.638.26331.633.38028.428.4100272612520.825.81602230.920021.336.425020.844.731521.248.940019.453.750019.56163017.763.780017.969.8100017.872.8125017.373160017.472.8200016.773.3250017.274.4315018.273400017.973.1500017.670.8630017.770.5800017.870.91000017.971.91250018.166.61600018.261.4SPL3083.9N1.356.8median 17.9Lenovo Moto Zmedian 69.8Delta1.312.831.638.525.446.325.34832.945.933.646.631.650.728.449.12756.720.862.22268.421.373.620.876.421.276.919.476.519.580.817.778.917.981.817.883.317.38417.484.916.784.417.284.618.280.617.979.217.685.317.785.217.882.517.980.518.180.118.278.13095.21.3120.9median 17.9MotoMod JBL-Soundboostmedian 80.51.34.433.836.432.433.831.829.931.331.832.732.731.732.732.333.12632.345.446.139.445.429.630.736.229.629.525.228.629.525.923.125.425.925.623.421.325.637.124.723.337.150.127.122.550.156.234.622.456.261.840.421.361.864.74318.464.769.648.717.569.668.847.117.568.867.647.417.267.672.850.316.872.87552.217.37575.953.717.475.97652.116.67674.849.817.374.874.849.417.674.874.548.917.674.576.251.317.776.275.750.817.475.775.451.917.775.472.55117.972.571.150.518.171.164.247.518.164.286.462.729.886.46816.41.368median 71.1LG G5median 48.9median 17.7median 71.19.86.81.69.8hearing rangehide median Pink Noise
Lenovo Moto Z audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (83.9 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 34.4% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (8.2% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | reduced mids - on average 5.4% lower than median
(+) | mids are linear (6% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 2.3% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (1.8% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (23.2% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 29% of all tested devices in this class were better, 12% similar, 60% worse
» The best had a delta of 14%, average was 26%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 58% of all tested devices were better, 7% similar, 35% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 22%, worst was 53%

no name audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (95.16 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(±) | reduced bass - on average 11.4% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (7.4% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 2.7% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (2.6% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 2.4% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (3.8% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(+) | overall sound is linear (7.7% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 1% of all tested devices in this class were better, 0% similar, 99% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 22%, worst was 53%
Compared to all devices tested
» 1% of all tested devices were better, 0% similar, 99% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 22%, worst was 53%

LG G5 audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (86.41 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 28.3% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (12.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 3.6% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (4.3% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 3.8% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (1.9% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (18.9% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 6% of all tested devices in this class were better, 3% similar, 91% worse
» The best had a delta of 14%, average was 26%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 35% of all tested devices were better, 6% similar, 59% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 22%, worst was 53%

Frequency Comparison (Checkboxes select/deselectable!)

Energy Management

Power Consumption

Lenovo has done a good job in terms of power consumption: The Moto Z is the most power efficient smartphone (on average) within this comparison group – only the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge  and the Huawei P9 Plus consume less power under maximum load.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.12 / 0.22 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 0.66 / 1.01 / 1.09 Watt
Load midlight 3.97 / 8.34 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Gossen Metrahit Energy
Lenovo Moto Z
2600 mAh
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
3600 mAh
LG G5
2800 mAh
Huawei P9 Plus
3400 mAh
OnePlus 3
3000 mAh
Google Nexus 6P
3450 mAh
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
3340 mAh
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
2915 mAh
Power Consumption
-15%
-38%
-11%
-22%
-29%
-172%
-49%
Idle Minimum *
0.66
0.63
5%
0.55
17%
0.87
-32%
0.57
14%
0.83
-26%
2.85
-332%
0.77
-17%
Idle Average *
1.01
1.1
-9%
1.37
-36%
1.2
-19%
1.24
-23%
1.09
-8%
2.95
-192%
2.04
-102%
Idle Maximum *
1.09
1.56
-43%
2.25
-106%
1.27
-17%
1.36
-25%
1.17
-7%
3.26
-199%
2.24
-106%
Load Average *
3.97
5.95
-50%
6.24
-57%
4.69
-18%
5.92
-49%
7.49
-89%
8.92
-125%
4.69
-18%
Load Maximum *
8.34
6.7
20%
9.12
-9%
5.63
32%
10.53
-26%
9.51
-14%
9.39
-13%
8.66
-4%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Runtime

Because of the comparatively small integrated 2600 mAh battery, we do not expect new runtime records. Thanks to the efficient power consumption, however, the results are still decent: The practical WLAN test determines 6 hours and 47 minutes, which is far from the top models Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and OnePlus 3, but it can compete with other high-end smartphones such as the LG G5, the Google Nexus 6P or the Microsoft Lumia 950 XL. The situation is similar in the video test, where our sample video runs for 12 hours and 4 minutes on the Moto Z – an average result within the high-end competition. The test model even lasted 5 hours and 20 minutes under maximum load, which is only beaten by the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. We can notice the smaller battery while idling though: 22 hours and 51 minutes are beaten by most rivals.

It is possible to increase the battery runtimes with the standard power-saver mode from Android Marshmallow. It limits the background activities of apps, deactivates the vibration alarm and reduces the performance of the smartphone. It can be activated either manually or automatically at predefined battery limits.

Thanks to the powerful PSU, the battery of the Moto Z is fully charged after just 1 hour and 15 minutes, and 30% are filled after 15 minutes.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
22h 51min
WiFi Surfing v1.3 (Chrome 53)
6h 47min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
12h 04min
Load (maximum brightness)
5h 20min
Lenovo Moto Z
2600 mAh
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
3600 mAh
LG G5
2800 mAh
Huawei P9 Plus
3400 mAh
OnePlus 3
3000 mAh
Google Nexus 6P
3450 mAh
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
3340 mAh
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
2915 mAh
Battery Runtime
38%
-1%
6%
26%
-10%
-23%
15%
Reader / Idle
1371
1663
21%
1833
34%
1446
5%
1338
-2%
1447
6%
1078
-21%
1835
34%
H.264
724
914
26%
600
-17%
776
7%
847
17%
533
-26%
611
-16%
813
12%
WiFi v1.3
407
732
80%
387
-5%
530
30%
840
106%
375
-8%
369
-9%
587
44%
Load
320
392
23%
267
-17%
263
-18%
268
-16%
280
-12%
179
-44%
225
-30%

Pros

+ thin, light chassis with good build quality
+ expandable by Moto Mods
+ no unnecessary software
+ fast USB Type-C port
+ microSD-card can be formatted as internal storage
+ very fast AC WLAN
+ good phone features
+ precise touchscreen
+ high-resolution display
+ reliable fingerprint scanner
+ fast system performance
+ shipped with quick charger and Style Shell

Cons

- picture quality of the main camera reveals weaknesses
- no Miracast support
- display with PWM flickering
- no headset included
- battery integrated
- no 3.5 mm headphone jack

Verdict

In review: Lenovo Moto Z (XT1650-03). Test model courtesy of Lenovo Germany.
In review: Lenovo Moto Z (XT1650-03). Test model courtesy of Lenovo Germany.

Lenovo's new flagship phone Moto Z primarily stands out from the rivals with its modular expandability. These so called Moto Mods introduce new features, which are usually not available for a smartphone. One obstacle could be the pretty high prices of the modules, but Lenovo does promise to support at least three generations of devices, so such a mod might make sense in the long run.

But the Moto Z is a successful smartphone even without the purchase of additional modules and does not have to hide behind the high-end competition: The sophisticated and extremely slim chassis as well as the powerful components can justify the premium price. And the mostly standard Android user interface should have many fans as well. We are also surprised by the decent runtimes in practice, despite the small battery.

We do not really understand why Lenovo ships the Moto Z with only an average camera though – the 21 MP sensor of the sibling Moto Z Force would have been a good addition here as well. Some potential buyers might also miss the 3.5 mm headphone jack, even though the smartphone is shipped with a corresponding adapter.

Thanks to the new Moto Mod concept, there is some fresh wind in the high-end smartphone segment. But the Moto Z also convinces with classic smartphone features. Only the picture quality of the main camera falls behind the high-end rivals.

If you like the idea of modular smartphone concepts, you should also have a look at the LG G5 before you buy the Moto Z. The LG does not have as many expansions and the handling is not quite as comfortable, but the price of the smartphone has already dropped to around 450 Euros (~$506) despite the premium hardware – and is therefore much cheaper than the test model.

Lenovo Moto Z - 09/26/2016 v5.1
Andreas Kilian

Chassis
93%
Keyboard
71 / 75 → 94%
Pointing Device
94%
Connectivity
55 / 60 → 92%
Weight
93%
Battery
91%
Display
90%
Games Performance
60 / 63 → 94%
Application Performance
64 / 70 → 91%
Temperature
87%
Noise
100%
Audio
74 / 91 → 81%
Camera
73%
Average
80%
89%
Smartphone - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Lenovo Moto Z Smartphone Review
Andreas Kilian, 2016-10- 1 (Update: 2016-10-10)
Andreas Osthoff
Andreas Osthoff - Senior Editor Business
I grew up with computers and modern consumer electronics. I am interested in the technology since I had my first computer, a Commodore C64, and started building my own PCs after that. My focus here at Notebookcheck is the business segment including mobile workstations, but I also like to test new mobile devices. It is always a great experience to review and compare new products. My free time is filled with a lot of sports, in the summer mainly on my bike.