Moto Z Droid review: Birth of a new successor

Birth of a new successor

GSMArena team, 29 July 2016.

Gallery

The Moto Z relies on stock Google apps for viewing photos, video playback, and the music player. The Gallery in question is part of Google's Photos service. If you are familiar with Google Photos, then you'll be quite familiar with the interface.

Camera roll views can be changed with pinch-to-zoom - Moto Z Droid Edition Review Camera roll views can be changed with pinch-to-zoom - Moto Z Droid Edition Review Camera roll views can be changed with pinch-to-zoom - Moto Z Droid Edition Review
Camera roll views can be changed with pinch-to-zoom

The stock offering also offers many basic editing features to help you crop, rotate, and adjust basic levels. There's also an "auto enhance" feature which automatically adjusts the photo the way Google's software thinks it should look.

Various photo editing tools - Moto Z Droid Edition Review Various photo editing tools - Moto Z Droid Edition Review Various photo editing tools - Moto Z Droid Edition Review Various photo editing tools - Moto Z Droid Edition Review
Various photo editing tools

Video playback is just as simple as the photo viewer. There is also an "edit" button but it only allows you to crop the video's length. Unfortunately, the stock video player doesn't come close to 3rd party video players that you can find on the Play Store with features like additional format and subtitle support.

Video playback: tools - Moto Z Droid Edition Review Video playback: options - Moto Z Droid Edition Review Video playback: editor - Moto Z Droid Edition Review
Video playback: tools • options • editor

Google Play Music

The Moto Z uses Google Play music as the stock music player which offers a free music streaming service (think YouTube, but for music and ad-supported). These days, it's more common to either subscribe to a music service or stream music from a free service. The days of loading 20GB of music to a microSD card are slowly being left behind in the past.

Album art: Now Playing - Moto Z Droid Edition Review Album art: notification - Moto Z Droid Edition Review Album art: lockscreen - Moto Z Droid Edition Review
Album art: Now Playing • notification • lockscreen

Google Music: home - Moto Z Droid Edition Review Google Music: settings - Moto Z Droid Edition Review Google Music: equalizer - Moto Z Droid Edition Review
Google Music: home • settings • equalizer

When using Google Music, you'll be shown a YouTube icon which will take you to that song's music video on YouTube (if it has one). Besides the "Now Playing" screen, album art can be seen in the notification shade (along with music controls) and the lock screen also features the album art in a full-screen version.

Audio is loud and clear

The Motorola Moto Z Droid delivered excellently clean output when used with an active external amplifier, getting top marks across the board. Its volume was nicely high too so a great start for a phone with no headphone jack.

Degradation caused by headphones is about a very contained hike in stereo crosstalk. Output remains very clear and pretty loud so top marks for the Moto Z here.

And now here go the results so you can do your comparison.

TestFrequency responseNoise levelDynamic rangeTHDIMD + NoiseStereo crosstalk
Motorola Moto Z Droid +0.02, -0.05-93.693.60.0046 0.0097-93.9
Motorola Moto Z Droid (headphones) +0.03, -0.04-93.793.60.018 0.019-75.4
Huawei P9 Plus +0.04, -0.01-97.498.90.0040 0.010-96.9
Huawei P9 Plus (headphones) +0.03, -0.38-95.895.90.0055 0.190-63.7
Sony Xperia X Performance +0.01, -0.04-95.290.00.0038 0.011-95.1
Sony Xperia X Performance (headphones) +0.23, -0.17-93.289.30.0078 0.174-64.9
LG G5 +0.01, -0.04-92.692.60.0051 0.0096-93.3
LG G5 (headphones) +0.05, -0.01-92.292.30.0029 0.037-50.7
Xiaomi Mi 5 +0.01, -0.03-95.395.10.0034 0.0065-95.1
Xiaomi Mi 5 (headphones)+0.01, -0.03-95.295.10.0027 0.013-71.5
Samsung Galaxy S7 +0.01, -0.04-92.592.60.0027 0.0078-92.7
Samsung Galaxy S7 (headphones)+0.05, -0.05-91.992.10.0044 0.063-73.4
Apple iPhone 6s+0.03, -0.04-93.593.50.00160.0075-73.2
Apple iPhone 6s (headphones attached)+0.10, -0.06-93.893.90.00300.101-68.2

Motorola Moto Z Droid frequency response
Motorola Moto Z Droid frequency response

You can learn more about the tested parameters and the whole testing process here.

Loudspeaker test

The Moto Z is not too different from previous Moto X models. The Moto X Style features dual, front-facing, stereo speakers. The only difference with the Moto Z is there is only one speaker, and it's also the earpiece for making calls.

Speakerphone testVoice, dB Pink noise/ Music, dB Ringing phone, dB Overall score
HTC 10 (Theater mode) 61.9 66.0 62.1 Below Average
Apple iPhone 6s Plus 65.8 65.1 64.6 Below Average
HTC 10 (Music mode) 63.1 66.7 74.3 Average
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge 70.0 69.1 71.8 Good
OnePlus 3 62.4 71.0 77.8 Good
Lenovo Moto Z Droid 64.5 66.2 81.8 Good
Huawei P9 72.1 66.6 75.6 Good
Huawei Nexus 6P 74.7 77.8 72.1 Very Good

While the loudspeaker isn't too loud with spoken word or video clips, Motorola made sure that it was loud enough for ringtones. The speaker in the Moto Z tends not to have such a strong low or mid-range, but the mid-to-high range for treble sounds is much louder and clearer (which is what a ringtone typically makes). The speaker makes just the right amount of compromise, while still making sure you don't miss any calls.

Reader comments

  • Anonymous

Z4 has a 3.5mm jack again....so who was right?

  • Stihy

After using this phone for 8 months this is what i know. -Phone i fast -Camera is good -Durability is not good -Batery is horible. U can't use phone for 4-5 hours withouth charge. For a price of battery pack addon you can buy Xiaomi A...

  • DrewNYS

The Droid Moto Z should be avoided. The battery life is pathetic so I bought a moto mod battery which worked well for for a few months. After that, the phone will turn on but shuts off on its own and repeats this over and over. I REGRET buying i...