When it arrived in 2016, the Moto Z felt revolutionary — or, at the very least, novel. Motorola soon announced it was making the Moto Z its flagship device. In the intervening three years, the line has yet to set the world on fire.
It’s seemingly been a decent seller for the company, but with rare exceptions (as it happens, today is the second anniversary of the Essential announcement) the rest of the smartphone industry has yet to embrace the modular handset revolution.
It’s not for lack of trying, of course. Motorola’s released a wide range of Mods, including, most notably, a 5G unit, marking the first time that technology was widely available in North America. This morning the Lenovo-owned brand just announced the availability of the Moto Z4 (though not before the product accidentally went on sale at at least one retail location).
As ever, the latest version of the line points to one of the peculiarities of the modular phone concept, with upgraded base specs on a phone whose features rely largely on peripherals. Of course, the reasonable $499 starting price certainly cushions the blow a bit.
The base specs are a mixed bag. It’s got a 6.39-inch display, coupled with a middling Qualcomm Snapdragon 675 and a beefy 3,600mAh battery that the company rates at two days. The phone also adds a night-vision mode to the rear-facing 48 megapixel sensor.
The gray version of the handset starts shipping June 13, with a white model arriving over the summer. The unlocked version ships with a free Moto 360. Verizon’s also making the 5G Mod available for $200 (down from $350) for a limited time.
I’ll be spending more time with the phone in the near future — for now, however, it feels like Motorola’s most intriguing and promising handset is beginning to feel more and more like a middle of the road device.