Is the Moto Z Dead?

This week we saw Motorola come back to the flagship game with the Edge + and to a lesser degree the Edge. But, what does that mean for the Moto Z? Motorola has release several devices since the Z4 went to market and since then the company has hardly made a peep regarding what is likely their most polarizing family of devices.

Moto Z4, Launched June 2019

The Edge+ is a true flagship beast. It has 5G, 12GB of RAM, a camera array that is led by a 108MP sensor, a massive 5,000mAh battery and wireless charging. It is a monster! Nearly every tech writer, blogger, pundit, etc. has had a Motorola phone at one time or another and every outlet I have visited since the announcement has had excellent things to say about the Edge+ so far. The only concern I have seen is related to the curved waterfall screen. As device makers move away from that design, Motorola is marking it as a defining feature due to user-complaints over touch rejection, or lack thereof. I will reserve judgement until I get one in my hands, but from a pure looks perspective, I think the device looks great.

Motorola’s new Edge+ flagship


I have been reading media and fans a like argue back and fourth over the future of the Z Line. Many are saying the idea was a flop, they should have stopped after the Z2. While others are begging Motorola to keep the dream alive and bring out the Moto Z5. Motorola, when the original Moto Z launched in 2016, promised to give this form factor and mod-functionality going for 3 years. After the lukewarm reactions to the Z3 Play and the Z3, I expected that to be the end of the line.

However, one year on from the supposed end of modular phone experiment from Motorola, we were surprised by the launch of the Moto Z4. The Z4 though had a different feel right from the word “go”. It was positioned firmly in the middle-upper end of the mid-range phone market, and there was only one SKU last year. No Z4 Play. The Z4 was a mix of the flagship spec’ed Z and the mid-range focused Z Play line. For example, the Z4 had a mid-ranged Snapdragon 675 SoC and only 4GB of RAM. But it also had 128GB of storage, a 48MP camera sensor, a huge 4,600mAh battery and in-display fingerprint scanner.

I used the Z4 for most of 2019 and most of 2020 so far with a few other devices mixed in. Every time I moved a away from the Z4, I always had to keep it close by because it was a joy to use thanks to Motorola’s take on Android and more importantly the Moto Mods. I have 6 or 7 different mods and while I admit that most of them are not very useful or are too niche to justify there existence, the majority of them have become staples in my day to day. The projector has become the de facto TV in the bedroom, the Alexa speaker packs a serious punch for its size and the battery mod gives me an additional 2,200mAh of juice for a total of 6,800mAh of power.

Moto Mod Connector on the Z4

So, like many I wondered after the Edge and Edge + announcement. Is the Z line dead and gone? Maybe not…

I asked Motorola this exact question and their answer, well… Just read it.


GadgetSyrup: Does the announcement of these two phones spell the end of the Moto Z and Moto Mods?

Motorola: “We aren’t defining motorola edge as a new franchise like moto z or moto g. We are approaching the top-tier, premium space in a different way than the competition and you’ll see how this unfolds over the years. For fans of moto z and moto mods, these products will continue to be available for purchase in North America.”

GadgetSyrup: Can you comment on if there will or will not be a Moto Z5 released?

Motorola: “Motorola does not comment on future products in our roadmap.”

It’s a pretty standard answer at the end, but as we near the one year anniversary of the Moto Z4, does this response from Motorola mean that there is hope for the Z line to see a 5th generation?

I honestly don’t think Motorola needs the Moto Z anymore. Despite my affinity for the device Motorola has had a tremendous amount of success with the Moto G series and more recently with the One family of devices. It is the success of those two lines that even made the Edge and Edge + possible. I’d be happy to see the Moto Z continue, but I think Motorola would do even better if they left it and the Mods in the rearview.

What do you think? Is it time for Motorola to say goodbye to the Moto Z for good?


18 Comments Add yours

  1. Hector says:

    I marvel with the Z family, I think it is the best phone in the middle of the price, the same and powerful as another brand in its time. Battery Mod is the best for people where the phone should be important to maintain functioning, the extending memory is another monster, speed and function for the whole family, is without rearring. The mod in the market is not everything but it is multifunctional for projects where the phone is a control interface. The quality of everything is not compared, it is superior to the samg … and appl .. they are in the market like the high rating … I definitely do not plan to change for the new models outside the Z family. And if you She is a customer who looks for better camera, is not silly and buy a camera, no phone has been able to replace a good camera today, Samsung S4 Zoom was created with 16 megapixel and even those of 45 megapixel do not exceed, rather they are compared. I leave that task.


  2. Inst says:

    Main problem with the Motorola Z-line is the lack of daisy-chaining and a failure to understand ecosystems.

    The model with the Motorola Z should have been exceptional performance / specs for an exceptional price, except that either the camera, battery, or both would have been garbage, and you’d be expected to buy Moto Mods to alleviate the problem. The profit center should not have been the phone itself, but the Moto Mods that were attached to them.

    Entering the ecosystem should only have required about 100 USD for the budget model, meaning that you’d have a plethora of cheap phones out there, ready to accept accessories. That’d provide a market for partner companies to buy Moto Mod licenses and provide accessories, but Motorola failed to properly develop the ecosystem. The poor sales of the Moto Z meant that no one wanted to become a partner company and build accessories, and the poor accessory ecosystem meant that no one wanted buy a Moto Z.


  3. Jon says:

    Thank you for article.

    Honestly I don’t care for the mods I bought the ZTE for the ruggedness and I love the ability to turn camera on with a twist and the flashlight with a chop chop.
    I really want them to make easy five but I want it with everything the best S10 has to throw plus the ruggedness of military grade phone.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jason says:

    In my opinion, the Moto Mods were some of the only real, exciting innovation to happen in the smart phone market for quite some time. My Moto Z2 and, later, Moto Z4 never died a single time in a span of several years thanks to the power mod. I can still turn heads to this day when I whip out the projector mod. The Moto Z4 at $399.99 was the best bang-for-the-buck smartphone I’ve ever purchased. I think consumers are super jaded seeing new phones come out and all they have to offer is the same ‘ole, same ‘ole “better display, better camera, faster CPU, etc”…. yawn. Seeing Moto Mods go away will make me (and my wife who also loves them dearly) very sad.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jason,

      I totally agree with you! The Moto Z series is all about the mods for our entire family. We have exclusively been replacing all our phones with Moto Z’s since 2016 BECAUSE of the mods. Bottom line for me, if Moto Z’s and mods are gone, Motorola will no longer be my go-to.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Barry Weston says:

        I think most are with you. I can’t find a compelling reason to stick with Moto. And to be honest, Pixel may be the best way forward if photo storage is of any concern.


      2. FRANK says:

        Big mistake!
        The Moto Z line was by far the most innovative, practical, and exciting line of devices on the market. Motorola did a terrible job in simply making people aware of their existence, nevermind how great they are. Most people have no idea there was a phone on the market that could do so many things. They believe their triple priced Iphone is the end all be all simply because it’s what they are bombarded with in pop culture. “It costs three times as much, of course it’s better”.


  5. Joel Hansen says:

    I’m still using Z2 Play because no other version in Denmark. :o(
    I really like 360 mods camera, and have been using it a lot.
    Please Motorola a Z5 Power monster for Europe (read DK)


  6. John Smith says:

    It Motorola makes a Z5 I’ll definitely buy it, but I have no use for the edge or any other phone they have.


  7. Pauly says:

    I have been using a Z3 for quite a while and I’m fine with it staying an upper mid-range phone. I don’t need it to be a $1000. I have been waiting to upgrade to see if the Z5 is coming and skip the Z4, but looks like I’ll either keep waiting of get something else.


  8. Ed says:

    I think they should make the Z4 available for an extended time, and possibly do a modest update every two years. It might not be economically feasible, but it would be great to have a mod-capable phone available for a few more years. I don’t need a “flagship” phone. I used to be a flagship person, but Samsung cured me of that. (I’m still bitter about the Note 7 fiasco, and the crappy little S7 Edge I settled for and suffered with.) I have had a much better experience with Motorola products, and have had a lot of fun with the Moto Z phones.


  9. June-Home J Chen says:

    I have Moto z play and Z3 play. If MOD is out of picture, beside a good price, give me a good reason I should stay with Moto. I am getting old and can’t see very well. I might just go for other company’s 6.5 inches phone.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. James V Jones says:

    Make the Z5 (if there ever is one) a real flagship and I’ll buy it. 5G capable, 6 to 8G of RAM, 256G+ expandable memory, 730 or up chipset and it’s a done deal. Not another midrange device like my Z4, a REAL FLAGSHIP. I want something better and phenomenal, not similar to what I already have.


  11. Cee R. says:

    I hear that Motorola One Fusion and Fusion Plus is coming out in Q2 2020. I already love the name for the phone like I did for the Hyper. Motorola has given good names for the One Series. Can’t wait for the launch. Looking forward to it.


    1. Barry Weston says:

      Yeah, those devices look good. Will we see them in the market? I hope so?


  12. Cee R. says:

    Sorry about the writing on my comment hopefully you understand what I’m saying. What I meant to say was I do believe Motorola should stick to the G and One series. I love the One series so much I can’t stop loving the Motorola One Action. I’m keeping my fingers crossed if Motorola launches the One Hyper or One Zoom in Canada. I would downgrade in camera for the One Hyper. One Zoom is great too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Barry Weston says:

      Yeah I get what you’re saying. I think that they should move on too, but the fan in me and all my Moto Mods would love a Z5!

      I don’t think we’ll see the Zoom or the Hyper in Canada in any official capacity. I think the G will bring features of the One series over to that line.


  13. Cee R. says:

    I never used phone at all. I actually thought Motorola Z was a cool approach some years ago. I think Freedom Mobile had the Moto Z2 Play. I had a few friends that had it as well. I think they should give it up. I believe that Motorola should stick G and One series. I love the One series so much. Motorola made a good choice of putting out that series. I hoping that more One Series phones come to Canada.


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