Business Technology

Thursday 21 November 2019

Motorola takes on big guns with dual camera and shatter-proof screen models

Tech Review: Moto X4, €399-€439; Moto Z2 Force, €799

Motorola X4
Motorola X4

Motorola is making a fresh assault on the smartphone market with a new Moto X4 model and the "shatter proof" Moto Z2 Force.

The Moto X4 is the first midrange phone on the Irish market to have a dual-camera system, now used by flagship smartphones such as Apple's iPhone 7 Plus and Samsung's Note 8.

The 5.2-inch device sports a 12 megapixel (f2) telephoto lens beside an 8-megapixel (f2.2) wide-angle lens on the rear of the phone. It reserves the best resolution for the front-facing 16-megapixel (f2) selfie camera.

That selfie-cam also has a new feature that Motorola is calling a panorama selfie mode. It adds in lots of background detail to your selfie in a similar vein to a regular panorama mode shot on most rear-facing phone cameras. Motorola has also added 'selective blur' to imitate depth of field.

On the software side, the X4 has "landmark recognition" and "object recognition". Both features purport to recognise known landmarks or objects, reporting what they are back to the user.

The phone is also water resistant to an IP68 standard and has a 1080p screen.

Battery life is reasonably good, with a 3,000mAh battery under the hood. There's a Snapdragon 630 processor and 4GB of Ram powering the device.

Amazon's Alexa is integrated into the phone, although Alexa isn't fully supported in the Irish market.

The X4 will cost €399 for a 32GB version and €439 for a 64GB version.

Motorola has also made a splash about its Moto Z2 Force, which it previously flagged in the US. The high-end model has a screen that is "guaranteed" not to shatter or crack, no matter how high the fall.

The Z2 Force has dual 12-megapixel cameras and all of the software features available on the cheaper X4. It also has a very high-resolution 1440p quad-HD screen and a beefy 6GB of Ram backed up by the most powerful Snapdragon (835) processor made by Qualcomm.

The Z2 Force is also one of the Motorola handsets that is compatible with the company's new 'mods'. These, essentially, are different rear cases that come with various features and functionality.

An example of a mod already in existence is a 'turbopower charger' that adds an extra day's battery life to the phone. It's a slim battery-boost pack that also acts as a cover. Another option is a lightly chunky JBL speaker modified to fit the back for the device. The sound out of this is quite decent - easily good enough to act an on-the-go speaker at a desk or in a car.

These modded covers simply snap on and off, using built-in magnets. While the JBL speaker might be a little bulky to keep on the back of a phone that lives in your pocket, the turbopower casing is not.

New mods announced by Motorola include a 360 camera and a gaming mod, which adds console-like gaming button controls on each side of the phone.

All of this premium stuff makes the Z2 Force a pricey proposition, with Motorola tagging the Z2 Force at a lofty €799.

Both devices will be available in late September.

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