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Motorola's Moto Z and Z Force: Customization done right

With handy accessories and powerful specs, Motorola's pair of Moto Z phones take the right steps toward modularity.

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Lynn La

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1 of 18 Josh Miller/CNET

The most interesting thing about Motorola's new Moto Z and Z Force (which is available now for pre-order in the US through Verizon) is their ability to work with these Moto Mods accessories that you can switch up depending on your needs.

But even without the interesting modules, the handsets still sport premium hardware that compares well to most flagship phones available today.

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2 of 18 Josh Miller/CNET

Both phones feature a 5.5-inch display, a Snapdragon 820 processor and Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

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3 of 18 Josh Miller/CNET

At 0.2 inches (5.2 mm), the Moto Z is really thin. Though it makes the camera bulge even more noticeable, its svelte profile comes in handy when tacking on Mods.

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4 of 18 James Martin/CNET

The devices have a fingerprint sensor that rests underneath the display. Irritatingly, the reader does not double as the home button and I find myself confusing the two often.

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5 of 18 Josh Miller/CNET

The Moto Z will be available globally and Motorola will sell it unlocked (compatible with GSM networks) some time in the fall. It's also available for pre-order now through Verizon, under the moniker Moto Z Droid Edition.

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6 of 18 James Martin/CNET

Both handsets have 32GB and 64GB memory variants with the option to expand up to 2TB.

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7 of 18 Sarah Tew/CNET

The phones don't have headphone ports. Instead, there is just the USB-C port and a headphone jack adaptor dongle, which makes wired headphones work.

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8 of 18 Josh Miller/CNET

So what about the Mods? On the back is an array of magnetic pins that help lock in these swappable accessories.

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9 of 18 Josh Miller/CNET

The simplest mod is the Style Shell, which is purely decorative and lets you change up the look of your phone. They come in a variety of patterns and colors.

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10 of 18 James Martin/CNET

There are battery packs that can wirelessly charge too. Above is a Kate Spade-branded juice pack from Incipio.

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11 of 18 Josh Miller/CNET

JBL created audio speakers -- complete with kickstand -- that boost your phone's music way louder than it can play from just the handset's audio grilles.

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12 of 18 James Martin/CNET

Perhaps the quirkiest Mod, however, is from Motorola itself: the Insta-Share Projector.

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13 of 18 Josh Miller/CNET

The Insta-Share Projector is a pico projector that beams images, videos and the Moto Z's display onto any surface.

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14 of 18 Josh Miller/CNET

The Moto Z Force is only available to the US on Verizon's network, and it's known as the Moto Z Force Droid Edition.

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15 of 18 Josh Miller/CNET

The device still works with Moto Mods, and has the magnetic pins on the back too.

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16 of 18 Josh Miller/CNET

Unlike the Moto Z, however, the Moto Z Force has a bigger battery (3,500 mAh) and is a little thicker. It also has a 21-megapixel camera compared to the Moto Z's 13-megapixel shooter.

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17 of 18 Josh Miller/CNET

Its display is also stronger to protect the phone from rough drops and falls. We first saw ShatterShield in the Droid Turbo 2 and -- spoiler alert -- it really is durable.

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18 of 18 James Martin/CNET

Though the Moto Z and Z Force don't yet offer the level of customization that Google's upcoming Project Ara promises, they still bring us much closer to the dream of a handset we can effortlessly customize with swappable parts. Moto's stab at the concept has at least convinced me that a modular phone could work.

For a full analysis of the phones, check out our Moto Z review and Moto Z Force review.

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