Mobile Technology

Moto Z vs. iPhone 6s Plus

We compare the features and specs of the modular Moto Z (left) and iPhone 6s Plus
We compare the features and specs of the modular Moto Z (left) and iPhone 6s Plus
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3D Touch
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3D Touch
Camera aperture (rear)
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Camera aperture (rear)
Battery
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Battery
Build
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Build
Camera quick-launch shortcut
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Camera quick-launch shortcut
Camera megapixels
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Camera megapixels
Color options
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Color options
Processor
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Processor
Dimensions
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Dimensions
Display resolution
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Display resolution
Display size
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Display size
Display type
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Display type
Fast charging
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Fast charging
Fingerprint sensor
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Fingerprint sensor
We compare the features and specs of the modular Moto Z (left) and iPhone 6s Plus
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We compare the features and specs of the modular Moto Z (left) and iPhone 6s Plus
MicroSD
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MicroSD
Modular build
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Modular build
Data/transfer port
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Data/transfer port
Starting price (full retail)
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Starting price (full retail)
Projector
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Projector
RAM
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RAM
Release
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Release
Software
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Software
Storage
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Storage
Weight
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Weight
Wireless charging
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Wireless charging
Optical Image Stabilization
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Optical Image Stabilization
Headphone jack
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Headphone jack

The Moto Z and latest iPhones tackle the smartphone from opposite directions. Motorola's new handset may be the simplest and most logical take on the modular smartphone to date, adding new looks or features just by snapping on a back plate. The most recent iPhones, meanwhile, have shied away from such bold changes – instead conservatively evolving the world-changing formula from Apple's 2007 original. Can Motorola's flagship shake up smartphone industry stagnation? Let's start by seeing how the Moto Z compares to the iPhone 6s Plus.

Size

Dimensions
Dimensions

Though we're looking at same-sized screens, the iPhone's bigger forehead makes it the larger phone.

The Moto Z is incredibly thin – 29 percent thinner than the iPhone – but keep in mind that this measurement is with none of the modular back plates attached. They're the main reason to consider the Moto Z, and all of them add at least a little junk in the trunk (some a lot).

Weight

Weight
Weight

The Moto Z is also 29 percent lighter than the iPhone 6s Plus. Just remember that, like thickness, the optional mods will add anything from a smidge to an abundance of weight.

Build

Build
Build

The base smartphone part of the Moto Z is made of aluminum and steel, while Apple's aluminum unibody design has been standard on iPhones (and most other Apple products) since 2012.

Modular

Modular build
Modular build

As we mentioned, the Moto Z's modularity is its killer feature. We also saw LG swing for the fence this year with a modular flagship, but so far we prefer Motorola's approach: snap magnetic plate onto back, enjoy upgraded phone. The LG G5 requires you to rip the phone's entire bottom section off.

Colors

Color options
Color options

Though we're looking at four factory color options for each phone, the Moto Z will have many more back color options once you factor in the mods – some of which are purely stylistic ("Style Shells").

Display size

Display size
Display size

You get the same spacious 5.5 inches on both screens.

Display resolution

Display resolution
Display resolution

Based on pixel density, the Moto Z's display is 33 percent sharper.

Apple is known, though, for scoring high marks in other aspects of its displays, like white balance, color and brightness. So overall screen quality is still a highlight of the iPhone 6s Plus, despite the lack of QHD resolution (and we think it looks better than the smaller iPhone 6s, which has a lower pixel density).

Display type

Display type
Display type

It's AMOLED vs. IPS display panels.

Pressure-sensitive display

3D Touch
3D Touch

Apple's pressure-sensitive 3D Touch display tech, which gives you a series of shortcuts by hard-pressing on the screen, still hasn't spawned any copycats among first-tier Android flagships.

Fingerprint sensor

Fingerprint sensor
Fingerprint sensor

Like most modern high-end smartphones, the Moto Z has a fingerprint sensor, but it works a little differently than Apple's. Instead of doubling as a home button, the Z's also serves as a power/sleep button (its home button is onscreen/virtual).

Projector

Projector
Projector

One of the quirkier Moto Z mods is the optional Moto InstaShare Projector. The bulky accessory lets you beam the phone's screen onto a 70-inch wall projection. This could have its niche uses, but just remember that what the huge image or video gains in size, it loses in (semi-transparent) quality.

Battery

Battery
Battery

The Moto Z's internal battery capacity comes out a little behind, but one of its most exciting mods is a battery pack that adds an extra 2,220 mAh – which, in total, would give it 75 percent more juice than the iPhone.

The nice thing about the Moto Z's modularity, as opposed to LG's, is that its battery module complements, rather than replaces, the internal battery. You need to reboot the LG G5 when you swap out its battery modules; no such need on the Moto Z.

Fast charging

Fast charging
Fast charging

It will be interesting to see if Apple adds some sort of fast charging to its 2016 flagship. Quick-charging tech has been a huge advantage for Android phones since late 2014.

Wireless charging

Wireless charging
Wireless charging

There's no built-in wireless charging on either phone, but one of the Moto Z's battery packs adds it.

Camera megapixels

Camera megapixels
Camera megapixels

We weren't able to gather much about the Moto Z's camera quality from our event hands-on, so it's best to wait for our full review to see how its results compares to the iPhone's.

Camera aperture (rear)

Camera aperture (rear)
Camera aperture (rear)

The Moto's rear shooter does have significantly wider aperture, though, which could bode well for its low-lit results.

OIS

Optical Image Stabilization
Optical Image Stabilization

Both phones can help you shoot clearer shots, even with shakey hands, with built-in Optical Image Stabilization.

Camera quick-launch shortcut

Camera quick-launch shortcut
Camera quick-launch shortcut

The handy old twist to launch shortcut for the Moto's camera, first seen in the company's 2013 flagship, is back in the Z.

Processor

Processor
Processor

On paper this looks like a blowout, but the real-world performance of Apple's mobile chips always seem to transcend what you'd expect from specs alone. Expect crisp performance and plenty of power from both handsets.

RAM

RAM
RAM

The Moto doubles the iPhone's 2 GB RAM, but this is another area where the same company making both hardware and software allows Apple to outdo on-paper expectations.

Storage

Storage
Storage

Apple is behind the times in its entry-level tier, forcing an uncomfortably tight (for today's app and photo/video file sizes) 16 GB internal storage on its base-price customers.

MicroSD

MicroSD
MicroSD

That's made worse by the fact that iPhones have no expandable storage support. The Moto Z lets you add up to an extra 2 TB.

Charging/data port

Data/transfer port
Data/transfer port

Apple had a big head start on reversible charging and transfer cables: it introduced its Lightning cable back in 2012, while Android OEMs just started switching to the reversible USB-C standard late last year.

Headphone jack

Headphone jack
Headphone jack

We've been hearing about a future of headphone jack-less phones for much of this year – sparked by the emergence of USB-C, as well as leaks and speculation about the next iPhone). But Motorola is the first major manufacturer to put its name to this shift. That means if you own a pair of wired cans and are thinking about buying the Moto Z, you'll want to factor in the cost of switching to a pair of wireless or USB-C headphones.

Software

Software
Software

The Moto Z runs a nearly stock version of Android Marshmallow, while the iPhone 6s Plus will stick with iOS 9 for the next few months (at which point it will jump to the just-announced iOS 10).

Release

Release
Release

The Moto Z launches this (Northern hemisphere) summer, but that's a Droid-branded Verizon variant, launching as a timed exclusive. Other carriers, along with the rest of the world, will have to wait for September – at which point there should also be a new iPhone.

Starting price (full retail)

Starting price (full retail)
Starting price (full retail)

We still don't know what the Moto Z will cost, but we think Lenovo/Motorola would be wise to keep the base phone's price down as much as possible. Though half the fun will be in buying modular back plates, there won't be much point if it all adds up to hundreds of dollars more expensive than rivals like the iPhone 6s Plus. The Moto Z looks like an innovative phone with a chance to shake up the industry, but only if it's priced aggressively. Stay tuned.

For more, you can check out our full reviews of the Moto Z and latest iPhones.

1 comment
gizmowiz
Not even close the Moto blows away the iPhone.