Motorola's new flagship this year is a big mystery: we have hardly heard of him, but we can only assume that a new Moto Z5 is coming.

It would be a successor to the Moto Z4, which seemingly took the series as far as possible while supporting long-standing Moto Mods. We have no idea if the Z5 will also support clip mods.And if not, the new smartphone could finally evolve in new design directions and capabilities.

There are a few simple assumptions we could make about the new Moto Z5-type extended battery, the faster processor, and potentially more lenses on the front or rear camera arrays.

Like a flagship phone (or at least, a non-foldable flagship compared to the Motorola Razr 2019), the Z5 should have higher level specs. It could even go back to the high-end chipset, though using a lesser Snapdragon 675 doesn't seem to have had a serious impact on the Moto Z4.

We'd like to paint a picture of what the Z5 will likely be, but we haven't heard much about the phone. Without any more concrete leaks or rumors, we are forced to make more educated guesses and speculations based on other versions of Motorola phones and industry trends.

Beyond that, we can only list what we expect from the new Moto Z5. And we have many things that we would like to see in Motorola's next flagship product.

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New price and release date for Moto Z5

Motorola has not officially announced the arrival date of its next flagship, nor has it acknowledged that it is coming, which suggests that it is.We will call the Moto Z5 until we hear otherwise.

Unsurprisingly, given the lack of news or even rumors, we haven't heard when it will be released. As we learned about the previous Z-series phones at Mobile World Congress, we expect to receive a notice from Motorola at this year's show in late February. And since all the older phones tell us to expect a release between June and August.

As for cost, the launch price of the Moto Z4 was $499 (about €379, AU$729), so we expect the Moto Z5 to launch at or above this level. But if the device supports 5G, we could see a price increase. Otherwise, and if the phone is compatible, we could see it connect to next-gen networks via a 5G Moto Mod, though conversations we've had with Verizon officials suggest the add-on was in limited production and probably won. It won't be a major strategy for Motorola phones going forward.

New Moto Z5: what we want to see

Motorola Moto Z5 what we want to see

(Image credit: future)

1. More Moto Mods

I hope I didn't offend any Moto fans, but now is the time for Moto Mods to go the way of the Zune.. Yes, they provided some interesting capabilities for the first Z-series phones - a better battery, bigger speakers, a 360-degree camera - but the latest smartphones have found many of these additional benefits.

The last big Mod, of course, was the 5G Moto Mod introduced last year, an accessory that made the Moto Z3 the first phone to connect to one of Verizon's next-generation 5G networks. Since more chipsets come with 5G capability and paired 5G tethering modems, such as the high-end Snapdragon 865 and high-end Snapdragon 720G, even the Moto Mod 5G advantage doesn't apply to the Z5.

This is an unfortunate wish, given that Moto Mods were among the only exciting smartphone accessories to come out, well, ever. It's easy to point the finger at how much they clump together the silhouettes of Moto phones and make them bulkier in pockets, but they've always been a bit of a niche, and unless Motorola gets involved in a new range of intriguing Mods, we prefer the Z5 to have the freedom to expand in more interesting directions.

1580230211 572 Motorola Moto Z5 what we want to see

(Image credit: future)

2. More rear camera lens please

Z-series phones had maxed out at two rear camera lenses in a circular bump, real estate limited by the need for Moto Mods compatibility. If the Z5 removes them, you'll have ample room to have a range of rear lenses, as we've seen on the Moto G8 Plus's recent triple rear camera setup.

Although more difficult to implement if Moto Mod compatibility is maintained, the Z5 could still include more lenses because the Z4 has reduced its range of rear lenses to just one, using software to make up the difference. Instead, add another, but take a cue from the iPhone 11 and Samsung S10e and combine the main and ultra-fast shooters for superior photography.

1580230211 686 Motorola Moto Z5 what we want to see

(Image credit: Motorola)

3. A reason to buy against the Razr

This one is easy: we'd like something that sets the Z5 apart as a true flagship that isn't just a non-folding version of the 2019 Motorola Razr. Cynics would say the latter is new as a full-size phone that can be folded in half, but its combination of front-facing camera and display invents new usage models. We want something similar with the Z5.

In fairness, the Z-series' legacy of affordability will most likely continue and the Z5 will cost half as much as the 2019 Razr, if not less. Still, without the Moto Mods, the uniqueness of the Z5 might be harder to sell, and not just because the phone is richer than the rest of Motorola's lineup. Maybe they'll adopt the Motorola One Hyper's pop-up selfie camera, or they'll come in variants that focus on battery or size.

1580230211 758 Motorola Moto Z5 what we want to see

(Image credit: Techradar)

4. 5G on the phone

The Z5's exceptionalism could be simple: 5G connectivity, no Moto Mod required. The 5G Moto Mod enabled some of the first uses of 5G in the United States, if not the world, and throughout 2019, was one of the most affordable devices connected to new generation networks. To be precise, it was just Verizon 5G.

The Z5 could offer this connectivity from the start, and assuming Motorola keeps its price in line with its predecessors, it will be one of the cheapest 5G-capable phones on the market. Which brings us to our next point.

1580230211 132 Motorola Moto Z5 what we want to see

(Image credit: LaComparacion)

5. Greater availability

In the US, at least, Motorola's flagship phones are largely exclusive to Verizon. The Z5, especially a Z5 with a 5G connection, could be a better competitor for the budget flagship if it's sold by other carriers.

Selling the phone on other carriers means being compatible with their networks, and with 5G, it's not an easy task. Since they all work on different combinations of mmWave, sub-6 / midband, and lowband frequencies, Motorola is unlikely to break convention and operate its phones in other next-gen configurations.

But it would probably be a better option as a low-spec flagship that works on low-speed 5G networks.


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