The New Moto Z's Worst Feature is a Missing Feature

dgstorm

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moto-z-force-droid-motorola-lenovo-official.jpg

There's something about the new Moto Z series from Lenovo that almost sneaked by us, and some of you probably aren't going to like it. The worst feature on the new Moto Z isn't something the company included, it's something they excluded. There's no 3.5mm headphone jack.

In a surprising twist, while Apple fans have been complaining about the rumored lack of a 3.5mm headphone jack in the next iPhone, Motorola and Lenovo beat them to the punch by introducing their first device without that feature. While many of us have no need for the headphone jack on a smartphone, there are still quite a few of us who do use them.

For whatever reason, Motorola and Lenovo have jumped so whole-heartedly into this "super-thin is in" aesthetic for smartphones that they made the Moto Z so anemic, it couldn't have the port. It is obvious that eventually headphones will be made using the USB Type-C connector found on the Moto Z, but that means a large swatch of customers will have to buy new headphones. It also means you won't be able to charge your phone while you listen to headphones.

Sound off and let us know what you think of Lenovo's decision to ditch the headphone jack in favor of a thinner device? Are you sick of this ultra-thin trend with mobile devices?

Here are our dedicated sections for the various Moto Z phones:
 

Jonny Kansas

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The devices are said to come with an adapter. No one is going to HAVE to go out and buy new Type-C headphones right away. Charging is a different story if you don't have a set of BT headphones, but the quality of those for the price just keeps improving. You can get a passably decent pair for like $30-40. If you can't spare that, you're probably not going to be able to buy the MotoMods either, so you might consider a different phone.

As for making the phone super thin, I think this was absolutely the right move. I don't care for wafer thin devices either, but the reasoning here makes perfect sense to me. They made the device thin so it's not SUPER bulky when you start adding mods to the back. It's more than a fair trade if you ask me. If you get the phone and don't use any of the mods, buy a nice thick case and call it a day. Though, imo, I wouldn't buy this device if I wasn't going to get into using at least 1 or 2 of the mods.
 

realged13

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I use my AUX cable to connect my phone to my cars audio. I have a car with bluetooth voice, but unfortunately, music won't play through it (2009 Pontiac G8). The more I read about this phone and the way it looks, the Note 7 is going to have to really suck for me to not go with it.

I like the specs of the phone, but the whole attachments thing doesn't really do it for me.
 

PereDroid

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Agree Johnny. 1,000% It's time for Headphone jacks to go bye bye. When that is the ONLY thing preventing a size reduction, it needs to go.

I use my AUX cable to connect my phone to my cars audio. I have a car with bluetooth voice, but unfortunately, music won't play through it (2009 Pontiac G8).

You're doing it wrong.
You must be tired of the stupid cable.

Amazon.com: New Rockford Fosgate RFBTAUX Wireless Bluetooth AUX/USB Car Audio Adapter Stereo: Cell Phones & Accessories
 

realged13

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Agree Johnny. 1,000% It's time for Headphone jacks to go bye bye. When that is the ONLY thing preventing a size reduction, it needs to go.



You're doing it wrong.
You must be tired of the stupid cable.

Amazon.com: New Rockford Fosgate RFBTAUX Wireless Bluetooth AUX/USB Car Audio Adapter Stereo: Cell Phones & Accessories


Yeah, but will that override my car connecting to my phone, because I use bluetooth voice and call functions from my steering wheel a ton. I would rather have that and deal with the aux.
 

Sajo

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I use my AUX cable to connect my phone to my cars audio. I have a car with bluetooth voice, but unfortunately, music won't play through it (2009 Pontiac G8). The more I read about this phone and the way it looks, the Note 7 is going to have to really suck for me to not go with it.

I like the specs of the phone, but the whole attachments thing doesn't really do it for me.
This phone does come with a USB to 3.5 MM headphone adapter in the box, so you could still use an Aux cable.

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Sajo

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The lack of a headphone jack is not a deal-breaker for me, personally. I don't use it on my Turbo 2 and didn't use it on my Turbo. For the folks that do rely on it, this phone has an adapter in the box according to the official website, no need to buy new stuff. For the folks that need to charge and listen to music at the same time, this phone will not be right for them unfortunately. There are a ton of other great phones on the market that will do that.

As far as wafer thin, I agree with @Jonny Kansas 100%. I don't like the wafer thin trend, and annoying ugly camera hump on any phone out there today; so I will not buy one. But on this phone, I do understand why. As Jonny said, they made this phone super thin so you can snap on the Mods and not have too bulky of a phone. I'm not crazy about the way it looks naked, but I would always have a wood / leather / of ballistic nylon back plate on anyway, so my phone will never be wafer thin when I get one of these.
 

FoxKat

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The lack of a headphone jack is not a deal-breaker for me, personally. I don't use it on my Turbo 2 and didn't use it on my Turbo. For the folks that do rely on it, this phone has an adapter in the box according to the official website, no need to buy new stuff. For the folks that need to charge and listen to music at the same time, this phone will not be right for them unfortunately. There are a ton of other great phones on the market that will do that.

As far as wafer thin, I agree with @Jonny Kansas 100%. I don't like the wafer thin trend, and annoying ugly camera hump on any phone out there today; so I will not buy one. But on this phone, I do understand why. As Jonny said, they made this phone super thin so you can snap on the Mods and not have too bulky of a phone. I'm not crazy about the way it looks naked, but I would always have a wood / leather / of ballistic nylon back plate on anyway, so my phone will never be wafer thin when I get one of these.

As far as the lack of a headphone jack, I think we're all jumping to conclusions here. It would be quite simple for a Moto Mod back to add a headphone jack and add merely a few mm of thickness in the process. It could be just a cover and headphone jack, or it could be a battery pack that brings the jack along for the ride, and in the case of the projector I'd be surprised if it didn't provide one for audio out.

The Moto Z Force is only 7mm thick (not counting the camera), the Moto Z is an anorexic 5.2mm and my Droid Turbo 2 is 9.2mm (not counting the .5mm camera surround). A headphone plug is 3.5mm, so the socket would be maybe 5.mm. This means to add a headphone jack to the Moto Z would bring the total thickness of the phone including the cover to maybe the same thickness as my Turbo 2 (10.2mm versus 9.2mm, and maybe 12.mm for the Moto Z Force, or only 2.8mm thicker than my phone is now. In fact this audio connection back could incorporate a 1,000mAh battery and a wireless charging coil all in the same thickness. Heck, they could even jump to 2.5mm headphone jack and now the Moto Z is the same thickness as my Droid Turbo 2, and the Z Force would be a scant 1.8mm thicker.

Here's a low profile reflow solder board mount 3.5mm headphone jack from AileExpress, and at a total of 5mm thick, it would work in the fashion mentioned above.

headphone jack.jpg


Here's a 2.5mm version at 4mm total thickness.

headphone jack 2,5mm.jpg


And speaking of the camera hump, it's really only there if you run the phone completely naked, i.e. no Moto Mod back. If you're adding a wood back, the camera area is cut out and the phone becomes flush on the back. Adding just about any of the potential Moto Mods would offset the camera hump thickness completely, if not beyond as in the case of the JBL speakers and projector. Even a thin plastic back or one with a wireless charging coil would be 3mm thick or so. That camera hump looks to be only maybe 2.5mm thick. I think this is a non-issue.

Motorola-Moto-Z-Force-Droid-Edition-Back-Closeup.jpg


Frankly I'd forego the headphone jack in lieu of the phone thickness.

Finally, the adapter for the USB-C port to add the headphone jack is included, yes... However it would be only a slightly larger adapter that could give a pass-through of the USB-C and allow charging with a headphone plugged in as well. Alternatively there could be USB-C charging cables coming that incorporate a headphone jack as either a piggyback on the connector or as a "Y" pigtail cable. I wouldn't be surprised if there are ones available now, seeing as how there are lots of other USB-C cable adapter sets I've found giving all kinds of connectivity. I could even see a Moto Mod that has all mentioned above, but instead of being thicker to accommodate the headphone jack it would just be longer and extend off the bottom (or top), instead.

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FoxKat

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Here's a couple examples of connectors that are extremely low profile, designed to come as close as possible to the thickness of the plug. The first one is a power socket to show the effect of shaving off one side. The second one is a surface mount headphone socket that is nearly the same thickness as the 3.5mm plug it accepts, accomplished by shaving off almost all of both sides. This attached to a super-thin ribbon cable, then form fit into a thin plate to house a battery and charging coil, and I'll bet you wind up with something no more than 5mm thick. Also, being that it's rounded off at the opening, this would make the Moto Mod able to be rounded on all sides as well.

Extremely low profile power jack.jpg


Earphones-jack.jpg

B0548120405.jpg
 

Sajo

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Good stuff @FoxKat. You should design a Moto Mod that acts as a cool looking back plate, with a built in headphone adapter. You could make a fortune. I would buy one!

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94lt1

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I'd like to point out that companies that want to stay relevant and have higher end designs..like Westone or any of the others ..they have detachable cables..I'm sure they'll be make a cable specifically for this application... audiophiles will demand it ..

Other companies like Bragi and now Samsung and making Bluetooth connected sports iem's that will keep your heart rate and other things in check all while being wireless..this is just how I see it..
 

liftedplane

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Yeah, but will that override my car connecting to my phone, because I use bluetooth voice and call functions from my steering wheel a ton. I would rather have that and deal with the aux.
Amazon.com: Bluetooth Receiver, AUKEY Bluetooth Car Kit with 3-Port USB Car Charger, Magnetic Base & Hands-free Calling for iPhone, Samsung & more: Cell Phones & Accessories"

Then go into the bluetooth settings why they are both connected and turn off the specific profile you don't want, I use the LG Tone Infinim for making calls and have media turned off in it's BT settings. and on this adapter I have Phone turned off as it doesn't make phone calls but plays media. Works great, they don't fight or override eachother.
 

MissionImprobable

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A far more intelligent discussion here than elsewhere on the subject. There are a lot of people crying foul over this, but the thing is the jack just isn't necessary and every added piece of hardware is just one more thing to add thickness and possibly break no matter how well designed. As is already mentioned there will certainly be splitters that allow simultaneous charging while listening. There's also the likelihood that USB powered headphones will be able to push more powerful drivers and deliver even better fidelity.

There are inexpensive work arounds for pretty much every objection that's come up, and the if this still turns you off of the device then there's plenty else out there to choose from, eh? It has been funny to me that on some sites people have been crying over this like they've been wronged. Streamlining makes sense and the fact is that you can't please everyone so at some point change just has to come when it's intelligent change.

The best part about this is no more bass ackwards headphone jacks on the top of the phone. Worst. Thing. Ever. If the Note 7 ships with one I may abstain just out of sheer annoyance.
 
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