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Photo: Motorola

There's a lot to love about Lenovo's Moto Z line, which is now on its fourth iteration.

What's new: It's the one semi-successful effort at a modular smartphone, functioning as a perfectly good smartphone on its own, with the ability to add features like a better camera, smart speaker or projector via "Moto Mods."

  • Verizon used that capability to create with Motorola a 5G mod to make the Z3 its first 5G-capable phone and the Z4 will, naturally, also work with the 5G mod.

Yes, but: The Z line hasn't been enough of a commercial success to generate lots of add-ons. Indeed, there are no new mods to accompany this year's Moto Z4.

What's included:

  • New front and rear cameras use "quad pixel" technology to create sharper images. The Z4 also has Night Vision, Motorola's effort to offer dramatically better nighttime photography by combining parts of eight frames taken at different exposures. It's akin to the Night Sight feature on the latest Google Pixel phones.
  • The Z4 has a faster chip than last year's model, but it's a part of Qualcomm's midrange Snapdragon 600-series rather than last year's 800-series chip.
  • It has a big 3,600-milliamp-hour battery, with the option to add even more juice via a battery mod.
  • It carries a $499 suggested retail price. (Verizon, the only carrier to sell the Z4 directly, is offering a lower price for new customers.)

What's missing: It's not fully water-resistant, there's only one rear camera, and it uses older fingerprint sensor technology.

The bottom line: There are lots of other mid-range phones out there, but the Z4's versatility helps it stand out.

Go deeper

6 hours ago - Health

Fauci: Omicron variant will "inevitably" be found in U.S.

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, cautioned on Sunday that the COVID-19 Omicron variant will "inevitably" be found in the United States.

Driving the news: Fauci, Biden's chief medical adviser, told ABC's George Stephanopoulos on "This Week" that U.S. officials will meet with colleagues from South Africa later on Sunday to try to determine the severity of the cases, as countries scramble to learn more about the variant.

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Dems fear supply-chain blame

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As supply-chain kinks drive up prices and disrupt holiday shopping, Democrats are scrambling to show action and deflect blame.

Why it matters: With their party controlling both the White House and Capitol, vulnerable Democrats worry supply-chain snafus will hurt them in next year's midterms.

8 hours ago - World

Scoop: Germany urges Congress not to sanction Putin’s pipeline

Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

The German government has urged members of Congress not to sanction the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, arguing that doing so will "weaken" U.S. credibility and "ultimately damage transatlantic unity," according to documents obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: At a time when roughly 100,000 Russian troops are massing at its border, Ukraine views Nord Stream 2 as an existential threat to its security. The pipeline would circumvent Ukrainian transit infrastructure and deliver Russian gas directly to Germany, eliminating one of the last deterrents Ukraine has against an invasion.