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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

House passes sweeping election and anti-corruption bill

Photo: Win McNamee via Getty Images

The House voted 220-210Wednesday to pass Democrats' expansive election and anti-corruption bill.

Why it matters: Expanding voting access has been a top priority for Democrats for years, but the House passage of the For the People Act (H.R. 1) comes as states across the country consider legislation to rollback voting access in the aftermath of former President Trump's loss.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

House passes George Floyd Justice in Policing Act

Photo: Stephen Maturen via Getty Images

The House voted 220 to 212 on Wednesday evening to pass a policing bill named for George Floyd, the Black man whose death in Minneapolis last year led to nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice.

Why it matters: The legislation overhauls qualified immunity for police officers, bans chokeholds at the federal level, prohibits no-knock warrants in federal drug cases and outlaws racial profiling.

8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Senate Republicans plan to exact pain before COVID relief vote

Sen. Ron Johnson. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Republicans are demanding a full, 600-page bill reading — and painful, multi-hour "vote-a-rama" — as Democrats forge ahead with their plan to pass President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package.

Why it matters: The procedural war is aimed at forcing Democrats to defend several parts the GOP considers unnecessary and partisan. While the process won't substantially impact the final version of the mammoth bill, it'll provide plenty of ammunition for future campaign messaging.