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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

Dave Lawler, author of World
1 hour ago - World

Oxford and AstraZeneca's vaccine won't just go to rich countries

Waiting, in New Delhi. Photo: Jewel Samad/AFP via Getty Images

While the 95% efficacy rates for the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines are great news for the U.S. and Europe, Monday's announcement from Oxford and AstraZeneca may be far more significant for the rest of the world.

Why it matters: Oxford and AstraZeneca plan to distribute their vaccine at cost (around $3-4 per dose), and have already committed to providing over 1 billion doses to the developing world. The price tags are higher for the Pfizer ($20) and Moderna ($32-37) vaccines.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Key information about the effective COVID-19 vaccines — Oxford University's 90%-effective vaccine.
  2. Health: U.S. coronavirus hospitalizations keep breaking recordsWhy we're numb to 250,000 coronavirus deaths — Americans line up for testing ahead of Thanksgiving.
  3. Travel: Air travel's COVID-created future — Over 1 million U.S. travelers flew on Friday, despite calls to avoid holiday travel.
  4. World: England to impose stricter regional systemU.S. coronavirus hotspots far outpacing Europe's — Portugal to ban domestic travel for national holidays.
  5. Economy: The biggest pandemic labor market drags.
  6. Sports: Coronavirus precautions leave college basketball schedule in flux.

Biden transition names first Cabinet nominees

Biden with John Kerry. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden on Monday unveiled his nominations for top national security positions in his administration, tapping former Secretary of State John Kerry as his climate czar and former deputy national security adviser Avril Haines as director of national intelligence.

Why it matters: Haines, if confirmed, would make history as the first woman to oversee the U.S. intelligence community. Biden also plans to nominate Alejandro Mayorkas to become the first Latino secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.