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How Motorola’s 5.2mm thin Moto Z packs in liquid cooling and a bendgate proof construction


Motorola’s recently launched flagship the Moto Z, may be known for everything other than now thin it is and the technical innovations that go into it. Soon after launch it became the best example of how a modular smartphone should be, with plenty of mods that still maintain a slimmer waistline despite adding a battery pack, a projector and a speaker. After plenty of speculation over how Motorola managed to engineer all of this together, the company finally but out a blog post that details the technical challenges that it faced to deliver a 5.2mm thin flagship smartphone.


Motorola’s engineering team had to “completely rethink” the smartphone in order to deliver something really thin and light. And with all things thin and made of metal when it comes to Android smartphones, there are heating issues. So Motorola developed a liquid cooling system (a heat pipe solution) that would distribute the heat of the processor over a broader surface. The results, the smartphone can run longer and faster without overheating.

Internal components had to be reorganised as well, because of lack of space on the ultra-thin smartphone. More importantly, Motorola also had to ensure that the Moto Mods did not interfere with the phone’s signal.


The battery inside is just 3.3mm in thickness and while the rest of components are wafer thin as well, the same can be said about the AMOLED display used which is 8mm thinner than LCD ones.


So how does a smartphone just 5.2mm thin withstand many of the bendgate tests? Well, like Apple, that switched to a dense version of aluminium, Motorola used a aircraft-grade stainless steel casing. According to the company, the steel casing is 85 percent stronger than competitors and also keeps the device light. Again even the backplate is made of the same magnetic grade steel. This allows the Mods to cling on to the back of the smartphone without making the device look thick and bulky.