Motorola is doggedly pursuing the modular smartphone, even though other players in the space seem to have gradually lost interest. A modular phone, done well, can improve a device’s shelf life drastically. Motorola’s new flagship, the Moto Z2 Force, is again a modular device that combines a shatterproof display with a feature-rich premium smartphone for power users. The high-end phone will be made exclusively on Flipkart and Moto Hub stores at 11:59pm IST from February 15. At Rs 34,999, Motorola Moto Z2 Force will take on the OnePlus 5T. Here are our early impressions of the smartphone.
Motorola Moto Z2 Force first impressions: Design and display
The Moto Z2 Force’s design language will be appreciated by those with a distinctive taste. It doesn’t look contemporary, because it has large bezels above and below the 5.5-inch screen. In comparison, both OnePlus 5T and Samsung Galaxy S8 have almost bezel-less screens. And yet, the Moto Z2 Force has a spark of its own. At 6.1mm it is one of the thinnest smartphones in the market and weighs 143 grams. This is crucial, because any of the mods will make it thicker and heavier. The phone’s back is made of 7000 series aluminum and comes with water-repellent nano-coating. But let’s be clear: it is not waterproof.
Unlike other smartphones, the fingerprint scanner has been positioned on the front and doubles as the power button. So far, I found it to be fast and accurate. However, it also enables gestures. For instance, you can swipe left on the sensor to go back and swipe right to show all open apps. With the Moto Z2 Force, Motorola has become the latest company to ditch the headphone jack, like Apple and Google. However, the company has supplied an adapter that plugs into the USB-C port.
The Moto Z2 Force has a 5.5-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 1440 x 2560 pixel (Quad HD, 1440p). Technically speaking, it packs in 534 pixels per inch. Having an AMOLED display over a conventional LCD display has its advantages. It’s bright and gives deep and accurate colours. This is the kind of display one should expect from a premium smartphone.
The aspect ratio is 16:9 and not the usual 18:9. A Lenovo spokesperson told me that it wasn’t feasible to stretch out the ShatterShield display and perhaps why the company had to settle for the regular 16:9 aspect ratio. And, of course, the highlight of the Moto Z2 Force remains the shatterproof display, which employs five layers of protection, making it extremely difficult to crack.
Motorola Moto Z2 Force first impressions: Moto Mods
Motorola is trying hard to create an ecosystem of sorts with a slew of modular attachments. Like the Moto Z and Moto Z2 Play, the Moto Z2 Force has a built-in magnetic connector for Moto Mods. There are quite a few Moto Mods available in the market, ranging from the JBL SoundBoost, Insta-share Projector Mod, Moto Gamepad, Moto style shell with wireless charging, and the Hasselblad True Zoom. The prices of these mods are steep, though.
The question is, are you ready to invest in these modular attachments. And even if you buy a mod for a purpose, you need to remember that these mods only work with the company’s Moto Z series. A Lenovo spokesperson told me the company has no plans to bring the modular Moto G phone anytime soon to the market.
Motorola Moto Z2 Force first impressions: Hardware, battery, and software
It is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, and it has 6GB RAM and 64GB storage. A microSD card slot is also available for memory expansion. Most apps opened quickly and browsing on the Moto Z2 Force is a breezy affair. I didn’t get the time to push the Moto Z2 Force enough to really test its gaming performance, so we’ll have to wait till next week for the full review. The 2730mAh battery in the Moto Z2 Force is claimed to last a day on a single charge. In my limited time spent with the device, the battery seems to be okay. The battery charges rather quickly, though.
Motorola has launched the Moto Z2 Force in India with Android 8.0 Oreo with its own Moto-branded features, including Moto Actions. I liked the way how you can turn on the flashlight with two chopping motions. Moto Display, on the other hand, shows notifications on your lock screen, and Moto Voice is similar to Google Assistant.
Moto Z2 Force first impressions: Camera
The Moto Z2 Force comes with dual 12MP cameras on the back. Also, one of the cameras can take photos in monochrome. The phone is capable of taking detailed shots and the camera focuses quickly on the subject with zero shutter lag. You can also create depth-effects, by focusing on the subject while blurring out the background.
It works fine, but I still think that the Pixel 2 XL is superior even with a single camera lens. On the front of the Moto Z2 Force is a 5MP snapper. It seemed average in my brief testing.
Moto Z2 Force first impressions: Early outlook
It’s hard to sell a smartphone these days when you are not Samsung, Apple or Xiaomi. And if your phone is priced upwards of Rs 35,000, then it is even more difficult. In case of Motorola, the brand has a recall value and the Moto Z2 Force itself is a fine device. It’s a flagship phone coupled with a shatterproof display – and there’s a support for mods too. Plus, Motorola is throwing in a TurboPower Pack Moto Mod as well. With the kind of package Motorola is offering, it has a chance to stand against the OnePlus 5T, if not the Samsung Galaxy S8 or the iPhone X.