For years smartphone manufacturers have been working on an idea of making a modular phone that snaps together like Lego blocks. The initial hype is now slowly, but surely, waning. Only Lenovo-owned Motorola still seems committed to the idea and the Moto Z-line is all about to deliver high-performing modular phones that can be enhanced further with Motorola’s ‘Moto Mod’ addons that attaches magnetically on the device’s back in a secure fashion.
With the Moto Z2 Force, Motorola sees the flagship phone as a new champion in the premium segment. It has all the bells and whistles of a high-end smartphone with its Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, AMOLED display and dual cameras on the back. And there’s more to the Moto Z2 Force. It has a shatter-resistant screen for extra durability, Android 8.0 Oreo out-of-the-box, and a free TurboPower modular pack which promises to give full-day battery life extra. Motorola says the Moto Z2 Force is different and has been designed for power users. We have been testing the Moto Z2 Force for the past few weeks to find how close the flagship device is to the competition. Here is our detailed review.
Moto Z2 Force specifications: 5.5-inch Quad HD 1440p (1440×2560) Super AMOLED|ShatterShield Screen | Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor|6GB RAM|64GB storage, microSD card support | Water-repellent nanocoating (spill resistant)| Dual 12MP rear camera setup, 5MP front camera | 2730 mAh non-removable battery | USB-C to 3.5mm dongle included
Moto Z2 Force price in India: Rs 34,999
Moto Z2 Force review: Design and display
While the design language of the phone didn’t change much from the last Moto Z flagship, the unibody chassis feels sturdy. The device’s back is made out of 7000 series aluminum that feels more robust. A circular camera hump is visible on the rear as it houses a dual-camera setup, while a row of connector pins near the bottom of the device lets you connect a wide range of Moto Mods available in the market.
From the front, the Moto Z2 Force looks like a familiar device. There’s a 5.5-inch display with thick bezels on all four sides. An oval-shape fingerprint scanner is also visible. The fingerprint scanner is excellent and responsive. At the top, there’s a 5MP front camera, along with an LED flash. On the right, you will find buttons for volume and power. There is a hybrid SIM slot tray on the top, and a USB-C port on the bottom of the phone. A headphone jack is missing, but Motorola has added a USB-C to 3.5mm adapter for those with existing headphones. It’s annoying at times, because I can’t charge the battery and listen to music at the same time when I’m commuting to office on the Metro.
At 6.6mm, the Moto Z2 Force is one of the slimmest smartphones in the market. That’s ridiculously slim, though keep in mind that the Moto Z2 Force tend to become a bit hefty once you snap on a Moto Mod. The Moto Z2 Force has a water-repellent nano-coating that essentially protects the phone from spills and splashes, but it’s not completely waterproof and lacks an IPX rating like the Galaxy S8 and iPhone X.
Perhaps the highlight of the Moto Z2 Force is its ShatterShield display, which the company claims will be difficult to crack. While I didn’t intentionally drop the phone on the floor to check the whether the screen cracks or not, but I did find that the display can end up with scratches that are, thankfully, visible only under direct sunlight when the screen is turned off.
In comparison to the Galaxy S8 and OnePlus 5T, Moto Z2 Force doesn’t come with the 18:9 aspect ratio display . Lenovo says it’s technically challenging to stretch out the ShatterShield display, which is why the company had to settle for large bezels above and below the 5.5-inch screen.
The Moto Z2 Force has a 5.5-inch Quad HD (1440×2560) display. It’s an AMOLED type display, with deep blacks and rich colours. In fact, I found the display to be bright enough in direct sunlight. The panel is great for watching YouTube videos or looking at photos on Instagram.
Moto Z2 Force review: Performance and battery
In terms of performance, the Moto Z2 Force is a beast. Like the OnePlus 5T, the Z2 Force is powered by a Snapdragon 835 processor. Alongside that, there’s 6GB RAM and 64GB internal memory. There is even a microSD card for expanding the internal storage. That’s what lets the Moto Z2 Force run Asphalt 8 without any stutter or lag. The phone offers snappy performance, as my most used apps like Facebook and OLX opened quickly. On Geekbench 4, which measures overall performance, the Z2 Force scored 6803 and 1938 in multi and single-core tests. Meanwhile, it scored 211,622 points in AnTuTu.
Even though the Moto Z2 Force has a smaller 2730 mAh battery to my surprise it easily lasted a day on a single charge. The Moto Z2 Force is also one of the fastest charging smartphones I have used, and while it doesn’t come with wireless charging it does have fast charging support. Plus, Motorola has thrown in a free TurboPower modular pack which further increases the battery life. For a heavy user like myself, TurboPower Mod comes in very handy.
Moto Z2 Force review: Software
Motorola Moto Z2 Force runs on Android 8.0 Oreo, but the company has added a few tweaks. Some additions are useful, like Moto Actions. You can open the camera, or turn out the flashlight by flicking your wrist. Moto Display is a lock screen that gives you previews of notification items, while its Moto Voice lets you open apps or showing the weather through your voice. What I really liked about the interface is how the company has customised Android. During my testing, I didn’t notice any lag and switching between apps was smooth.
Moto Z2 Force review: Camera
Motorola cameras have been mediocre over the years, but the dual-camera setup on the Moto Z2 Force has actually improved. The device packs 12MP dual snappers and the setup is familiar; one color and one monochrome sensor for back and white shots. There’s an ability to take realistic bokeh shots as well.
The camera is good. Photos taken on the Z2 Force didn’t appear over-sharpened and colours weren’t lost. The dual cameras can take photos in black-and-white without processing required, and even bokeh shots came out really well. The Moto Z2 Force records video at 4K (30 fps) and slow-motion 1080p (120 fps) and 720p (240 fps) modes. Video recordings look decent, though the lack of optical image stabilisation is annoying. The 5MP selfie camera could have been better.
Moto Z2 Force review: Moto Mods
Motorola’s pitch for the Moto Z2 Force is the added Moto Mod compatibility, making the device unique and different from other phones in the same segment. I’m sure many people would be interested to snap speaker, projector, or DSLR-like camera module onto their phones, but I doubt consumers are willing to shell the high prices that the Moto Mod command right now.
Moto Z2 Force review: Final verdict
Moto Z2 Force is an excellent phone featuring an AMOLED screen, top performance and respectable camera quality. There’s a ShatterShield display, Moto Mods support, and snappy OS. With all this I’m convinced that at Rs 34,999, Moto Z2 Force and TurboPower Mod makes a lot of sense. Sure the design could have been altered , but at the end you are getting the Moto Z2 Force for less than half the price of the Galaxy S8+ or iPhone 8 Plus. That’s not to say that it doesn’t face any competition. If what you want is a premium Android smartphone that looks great and features the top-of-the-line specifications, one can also consider the OnePlus 5T. Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 is another option.