Last year, Motorola announced the excellent Moto Z and Z Force. Going from the X-line to the modular Z-line signaled a shift in Motorola’s priorities, focusing on the cool idea of the Moto Mods.
Now, Motorola is doubling down on its modular Z-line with the Moto Z2 Force.
The Moto Z2 Force is more of a refinement than a radical re-thinking of its modularity, in large part due to the similar design. The Z2 Force’s back still features the circular camera in the top center and the magnetic pins at the bottom. This meant Motorola couldn’t completely change the design or function, like including a glass back instead of aluminum. So the familiar design is back with slight improvements and many more Moto Mods.
On the surface, continuing with the modular design seems to be natural for Motorola. The first company to jump into the modularity fad was LG with the G5, but it quickly abandoned the failed experiment a year later with the G6. Motorola is continuing on with the same fervent spirit it had last year. That’s very admirable.
Of course the specs have seen a big bump. The Z2 Force features a 5.5-inch OLED QHD display, Snapdragon 835 processor, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage with expandability, 2,730mAh battery and Android 7.1 Nougat out of the box. Nothing too surprising there. Motorola also kept the similar front design with big display bezels. This makes room for the 5MP front-facing camera, various other sensors, the earpiece and a well-placed fingerprint scanner—but it is still a very outdated design when put next to the Galaxy S8.
Just like the original Moto Z last year, this year’s Z2 Force ditches the headphone jack.
Where the big improvement comes is with the new dual 12MP camera. Like the iPhone 7 Plus, G6, and OnePlus 5, the Z2 Force jumped on the dual camera bandwagon. What’s notable about the Z2 Force’s camera is one sensor is RGB while the other sensor is monochrome. It also wouldn’t be a noteworthy dual camera if it didn’t add a depth of field effect to the background of stills, just like Apple’s Portrait Mode.
The camera performs takes solid shots. You can see some of the samples taken with it down below.
We got to test out the Z2 Force and there’s no way around it—it’s a sweet phone. The metal frame has been improved over last year’s model, which was more sharp. It’s also incredibly thin. When you hold the phone, you know exactly why Motorola ditched the headphone jack—to make it more thin. It comes in four colors: Super Black, Find Gold and Lunar Grey. The model we tested was the Super Black version and it was quite slick and stealthy.
The Moto Mods work great as well. We tested out the JBL speaker, battery mod, 360-degree camera and the wireless charging mod. They all worked as advertised.
What’s the final verdict on the Moto Z2 Force? It’s a great device if your main priority is the modular function. It does everything you want from a phone perfectly and then some. But if you want a cutting edge phone that has no bezels in a compact body, this is not that phone. That’s my biggest gripe against the Z2 Force.
Starting off at price over $700, it is an expensive phone, right up there with the iPhones and Galaxy S8’s of the world. It’s kind of a bummer you’re paying that kind of money for a phone that doesn’t feature the latest display technology.
Once the iPhone 8, Note 8 and Pixel 2 arrive with their non-existent bezel designs, the Z2 Force will look that much more outdated. That’s the same problem the Pixel has had going up against the G6 and Galaxy S8, even though it too is a fantastic phone.
If you can live with that, the Z2 Force will be a great purchase; if not, then don’t even consider it.
You can check out Robert’s full video review up above for a more in-depth breakdown of the Z2 Force.