Moto Z2 Force review: Nothing less, nothing more
Motorola has had quite a busy year thus far. Now that there are five tiers of Moto smartphones for folks to choose from (6, if you include the Asia-specific Moto M), we have been introduced to the highest-tier of smartphone that Motorola has to offer: The Moto Z2 Force.
While it is the best in Moto’s portfolio, it’s certainly doesn’t mean the newest hardware. In fact, the Moto Z2 Force is almost exactly the same as its predecessors with the exception of a few internal improvements, hardware upgrades, and a couple of cosmetic differences. The Z2 Force has inherited the Z Force’s ShatterShield durability, and has gotten slimmer like the Moto Z. The downside is the slimmer Z2 Force has lost 22% of the battery capacity (2,730 mAh) compared to the Moto Z Force Droid (3,500 mAh).
The camera certainly gets an upgrade: dual 12MP sensors. Motorola was never really known for having excellent cameras in its smartphones, so we do hope things will be different with the new dual-setup. This system doesn’t use a telephoto lens like the iPhone 7 or OnePlus 5. Rather, one RGB sensor combines with the information from another black and white sensor.
The Z2 Force keeps the same MotoMod interface from its first generation (hence, the identical design), which means all the MotoMod toys that were purchased during the first-generation Moto Z can be used with the second generation (and vice-versa).
Moto Z2 Force key features
- Body: 7000 series aluminum frame and brushed metal backside
- Screen: 5.5″ QHD P-OLED display with ShatterShield (plastic lens instead of glass)
- OS: Android 7.1.1 Nougat with Moto Enhancements (Moto Blur)
- Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, 10nm: octa-core CPU (4 – 2.35 GHz Kryo cores & 4 – 1.9 GHz Kryo cores) Adreno 540 GPU
- Memory: 4/6GB of RAM, 64/128GB of storage, microSD expandable nanoSIM tray
- Camera: Dual 12MP, f/2.0, laser & PDAF, dual-tone LED flash, 1.25 µm pixel size
- Secondary camera: 5MP fixed focus with f/2.2 and dual-tone (dual) LED flash
- Video: 4K video @ 30fps, 1080p @ 60fps, 1080 @ 30fps
- Connectivity: nanoSIM (dualSIM available); Qualcomm X16 model capable of Gigabit LTE; dual-band Wi-Fi ac; Bluetooth 4.2 (5.0 support via OTA), USB-C
- Battery: Integrated 2,730 mAh battery
- Misc: NFC, Fingerprint sensor, MotoMod interface
- ShatterShield display scratches very easily
- No headphone jack (or headphones included)
- Moto Mods add up $$$
- Carrier versions start at $750
Particularly in the US, we are happy to see that the Moto Z2 Force has made it to all major US Carriers. These days, the only smartphones that are you can count on being available with all US carriers is the iPhone, Galaxy flagships, and LG’s flagships. Otherwise, other smartphone makers aren’t getting as many carrier deals as they used to.
Quickly getting back to Moto Mods, Motorola has embraced the idea of expandability this year by also announcing two new Moto Mods along with the Moto Z2 Force: the GamePad MotoMod, and the Moto 360 Camera MotoMod. A note-worthy tidbit is the GamePad Mod also features a headphone jack. While we do like the idea of expandability with MotoMods, we think that the attachments might be a bit on the pricey side which prevents them from reaching mainstream popularity.
If you already have a Moto Z (or Z Force on Verizon), should you upgrade to the Moto Z2 Force? It’s going to be a close call, but we’re prepared to give you the facts you need to make your decision. The Moto Z2 has a couple of things going for it, and like many phones lately, “compromise” might be one of those things.
Let’s take a closer look at the Moto Z2 Force. The unit we got to check out is for AT&T’s network in the States. Follow us along as we unbox and take a close look at the hardware.