When Motorola introduced the Moto Z line of smartphones last year, I’ll be honest, I was skeptical. Although I was a fan of modularity in smartphones, I already felt let down by the bleak direction the LG G5 was heading in at the time. Over time, however, Motorola proved me wrong as they worked hard to make new MotoMods and managed to keep an otherwise average phone fresh over the course of the year. As Motorola unveiled its second Moto Z2 device today, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it certainly wasn’t the confusion that ensued.
I’ll start off by saying that I’m glad that Motorola stuck with MotoMods. I think it’s a unique and refreshing offering in the mobile industry, and I’m glad that it seems to be working out well for them so far. However, I can’t help but think that today’s reveal of the Moto Z2 Force lost sight of the purpose of MotoMods. Or at least, what I perceived to be their purpose.
In my opinion, mods should be used to improve a device. With the Moto Z2 Force being a flagship device, I was expecting the mods to improve an already excellent device. In reality, it looks as if MotoMods serve to make up for several things that the Z2 Force should have already had.
First, let’s look at the battery. The Moto Z2 Force features a 2,730 mAh battery, making it 770 mAh smaller than last year’s 3,500 mAh battery in the original Moto Z Force. In fact, one of the biggest differences of the original Moto Z Force is that it was thicker than the Moto Z Droid so it could support a larger battery. However, there is no Moto Z2 Droid this year. As a result, Motorola appeared to value the thinness of the Moto Z Droid over the Moto Z Force’s original purpose and went with that. Fortunately, if you’re disappointed in the decision, you can always snag a Moto TurboPower Pack to supplement.
Next, let’s look at wireless charging. There isn’t any. There wasn’t any last year, either, but I would argue that there should have been. If you want wireless charging, the aforementioned Moto TurboPower Pack supports that. If you don’t want the extra bulk, the Style Shell MotoMod also allows you to charge your Moto Z2 Force wirelessly if you want, plus adds a splash of flair with different designs.
There’s no solution for the 3.5mm headphone jack yet, but there stands a good chance that a future MotoMod reimplements the feature. One project on IndieGogo aimed to add one in, but the project failed to meet goals and has since closed. It’s also possible that it won’t ever be added in, but the possibility is there. That's the magic of MotoMods.
My problem isn’t with MotoMods. My problem isn’t even that certain important features were stripped from the phone in order to promote the mods. My problem is that the phone costs as much as it does ($720 officially; $810 in one case) without the mods, and then consumers are expected to pay more for the mods, many of which only take care of one or two watered down features at a time. Mods like the Moto GamePad and 360 Camera Mod make more sense because those tackle niche concepts, but I would probably appreciate other mods like the Moto TurboPower Pack more if I didn’t feel like I had to buy it in order to make up for the smaller battery. And I probably wouldn't have as much of a problem with it if the price was a little more modest.
On the other hand, at least the Moto Z2 Play exists. The phone has a larger battery, 3.5mm headphone jack, support for MotoMods and a more affordable price tag. It comes at the cost of performance, but I would argue that a lot of people probably wouldn’t notice much of a difference at the end of the day. Still, for the people that do notice and do need the power, the diluted aspects of the Z2 Force may very well come across offensively at its asking price.
I understand that the Moto Z2 Force offers a unique feature that most other flagships don’t, but I don’t know if MotoMods will be enough to convince a lot of people to buy it over flagships like the Samsung Galaxy S8, LG G6, Apple iPhone or even the Google Pixel, all of which are priced similarly to the Moto Z2 Force. Early promotions will help - and some of them are quite generous - but long term I’m just not sure.
Readers, what are your thoughts on the Z2 Force? Are its flagship specs, ShatterShield technology, and ability to support MotoMods enough for you to pick one up, or is it missing too much to justify its asking price? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!