Motorola has since made the Moto Z2 Force the successor to the Moto Z Force and the most powerful flagship smartphone in Motorola’s arsenal. It brings some new features like a slimmer build and dual rear-facing camera sensors but it also carries a smaller battery and most of the features available in the original Moto Z Force like a shatterproof display and Moto Mods.
This is the Moto Z2 Force box branded with T-Mobile. This is the T-Mobile variant. If we slide open the box, we’ll find the Z2 Force sitting right on top. Motorola was kind enough to send me a T-Mobile SIM card to use to test the Z2 Force. Underneath, we’ll find a packet containing some basic Get Started paperwork, a lot of stuff that you won’t probably ever read. There’s a handful of accessories, including a USB-C charging cable and fast-charging wall wart. There’s also a USB-C to 3.5mm headphone jack adapter included, which is pretty nice to see. But I would have liked to have seen it built into the phone, if you know what I mean. Motorola ripped off the banded last year when they removed the jack from the Z Force but it still stings a little bit to see it missing in the successor.
Upon removing the plastic wrap, which details some of the features with large beautiful icons, you’ll notice just how similar it is to the original Z Force. So this phone has a very industrial feel to it with the stiff edges, smooth metal back plate, and metallic frame. Its profile has been slimmed down to about 6.1mm thick so it’s extremely thin and extremely light. There’s still a big protruding camera sensor that makes me wonder why Motorola didn’t just fill out the rest of the phone with battery and make the rear flush with the camera sensors but Motorola wants you to use Moto Mods with this device. You can slap on a battery mod if you need some extra juice or attach a mod with a different rear texture to make the phone flush with the cameras. I can see where they are coming from but personally, I like to have a larger battery pre-installed with the option to add even more battery later.
There is a trackpad built in underneath the display and it’s used to navigate the phone with a series of swipes. If you decide to use this trackpad, you will free up some space otherwise taken up by the on-screen navigation buttons. It’ll definitely take some time to get used to the different swipes and their functions but it’s a pretty unique option to have.
The display itself is a P-OLED display with a 1440x2560 resolution and 534ppi index. Upon first impressions, it gets very bright, has good viewing angles and fantastic contrast; thanks to the nature of AMOLED panels. This display type helps conserve battery when using features like Moto Display, which is a feature that shows notifications while the screen is turned off. The display itself is shatterproof and that’s achieved by using plastic instead of glass. So if you drop it on some gravel for example, it’ll just have some gashes and scuffs but no cracks because glass isn’t being used. The downside of this, there’s always pros and cons of design choices; and the downside is that the plastic screen will scratch very easily and it will pick up micro-scratches and the works over time.
Android Nougat 7.1 is running on the software side of things with a very minimal skin that runs buttery smooth. If you’re looking for a near stock Android experience, you should really enjoy the software. With the Snapdragon 835 chipset and 4GB of RAM, it feels very snappy and responsive. I do wish Motorola would up the amount of RAM given the price of this handset, which we’ll discuss more later. But they did not do that so we’re stuck with 4GB of RAM, which I think is plenty. But at least on paper, 6 would have been nice to see.
Motorola did something rather unusual with the cameras this time around. On the rear, there are two camera sensors which in itself isn’t particularly unique. But instead of a telephoto lens, they added a monochrome sensor to capture true black and white images and videos. There’s still a depth mode for taking those extra milky depth of field shots but no wide angle sensor or no telephoto sensor next to the main 12-megapixel shooter.
Battery capacity is only 2,730 mAh and while I haven’t tested it in detail, I’m not very optimistic about its abilities. The front-facing speaker is pretty nice and crisp and loud. There’s only one of them so you don’t get that stereo sound but it’s still much better than bottom-facing speakers or rear-facing speakers.
A lot of the added functionalities centers around Moto Mods, which are fantastic. I would love the idea of just slapping on a Mod to the 16-pin connectors on the back. There’s a handful of different Mods out there. One of the Mods Motorola sent me here is the Moto 360 Camera Mod and it attaches to the back of the phone. But just like some of the other Mods, it’s very expensive. It’s $300 for this 360-camera Mod. So when the price of the phone itself is $720 off-contract and the price tag is, in my opinion, a bit higher than it should be, the Moto Mods become more of a tough sell. The good news is for a limited time, you do get a free projector when you pre-order from Motorola and the Mods that were released last year still work this year.
Those are my initial thoughts of the Moto Z2 Force. I’ve love to know what your thoughts are in a comment down below.