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Motorola as a brand has come a long way, especially in the Indian market. The company’s G-series and E-series phones have earned trust among the mass buyers be it tier one, two and three cities as well. The company which is now owned by Lenovo is completely taking control of the market segment in budget, mid-range and high-end segment. Motorola G-series is a mid-range segment, the E-series a budget offering, the X-series is mid-range, and finally, the Z-series is more like a flagship series. The company first introduced the Moto Z over a year and a half ago, and it is the first modular based design on a smartphone for Motorola. The company also launched the Moto Mods like Hasselblad True Zoom camera, JBL Soundboost speaker and Moto Insta share projector that fits with the 16-pin on the rear-side and lets you do more and expand the smartphone capabilities. At the announcement of the first Moto-Z series phone, the company promised that the Mods would be compatible with at least three generations of Moto Z phones. However, the Moto mods are limited to the Moto Z-series phones only and can’t be used on other phones which might come off as a costly bargain since these mods are as pricey as a budget phone. The company is in a dire need to replace the original Moto Z, and we have it now; the Moto Z2 Force which is our review device today. Let’s get started.
The Moto Z2 Force sports a 5.5-inches Quad HD (1440 x 2560 pixels) AMOLED POLED ShatterShield, shatterproof display. It is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Mobile Platform clocked at 2.45GHz Octa-Core with Adreno 540 GPU. There is 6GB RAM and 64GB storage that is expandable up to 2TB with microSD. It runs on Android 8.0 Oreo.
In the camera department, there is a 12MP dual rear camera (monochrome + color) with dual-tone LED flash, Sony IMX386 sensors, ƒ/2.0 aperture, 1.25um pixel size, PDAF, Laser Auto Focus, and can record 4k videos. There is a 5MP front-facing camera with dual-tone LED flash, f/2.2 aperture, 85-degree wide-angle lens for selfies and video calls. It also has a Fingerprint sensor, Water repellent nano-coating, Front-ported loudspeaker. Connectivity features include 4G VoLTE, WiFi 802.11 ac (2.4 and 5 GHz) MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS with GLONASS, NFC, and USB Type-C. A 2730mAh battery Turbo Charging is on board.
Motorola phones were always quick to adopt the new design languages to carter the audience who look for a modern looking smartphone. However, the Moto Z2 Force feels like a setback rather than a pushover. With flagships coming up with 18:9 aspect ratios, the Moto Z2 Force is all about thick bezels on top and bottom that feels like they are screaming for attention. We wouldn’t complain much since it was initially announced in 2017. It looks and feels the same and not much has changed. It has a slightly curved edge, and rounded corner for good in hand feel and comfort. With just 6.1mm thin and 143g, the Moto Z2 Force is the most lightweight phone we have used in the recent times. The fingerprint sensor is present on the front below the display which is easy to reach. Despite packing a 5.5-inches large screen, we never had issues reaching the phone’s each corner even with single-hand. The brushed metal finish on the rear gives it a unique look which is commonly seen with most Moto phones. The phone is built out of a 7,000 series aluminum, meaning that you can’t easily dent or break the phone even if you want to.
Moving to placements, up front, you find the 5-megapixel selfie camera, ambient & proximity sensor, main earpiece which also acts as speakers, LED flash and down below the 5.5-inches screen are the three touch type capacitive buttons that are placed within the display. Below the screen is where you find the fingerprint sensor which is an active sensor. You have the hybrid SIM slot along with the secondary microphone for noise cancellation on the top and the power on/off switch, volume rockers are present on the right side. The USB Type-C port is placed at the bottom, and there is nothing on the left. Flipping the phone to the rear is where you find the dual 12-megapixel rear cameras with dual-tone Dual LED flash, Moto dimple, and 16-pin mod connector. The Antenna bands are present right above the camera module. The back panel isn't removable, so is the battery. Overall, Moto Z5 Force packs one of the best designs in this price range.
The Moto Z2 Force sports a 5.5-inches Quad HD (1440 x 2560 pixels) AMOLED POLED ShatterShield, shatterproof display. Like the Moto Z Force, the second-generation Z2 Force packs a shatterproof display that according to the company doesn’t crack or break even if you drop it intentionally. When a company even offers a warranty against shattering and cracking of display and embedded lens for four years, you know how serious it is when it means ShatterShield and shatterproof. Though we didn’t try dropping the phone to test how well it can handle, from casual to regular use, we were able to notice dozens of scratches.
Moving along, with a Quad-HD panel on board, the color reproduction is top notch, and the brightness levels are also fantastic. We never had issues accessing the content outdoors or under direct sunlight. The viewing angles are also amazing and Night Display is a simple blue light filter, while Moto Display shows notifications on the standby screen which you can reply to with text or even voice dictation. The only thing we didn’t like is the fact that it comes with very thick top and bottom bezels in the times of bezel-less 18:9 aspect ratios. We would have liked a scratch-resistant panel, but we can make our peace with the ShatterShield, shatterproof display that more or less falls in line with the company’s claims. We really had a good time watching movies and playing games. Overall, the screen of the Moto Z2 Force is fantastic if not for the 16:9 boring aspect ratio.
The Moto Z2 Force is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC clocked at 2.45GHz Octa-Core with Adreno 540 GPU and 6GB RAM. Snapdragon 835 is the most successful flagship chipset for Qualcomm as it proved its mettle with butter smooth performance and no heating issues. Like with most 835 powered flagships launched last year, the Moto Z2 Force too is very exceptional regarding performance. It never slows down no matter how intense application you run or perform heavy multitasking as well. Apps opened up very quickly, and they didn’t take much time in loading them either. Regardless of how many apps you have in the background, applications never ran out of memory. Since it is an Octa-Core chipset, we were able to render video clips and play high-end games simultaneously. Additionally, Stock Android is yet another blessing which makes things even smoother and gives pleasant user experience.
Moving along, we played wide-range of games including Asphalt 8, Nova 3, Need for Speed, Pokémon Go, Mortal Kombat, and more. Most of these games ran fine with graphics rendering butter smooth, and there were no heating issues as well. The device comes with a Fingerprint sensor which is present on the front where it is easily accessible. It can register up to five-fingers, and it instantly unlocks the phone without any delay in animation. Overall, the performance of the Moto Z2 Force is exceptional by every means.
The Moto Z2 Force packs a 12MP dual rear cameras of which one is Monochrome, and the other is a regular RGB sensor. It has dual-tone LED flash, Sony IMX386 sensors, ƒ/2.0 aperture, 1.25um pixel size, PDAF, Laser Auto Focus, and can record 4k videos. There is a 5MP front-facing camera with dual-tone LED flash, f/2.2 aperture, 85-degree wide-angle lens. Like with most Moto phones, the camera U.I is very simple with not many features except for the ones that are including to take advantage of the secondary rear camera. Moving along, the camera clicks stunning images that have amazing details and accurate colors. The exposure balance is perfect, and the portrait shots turned out good with precise edge detection.
The secondary rear camera can click monochrome images which basically are white and black pictures bringing in nice dramatic effect. Furthermore, the camera gives you the option to apply the monochrome effect to a selective portion of the image while the rest of the picture retains its natural color. Moving to low-light, the photos surprisingly have lesser grains making the output very sharp and crisp even in very artificial lighting conditions. The details are very well preserved, and the colors don’t look washed out as it is the case with few other phones in this segment. The HDR mode makes things even better as they brighten the photos to the level where we feel that they are social shareable as well.
The rear camera can also record 4K videos at 30 frames per second, while the 1080p goes up to 120fps and 720p goes up to 240fps in Slow-mo mode. Though there is no stabilization, we get the anti-shake" toggle which comes in handy at times. The video quality is crisp and sharp without jerkiness or stutters. It didn’t result in any hunting for focus issues which is a good thing. The front is just a 5-megapixel sensor which does a good job with selfies and videos. Since it is a wide-angle sensor, you can click selfies without any issues. Overall, the camera of the Moto Z2 Force is exceptionally good, and it is one of the best cameras on a smartphone we’ve seen in this price segment.
Motorola has included a set of earphones within the box, and they are very good quality and in-ear style. It’s nice to see brand giving attention to such details as vendors stopped including earphones these days. Moving along, these earphones fit perfectly in ears, and they sound amazingly good with nice balance of bass and Mids. We didn’t notice any distortion in audio even when volume levels are at maximum. The default music was able to play wide-range of audio formats, and there is also equalizer support which allows you to tune the sound profiles the way you want. The loudspeaker is present on the rear, and it gets really loud. Now talking about the biggest let-down on the Moto Z2 Force is that it lacks a 3.5mm audio jack to maintain the slim profile. The company is bundling a USB Type-C to 3.5mm adaptor within the box for you to connect the earphones.
In the video department, the Moto Z2 Force was able to handle 1080p videos and even 2K videos without any freezing or heating issues. Though the default video player lacks essential features, you will have to rely on MX Player for better playback. Since you get earphones within the box, the audio and video experience on the Moto Z2 Force is good despite the lack of 3.5mm headphone port.
The Moto Z2 Force packs a 2730mAh battery with Turbo Charging support. While that may sound like a less capacity unit, the company is bundling a Moto Turbo Power Pack Mod that adds about another 3490mAh capacity so should be fine. This mod snaps up to the back like any other mod and brings the total weight of the phone to 238g. Moving along, with casual to regular usage, the battery was able to last until evening without stressing much. There was no idle battery drain, nor it dropped fast on heavy usage as well. On the other hand, with heavy to continuous usage that includes games, multimedia, GPS navigation and more. We were able to get through a little over the afternoon. In our continuous video-loop test, the Moto Z2 Force last about 10 hours which is impressive considering the low-capacity unit.
The Moto Power Mod comes in two modes, Turbo Mode and Efficiency mode. The Turbo mode is for when the phone battery is running low, on the other hand; the Efficiency Mode is if you wish to leave the Moto Power mod on all the time. The Efficiency Mod comes into action when your phone's battery dips below 80 percent. Another good thing is that you can charge the mod separately as well. With Turbocharging support, the phone was able to charge in just 1 hours 10 mins. However, the device gets fairly warm in the process. Since it is a Moto phone, it comes with Stock OS, and there are no battery saver settings except for the default. Overall, the battery on the Moto Z2 Force is exceptionally good with the Moto Power Mod attached.
The Moto Z2 Force runs on Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box with an interface that is close to Stock. There is a Google feed screen to the left of the main home screen. Interestingly, the home screen also rotates 90-degrees when you turn the phone upside down which is something we have seen on Moto phones earlier. Moving along, all the Oreo features like notification dots, contextual action menus, and notifications when you long-press on any app's icon are accounted. The quick toggles pane has shortcuts for the projector and battery Moto Mods. Diving deep into the settings gives more Mod options to tinker around. It has support for gestures for launching the camera, and more.
The software also provides Night Display which basically is a simple blue light filter. Moto Voice is a voice command feature, and it responds to commands even if the phone is in standby or you're running an app. However, it just shows information on screen rather than reading it out to you. Like the Assistant, Moto Voice also needs to be trained with your voice. Apart from Google default and a bunch of Moto apps, there’s not much off bloatware pre-installed.
It comes with a whopping 6GB RAM of which around 5.89GB is usable, while 4.2GB is free on first boot. With such a massive free RAM, the Moto Z2 Force can literally run or perform any tasks you throw at it. The phone can handle intense multitasking and heavy tasks. It can also run more than 10 Chrome tabs at a time with no lag or frame drops in animations even while switching between them. Overall, the software experience of the Moto Z2 Force is exceptional and impressive.
The Moto Z2 Force is a very well built phone and is a compelling package than stand up against the OnePlus 5T and Honor View 10. With the Power Mod bundled for free, Moto Z2 Force packs best battery life in this segment, and you also get the taste of using a slim phone without any extra bulk until you run off the battery. The Quad HD display outshines the 1080p panel on the OnePlus 5T, performance is top notch, the cameras are fantastic, and the latest Oreo OS with stock interface offers pleasant user experience. If there is one department where the Moto Z2 Force falls short, it is the lack of 18:9 bezel-less display. If that’s what you are looking for, then the OnePlus 5T is your choice, and for other cases, the Moto Z2 exceeds your expectations.
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