Motorola brought us one of the first cool-kid phones with its Razr. But that was way back in the halcyon days of the early 2000s when bleaching your spiked tips and oversize bell bottoms were all the rage. Today, Motorola and its parent company, Lenovo, are fighting to remain relevant in the high-end smartphone market.
The manufacturer’s latest effort, the Moto Z2 Force, takes many of its features found in the original Z Force, such as its Moto Mods add-ons and unbreakable screen, and further builds on them. But a slimmed-down body and smaller battery, coupled with the added cost of those Moto Mods, makes the $720 Z2 Force a tough sell.
Old-ish school design
The Moto Z2 Force hews closely to the design of last year’s Moto Z Force, and by extension, the much older Moto X. That’s a letdown for a flagship device, especially when companies like Samsung, LG and HTC have made significant changes to the looks their marquee phones.
That’s not to say Motorola hasn’t tweaked the Z2 Force’s styling. The biggest, and most obvious, change to the phone’s body is how much thinner it is than its predecessor. Motorola trimmed 0.04 inches from the Z2 Force’s thickness, which might not sound like much, but makes quite a difference when holding the handsets side by side.
And when it comes to smartphones, thinner is usually better. Until, that is, you realize that cutting down on the phone’s size also meant that Motorola had to trim the Z2 Force’s battery size, as well.
The battery was cut from 3,500 mAh to 2,730 mAh. And while the Z2 Force still lasted most of the day, I can’t help but think how long the phone would have lasted if it had that larger battery. I get that Motorola wanted to make its phone slim and sleek, but I’d take a bit more bulk and a larger battery over a thinner handset any day.
Unbreakable — without the twist
Perhaps the Moto Z2 Force’s biggest selling point is the fact that its screen is practically unbreakable. Seriously, Motorola says it guarantees its ShatterShield display won’t crack or, well, shatter, for four years. If it does, the company will replace it. I threw my review unit around the office a number of times to see if it stood up to Motorola’s claims and it survived without issue.
Still, the ShatterShield screen isn’t perfect. It’s surprisingly prone to scratches, even in your pocket. And unfortunately, those aren’t covered under the company’s warrantee.
As far as the display’s image quality goes, though, the Moto Z2 Force’s 5.5-inch, 2560 x 1440 resolution Super AMOLED panel is beautiful, with gorgeous colors and deep blacks.
Modding your phone
The dream of a modular smartphone, one that you can add and remove parts from, is all but dead. Just look at Google’s Project Ara. But Motorola isn’t giving up. Instead, the company is doubling down on the concept by offering even more of its Moto Mods for the Moto Z2 Force than it did for the original Moto Z Force.