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Phone Reviews : Motorola Moto Z Force Droid Edition

Update: Motorola Moto Z Force Droid Edition

Phone Reviews : Motorola Moto Z Force Droid Edition

-5.5" AMOLED screen, QHD (1440x2560 / 535 ppi), Gorilla Glass.

-Water-resistant nano-coating (splash-proof but not submersible)

-Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 - dual-core 2.15 GHz Kyro & dual-core 1.6 GHz Kyro w/ Adreno 530, 4GB of RAM

-32 or 64GB of internal storage, microSD expandable up to 2TB

-Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow with Moto Enhancements (Moto Voice, Moto Display, and Moto Actions)

-13MP camera, f/1.8 aperture, 1.12-µm pixels, OIS, laser autofocus, dual-tone LED flash. 1080p video @ 30 or 60fps, 4K @ 30fps.

-5MP front-facing camera with wide angle, front-facing LED flash

-Fingerprint sensor

-U.S. Version - CDMA: 850, 1900MHz, GSM/GRPS/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900MHz), UTMS/HSPA+ (850, 900, 1700, 1900, 2100MHz), LTE Bands: 2, 3, 5, 7, 13

-2,600 mAh battery, Moto 15W Turbo Charger USB


Motorola Moto Z Force Droid Edition: DESIGN

The design of the Moto Z Force is essentially the same as the Moto Z, but on steroids. All it takes is holding one in each hand to quickly tell apart the difference.

At 163 grams, the Z Force weighs nearly 30 grams more than the standard Z. It's thicker, too, adding on almost 2mm of depth.

While such a small number might not seem like a big deal, it's a difference that's easy to notice. The Moto Z is the world's thinnest smartphone, while the Moto Z Force is definitely not.

The 155.9 x 75.8 x 6.99mm build of the Moto Z Force is an impressive blend of glass and stainless steel that looks and feels every bit as "flagship" as it needs to in order to stick out amongst the tough list of competitors, both established and up-and-coming.

Looking at the phone head-on, the glass panel houses all of the usual suspects, like front-facing camera and ear speaker. You'll also find a few added niceties, like a real LED flash for selfies and a unique fingerprint sensor, which can cleverly wake the device and also put it to sleep.

Phone Reviews : Motorola Moto Z Force Droid Edition

If you look close enough, you'll also notice two small holes near the fingerprint sensor. Those are proximity sensors, which are used to power the Moto Display function, allowing you to get a glimpse at the time and notifications just by waving your hand over the phone. It's one of those cool, small touches that you'll find yourself wishing every phone had.

Flipped around to reveal its back, you'll immediately notice a large camera bump. Yes, despite the added girth, the rear-facing camera protrudes no less than it does on the thinner Moto Z. At least Moto made this camera better to compensate.

Aside from the bump, the rear is home to a few more interesting design and hardware features. Thin strips of black glass occupy the phone's top and bottom. Sandwiched between them is a slate of stainless steel, subtly laser-etched with the Motorola logo and thin lines. It looks stunning, although the details worth admiring quickly become drowned out by fingerprint smears.

Phone Reviews : Motorola Moto Z Force Droid Edition

One feature that's impossible to shroud in fingerprints is the MotoMod connector, a set of gold-colored ports where the modular accessories snap onto the phone to transmit data, and/or battery juice depending on the mod.

Our review unit rocks the Lunar Grey aluminum trim that wraps around the device. On the right side of the Z Force are the volume keys and the textured power button. The button layout on the Z series might take a little longer to learn than it should due to the equidistant layout. Visually, they are distinct enough to tell apart, but it could be an error-prone arrangement for some.

Phone Reviews : Motorola Moto Z Force Droid Edition

A few other attractions around the device are the nano SIM and microSD slot sitting on its top and the USB-C slot on the bottom. What you won't find no matter how hard you look is a 3.5mm headphone jack. Many thought that Apple would be the first to cut out the household jack with the iPhone 7, but Moto beat it to the punch.

Thankfully, a USB-C to 3.5mm adapter is included in the box, so your old headphones will work fine here. You just won't be able to charge and listen at the same time.

Phone Reviews : Motorola Moto Z Force Droid Edition

Motorola Moto Z Force Droid Edition: FEATURES

The Moto Z Force Droid is a big slab of glass and metal, with a multilayer shatterproof plastic-and-glass front and a black stainless steel back. It measures 6.14 by 2.98 by 0.27 inches (HWD) and weighs 5.74 ounces. That makes it larger than the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge $789.99 at T-Mobile (5.95 by 2.83 by 0.30 inches, 5.54 ounces), and I find it just a bit too wide to use with one hand. Some of the phone's height goes into the perplexing placement of a fingerprint sensor under the screen, which works as a screen on/off button, but not as a home button.

The 21-megapixel main camera forms a large bump on the back, but you're unlikely to notice it because you'll have a magnetic back attached to the phone. The Moto Z platform allows for MotoMods, which are functional backs that clip onto the phone, adding features or just changing the look; a basic wooden back costs $14.99 and neutralizes the camera bump. I'll discuss these in greater detail below.

Motorola Moto Z Force Droid Edition: PERFORMANCE

Phone Reviews : Motorola Moto Z Force Droid Edition

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor and the Adreno 530 GPU are at the helm of either device, providing the kind of performance any flagship should have. Even with the Verizon bloatware, the phone hasn’t skipped a beat and provides a smooth, snappy experience. Credit can also be given to the iteration of Android here, which is closer to stock Marshmallow than most other phone skins. For all accounts, apps performed without any drops and few stutters even when multitasking, which is helped along by the 4 GB of RAM.

Motorola Moto Z Force Droid Edition: CAMERA

The camera is another place where Motorola is trying to differentiate the Moto Z and Moto Z Force. The regular Moto Z has a 13MP camera and the Z Force has a 21MP camera. Both of them include an f/1.8 aperture, laser autofocus, optical image stabilization, and a dual LED flash. Oh, and the front-facing 5MP camera has a selfie flash.

Phone Reviews : Motorola Moto Z Force Droid Edition

The higher resolution camera on the Z Force seems to be slightly better for capturing detail (duh), but I don't think it's a significant enough difference to make the regular Moto Z look bad. Outdoor shots look virtually identical if you don't crop or zoom. Exposures are very even on both, but that comes from HDR mode flipping on fairly often—you'll get a popup telling you to hold steady. That will mean longer capture times. The cameras just aren't as fast as Samsung's or LG's flagship devices.

Indoors, both of them have reasonably good color balance and not too much noise in darker areas. Again, you'll see some extended capture times when light is less than ideal, this time thanks to night mode. As with HDR mode, you'll get a popup that tells you to hold the device steady. The Moto Z Force starts to pull ahead when light gets a bit dimmer. It has less noise, more accurate white balance, and better colors. Weirdly, I feel like the regular Moto Z does better in low light, mostly because it has more consistent white balance in these situations. Both will get a little noisy, but the photos are usable. Again, neither of these phones does as well as the best Android cameras out there, but they're competitive. There are no glaring issues that I would consider deal breakers. The shutter lag is just a little long, but I hope Motorola can address it.

So, the cameras are acceptable for flagship phones, but not awe-inspiring. I am, however, a little in awe of how much better Motorola's camera app has gotten. For years the company has insisted on the tap to capture interface, which was mutually exclusive with standard tap to focus. Now, the default is to have a shutter button, thank goodness. There's also a pro photo mode with adjustable sliders for exposure, white balance, focus, and so on. It's the same app now available on the Moto G4. It's a vast improvement over Motorola's old camera app.

Motorola Moto Z Force Droid Edition: BATTERY

A smartphone as thin as the Moto Z Droid looks like it should get you – what? – one, two hours of solid use on a charge? Instead, we clocked just under six hours of operation in our custom testing. While plenty of phones do better, none are this thin, which says a lot for the Moto Z Droid and its 2,600mAh battery.


Phone Reviews : Motorola Moto Z Force Droid Edition

The Moto Z Force Droid does better still, but we're a little disappointed it didn't last longer than it did. The phone's 3,500mAh battery is 35% larger than the Moto Z Droid's, but the just-over-seven-hours of battery life we measured represents only a 22% improvement. Considering the battery's size, we'd hope for closer to eight hours.

Both phones recharge quickly with their included Turbo Power adapters, with the Moto Z Droid in particular impressing with going from zero to full in just 72 minutes. The only annoying part here is that the USB cables are hard-wired to those adapters, making packing and traveling with them a little more difficult.

Phone Reviews : Motorola Moto Z Force Droid Edition

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