Moto Z2 Force Smartphone + New Moto Mods Synopsis

This Synopsis

While Motorola does not have the best smartphone from a technical standpoint, the Moto Z line has a compelling core advantage versus any other of the flagship smartphone competition: modularity. Unlike LG and the death of its modular concept with the G5, Motorola actually expanded its Moto Mod portfolio this year with its new Moto Z2 Force flagship smartphone. This synopsis summarizes what you can expect.

The Phone

The Moto Z2 Force phone itself closely follows its predecessor’s formula, for better or worse. This is in the midst of more progressed, nearly bezel-less designs from the top-end competition.

Advantages

  • Up to date AMOLED panel with QHD resolution (1440×2560 pixels, or 534 ppi), at 5.5″
  • Dual camera system to boost image quality (standard + monochrome sensors)
  • Solid build – metal back/sides and thin profile
  • “Shatterproof” screen (guaranteed up to 4 years)
  • Nearly pure Android software (no bloatware and speedy performance)
  • Several Moto Mods to choose from, that effortlessly snap to the back of the phone (via magnetic pin system)

Disadvantages

  • A lot of wasted space on the front (bezels space that could be display)
  • Significant camera hump
  • Camera(s) quality is decent but not great
  • Plastic screen scratches too easily
  • Relatively small battery: 2,730 mAh
  • No headphone jack
  • No wireless charging
  • No waterproofing

What it’s like to use

  • Big in hand (tall and wide) because of those bezels. The thinness helps make it feel light.
  • Metal finish on back is glossy and leaves noticeable (and hard to remove) fingerprints.
  • Display scratches way too easily – a screen protector is a must.
  • The software run quick and fluid like stock Android, with very light UI touches from Motorola.
  • Virtually no bloat (unless it’s from carriers). Only a couple of Motorola’s own apps.
  • Moto Actions has a lot of neat gestures you won’t find in stock Android (i.e. twist phone to toggle camera or chop to turn on/off flashlight).
  • Ambient Display frequently turns on the Always-On Display by itself.
  • Quality of the AMOLED screen is good and is decent in direct sunlight.
  • The only way you’d tell there’s two cameras is by going into the Depth Mode (Bokeh) or Black & White shooting mode.
  • Bokeh capture is hit or miss (blur around subject may not be perfect), and not quick to shoot. But you can post-process the blur.
  • Battery will get you through the day with no more than moderate use.

Camera samples

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The Mods

Moto Mods are easily the best part about the Moto Z2 Force. Here, we have hands-on with three of them.

Moto GamePad

  • This mod cradles the Z2 Force and adds physical controls like on a gaming controller (joysticks, d-pad, four action buttons, start/select, and two bumper triggers on top)
  • Uses its own 1,035 mAh battery before draining the phone
  • Buttons are tactile and responsive
  • Headphone jack and USB-C charger on the unit
  • The only bad is that it’s large to use and carry around

JBL SoundBoost

  • Gives the phone the audio power of a decent Bluetooth speaker
  • Dual 27mm, 3W speakers get loud
  • Kickstand to prop the unit up
  • Combined, the unit is comically thick
  • Uses its own 1,035 mAh battery before draining the phone

Moto TurboPower

  • An external battery pack, with 2,730 mAh of juice
  • It’s a shell you just snap onto the back of the phone
  • Stylish and grippy texture
  • 4-step battery indicator

Final Thoughts

Current Price on Amazon

The Moto Z2 Force can be summed up as a refined Moto Z, with the addition of a secondary camera sensor. While the phone’s performance is rock solid, we cannot recommend it at its $750 price-point. The flagship competition offers more features.

But where the magic and only redeeming factor is, is in the Moto Mods. They’re so effortless to use and boost smartphones features that are lacking because size restrictions. None one else does this. There are more mods than we covered here, like the Hasselblad camera with 10x optical zoom, 360 camera, and even a projector.

See Moto Mod prices:

Josh is so enthused about tech that he writes about it. After time at several tech publications, he launched The Synops - concise and quality gadget synopses with information that readers want to know and details they want to see. You can also follow him at on Twitter (@joshnor713) and Google+ (+JoshNoriega). Email any inquiries to josh@thesynops.com.

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