Hey everyone, Jimmy with JimsReviewRoom. Like last year’s model, the Motorola Z2 Force banks on providing a modular design by offering their lineup of MotoMods. They’re magnetized attachments that further extends the capabilities of your phone… We’ll see how well they do, along with today’s Motorola Z2 Force. As of this review, Motorola has this going for $720 and it comes with a free projector mod.
Going over the physical features first, the Z2 Force is crazy thin from the factory. You get a little bulge from the camera, but it’s wide enough to prevent the phone from rocking on the table. Just like the Moto Z2 Play I reviewed about two weeks ago, the phone is quite slippery. There are MotoMods you can attach that do completely fix the matter, but I’ll discuss those later in this review.
The phone is splash proof – not waterproof that is. I’ve personally tested this accidentally, with air quotes around accidentally, spilling a cup of water of it, and the Z2 Force is still functioning fine.
THE SCRATCHED SCREEN
One of the biggest perks about the Z2 Force is it’s shatter proof display – drop it and it should survive. Now, one of the biggest flaws that seriously deters me from possibly buying, is because of the super soft, plastic-like shatterproof screen, it scratches very easily. When we went out to film the video review, I left this phone in my bag along with the MotoMods, and after 2 hours of walking around, I found the phone scratched! Other review sites are experiencing the same thing and it’s very unfortunate as I’ve carried numerous phones over the years in my bag with charging cables, my mouse, other miscellaneous items, and rarely if ever get a scratch. I can run my fingernail along every other phone and have no issues, but if I run my nail along the Z2 Force, it indents. Crazy, I know. And sadly, the mark doesn’t go away… If you’re the type of guy that puts their phone into a bag… or the ladies out there who put it in their purse, you have to be careful.
CONTROLS AND BATTERY LIFE
But going around the physical features, your Sim and Micro-SD card reader is up top. Rotating to the right there’s volume rocker buttons with power below. All three buttons were quite small and very similar to each other. It does take a little time to build up muscle memory. On the bottom, I have no idea why, but the premium Z2 Force removes the 3.5 mm input for headphones and earphones, yet Motorola’s mid-tier Z2 Play gets one. In the middle is the USB-Type C port for charging. Battery life is below average as well for a flagship as I’m getting around 5 and a half hours to at most, six hours of screen-on time.
CUSTOMIZATION WITH MOTO MODS
Rotating to the rear, this is where things gets really cool, and possibly the biggest reason on why you would buy this phone, are it’s MotoMods. You can buy various back plates to attach for different functions. As I mentioned earlier, the projector comes free with your purchase. When I first attached it, I thought it was small, I thought it was gimmicky, but I also didn’t have the lights off in the office. But as soon as I dimmed everything down – wow, was this thing is cool! For the average consumer, I thought this had 720p out the box and expected the resolution to be more pixelated or distorted. It surely isn’t as sharp as your screen, but once on the wall and sitting back, it doesn’t look bad at all. Surprisingly, it’s only at the 480p resolution. It’s able to play almost anything that’s on your screen.
From YouTube to playing games, to simply what you’re surfing on the internet, it works. It’s able to get as big as 70 inches. And if you’re at a funky angle, there is a little kickstand to prop it up. The few quirks, the first time we tried using Netflix, we did get an error every time we used the MotoMods. On the second day in testing, it worked then. Also, if it was just a smidgen brighter, this would display slightly better, and like all projectors, they do get slightly hot after using it for some time. The projector does have it’s own battery, it doesn’t kill your phone thankfully, but playing a movie on this, I’m averaging about 45 minutes to an hour worth of use. Not enough for a full-length movie.
Other MotoMods and why the Moto Z line is pretty cool, there’s a JBL Bluetooth speaker you can attach to get better audio. I said it in the Z2 Play, it does sound like a $50 bluetooth speaker, so it’s nothing special, but it is better than the speakerphone you have on the camera. I also have a backplate that gives an extra day worth of battery life. Also, because of the texture, it gives the phone much better grip when holding. Again, there are more mods out there – I don’t have all of them of course, but they’re good quality in general.
MOTO SOFTWARE OPTIONS
But getting back to the phone and continuing with what is unique. The Moto options include chopping the phone twice to activate the flashlight. Two more chops to turn it off. And twisting the screen to turn on the camera, even if the phone is locked. Both of these actions required a pretty firm movement, most likely to prevent accidental actions when not intended. The Home button can be used as your navigation with swiping right to left to go back on webpages and certain apps. Left-to-right to access the menu features, and to lock the phone, a slight hold till it vibrates. Sounds great in theory, but from my testing, it’s been hit or miss. There have been moments where it works, and some moments where you’re swiping multiple times to execute.
Now, looking at the camera, we have a 12-megapixel shooter on the rear with dual lenses. This might be the only other camera that I’ve personally used that’s as fast or the closest to what the Samsung cameras can do in regards to auto-focusing. It’s crazy fast, nearly instant.
Going through some samples below, everything was set on Automode as most average consumers would use. I’m really shocked, time and time again, I noticed more often than not, the Motorola did better than my Samsung S8+. Generally Samsung’s shoot quite sharp images but once I place them side by side, the differences are noticeable. The Z2 Force also tends to push color and saturation even further than the Samsung S8+ from my comparison. If I had to critique, the Motorola does tend to push a blue tint on some areas, making the photo look a bit unnatural. Honestly, if I didn’t have the photos side-by-side, I don’t think the average consumer would notice. You can see with some of the samples I’m showing here.
As for low-light performance, these are not pretty pictures at all, but I had taken photos in very low-light to stretch the camera’s performance. It still doesn’t perform as well as my Samsung S8+. In ultra low-light areas, I noticed the Motorola would decrease sharpness significantly to compensate for noise. Also, it does have trouble balancing bright light sources and low light areas with blowing out the color white in photos. It’s capable and the quality at times isn’t too far off, but the Samsung remained consistent every time.
DISPLAY & PERFORMANCE
Alright, so enough about the camera. We’ve seen the unique features from Motorola like the flashlight turning on with a chop to twisting your wrist to turn on the camera. We’ve seen the MotoMods which were very unique. Jumping over to phone use, the display comes in at 5.5inches with a 2560×1440 display. The image looks great, the picture quality is sharp, and the colors do pop. If you’re not comparing this to any other phone and you’re wanting to get this, there’s nothing wrong with the display in my opinion. For those who are nit-picky, or a heavy into specs, side-by-side with my S8+, the Samsung is brighter and that helps a good bit in making the image just pop out at you. Also, I noticed there is a more orange tint and warmer tones overall with the Z2 Force.
As for performance, the Z2 Force has the same processor that most other flagship phones have, the SnapDragon 835. Phones these days honestly perform well with nearly everything you throw at them. Some games may load faster than older processors, some apps may load faster – but in general, the Z2 Force performed well with no issues that I’ve personally encountered.
In the end, I want you guys in the comment section below, tell me what you think about this phone personally. There are a lot of pros, but then there’s some cons that I think might deter some people for sure. Again, I’m Jimmy with JimsReviewRoom and I’m here to help you make that purchase decision. You guys take care, and I’ll see you on the next one.
[table id=6 hide_columns=”all” show_columns=”a,b,h,k,l” /] Specs from manufacturer. If incorrect, please contact us.