With a lighter, thinner chassis, the Moto Z (reviewed here) certainly pairs better with Motorola’s snap-on Moto Mods. But because the higher-spec’ed Moto Z Force is so dang good, it can stand all on its own, with no speaker, projector or power pack accessories necessary. In fact, the Moto Z Force ($720 via Verizon) is the better choice for people who have no interest in Motorola’s modular smartphone concept, and if I had to name Motorola’s marquee device for 2016, I’d put the Z Force in front.
This smartphone must be considered an option for anyone who just won’t consider the Samsung Galaxy S7. Just be aware that while the Moto Z Force is compatible with the various Moto Mods, it’s better off as a standalone device.
Design: Like the Moto Z, but thicker
The Moto Z Force is the decidedly thicker sibling of the Moto Z. At 7mm thick, the Z Force is noticeably larger than the 5.2mm Moto Z, though it’s still thinner than both the Nexus 6P and OnePus 3. Sans accessories, it’s relatively light, too.
If you’re hoping to pair the Z Force with one of its Moto Mods (like this Kate Spade-themed battery pack), be forewarned that the total package gets quite heavy.
The Z Force’s larger body makes it a bit easier to hold than its slimmer sibling, which often felt like it was going to slip from my hand during testing. Unfortunately, once you tack on a Moto Mod accessory, the Moto Z really shows its heft. I never thought my arm could ever get tired from simply talking on the phone, but that happened with the Z Force when I attached the Kate Spade Power Pack.
Florence Ion: The Moto Z Force employs USB Type-C.
Florence Ion: The Moto Z Force is thinner than the Nexus 6P, but only barely.
Florence Ion: The power and volume buttons are easy to reach and make a satisfying clicking sound when pressed.
At least the Z Force has a valid excuse for its thicker chassis: The phone employs Motorola’s ShatterShield technology, which protects the display from major disasters. This five-layer system has a plastic hard-coating on top that keeps the actual display layers underneath well-protected.
Yes, the top layer can scratch, but it can also be easily replaced for about $30. And in case you drop the phone on concrete, ShatterShield will absorb the impact. It’s sort of like having an automobile bumper: a relatively cheap part that’s designed for replacement in the event of an accident. Unfortunately, the Z Force isn’t resistant to water like other flagship phones.
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