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Moto Z Force review: Motorola's beefier Z smartphone is better without its mods

Florence Ion | July 26, 2016
It's too bad Motorola's better-performing flagship phone takes a back seat to the svelte Moto Z. The Z Force is worth the higher price.

Some photos didn’t come out so well, however, like this one, though I appreciate the effort. 

Overall, I was pleased with the camera performance of the Moto Z Force, and impressed at how vivid the end product looked. Admittedly, it’s not something I expected from Motorola after the camera disasters that were the first two generations of the Moto X, but I’m glad to see that Lenovo made some changes in this regard.

The Z Force is still missing some of those stellar Samsung software tricks, however. They’re the same tricks that help the Galaxy S7 properly expose and saturate a photo in all types of lighting. The closest you’ll manage on the Z Droid is by enabling the Professional Mode in the camera app and manually adjusting the exposure, ISO, and shutter speed, though it only goes up to a measly half a second.

zforce cameraui

The new Motorola camera UI is a major improvement over what it used to look like.

The camera interface on the Moto Z and Z Force has changed a bit, too. You’ll no longer have to awkwardly swipe from the left to bring up the spinning wheel of options utilized in previous Moto X devices. The camera app now employs a simple menu screen. There’s also an option to choose your camera mode placed to the right of the Shutter button. I really appreciate Motorola’s newly refined sense of simplicity here.

Software: Verizon is the king of bloatware

Like its siblings, the Moto Z Force features a nearly bare-bones, stock version of Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow. But because this is currently a Verizon exclusive, you’re going to get a ton of bloatware you didn’t ask for, including redundant messaging and navigation apps, and a hoard of games you can’t delete. If this all drives you nuts, you can disable the applications and install another launcher to hide them all, but be prepared to do a bit of prep work before you dive into using the phone.

Also, it should be said that while there was a bit of concern over Motorola’s delay in pushing forth the latest Android security updates, Motorola has confirmed that the Moto Z and Z Force will receive their security patches in due time.

Should you buy it?

motozforce  8
Florence Ion

Perhaps your next device?

I’m not entirely sure what Motorola’s strategy is here. Like its budget-line, the company is offering two slightly different variants of the same smartphone at two slightly different price points. The Moto Z Force would have been just fine as a standalone release, especially since it’s the better photo shooter of the two. 


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