Motorola Moto Z Force hands-on

Motorola Moto Z Force hands-on
At Lenovo Tech World today, Motorola’s parent company unveiled some impressive technology, and made some major announcements. Not least among them (albeit the very last thing announced), was the announcement of the new Motorola Moto Z series of smartphones. The new Moto Z, and Moto Z Force bring a new premium design language to the forefront, featuring more metal to the forefront, sharper edges, and flat panels across the back.


Motorola has joined the rest of the gang in stepping up the game with a premium build quality for the new Moto Z line-up. Of the two, the Moto Z Force is the spec leader, with upgraded camera, bigger battery, shatter proof display, and presumably higher-price tag.

Both the dark gray and white/gold models are attractive, at the expense of being a fingerprint magnet. That does not take away from the apparent high-quality build of the device. The volume rocker and power/lock buttons are small, but easy to feel and have a good click to them. Overall, the Moto Z Force feels good in the hands.

On the front of the device, Motorola’s sensors are abound for the gestures, and a small square finger print sensor. Unfortunately, the fingerprint sensor is not also a home button, as the interface uses Android’s on-screen navigation soft-keys. USB-C connectivity is present, as expected.

Most notably missing from the Moto Z is a 3.5mm headphone jack. While there has been no shortage of conjecture about other OEMs giving up on the venerable headphone port, Motorola has quietly erased that piece from the Moto X. There will be an adapter available, but beyond that, we recommend you get used to one word: Bluetooth.


There is a lot to love about AMOLED displays, like bright, vibrant colors. Motorola switched gears from the LCD panels used in last year’s Moto X, and endowed the new Moto Z Style with a pretty looking 5.5-inch quad-HD AMOLED display.

True to form for displays of this type, the colors we saw on the display units looked nice and saturated, the viewing angles up to par with the rest of the field. The panel was also responsive to the touch, not yielding any latency.

To top it off, Motorola is continuing to push its Shattershield technology, with proclamations that the display will not break. Period. That is a tall claim, but there was no denying Motorola’s confidence with this new breed of displays.


The main camera on the Moto Z Force is a 21-megapixel sensor with optical image stabilization and laser-assisted autofocus. On paper, that is not a huge departure from previous Motorola smartphones, but the interface to use the camera has been nicely enhanced, with easy to identify shutter button, and on-screen brightness adjustment at the point of focus. It is intuitive and, on these pre-release units we had on-hand, was quick to take a picture. The front-facing camera is 5MP, and is accompanied by a front-facing flash.

Processor and memory

Under the snazzy new exterior, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 CPU hums along, managing the near-stock Motorola interface with no visible trouble whatsoever. On board, 64GB of non-expandable storage, and 4GB of RAM round out the package.

Interface and functionality

The interface is basically stock Android 6 Marshmallow, with some add-on Motorola apps, like the rounded clock widget. Motorola eliminated virtually all redundancy with many applications, Google Photos, Google Contacts, and Calendar are all there, and no Motorola duplication. There is a Motorola email app, but that is no surprise.


We will share more details about MotoMods in separate write-ups, but MotoMods is a far, far, better execution on modular accessories than what LG did for the G5 and its modular “Friends” achieved. With nothing to disassemble, no batteries to remove, the flat back plate of the Moto Z is a canvas for accessories – external speakers, projectors, monster batteries, and stylish covers from MotoMaker. There is a 16-pin connector at the bottom of the phone, and MotoMods accessories connect via four magnets positioned on the phone.

MotoMods snap in to place, no pairing, no connecting, just slap it on and go. It literally is that simple.

Pricing, release date, and expectations

No pricing or release dates were offered at Lenovo Tech World, but with flagships packing new goodies typically come flagship prices. The new Moto Z series will be a Verizon exclusive in the US at launch this summer, carrying on the Droid line-up for Big Red as the Moto Z Droid Edition and Moto Z Force Droid Edition. Later in the year, Motorola says that unlocked models will be available for sale through retailers like Best Buy

Carrier exclusives grind the gears, and if you are frustrated with that circumstance, you are certainly not alone. Verizon gets a head start with not only some impressive looking new smartphones from the iconic Motorola, it also ostensibly owns all the nifty MotoMod accessory sales during that period as well.



1. AlikMalix unregistered

Has anyone complained yet that PA is posting too much moto news - they must be biased right? I mean when Apple releases a new product - heaven for it PA posts bunch of articles about it: "paid by Apple" "biased" etc.

2. XperiaFanZone

Posts: 2280; Member since: Sep 21, 2012

How many times do you hit the F5 key on this site per second ? And no because they're not posting useless articles such as volume button leaks

11. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

or dimension leak, or front glass leak, or camera bump leak, or tons of article abour 3.5mm removal from certain phone

14. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Plus there will be almost 0 moto news after this week where as Apple news continues year round and several articles per day. Those articles also are usually about remedial crap usually biased heavily towards the iPhone.

8. Diezparda

Posts: 941; Member since: Oct 23, 2013

It's Moto day, but everyday is Apple day here at PA.

12. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

because moto have event today... just wait till WWDC, there will be hundreds of (redundant and not-so-important) apple articles.. and 1 or 2 article from samsung or others

15. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

Alik when moto do something they post stuff for like 2-3 days max. for apple they post ton of news every days always. For samsung its almost as high. about 70% of article over 1 year are iphone and samsung news the rest are others.

3. zeeBomb

Posts: 2318; Member since: Aug 14, 2014

That's lit

4. Bankz

Posts: 2550; Member since: Apr 08, 2016

My only problem is the camera modules that didn't release yet. That said its already a forgone conclusion at this point, and adding a hasselblad camera mod will basically keep me locked in at least 2 years with this phone.

5. Hyperreal

Posts: 361; Member since: Oct 08, 2013

my only problem is that big fat bad and ugly bottom bezel.

6. Scott93274

Posts: 6040; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

.... I think I'm with you there. It is a nasty addition to this year's phone, but in all actuality, All major flagship devices are now coming standard with finger print scanners, and the very nature of the phone's modular design make it impossible for the scanner to be on the back. Though if you compare it to other flagship phones on the market, you do realize that it could have been much larger and more obscene.

13. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

yeah right.. the ugliest moto flagship ever... if they really need to remove front-firing stereo speaker because of that FPscanner, at least they should make that scanner double as home button, and add 2 capacitive button so they dont need to waste screen area for on-screen-button..

16. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

No big front bezel at bottom = no modular plug at botom of the phone. Technological limitation.

7. Napalm_3nema

Posts: 2236; Member since: Jun 14, 2013

This is DOA, like every carrier exclusive has been since the iPhone. The number of people who will switch to the most expensive carrier in the U.S. just for these phones has to be small. Yes, you can buy it for full price and use on another carrier, but it will have the heinous VZW branding, spyware, and bloatware on it. By the time stock unlocked versions are available, the market will have moved on to the next new phones. Good job, Lenovorola.

9. Jason2k13

Posts: 1469; Member since: Mar 28, 2013

Once again moto designing ugly looking flagships, it's been years since Moto designed a nice looking flagships. That square home button made this phone look cheap and ugly.

10. ikenvape

Posts: 309; Member since: May 28, 2014

For the love God. Please remove that logo above the button!

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