Moto Z Droid and Moto Z Force Droid Review

Posted: , posted by Stephen S.



Interface and Functionality

Clean, swift, and useful … with a side of bloat

Just as we'd expect from a modern Motorola smartphone, Android modifications are on the extremely light side, and what we do get is pretty well done. Tweaks include the Moto Display we just mentioned, as well as access to Moto Voice speech controls, and half-a-dozen or so gesture commands, like swiping up for one-handed access, or giving the phones a double-twist to get to the camera.

We also appreciate the level of support for landscape orientation, extending from the launcher itself through into system settings. The home screen layout isn't always great in landscape, but not having to spin the phone around when we're jumping in and out of watching video is a welcome feature.

Unfortunately, these two are Verizon phones (though at least they've resisted conspicuous carrier badging), which means a dose-and-a-half of software bloat. In addition to a glut of Verizon's own software, you get a bunch of we-didn't-ask-for-these freemium games (let us weep for the soul who thought selling a premium smartphone with a slot machine game was a good idea), as well as apps like Slacker, NFL Mobile, and Amazon Kindle, because Verizon loves striking pack-in deals. It's all fundamentally objectionable, and we're forced to just suck it up because Verizon will never change.

Processor and Memory

Brisk and responsive, just like a phone with best-in-class components should be.

Moto Z Droid and Moto Z Force Droid Review
It's not difficult to choose what hardware to put into a flagship smartphone right now: start with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, throw as much RAM as you can at it, and call things a day. And while that's exactly what Lenovo did here – what can we say? It works.

From the second you pick these phones up, software is fast to react, really showing how the combination of recent Android builds (both phones run Android 6.0.1) and top-notch silicon can really deliver a truly smooth UI.

The 4GB of memory the phones get feels sufficient for general usage – 6GB is a luxury that's just not needed here – and the 32GB of base storage is easily added upon with microSD expansion. If another manufacturer tries and tell you it can't build a thin phone while keeping microSD support, you just wave the 5.2-mm-thick Moto Z Droid in their lying face.


When did data cables become so uncool?

Moto Z Droid and Moto Z Force Droid Review

The nice thing about a carrier-exclusive handset like these two guys are is that you know perfectly well you're not going to run into any issues with band support (god forbid). And indeed, both the Moto Z Droid and Moto Z Force Droid take full advantage of Verizon's expansive network with support for high-speed Cat 9 LTE.

Moto Z Droid and Moto Z Force Droid Review
Moto Z Droid and Moto Z Force Droid Review
Wi-Fi support hits 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac on both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, there's Bluetooth 4.1 LE, and the phones are both compatible with NFC interactions.

For physical connectivity, each phone has a single USB Type-C port – and that's it. This move has implications for audio output, which we'll get to in a moment, but also accessing phone data. The problem there is that the charger that comes with these phones has its USB cable permanently affixed to the power adapter, so it can't be disconnected and used to access phone data with your PC. We suppose picking up your own USB Type-C data cable is no big deal, but that's not an accessory everyone has sitting around just yet, and Motorola absolutely should have included it in the package.


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