Moto Z Droid and Moto Z Force Droid Review

Posted: , posted by Stephen S.




Whether you go 13MP or 21MP, you're in good hands

Moto Z Droid and Moto Z Force Droid Review

One of the big differences between the Moto Z Droid and Moto Z Force Droid hardware is the rear camera you'll find present, with the former getting a 13MP sensor, and the latter upgrading to an 21MP component with phase-detection auto-focus.

Both cameras employ optical stabilization, offer laser-assisted auto-focus, and have an ƒ/1.8 aperture.

Moto Z Droid and Moto Z Force Droid Review
Moto Z Droid and Moto Z Force Droid Review
They also share matching 5MP front-facers, with wide-angle lenses, an ƒ/2.2 aperture, and a couple decisions to help with low-light performance: big 1.4um pixels, and the all-too-rare presence of a proper front-mounted flash.

Image quality

Not the best anywhere, but really solid efforts from both phones

Much like the cameras we just looked at on the Moto G4 and Moto G4 Plus, you're going to see some very similar performance out of the sensors on these two Moto Z models. There's good reason for that: Lenovo can't risk there being a “bad” Moto Z Droid, so neither camera should exhibit obvious shortcomings – and we didn't notice anything of the kind. Basically, the Moto Z Force Droid takes everything the Moto Z Droid camera does well, and slightly ups the resolution.

Focus times are fast on both phones, even with the Moto Z Droid lacking phase-detection mode, and the camera app itself is swift to come up and start taking shots, whether you're launching it from your home screen or with a gesture control. Color accuracy is similar between the two sensors, as are exposures – though a bit surprisingly, in more than a few tests we noticed the 13MP Moto Z Droid delivering some better-looking shots than its higher-res cousin.

Really, though, these two are closely matched, and the worth of the Moto Z Force Droid's camera will largely be determined by your need for exceptionally high-res shots.

Video recording

4K without a hitch

We're not let down when it comes to support for 4K video, with each Moto Z phone producing some sharp ultra-HD footage. Here, the benefits of the beefier Moto Z Force Droid were a bit more obvious to see, and its 4K video appeared slightly sharper to our eyes – though both phones demonstrated quick video re-focus times.

Full HD 1080p didn't disappoint, either, and both 30fps and 60fps modes generated satisfyingly crisp video. But while there's plenty of detail in these shots, we noticed the phone being a bit aggressive with video compression, resulting in plenty of artifacts on playback. Some artifacting is to be expected, but we would have appreciated a way to control the bitrate in order to minimize its effect on important shots.


Pour one on the curb for the humble headphone jack

The single front-facing earpiece speaker on each Moto Z phone may not be the fanciest around, and while it doesn't blow us away with real room-shattering bass, it does manage to keep things sounding clear and balanced even at high volume levels. As far as output goes, our tests showed both phones to be on par with much of their handset competition, though objectively we found ourselves cranking up the volume to max more than we'd like to – it's like the Moto Z phones don't sound as loud as they actually are.

But then there's the headphone jack – or the lack thereof. The Moto Z Droid has the excuse of being stupid-thin, but the Moto Z Force Droid follows its lead and decides to do all its audio output over USB Type-C as well. Motorola's kind enough to include a headphone adapter in the box of both phones, but that still feels like a less-than-graceful solution. Perhaps we'll stop harping on this issue in another year when the headphone jack on phones is really and truly dead, but for now it's still an adjustment we'd rather not be making.


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