Introduction


The smartphone market gets a lot of criticism for a lack of innovation: this year's hot new phones are all too often a rehash of last year's models. Sure, new hardware delivers better performance, but those gains are usually incremental, and it's rare that we see a new phone that instantly becomes a must-have item. When Samsung releases a new Galaxy S model, it's super-easy to take for granted that the phone will be well-made, powerful, and a market success. But will it also be innovative, and inspire other phone makers with its daring design? That's a much more difficult ask.

Our expectations are much different with Lenovo's Motorola phones, and historically the Moto flagships have long looked for that one “hook” that would help them stand out from the smartphone crowd. Customizing phone hardware with a variety of colors and materials has been a lot of fun, but it's failed to translate into a pronounced shift in market share. This year, with the introduction of the new Moto Z family supporting Moto Mods hardware add-ons, we really might have the chance to see whether or not innovation can help steer sales away from safer, more predictable flagships.

We've already taken a look at how the Moto Z Force Droid Edition measures up against Apple's iOS heavyweight, last year's iPhone 6s Plus, and now we're eager to see how the modular smartphone similarly compares to Samsung's early-2016 effort, the Galaxy S7 edge.

Design

Sleek and stlyin' vs. cold and utilitarian


Samsung's phone places a premium on aesthetics, and it shows. The Galaxy S7 edge blends metal and glass in a handset that's both attractive and functional – in this case, enabling the phone to offer its over-the-edge curved display. The whole look is one we've seen before (with varying degrees of screen curvature), and the GS7 edge can be thought of a bit as the offspring of the Galaxy S6 edge and GS6 edge+, splitting the difference in sizes. All told, the handset's remarkably sleek, especially in comparison to the Moto; even the phone's camera bump is barely there, blending with ease into the handset's glass back panel.


The Moto Z Force Droid, meanwhile, is a phone built with a sense of utility. As a consequence of its support for Moto Mods interchangeable backs, the handset itself has a flat rear panel that abruptly transitions at the edge; it's not an unattractive look, but it's one that's far removed from the GS7e's graceful lines.

It's also a handset that's taller and wider than Samsung's, and while the Moto is officially slightly thinner (to the tune of 0.8mm), you wouldn't know it, even holding the handsets at the same time – they really do look and feel just about the same thickness. Honestly, the GS7 edge comes across (perceptively) as the slightly thinner of the two, thanks especially to its lack of a pronounced camera bulge.


Motorola Moto Z Force Droid Edition

Motorola Moto Z Force Droid Edition

Dimensions

6.14 x 2.98 x 0.28 inches

155.9 x 75.8 x 6.99 mm

Weight

5.75 oz (163 g)

Samsung Galaxy S7 edge

Samsung Galaxy S7 edge

Dimensions

5.94 x 2.86 x 0.3 inches

150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7 mm

Weight

5.54 oz (157 g)

Motorola Moto Z Force Droid Edition

Motorola Moto Z Force Droid Edition

Dimensions

6.14 x 2.98 x 0.28 inches

155.9 x 75.8 x 6.99 mm

Weight

5.75 oz (163 g)

Samsung Galaxy S7 edge

Samsung Galaxy S7 edge

Dimensions

5.94 x 2.86 x 0.3 inches

150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7 mm

Weight

5.54 oz (157 g)

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page



Display

A tale of two gimmicks – but is one more valuable than the other?


Both these screens start out superficially similar: a pair of 5.5-inch AMOLED display with quad HD (1440 x 2560) resolutions. On smaller panels, a resolution that high might be a questionable decision, but this is just about the right screen size with which to really appreciate it.

But it doesn't take long for these handsets to start diverging, and we need look no further than Samsung's curved screen.

We can't deny that the Galaxy S7 edge's dual-curved screen is eye-catching and a remarkable feat of engineering, but in day-to-day use it's a bit frustrating. Screen-filling videos look distorted as their content spills over onto these edge areas, and when looking head-on at the display, there's a distracting “shadow” effect as brightness drops off around the curve. As for Samsung's own software taking advantage of the tech, maybe special edge-area enhancements made sense for models like the original Note Edge with a much more extreme curve, but here they feel like distracting (and not particularly well-executed) afterthoughts.

The Moto Z Force Droid's screen has its own gimmick, in the form of its shatter-resistant construction; while an unexpected drop may mar the phone's finish or scratch up its display, the panel itself should avoid succumbing to a catastrophic failure, thanks to a combination of protective layers and a flexible AMOLED screen.

Output from the two panels is comparable, with a variety of color-profile modes to accommodate varying viewing situations (and users' preference), and screens bright enough to be viewed comfortable even on sunny days. Unfortunately, both phones exhibit one particularly annoying trait there, where maximum brightness can't be achieved by manually controlling the brightness slider, forcing users to rely on the phones' auto-brightness setting for the purpose.



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22 Comments

1. libra89

Posts: 2313; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

How is there "an easy answer"? I see two phones that are great. For this comparison, it all comes down to personal preferences about the little things, because there are a LOT of them. Personally, the Moto would "win" for me because of the style shells and some of the general add-ons.

3. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

if only motoZ and its MotoMods isnt overpriced :-/

4. sgodsell

Posts: 7570; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

There is already 14 different mods and style add ons, with more to come. I am sure that someone will come up with a 3D printed style mod soon enough. With more mods and options, then this will mean more competition and hopefully better competitive pricing.

2. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

android vs android article is much more peaceful place..

5. Metropolis75

Posts: 197; Member since: Aug 28, 2012

I'll be getting the Droid Z Force, but I do regret the fact that I won't be walking around pouring a bottle of Cristal on it. WHAT?!!!!!?

6. Pattyface

Posts: 1658; Member since: Aug 20, 2014

Both are great picks in my opinion. I like the mods on the Moto but the camera is superior on the s7 edge

7. InsertUsernameHere

Posts: 430; Member since: Aug 31, 2014

S7 Edge for sure.

16. cheetah2k

Posts: 2297; Member since: Jan 16, 2011

I have to agree. The lack of waterproofing on the Moto is something I can't live without. My S7 has already had several accidental full immersion incidents and this is something the Moto would have not survived..

17. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

Thats pretty strange nearly 10 years i use cellphone and never had one with water damage. You do know if warerproofing fail samsung wont cover the warranty right? Had two s7 with such issue at the store i work.

19. PLAYER_SLAYER

Posts: 4; Member since: Aug 30, 2016

Moto phones are known for water resistance as a standard, but if you have multiple full submersions, you should be more careful with your phones. You shouldn't be worried about Motos

8. legiloca

Posts: 1676; Member since: Nov 11, 2014

I can probably future proof more with the Z Force Droid than the S7 Edge due to its Moto Mods.. It's a really tight fight, S7 for me is a really close 2nd.

9. Bankz

Posts: 2550; Member since: Apr 08, 2016

Easy choice tbh. The Moto Z droid for me. I can easily future proof with Moto Z than samsung s7E. Even if I know the s7E is a beast of a phone. For instance no phone in the next 3 years at the very least will have a JBL level speaker inbuilt, or an inbuilt projector, or a 10X Zoom with such a large sensor, or close to 5,000mah battery nor will they likely be as customizable nor will they have things like glucose meter, credit card reader for business in built. So at the very least, the Moto Z of today will still be better than any phone that comes out in 2 years time (or maybe more) at these exact things namely speaker, camera, customization, battery, projector and any other fancy feature except they perharps go modular. So in the end once you buy the Moto Z and the mods, you'll not be in a rush to upgrade your phone knowing fully well that in the future, your phone will still do some major things better at the very least. Unlike traditional phones.

12. MingLiangChen

Posts: 329; Member since: Jul 06, 2012

That would probably be one year longer lasting than other phones. Considering hardware deterioration, it's hard to say it could be used for 3 years or more.

18. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

My old lg g still work perfectly well and is more than 3 years old...

10. phichart

Posts: 335; Member since: May 03, 2014

Hey PA... Please change that your display and battery test.. Everyone know that samsung has one of the brightest display and better battery.. your TEST is just s**t

11. MingLiangChen

Posts: 329; Member since: Jul 06, 2012

S7 Edge's damn near surface display is a pleasure to look at.

14. uzimafioso

Posts: 469; Member since: Jul 15, 2014

As long as you don't get spiderwebs... The Z Force will never shatter.

13. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

I like how reviews indirectly keep debunking all those claims of USB Type C charging faster. USB Type C is currently a downgrade on every Android device equipped with it.

15. niteiknight

Posts: 77; Member since: Aug 02, 2012

You didn't even touch on the fact that the Moto Z Force Droid is a Verizon exclusive. While I'm sure most people reading this know that already, that would have been important to know information for those who don't frequent this site.

20. PLAYER_SLAYER

Posts: 4; Member since: Aug 30, 2016

We're those tests on the S7e tested with the Snapdragon, or Exynos variant? Those numbers seem more Exynos than Snapdragon, but it would be nice to know for sure.

21. forester

Posts: 1; Member since: Nov 03, 2016

I love videos how Motorola is dropped from the plain and still worked. Sadly model with Snapdragon 820 available only in USA. Will always prefer it over Samsungs glass phone.

22. John_Westra

Posts: 2; Member since: Dec 03, 2016

The KEY differentiation for me is the Moto Z is #Daydream Ready! The Galaxy S7 is NOT! Anyone buying a Flagship Phone that does not support the latest #VR Standard(s), is going to regret it in the next year.

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