Motorola Moto Z2 Force Edition – Smartphone Review

You had me at “Hello, Moto.”

By Jeremy Del Nero on 28 September 2017
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Motorola is going back to its roots, reviving the old “Hello, Moto” campaign used on its iconic RAZR flip phones. Parent company Lenovo has also shed its name from Motorola products, letting the brand stand for itself.  Both of these strategies seem to be working, pumping new life into the Motorola brand and the smartphone market at a time when recent flagship releases from other major smartphone makers have been underwhelming. That’s where Motorola’s 2nd edition of the Moto Z Force Edition comes into play.

The Z2 Force Edition smartphone is slim, light, and delightfully fast. Under the hood is Qualcomm’s most powerful Snapdragon processor (2.35 GHz Octa-Core CPU), 4 GB of RAM, and 64 GB of internal memory, with the option to add up to 2 TB via a micro-SD card slot (which also serves as a nano sim slot). A 5.5″ Quad HD 1440p display is crystal clear, although I found myself wanting to boost the brightness beyond its capabilities when faced with harsh lighting such as outdoors in the sun. The phone weighs in at just 143 grams (for reference, a naked iPhone 8 Plus with the same screen size tips the scales at 202 grams) and, because the Force phones are shatterproof, one need not worry about the extra weight and bulk of a case to provide protection.  In favor of slimness, the Moto Z Force 2 does ship without a 3.5 mm headphone jack, although an adapter is provided.

On paper, the battery capacity seems a little lackluster at 2,730 mAH, but thanks to the phone’s robust specs, power-hungry tasks like gaming or streaming video don’t put as much strain on the battery. Even after a long day of heavy use, bring the Z2 home with at least a 50% charge remaining. What’s more, like past Moto devices, the Z2 Force Edition also utilizes Qualcomm quick charge technology, which can add 15 hours of battery life in 15 minutes with the included AC adapter

While these spec improvements are all welcome, the camera is what really sets the Z2 Force Edition apart from its predecessor.  Apple has borrowed a number of past Moto exclusives (active display, and always-on wake words), but this time Motorola reached across the aisle to inspire the Z2’s camera enhancement. On the phone’s rear, dual 12MP cameras help create a depth effect reminiscent of Apple’s “practically magic” portrait mode photos. The result is beautifully sharp subjects with a well-defined Bokeh effect. One of the cameras shoots in black and white, enabling selective black & white focus, so your subject can be in full color while the background remains in grayscale. This camera also takes incredibly detailed black & white photos, and enhances the quality of color photos taken in low-light settings.

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