When Motorola launched its first tough smartphone – the Moto X Force – it was a surprise hit, at least here at Expert Reviews. Its rugged, shatterproof housing and great battery life made it one of our favourite smartphones of 2015.
It was followed up by the Moto Z Force last year, but that phone never made its way to the UK, which is why we’re ecstatic that Motorola has announced the second-generation Moto Z2 Force will soon be released in Blighty.
The new Moto Z2 Force (effectively the third-generation Moto tough phone) retains the shatterproof screen from the first Moto X Force phone, slims down the phone and adds the ability to snap on Motorola’s range of mods just like last year’s Moto Z Force.
Moto Z2 Force review: Release date, key specifications and price
- Display: 5.5in 2,560 x 1,440 pixels, shatterproof
- Processor: Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (comprising quad-core 2.35GHz and 1.9GHz CPUs)
- RAM: 4GB
- Storage: 64GB internal with up to 1TB microSD
- Water-resistant coating
- Camera: 12MP dual camera (rear), 5MP (front)
- Dimensions: 76 x 6.1 x 156mm (WDH)
- Weight: 143g
- Price: Around £735 (converted from €799)
- Release date: TBC
Moto Z Force (2nd gen) review: Design, features and first impressions
Despite being out for some time in the US, 2017’s IFA technology show was the first time we’d had the chance to check out Motorola’s new tough smartphone and, on first impressions, it seems to be (mostly) a decent upgrade.
Design-wise, it looks very similar to the rest of Motorola’s modular phones, with a 5.5in, 2,560 x 1,440 AMOLED screen, a slimmer chassis, a flat back and contacts for attaching any one of Motorola’s many mods, with Motorola announcing a couple of new ones alongside the Z2 Force – a 360-degree camera and gamepad with Nintendo Switch-style mini-joysticks and dedicated buttons.
It looks and feels a lot slicker than the original, but fans of the first phone might be disappointed to discover that the slimmer chassis and electronics needed to accommodate the mods has necessitated a reduction in battery size and capacity. The new Moto Z2 Force has a 2,730mAh battery compared with 3,500mAh in the original and – according to US reviews at least – that means its battery life isn’t as good, although Motorola is still claiming it has an “all-day” battery life.
I’ll reserve judgement until I’ve tested one myself but, along with the revelation that Motorola still hasn’t added proper waterproofing (it only has a water-resistant coating) and there’s no 3.5mm headphone jack either, this isn’t great news.
Still, there’s plenty else to like here. There’s the new octa-core Snapdragon 835 chip inside, plus 64GB of storage, up to 1TB of expansion via microSD and a new dual-camera setup on the rear that allows for post-shot and real-time selective focus, along with image background replacement and selective black-and-white editing.
Moto X fans will rejoice at the return of the Moto Active Display, which senses motion via a series of front-facing infrared sensors, displaying notifications whenever you wave your hand near the phone.
Moto Z2 Force review: Early verdict
We didn’t get the chance to fling the second-generation Moto Z Force around the hands-on space at IFA, but if it’s as good as the original, it should be as tough as old boots.
And with Motorola guaranteeing its five-layer “ShatterShield” screen won’t crack for four years, it should see you through to your next phone upgrade, and as a holiday backup for a couple of years after that as well.
I for one can’t wait to fling one down the stairs when I get hold of my review unit. It looks to be a very tempting alternative to the usual crowd of fragile beauties we normally see in smartphone stores, although at around £735 it is rather expensive.
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