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Motorola Moto Z Force review (2nd Gen): Hands on with Motorola’s shatterproof modular smartphone

The Motorola Moto Z range swooped in as not only Motorola’s premium line of smartphones, but also one of its most revolutionary ones. Building on the momentum of people wanting modifiable phones via projects like the now shuttered Google Ara, and the lacklustre LG G5, Motorola delivered an excellent hot-swappable phone.

Our cousins in the US have already had access to Motorola’s latest entry in the Moto Z range, the Moto Z Force (2nd Gen) for a while now. However, at IFA 2017 we finally got confirmation it was crossing the pond to Europe – shatterproof screen and Snapdragon 835 intact.

Moto Z Force (2nd Gen) review: UK price, release date and specifications

  • Screen: 5.5in 2,560 x 1,440 pixels
  • CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 64GB with up to 1TB microSD
  • Camera: 12MP dual camera (rear), 5MP (front)
  • Dimensions: 76 x 155.8 x 6.1 mm
  • Weight: 143g
  • Price: €799 (around £735)
  • Release date: TBC

Moto Z Force (2nd Gen) review: Design, features and first impressions

The second-generation Motorola Moto Z Force is, in many ways, a timely update of the already impressive Moto Z (2nd Gen).

Compared to the Moto Z Play, the Force features a top-of-the-line Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, and up to 64GB of storage. It also benefits from a 12-megapixel dual-camera setup with advanced features that allow for real-time and post-shot selective focus, along with image background replacement and selective black and white editing.

It retains the aluminium unibody design found on all Moto Z models, and comes with support for the entire range of Moto Mods. The Moto Z Force (2nd Gen)’s party piece, however, is its claim of a totally “shatterproof” screen. Yes, that means you can drop it and the screen won’t crack, ever.

I didn’t get the chance to fling the Moto Z Force around the hands-on space at IFA, but Motorola claims it won’t break from drops or objects dropping on it.

Alongside the general topline specs, Motorola claims the Moto Z Force has an “all-day battery” with TurboPower enabled for when you do have to top it up quickly. It also has a water repellant coating – not water resistant.

During the Moto Z Force (2nd Gen) announcement, Motorola said it would be bringing two new Moto Mods to Europe as well: the Moto 360 Camera and the Moto Gamepad.

Featuring the same branding as Lenovo’s gaming range, the Moto Gamepad turns the Moto Z into a handheld console that runs Android games. It snaps on via the Moto Z magnetic connection and all compatible games run without fuss. This mod appears to be one of the better mobile gamepads on the market, turning your phone into a Nintendo Switch-like device in the process. The buttons feel a little too sticky and clunky for my liking, and they’re a tad small to press, but ultimately it seems to be perfect for avid smartphone gamers.

Meanwhile, the Moto 360 Camera Moto mod is fantastic. Capable of recording video or taking still pictures at up to 4K resolutions, it’s easily one of the best 360 cameras I’ve ever used with a mobile. Lower light shots do appear slightly grainy, but in a properly lit environment it makes a compelling case for having a personal 360 camera in your  pocket. It’s also surprisingly good at stitching both of its camera images together, with  almost zero blind spots or immediately noticeable stitch lines.

Moto Z Force (2nd Gen) review: Early verdict

The Moto Z Force (2nd Gen) looks to be another excellent Moto phone from Motorola.

My chief concerns revolve around just how shatterproof its “Shatter Shield” display is, and if people are prepared to pay €799 for a Motorola phone. According to Motorola’s press release, the Moto Z Force (2nd Gen) will come bundled with the Moto 360 camera for that price point, but there’s currently no clarification on UK pricing and if that same bundle will come to Britain.

There is also currently no confirmed UK release date for the Moto Z Force, but we do know it’ll arrive before the year is out.

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