After much discussion and quite a few leaks, Lenovo’s Moto Z2 Force smartphone is official. The high-end Android smartphone will succeed both of last year’s models, the Moto Z and Moto Z Force, which were announced around the same time of year. Moto Z2 Force will be the company’s flagship for the half of 2017 that remains, as well as the first six months or so of the 2018 year. Did Motorola do enough? Here’s everything to know about the new Moto Z2 Force.
Earlier today in New York City, Lenovo held its Hello Moto World event where it announced a range of new products including new Moto Mods. However, Moto Z2 Force was the headliner, which keeps the ‘Moto’ branding and is part of the company’s Z line of smartphones that was first introduced last year to exist alongside the Moto X lineup of phones. The new handset is meant to be a minor improvement over its predecessors with a bump in specs and a refined design, so don’t expect anything substantially new. The device borrows lots of traits from previous iterations, but improves upon their strengths and weaknesses.
Some of which we expected was confirmed today, but there were some things announced that we didn’t see coming. With Moto Z2 Force, the company will look to compete in the over-crowded high-end mobile space and hold on to its Android market share, which over the years has shifted into the hands of Samsung and Chinese manufacturers such as Huawei. Given how much we liked last year’s Moto Z smartphones and the new Moto Z2 Play, we’re very much looking forward to testing the Moto Z2 Force once we get it in our lab.
The Moto Z2 Force packs a 5.5-inch QHD Super AMOLED ShatterShield display that’s essentially indestructible. The Super AMOLED display type will mean vibrant colors and high brightness for great outdoor visibility. The unit will be powered by Qualcomm’s latest and greatest Snapdragon 835 chipset with 4GB or 6GB of RAM, depending on your location. Storage options will also vary on a per location basis, which start at 64GB and can go up to 128GB depending on your region. However, you’ll be able to expand out the memory through an incorporated microSD card slot on all models.
When it comes to battery, Motorola went ahead and did what most of us didn’t want them to do, which was to swap out capacity in exchange for a thinner design. The handset’s battery cell has been downgraded to 2,730mAh, a 22% decrease from Moto Z Force, though, it will have TurboPower charging support. Let’s hope internal optimizations are able to make up some of the slack.
Motorola has gone with a next-generation 12MP dual rear-facing camera module on the back of Moto Z2 Force to make photo-taking that much better. Below it is a dual-tone LED flash that is part of the protruding lens. On the front, the company has implemented a 5MP camera for snapping selfies and shooting portrait videos. Each should make photos come alive with sharper colors and improved detail over last year’s models.
Moto Z2 Force will run Android 7.1.1 Nougat fresh out of the box. This means owners will have access to all the latest features from Google such as doze on the go, bundled notifications, split screen multitasking, enhanced security, new emojis, and a new Vulkan API for better overall graphics performance. Also preset will be some Android 7.1.1 Nougat (MR1) features like app shortcuts, GIF touch keyboard support, live wallpaper metadata, the Google Assistant, and more. And to ice the cake, owners can expect all of Motorola’s essential features including one button navigation and the gestures that make turning on the flashlight or opening up the camera, quick as a breeze. The company’s skin has also been further refined to match the looks of stock Android, with the addition of some new features. This is good for Android lovers, as the phone will be near the front of the line to receive software overhauls like the upcoming Android O update and Android security patches as they roll out from Google.
From a design standpoint, Moto Z2 Force is the most premium of the Motorola bunch with a curved chamfer. It’s super lightweight, thin and clean coming in at 6.1.m thick and is just 143g in mass. Motorola has chosen a durable material to wrap the device with, which should make this phone feel comfortable in the hand. Taking a look around the device, we have the two cameras, down-sized side-mounted power and volume controls, and USB Type-C for charging. The standout feature of this phone is the ability of it to take Moto Mods as input through PIN connectors on the back of the phone. The company has a range of compatible mods already available for Moto Z and Moto Z Force, which will work on this phone as well. New mods include a 360 Camera mod, available now for pre-order at $299, as well as a Gamepod mod, coming at a later date.
The Moto Z2 Force stays away from the 18:9 trend with its 16:9 display, and the item’s bezels aren’t as slim as we would have liked to see on a flagship tier smartphone. This means that the dimensions will be slightly wider and less tall compared with the newest arrivals in the space from Samsung and LG. Part of the blame goes to the non-tactile home button on the device’s front. This carries a fingerprint reader for added security. Perhaps next year, Motorola will figure out a way to rid those bezels and place the scanner inside that Motorola dimple that exists on the back of this year’s phone, or better yet, beneath the front glass. No headphone port is to be seen, and the main speaker looks to be on the front. A water-repellent nano-coating is also included to keep out water. We also have NFC for making payments.
Moto Z2 Force will be available in three colors: Super Black, Fine Gold and Lunar Grey (limited availability). Unlocked units and the Moto 360 Camera mod will officially go on sale starting August 10 in many countries including the US. ‘Moto Z2 Force Edition’ will be the carrier model and it will roll out in the US, Mexico, Brazil, various countries in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa starting in later this summer As far as the US goes, carrier variants will be available on Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and U.S. Cellular. In the past, Verizon was the exclusive carrier to offer the ‘DROID Edition’ in the US, but this year, Motorola has targets set high with additional marketing material and selling partners, both carriers and retailers.
Pre-orders have begun at Motorola and Best Buy, where the device starts at $799 ($33 per month of installments for 24 months) for the 64GB variant, which is a bit more than we anticipated. However, Verizon is offering a deal in which customers can pay just $15 per month for 24 months if they pre-order the new device and sign up on the $80 unlimited device payment plan.
For a limited time, Verizon and AT&T buyers of the handset can get a free Insta-share Projector mod ($299 value) with their purchase. Buyers must first verify their purchase of Moto Z2 Force and then submit a claim for the free mod during the duration period. We’ll update you with the product links once they go live. To learn more, register your email for updates over at Motorola’s website.
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