Moto Z2 Force Hands-on: Still modular and unbreakable, but a little less exciting


After months of rumors and speculation, Motorola announced the Z2 Force earlier today. I had the chance to play with it for a while, and, well, it’s pretty much what we expected. That’s both good and bad.

If you want to read more about its specs and numbers check out our original post here; what follows are just my first impressions after actually using the device.

The Z2 Force looks a lot like the original Moto Z. That’s no surprisee, as Motorola needs to maintain the same overall shape to maintain compatibility with Mods. That said, there are some notable differences – some for better, and some for worse.

Instead of the original model’s subtle stripes, the Z2 Force uses a brushed metal pattern that both looks and feels premium. I think the clean finish on the Z2 Play is nicer, but your mileage may vary. It comes in three colors – black, gold, and grey (T-Mobile exclusive) – though of course you can customize them using one of the many available Style shells.

The device feels remarkably solid for something so thin, and I’m glad Motorola kept the ShatterShield screen. That’s the most important part of this phone’s durability. I smashed a previous ShatterShield phone with a baseball bat – twice – and the screen survived. It scratches more easily than glass because it’s basically glorified plastic, but the top layer can be replaced; I’d take an unbreakable, replaceable screen over it’s-going-to-scratch-anyway glass anyday.

Motorola has replaced the square fingerprint sensor with a larger, faster pad this time around. More importantly, it now supports navigation gestures, which gives you the option to remove the software navigation buttons and save some precious screen real estate. That feature was a first introduced in the Z2 Play, and it makes the large bezels a fair bit more bearable

Still, after using phones like the LG G6 and Samsung S8, it’s hard to look at the Z2 Force without wishing you could magically expand the screen to fill in that empty space. I get it on the cheaper Z2 Play, but was hoping for more on the flagship model.