Moto Z Force review

A seriously ambitious and shatterproof Android phone

Moto Z Force review
Moto Z Force review

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

The Moto Z Force is a bold flagship smartphone in its own right, stuffed with top of the line specs and a feature set that leaves us smiling–and that's not even considering the MotoMods.

While more expensive that traditional accessories, MotoMods are useful, fun and the platform as a whole offers a lot of potential for developers to take advantage of.

We liked

Though MotoMods are touted as a must-have component of the Moto Z Force experience, the phone can stand on its own. It's a powerful and fetching Android smartphone that's capable of delivering long-lasting use.

For the moment, I'm convinced that this is the way modules should be treated: as nothing more than supplemental accessories, albeit incredibly alluring ones. That said, the future should be ripe with interesting and tempting MotoMods to check out thanks to its developer program.

Kudos to Motorola for sticking as close to stock Android as possible. Aside from the built-in Verizon bloatware, there's very little in the way of obtrusive adjustments standing in your way with this phone.

We disliked

It's a minor gripe, but the Moto Z Force really loves fingerprints. Cherish it while it's new because it's a chore to keep clean.

While the camera software has improved over time, and is better than we saw with the Moto X Force, it still lags behind Samsung and LG's offering. Many of the same options are put forward by Moto here, but looking through your photos in landscape mode, and adjusting some quick settings, to name some examples, is more difficult than it needs to be.

The choice to leave out a 3.5mm jack was an interesting move. Sure, Motorola includes a USB-C to 3.5mm adapter in the box, but that does little to alleviate the issue of not being able to charge and listen at the same time.

It's possible that Motorola's solution to this is for you to buy a MotoMod, so that battery depletion is less of a problem. Or maybe there's no solution at all. Either way, it amounts to an inconvenience for the user.

Final verdict

Even without MotoMods to boost its feature set, the Moto Z Force is worthy of your consideration if you're looking for one of the best Android phones to be released in 2016.

It competes with the top contenders in terms of sheer power, battery life and screen resolution. But in that regard, it doesn't really offer anything new. We're still on the cusp of devices packed with the Snapdragon 821, which could quickly leave the Moto Z Force in the long run.

Aesthetically, Moto has knocked it out of the park. From every angle, the Z Force has a unique identity and doesn't fall back on the familiar, yet over-used plastic antenna lines seen in the HTC 10 and OnePlus 3.

If you're in the market for something different, the Moto Z Force delivers plenty to keep you interested–at least, until Project Ara arrives.

Cameron Faulkner

Cameron is a writer at The Verge, focused on reviews, deals coverage, and news. He wrote for magazines and websites such as The Verge, TechRadar, Practical Photoshop, Polygon, Eater and Al Bawaba.