What Is It? Time was when Motorola was the top-selling mobile phone maker In the U.S. only to be surpassed by Samsung just as Apple’s iPhone was on its way to the top. Motorola – owned by Lenovo – has been trying to fight its way back to the leaderboard in smartphones by making them modular, and now the second generation of their high-end phone is available, the Moto Z2 Force. The Moto Z line has modules that attach magnetically to the back of the phones to give them extra features, and all modules, new & old, work with the Moto Z2 Force. The phone is thinner & lighter than the first-generation Force, barely 6 mm thick and only about 145 grams – that’s just over 5 ounces – both measurements without any of the “mods” attached. One reason the phone is lighter is that the battery is a little smaller which means it doesn’t last quite as long on a charge, but the supplied TurboPower 15W charger brings the phone to full power quickly. The Moto Z2 Force has a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 4 GB RAM, plus built-in 64 GB of storage and up to 2 TB on an optional micro-SD card. One selling point is the “shatterproof” 5.5″ Quad HD POLED screen. The Z2 is water-repellant but not waterproof, so a little rain but keep it out of the toilet! This phone also has dual 12 megapixel rear cameras for sharp photos and lots of “professional” camera features, and the usual “selfie” camera at 5 MP. The Moto Z2 Force, like other recent models, uses a USB-C port for charging & connectivity, and while there’s no 3.5mm headphone jack, they do include a port adapter. It comes with the latest Android OS.
All the modules available previously for the earlier versions of the various Motos are usable for the Moto Z2 Force, and there’s a brand new one, a 360-degree camera module that takes ultra-wide photos and videos which can be edited right on the phone. Other new modules include a game pad; the JBL SoundBoost 2 speaker mod that includes 10 extra hours of battery time; and a Moto Style Shell that is both a nicely designed back for the phone, and also allows wireless charging with a Qi or PMA charging pad (not included).
Is It 50+ Friendly? No age restrictions on the Moto Z2 Force, and it’s nice that a full-size high-end phone Is a little lighter in your hands, although you do give up some battery life. Overall, it’s pretty much the equal of a Samsung Galaxy S8, which doesn’t offer any modular add-ons. I like the modular idea, but some of them, such as that 360-degree camera, have little appeal to me – maybe it’s a generational thing that I don’t want to take ultra-wide angle selfies.
Frustration Factor? As with the whole Moto line you need to put something on the back, whether one of the Moto modules or a simple shell, because without them the camera lens sticks out and the 16 little connectors are visible.
Is It Worth It? The Moto Z2 Force is a premium phone so it’s not inexpensive, but Lenovo is trying to soften the blow of the $720 price by offering a free (with rebate) Insta-Share projector mod, usually $299, at least until early September. One good thing: the original Moto Z Force Droid was Verizon-only, but this Moto Z2 Force can be purchased from all major carriers. It comes, by the way, in black or gold, or in gray only at T-Mobile. If you like the module idea but want to save on a not-so-high-end phone, look at the Moto Z2 Play which we reviewed a month earlier and is less than $500
There’s no one over 35 in their promo video: