Motorola’s Modular Moto Z Force Droid Is a Powerful Android Gadget

Priced at $620, the Moto Z Droid by Motorola and Lenovo is the thinnest phone on the market. Despite its slim form-factor, there’s plenty of power packed into this phone, especially when you take into account the Moto Mods.

Here’s how it stands up to the Samsung Galaxy S7 in terms of size. You’ll notice it’s almost half as thick, but a bit larger

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Unfortunately its also quite fragile, and a protective case like Otter Box makes the additional mods impractical. While the device I received was a Moto Z Droid, I’ll also include the Z Force which includes a nearly unshatterable (and absolutely necessary) screen for an extra $100.

Beyond that, they’re mostly the same phone, and even the Z Force Droid is impressively thin. Let’s take a look at what’s inside.

Under the Hood

The Moto Z Force is 6.14 x 2.98 x 0.28 inches (155.9 x 75.8 x 7 mm in nonretard). The Moto Z is 6.04 x 2.96 x 0.20 inches (153.3 x 75.3 x 5.2 mm). Each weighs approximately 5 ounces, with the Moto Z coming in at 136 g and the Z Force at 163 G.

Both have a 5.5-inch screen that’s 2560 x 1440 at 535 ppi. While the Moto Z uses the same Corning Gorilla Glass that’s standard in most smartphones, the Z Force has Motorola’s proprietary shatterproof shield, which it calls the ShatterShield.

Both use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 quadcore processor at 2.15 and 1.6 GHz, run Android 6.0 Marshmallow, and are otherwise similar in features except for the back-facing camera. On the Moto X, it’s 13 MP vs 21 MP on the X Force.

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Running the Moto Mods

Since the Moto Mods are the standout feature of this phone, that’s where we’ll focus first. The Moto Z has a magnetic back, and this is used to attach mods that include a speaker, extra battery, camera, and even a mini-projector. I didn’t get the camera mod, but I had a chance to see how it worked with the other three.

1. Tumi Power Pack – The Tumi Power Pack is a 2220 mAH battery that extends the Moto Z’s battery life. It’s advertised to extend the battery life by up to 22 hours, though I only noticed about an extra 12 hours. While these claims are often exaggerated, I was a bit disappointed by how Tumi’s pack compared to what I got from a Power Bear on the Galaxy S7.

Also, the Tumi Power Pack is the only mod that can’t be charged externally on its own. While changing mods out, it would’ve been nice to have the battery charging, but that wasn’t possible, making it less useful than I’d expect for a $80 battery bank.

2. JBL SoundBoost Speaker – The SoundBoost mod by JBL is quite impressive. Using two 3W speakers, it instantly improves upon the tinny sound available in the stock Moto Z speakers. In both my bedroom and the living room, we were able to fill the house with decent sound.

The bass in these speakers lacked the bass you’d get from JBL’s Charge and Flip bluetooth speakers, but they still impressively amplified and boosted the sound for an $80 speaker. It also has a flip-out stand so the speakers aren’t blaring into the table surface when you change songs. I’ll have video up soon.

3. Motorola Insta-Share Projector – The DLP mini Insta-Share Projector is easily the standout mod. Although it’s a bit pricey at $300, it’s bright, crisp, and extremely easy to use. I found myself walking around the house seeing how it looked on every surface.

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Android games are traditionally played by using your screen as the controller, which can obscure your view of the full screen. Using this projector, playing games was a much different experience. Of all the gaming experiences I’ve had on Android for Hardcore Droid, this is among the top 10.

A Great Secondary Device

While the Moto Z Force Droid definitely has some innovative features, it’s hard to recommend it as an every day phone. Switching mods out is cool, but the three I had already added an extra 10x to the size and weight of the phone. In addition, since they’re magnetized, there’s a chance you’ll demagnetize some credit cards throwing these in your purse.

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There’s no headphone jack on the Moto Z, so you’ll need to use either bluetooth or a USB-C cable converter. This wasn’t an issue for me as I have access to plenty of bluetooth, but it’s something you do need to be aware of.

Purchasing both the phone and all the necessary mods is going to cost you.  You’ll need $720 for the Z Force and another $760 for all the mods (the Hasselblad True Zoom costs another $300) that’s a pretty hefty investment that may be hard for many to justify.

While you can get the same functionality out of a Galaxy S7 (although with a much less cluttered Android OS than Samsung’s) by using a Power Bear, pico projector, and bluetooth speaker, it’s simply not as sleek and sexy as the Moto Z Force Droid.

Overall, Moto Z Force Droid is a powerful high-end phone, so long as you don’t mind dropping $1500 on it (and switching to Verizon).

Final Grade: A/A+

Versability

Brian Penny is a former Business Analyst and Operations Manager at Bank of America turned whistleblower, troll, and freelance writer.

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