The shatterproof, modular Moto Z2 Force arrives to take on 2017's flagship phones
After launching the mid-range Moto Z2 Play and the budget Moto G5 and G5 Plus earlier in the year, Lenovo has finally unveiled its flagship smartphone for 2017: the Moto Z2 Force. Here's what the new handset is packing, and why you might buy it instead of rivals from Apple, Samsung, or Google.
First of all, the phone keeps the same modular approach as the Moto Z2 Play and last year's flagships, which means you can clip on extra modules to boost audio performance, add camera capabilities, extend battery life, or turn your smartphone into a projector.
It's a feature that most users will probably never think about, but it helps Lenovo and the Moto line stand out in a sea of very similar handsets (having tried the modular approach with the LG G5 in 2016, LG has dropped the idea this year).
New on the modding scene is a 360-degree camera that will set you back US$300 – it clips on to the top of your phone to capture the whole of the scene around you. You might remember the Essential Phone has a similar attachment, though we've yet to see that handset out in the wild.
Specs-wise, the Z2 Force can hold its own against the rest of the 2017 premium-end phones: A Snapdragon 835 processor, 4 GB or 6 GB of RAM (depending where in the world you buy it), and a dual-lens camera that packs two 12-megapixel sensors in one unit.
Lenovo says one camera sensor is monochrome and one is color, as with the Huawei P10, and they enable some clever photography tricks such as keeping the foreground in sharp focus while the background is blurred.
Of course we can't really compare the Moto Z2 Force against the likes of the HTC U11 or the Samsung Galaxy S8 until we've tested it out, but on paper those are very competitive specs. Add to that the same screen-protecting ShatterShield technology we saw last year for the 5.5-inch, 2,560 x 1,440 pixel AMOLED screen, and it's a compelling package.
To add to the phone's toughness – maybe one of the main reasons you would pick this over a rival flagship – Lenovo has added 7000 series aluminum, so this is a phone that should be able to survive a drop or two. It's not waterproof, however, though it should be able to survive light spills, and Android 7.1.1 Nougat is on board.
The battery is down to a 2,730 mAh pack (from 3,500 mAh last year) which is disappointing, but Lenovo promises the handset will still last a whole day of heavy use. Again, the proof is going to be in the testing. There is a microSD slot for expanding the 64 GB or 128 GB of on-board storage, though the phone is the latest to ditch the 3.5-mm headphone jack for a single USB-C port that handles both charging and wired audio.
On top of that, the phone supports gestures on its fingerprint sensor, like several handsets before it: You can swipe in various directions to control menus and apps on screen, so the sensor doubles up as a sort of miniature trackpad.
The phone goes on sale on August 10 and pre-orders are open now in some markets, with black, gold, and lunar gray your color options. Pricing depends on carrier and region, though with Verizon in the US quoting an unlocked, upfront price of $756, this isn't a phone that's going to appeal because of its cheapness.