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HolidayBuyer's Guide

Motorola Moto Z Force Droid Edition review:

Bulky and overpriced

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The Good The long-lasting Motorola Moto Z Force Droid has a durable display and its modular accessories are useful and easy to attach.

The Bad You can only buy the Force in the US. On Verizon. It feels hefty with the Moto Mods snapped on, and its fingerprint reader confusingly looks like a home button.

The Bottom Line The Moto Z Force Droid sounds better on paper, but the thinner, cheaper Moto Z is the one we actually want to use.

CNET Editors' Rating

8.2 Overall
  • Design 8.0
  • Features 9.0
  • Performance 9.0
  • Camera 8.0
  • Battery 10.0

Editors' Note: We updated this review on July 22, 2016 with additional battery test results and adjusted the battery rating accordingly. However, the overall score of the phone has not changed.

With its swappable Moto Mod accessories that connect through magnets, and its premium hardware, the Motorola Moto Z Force Droid Edition is a powerful handset (with an overly long name) that's available only to US customers. On Verizon. For $720. Ick.

You have to really, really want this phone, and in my opinion, you'd be better off with the standard Moto Z, which is also available on Verizon (as the Moto Z Droid Edition), cheaper at $624 and thinner, which makes it generally better to use.

At this point you're going to say something about the Droid Force's higher-megapixel camera and longer battery life, or maybe its heartier display. On paper, these add up to a "better," more capable phone. But in testing, the negatives -- the thicker design and higher price -- outweigh its minimal real-life performance gains. Instead, you're just left with...an excessive use of Force. (Yeah, I went there.)

P.S.: If Verizon isn't your carrier, read my full Moto Z review for a full rundown. You can also check out pricing and sale dates for Moto Mod accessories here.

Wait, what's with this phone again?

The Moto Z Force is a fully functioning phone, but it has these little magnetic bumps on the back that allow you to attach and swap out accessories called Moto Mods. They're really cool, actually, and they either act as a customizable back cover or can enhance the phone by increasing battery life or pumping out music through a speaker. There's even a snap-on projector.

They're also incredibly user-friendly. With the audio speaker, music automatically starts playing when attached, and the projector hardly required any setup.

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What's the difference between this and the Moto Z?

The Moto Z Force has a bigger battery -- 3,500 mAh compared to the Moto Z's 2,600 mAh -- that lasted impressively longer: 16 hours 32 minutes for the Force, while the Moto Z lasted 12 hours 27 minutes. The Moto Z Force also comes with a 30W TurboCharger (the Moto Z comes with a 15W). After 30 minutes the Moto Z Force was at 68 percent battery and after about an hour and 10 minutes it was charged 100 percent.

It's thicker too, and gets even heftier when you attach even the thinnest Moto Mod. The Moto Z's slimmer frame doesn't get as bulky.

The Moto Z Force also has an extra-tough display to protect itself from rough drops and falls. We first saw ShatterShield in the Droid Turbo 2 and -- spoiler alert -- it really is durable. I also noticed that its screen is notably brighter and whiter than the Moto Z when viewed side by side (though it's not exactly clear why).

Finally, there's the Moto Z Force's 21-megapixel camera versus the Moto Z's 13-megapixel shooter. The extra megapixels get you higher resolution photos and images appeared a tad sharper on the Moto Z Force. Similar to the Moto Z, however, the wonky white balance can turn objects too yellow or too blue. For more about photo quality, check out the images below and click on them to view them at their full resolution.

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