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The shatterproof Moto Z Force has a bigger battery and a better camera (hands-on)

Motorola's latest smartphone will arrive in the US this summer as an exclusive to Verizon.

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A phone that won't break. That's the dream. And it's one that became a reality last year when Motorola released the Droid Turbo 2. The phone featured what the company called ShatterShield, which protected the screen from cracking or shattering. Motorola even guaranteed the screen wouldn't crack for up to four years.

The company is now back with its second shatter-proof phone, the Moto Z Force. The phone is an exclusive to Verizon, and unlike its new sibling, the Moto Z, it isn't slated to be made available outside of the US or on another carrier. Pricing hasn't been announced, but the Force is expected to be released sometime mid-summer.

The Force is essentially a souped-up version of the Z, a new flagship phone announced by Lenovo at its Tech World event. It shares the same Quad HD display, speedy processor and promise of snap-on magnetic accessories, but adds an improved 21-megapixel rear camera, a larger battery with faster charging and of course that shatterproof screen. The Force also supports those cool Moto Mods, which connect to the back of the phone to add additional functionality and customization. You can read more about the Moto Z and Moto Mods here.

I got to spend some time with the Force in person. Here are a few things I noticed:

It's bigger, but not too bulky

The Force is almost 2mm thicker than the Z and weighs about 30 grams more (163g in total), but it didn't feel too big or too heavy. It's still lighter than the Moto X Pure and also doesn't have the slightly curved back the Pure had. The Force is sleek and stylish with a straight back and sturdy metal design. The large camera lens, however, does stick out quite a bit.

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The Moto Z (left) compared to the Moto Z Force (right).

James Martin/CNET

Battery life sounds good

The Force is equipped with a big 3,600mAh battery, 900mAh more than the normal Z and 600mAh larger than last year's Moto X Pure (up to 40 hours of mixed usage, according to Lenovo).

There's no built-in wireless charging (although you can add it later through a Moto Mod back), but there is very fast charging, faster than the thinner Z: up to 15 hours of usage in only 15 minutes.

A better camera

The Force is equipped with a 21-megapixel rear camera (compared to 13-megapixel on the Z) and a 5-megapixel wide angle lens on the front (with a flash). Motorola has said the camera is its best yet, thanks to new features like laser autofocus and phase detection autofocus, of which the latter is exclusive to the Force. It also includes optical image stabilization and an f/1.8 aperture.

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James Martin/CNET

USB-Type C, but no headphone port?

The Z and Force are the first Motorola phones to include USB Type-C, the successor to the microUSB port found in last year's models.

Oddly enough, however, both the Z and the Force don't include a 3.5mm headphone jack. Instead you get a 3.5mm to USB C adapter. It looks like Apple won't be the only one to ditch the headphone jack.

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James Martin/CNET

Too bad it's Verizon only

In the short time I spent with the Force, I became quite fond of it. The shatterproof screen, better camera and longer battery life would appear to make it a worthy upgrade to the Z. It's just a shame that you have to be on Verizon to get it.

Specs

  • 5.5-inch AMOLED display with a 2,560x1440-pixel resolution (535 ppi)
  • 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 820 processor
  • 21-megapixel rear camera with optical image stabilization, phase detection autofocus and laser autofocus
  • 5-megapixel wide-angle front camera with flash
  • 32GB or 64GB of internal storage
  • A microSD card slot to expand storage up to 2TB
  • 3,500mAh battery
  • 4GB of RAM
  • A fingerprint scanner
  • USB Type-C (with an included 3.5mm adapter)
  • Android Marshmallow

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