Moto Z And Moto Z Force With Moto Mods Review: Excellent Execution

Moto Z Software Experience And Camera Performance

Historically, Motorola has offered Android purists the latest version of the OS on their devices, with only a few key modifications and almost no skinning. With the Moto Z and Moto Z Force Droid edition phones, Motorola and Lenovo continue this tradition. 

Moto Home Screen Moto Home Settings Settings

dial screen finger print reader Moto Verizon Bloat
With these phones you still get Moto Display, which is Motorola's version of lock screen notifications and updates, so you don't have to unlock the phone to peek at something critical that's incoming. And, as was previously showcased in the Moto X series, Moto Actions are still here, where a flick of the wrist fires up the camera or a "chop-chop" motion will fire up the Flashlight app. Finally, Moto Voice is again on board, which is Motorola's adaptation of Google Now, where you can request the weather report, get directions, set an alarm or play music, just by issue a key phrase like "OK Moto Z" and barking a command. Motorola offers arguably some of the best adaptations of these standard Android 6 Marshmallow features. And again, the Moto Z and Z Force Droid fingerprint scanner is one of the most responsive we've worked with yet, with very few false rejects and a quick, near-foolproof training sequence. So, in short, the software side of this Moto Z dynamic Droid duo is really solid. If only there wasn't so much Verizon bloat installed. 

Moto Z Droid And Moto Z Force Droid Camera - Competent, Capable

Moto Camera Modes

Moto Camera Pro Camera

Moto Camera Video

Motorola's Moto Z and Moto Z Force Droid have a very capable camera software setup as well, with a Professional mode and HDR/Auto-HDR modes, as well as panorama and slow motion shooting. The package offers generally everything you could want in a smartphone camera with plenty of control. However, it's the electronics and optics that really deliver results these days, when you begin to evaluate flagship Android smartphone camera performance. 

To that extent, we have a quick and dirty shoot-out here of sorts, between the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus, the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and the Moto Z and Z Force Droids. Our subject is Yogi, a 5 year old Jack Russel terrier that sat patiently while we tried to position him precisely in front of a staircase with a heavily patterned runner, for shot complexity and contrast. Take a look... 

Moto Z
Shot on Moto Z - HDR On 

Moto Z Force (2)
Shot On Moto Z Force HDR On

Shot On Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus - HDR Auto

GS7 2
Shot On Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge - HDR Auto

The first thing that's immediately apparent is that this is a very close comparison. All devices handled this medium complexity shot (with moderately good indoor lighting and no flash) relatively well. There are some subtle variances that are notable however. Specifically, the Moto Z's slightly smaller aperture lenses (Samsung's Galaxy S7 sports a 1.7f aperture versus Moto's f1.8) show ever so slightly less lighting response and sensitivity. Colors are slightly muted, comparably, in the Moto shots but it's still very close. The other thing that's noticeable is the Moto Z Force's crispness and detail that is captured by its 21MP Sony IMX338 image sensor. The detail in Yogi's hair is sharper versus the Moto Z and Galaxy S6 Edge shots, and perhaps even slightly better than the Galaxy S7's output, though that too could be considered a toss-up. We will point out the the HDR response on the Moto Z Droids was a bit tricky at times, requiring us to turn HDR on instead of leaving it in Auto mode as we could with the Samsung phones. Regardless, as you can see, it's still a very competitive, close race and the Moto Z Force especially has a really nice 21MP shooter on board. 

Moto Z Flower HDR Auto Moto Z HDR2
Moto Z Samples

Moto Z Force Flower HDR Auto Moto Z Force HDR2
Moto Z Force Samples

Moto Z HDR6 Moto Z HDR7
Moto Z Samples 

Moto Z Force HDR6 Moto Z Force HDR7
Moto Z Force Samples

Again, generally speaking, both the Moto Z and Moto Z Force Droids have solid camera setups and grab good quality shots easily in both well-lit and low lighting conditions. While the Moto Z is able to compose a shot quickly with good auto-focus response and clarity, it doesn't quite keep up with the depth of field, focus response and sharpness that the 21MP shooter delivers in the Moto Z Force Droid.  Regardless, both new Moto Droids have quality camera systems that should satisfy most mainstream consumers. They're a little fussier to coax a perfect shot from perhaps, versus the Samsung Galaxy S7 series, but once you've figured out the settings the work best for you in most conditions (and there's plenty of control here), you can achieve similar high quality results. 

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