Moto Z Droid or Moto Z Force Droid — which should you get?

The Moto Z lands on Verizon on July 28. And if even if you've made up you're mind that you're going be diving into this modular menagerie, you've got a decision to make. Verizon, as it's been prone to do with its Droid line of late, has two Moto Zs from which you'll need to choose.

In many ways, they're exactly alike. Same software. Mostly the same internals. And they both use the new Moto Mods accessories.

Let's take a look at the ways in which they're different, though, and see if we can't figure out which one is for you.

Better battery capacity

Moto Z and Moto Z Force

Should you ever turn down the opportunity to have more battery? The Moto Z has a 2,600 mAh battery. The Moto Z Force has a 3,500 mAh battery — that's about a 34 percent increase. Along with that extra battery comes some extra thickness, however. The Moto Z is a svelte 5.19mm thick (or thin, I guess). The Moto Z Force is 6.99mm. That's without the stock Style Shell back that comes in the box, however, so you'll need to add a couple millimeters for those, too.

I've used both phones. You should never pass up the opportunity for more battery out of the box.

I've used both phones. And you should never pass up the opportunity for more battery out of the box. Even with external batteries and the 2,200 mAh Moto Mod Power Packs that are available for the Moto Z and Moto Z Force, that extra 34 percent can be the difference between having to top up toward the late afternoon, or not.

The extra thickness on the Moto Z Force means a few things. One is that I don't mind using it without a Style Shell as much. That doesn't mean I won't use it without one, but the option is at least more comfortable. The other is that it's going to fit larger hands better than the Moto Z. That's subjective, but not unimportant.

Higher-resolution camera

Moto Z and Moto Z Force

The Moto Z and Moto Z Force have similar cameras. Same camera app, same f/1.8 aperture. They're both pretty darn good in sunlight, and less so when it gets dark. They're both what I'd call an above-average camera, though a few steps down from the best available.

The only real difference is that the Moto Z Force has a higher possible resolution — 21 megapixels — than the Moto Z, which is lower at 13MP. (One thing to keep in mind, however, is that both phones shoot at a wider, 16:9 aspect ratio by default, and don't use the full resolution until you change the setting to accommodate their native 4:3 aspect ratios.)

For my money, I'd opt for the Moto Z Force because of its larger battery and better chance at surviving a fall.

For the most part this discrepancy hasn't really affected me any. At least not in the way I shoot and share photos. For things like Facebook and Instagram and your basic social sharing, either one has served me just fine. It's another differentiator for Verizon, I suppose. But merely adding more megapixels doesn't necessarily improve the finished product that much.

ShatterShield display

Moto Z and Moto Z Force

If a bigger battery didn't do it for you, this one might. The Moto Z Force is the second phone to sport "ShatterShield." The short version is that means some extra protection for the display. So you'll be able to drop it without the screen breaking into a million pieces.

That doesn't mean you might not kill the phone if it takes a bad fall. Here's the important part from Moto's fine print:

The display and embedded lens are warranted against shattering and cracking for four (4) years from the original date of purchase; scratches or other damage to the protective lens is not covered by this warranty, but should always be in place to prevent scratches and other damage to the underlying components. This phone is not shockproof or designed to withstand all damage from dropping.

We dropped the Moto Z Force until it quit working. Actually, let's be more specific. The phone still works. The display, while showing signs of abuse, did not crack. It, uh, just doesn't actually show a picture anymore. So the first four times it took a bad spill ShatterShield worked as advertised. That's a pretty good insurance policy.

The bottom line

So which phone should you get? The Moto Z, or the thicker, longer-lasting, better protected, higher-resolution Moto Z Force? For my money, I'd opt for the latter. The upgraded camera sensor isn't that big a deal for me. But more battery and a better chance at surviving a fall?

That's worth my money just about every time.

Phil Nickinson
  • I'd get the force just for the battery alone. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I'd wait on the Note 7 Audio Medic
  • Same pricing makes no sense with the Moto z Posted via my Nexus 6
  • Yeah, it's a no brainer to me. Audio Medic
  • I'm thinking Force with the Speaker Mod.
  • Hey?!
    Where's my signature? (Update: AC Beta users don't have a signature anymore.)
  • I just realized... Guess they got tired of all those posted via the Pokemon central app signatures :P
  • Do the best buy deal and get the force with the speaker for just over $500 Posted via the Android Central App
  • Best buy is giving free speaker mod and $200 discount for new line or upgrade .
    Hope this helps
  • The force if I had to choose one,but I'd rather see what the Note7 and the larger Nexus device bring. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Neither.. Verizon exclusive.
  • Exactly. Rub it on your chest verizon.
    Did u hear btw, anyone going over 100gigs/month is deemed excessive and will be booted off their unlimited plan with verizon. Not sure if the hard numbers were posted here at AC Posted via the Android Central App
  • 100 Gigs seems excessive to me. Posted via LG V10
  • Some people have no other internet connection. Luckily, I do but so far this month I have used 266 GB with my cable ISP. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Wireless carriers were never meant to replace landline broadband. The capacity just isn't there and they have to protect the quality of their network. Unlimited data means something very different today than it did back in 2008.
  • That's a bunch bs they spew out to keep gouging customers for 2GB of data per month. They need to create artificial network scarcity so can they can sell limited data plans and make more money.
  • I agree that tiered data, as they have it, is total BS. Just like when they used to gouge us for texting, which didn't cost carriers a thing. A totally made up charge. However, their capacity isn't unlimited and still can't be treated like TW broadband, for example. Their tiered plans should be very different, though. Starting at 10GB and going up to 100GB, and that 100GB plan should be the price of the 10GB plan they have now. That would be a truly fair system that would accurately represent their capacity.
  • You are correct. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yep. Even though I have been with Verizon since Airtouch days, and I don't see switching anytime soon. I like having a carrier unlocked phone, and no bloat ware. Lenovorola's lack of timely updates is also another strike against them. Posted from my XT1575
  • Friends don't let friends buy carrier exclusive phones.
  • +100 vzw Moto XPE/N7
  • Neither: Lenovo's not going to support security updates.
  • Agreed. Even when the phones become available unlocked or through other carriers, the lack of security updates is a deal breaker. From my Nexus 6P or 5 via the cooler than cool Android Central App
  • It's because these chinese companies can't patch their own backdoors! That would be crazy talk!
  • I would have retired my Moto X 2nd gen for the new Moto Z Force if it had come unlocked and without the bloatware. But Lenovo is not offering us that option. I predict these phones will be seriously discounted within 6 months.
  • "I predict these phones will be seriously discounted within 6 months." Doesn't that already apply to pretty much every phone but the almighty iPhone?
  • No, you don't need to justify your Moto Z purchase here, just enjoy it. Posted via my Nexus 6
  • I will - as long as it's good. If it's not, I'll say so. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Very well Posted via my Nexus 6
  • Neither......battery too small and camera lacking on the Z....plastic screen on the Force and too expensive for what it is. Furthermore if you invest in the mods you are buying into a system that may or may not have longevity.
  • And no headphone jack
  • Imo that is a non-issue AS LONG AS they include the adapter, for free, of course Posted via the Android Central App
  • That is an issue adapter or not, plan to always carry the adapter with you? Let's not forget if your using the charge port for headphones you cannot use it to charge the device or connect an OTG device. IMO it's idiotic to sacrifice the head phone jack just to make an uncomfortably thin phone with a small battery. Posted via the Android Central App
  • DING DING DING Posted via my Nexus 6
  • Nailed it! Posted via the Android Central App
  • Well.... You could have your headphones plugged in the usb c port and your phone on a wireless charger. That takes care of the "can't charge while using headphones" conundrum.
  • Neither, I would hate to get involved with verizon, or any carrier for that matter, also no headphone jack, and there is no reason for there to be 2 of them, the force is superior due to the resistant screen and the battery (especially the battery) And the worst thing is, the phones themselves are interesting because of their modular nature and body.....way to go lenovorola. Way to go Posted via the Android Central App
  • Verizon has its Droid line and the top-tier Droid is usually spec'd better than the more widely available Moto flagship. As an example, look at last year's Turbo 2 compared to the 2015 Moto X. Same thing this year, but the only difference is that Verizon brought in the normal Moto flagship (the Z) and just slapped a Droid brand on it. The Z Force is basically the Turbo 2 successor. It's nothing new when it comes to Moto and VZW. Posted via the Android Central App
  • And I still hear ppl having issues about the lack of updating on these verliezon exclusives.
    That's appalling Posted via the Android Central App
  • That's the disappointing thing, they could have had the separate droid crap instead of making the Moto Z the droid. At least we could have enjoyed the pure version now and there wouldn't have been any exclusive. Lenevo has set up the Moto Z to fail with the current release, in a few months when widely available Note 7, Nexus, iPhones. OK good luck. Big brains making these decisions just for one carrier. Yeah I get the Droid brand and what it means for Verizon but there is nothing to gain for Lenevo other than one carrier pushing their phone in one country.
  • Nope, no reason for there to be two of them. Because choice sucks.
  • This comment is a bit old but..... "More choices"??? Here are your options, genius: 1) a phone with non promising battery 2) a phone with good battery and a very resistant screen (Little detail: both of them will put you in Verizon's clutches, say bye bye to updates, and your wallet, regardless of which one you pick.) .....mmmmmh, which one do I pick, normal, force, both, neither? 1M$ question. (Sarcasm asides, please explain to me what is the point of choice, when one is clearly better than the other? With the current iPhone design, for example, you can choose between two different size screen: 4.7 and 5.5, appealing to different people. With the Moto Z , it's clear the force is better, the fact the battery is way bigger in the force already almost eliminates the normal one, to say nothing of the resistant screen and the better camera) Just my 2 cents... Posted via the Android Central App
  • One is clearly better, the other is clearly cheaper.
    Please name any industry where companies that produce goods don't offer similar models of the same product at different price points. It happens in pretty much every single industry yet for some reason it's frowned upon in mobile.
    I don't understand that one bit. Different people have different budgets. Offering a product at different price points is common sense.
    But thank you for recognizing my genius :)
  • the difference, and my argument is: there is no point in putting two devices that are both "high end" and expensive (think 500 dollars +) if you're going to make one obviously better than the other. It is true that different people have different budgets, and that's the reason why the mid range market exist (and is flourishing), if you want an affordable phone, you can get something like the moto G and have all your smartphone necessities completely satisfied without having to spend a high amount of money, there is nothing SUPER IMPORTANT that you can do with the moto Z/ Z force that you can't do with a moto G or honour 5c, There is no reason to make two phone with essentially the same main selling point (moto mods) at the exact same market range (high-end) and make one better than the other. If you don't want to spend a lot of money, buy something from the mid range market, not high end, you're putting a lot of money out of your wallet regardless of which one you choose, because they are both high end devices, getting the inferior one will not easy your wallet nor give you a good experience. Seriously, that battery is TERRIBLE, if the phone had a FHD screen, ok, acceptable, but that thing is using a 5.5 inch QHD screen, no way that thing will last you at all, regardless of any processor or software trick it has, remember the galaxy s6. And the screen on that one wall smaller. Then there's the fact that there is a moto mod for battery, so you can have what should have gotten from the beginning without any extension or extra cash, that is: battery life. If you really want to try moto mods, wait for the prices to drop. Because it doesn't Matter which one you pick, you are still spending more than 500 dollars. Don't know if that got my point through, but, if I offended or got you angry with my implications about your intelligence, then I genuinely apologise, Was frustrated when I wrote that. Posted via the Android Central App
  • You are arguing that phone makers shouldn't do what every other manufacturer on the planet does. Imagine going to buy a car and every model on the lot was the exact same. The car maker decided that every single car was going to be a turbo because it's better. Then you're told if you don't want the turbo, they also manufacturer golf carts. They're low end. If you want high end you have to buy the Turbo. You just want a family sedan but you have to go high end or low end. Nothing in between.
    Imagine going to buy a 55 inch tv and all that is available is a 4k OLED screen. You're told of you don't want 4k OLED, then you should buy a 20" CRT. They're low end, if you want high end you have to buy 4K OLED because it's better. You just want to watch DVDs with the kids, but you have to go high end oe low end. Nothing in between.
    Imagine going to buy a house. You're told you're getting 5 beds and 4 baths with a fully finished basement and an indoor pool. If you don't want that, they'll sell you a tent. Those are low end. If you don't want that you'll have to get the house they're selling you because it's bettrer. You just want a place for you and your goldfish. But it's either high end of low end. Nothing in between.
    I could go on and on. And yes, phones are also available in the mid range, but if you add only one more option to any of my examples is it any better?
    None of these scenarios would be acceptable. People don't just accept, but they demand choice when it comes to pretty much every product on the market, but for some reason when similar phones are released the internet goes crazy saying there's no need. I just don't get that. I've been in many situations with a major purchase where a I've wanted to spend a few dollars less to not have things I didn't want included and i would've passed on the items over those few extra dollars. Why shouldn't my phone be the same way?
    If these phones were priced the same I'd completely agree with you. But the fact is some people may be able to spend $600 on a phone but not $700. They should have that choice.
    Tell me, what does it hurt to have both of these phones available because I don't see any harm in having more choice.
  • Mmmmmh, I see your point, perhaps more choices even in the same high end range could be positive. Let's see how these two phone do once they're available (Pd: thanks for the conversations) Posted via the Android Central App
  • I love a good conversation. That's what this site is supposed to be like.
    Thank you for keeping it civil. I appreciate it.
  • Mmmmmh I see your point, perhaps it's better if there are more option on the same range from the same manufacturer, let's just see how these two phones do when they're available (Pd: thanks for the conversations) Posted via the Android Central App
  • Which Moto Z should I buy? No.
    I'll likely get a nexus this year. It'll be my first non Moto Android phone. I'm not sure how I feel about that yet.
  • When your on N at purchase and get your monthly updates, I suspect you'll feel pretty darn good ... Getting used to not having Moto's features will be an adjustment. Hopefully Nexus does better with Active Display this year and adds a feature or two.
  • I don't think you'll disappointed tdizzel Posted via the Android Central App
  • I want to like this phone, but they sacrificed too much to make it incredibly thin for no reason. Bring on the Note 7, which will probably be terrible with that edge display, or show me the LG v10 successor. This year just hasn't been good for phones. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I think the S7 and 6P (5X)are the only phones worth a Damn. But IMO 2014 was dog **** because of lollipop Posted via my Nexus 6
  • Yes..agreed. That edge display on the new Note could mess up my whole situation. I was so looking forward to moving up from my Note 4, but it is starting to look like I'll have to wait until the Note 8.... that's when Samsung will have realized their mistake and ended their silly edge.
    If they had something like an S7 that would respond to the Note's stylus... I'd go that route.
  • I had the S7E and did not like the edge at all. I just switched to VZ and picked up a used Turbo 2. I did the previous order from BB for the Force. I figure with a $200 discount and the free speaker I can sell it if it doesn't get the job done. I like the idea of the wireless battery mod too. We will see how it works out. If the Note 7 only comes with the edge display as the rumors have been saying, I'm out on that one. Posted via the Android Central App
  • The edge Display on the note 7 won't even be the same as the one on the S7 edge.... Posted via the Android Central App
  • I still have the original turbo. There just hasn't been a phone that excited me until this. I don't even own a pair of headphones and could care less. The battery mod is a must I feel.
    I wish I could take advantage of the best buy deal. But I will probably be paying full price for the force. I still have an unlimited plan and won't give that up for nothing. Yes it sucks paying full price but phones usually last me about 3 to 4 years so it balances out.
    I just wonder if I should wait a month to see if there's any issues in the beginning. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I made the mistake of giving up unlimited on my daughter's phone.....biggest mistake ever
  • You can do device payment on those plans now. Just adds the payment to the bill. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Lenovo said yesterday that the Z will get security updates starting just after launch
  • You mean backdoor updates?
  • Neither lol Wait and get the next Nexus of iPhone 7 haha Posted via the Android Central App
  • Of course you guys got rid of the signature :///
  • Neither, hard to justify any device over $499 with all the great devices sub this price point. It's obvious you're paying a premium for a "name" ....let's reduce their greed by no one but doctors and nurses going to work in the month of August. Amazing. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I wouldn't consider either. Not because they're terrible but because Moto's customer support plus software support has been terrible in recent times. Especially the former. On a side note, the Moto Z Force's camera has a bunch of other upgrades besides the higher resolution. The sensor itself is larger at 1/2.4", the module has phase-detection autofocus, and photos seem to have more "pop" in terms of saturation compared to the standard Z. Oh, and it seems that the lens on the Z Force is slightly better, as it is less prone to color-fringing and chromatic aberration.
  • Man, you change your avatar as much as most people change underwear! Lol
  • 3 months later, I'm typing this comment on one. Wonderful weather we're having.
  • I would buy neither. In fact I will never buy another Carrier exclusive, especially with how Lenovo has abandoned what Google began. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Lets be honest, outside of introducing Android (in general), they really did only one thing with Motorola and the Nexus line, they used other companies, Samsung, HTC, LG etc. Only thing they really can take credit for was allowing you to customize your Moto X which was pretty decent. They bought them, kept them a few years, lost money and sold them to Lenovo.