The Moto Z2 Force and Z2 Play are Motorola's flagship and high-mid-range phones for 2017, continuing the company's tradition of simple software and modular expansion.

After the introduction of the Z line and mods in 2016, Motorola has followed that up with the iterative but sufficient Z2 Force and Z2 Play. There is no "regular" Moto Z2, with the Moto Z2 Force becoming available in more markets to fill this more. Interested in the Moto Z2 Force and Z2 Play? Read on!

Be sure to read our reviews

Both phones have been out for a while, and we've had plenty of hands-on time to see how they fare in the real world. Before going any further, be sure to read our reviews of both of these phones.

Moto Z2 Force review: Stronger, not better

Moto Z2 Force, a second opinion: Just not enough

Moto Z2 Play review: Midnight in the garden of good and sequel

They're both arguably worse than last year's versions

Motorola made some...strange decisions coming from last year's Z line. On both the Z2 Force and the Z2 Play, the company cut battery capacity compared to the previous phones. The Z Force uses a 3500 mAh battery, while the Z2 Force cuts that to 2730 mAh. The Moto Z Play was known for being a battery juggernaut due to its super-efficient Snapdragon 625 processor and 3510 mAh cell. But with a very similar Snapdragon 626 processor, the smaller 3000 mAh battery is still enough to get through the day, it just doesn't live up to the legendary status of its predecessor.

Moto Z2 Play specs

The software is still fantastic

Motorola has been known for minimalistic software for a few years now, and that legacy continues with its 2017 phones. Built on top of vanilla Android, the company only adds a few key features. Among these are the awesome double-twist gesture to open the camera, the chopping gesture to activate the flashlight, and the Moto display that has been cloned by almost every other OEM. Anyone who has used a Motorola phone in the past few years will feel right at home, and anyone else will learn to love all these features.

Moto Z2 Force Edition is official: 2730 mAh battery, Snapdragon 835, Shattershield display

The Moto Z2 Force is built like a tank, with a major drawback

The Z2 Force is built of 7000 series aluminum, which is one of the toughest aluminum alloys out there. The display itself is topped with Motorola's ShatterShield, which will save the display from cracking after a fall. The downside to this is the fact that the top layer of the ShatterShield is plastic: great for not cracking, but it gets scratched if you look at it funny. Motorola is offering a four-year warranty on the Z2 Force's screen, in the event it can't be shielded from shatters.

More: It's really hard to use the Moto Z2 Force without a Moto Mod on the back

The Z2 Force has dual rear cameras

Like a lot of recent flagships, the Moto Z2 Force is packing a dual rear camera, a first for Motorola. While LG uses its second lense for wide angle shots and Apple has opted for a telephoto lens, Motorola is using its second lens as a pure black-and-white sensor. This will look better than a color photo with a black-and-white filter applied in post-processing, and photos can be combined for more detail. Unfortunately, neither lens is optically stabilized, and photos and videos the phone takes aren't particularly great. If the stock camera isn't up to your expecations, or you just want true optical zoom, there is always the Hasselblad True Zoom Moto Mod.

This is the Hasselblad True Zoom, the essential camera add-on for the Moto Z

The Mods are back in town

Motorola promised that all of its Moto Mods released in 2016 would work on the 2017 versions of its phones, and has kept that promise. Every mod designed and released in 2016 will work on the newer phones, and every mod released in 2017 will work on the older devices as well. While some mods like the speaker and battery packs just duplicate already existing accessories like Bluetooth speakers and portable chargers, there are some truly unique mods like the Amazon Alexa mod and a 360-degree camera.

Alexa as a Moto Mod is almost a good idea

Oreo is on its way

Under Google, Motorola had a legendary track record for updates, delivering new versions of Android to the Moto X before the Nexus line got them. Under Lenovo, that's...changed, to say the least. Motorola devices just aren't updated as quickly anymore, even with a fairly minimal take on Android. They have also dropped support for devices quickly, especially for mid and low end phones. Fortunately, the company announced the Moto Z and Z2 series will both be upgraded to Android 8.0 Oreo sometime in 2018.

Motorola announces Oreo updates: Moto Z and G5 lines, starting this fall

Comparing to other phones

With its shortcomings, the Moto Z2 Force doesn't compare well when compared to other devices in its class. Against the HTC U11, the Z2 Force has a smaller battery, no water resistance, and a worse camera. Compared the Galaxy S8, the Z2 Force has an older-looking design, no water resistance (again) a smaller battery (again), a worse camera (again) and no headphone jack. The Z2 Force does have good software in its favor, as well as the ability to expand the battery with a Moto Mod and a tougher body that is covered under warranty for four years. You'll have to weigh the pros and cons of each device to find which is best for you.

Moto Z2 Force vs HTC U11: With some much in common, it's a tight race

Moto Z2 Force vs Samsung Galaxy S8: Top dollar battle

Check out our forums!

Have any more questions about the Moto Z2 Force and Z2 Play? Be sure to stop into our super helpful forums and ask away!

Moto Z2 Force forum

Moto Z2 Play forum