Moto Z2 Force vs. Galaxy S8

Many are questioning several decisions made in the Moto Z2 Force, mostly coming down to its battery size, screen components and camera configuration. Those are all valid on some level, but we can discuss them at another time. There's a far simpler core issue with the Moto Z2 Force that's apparent the moment you take it out of the box: it's downright awkward to hold without a Moto Mod on the back.

This shouldn't come as too big of a surprise considering the phone is just 6 mm thick and perfectly flat across the back. But you also have to realize that its smooth metal exterior gives you no grip, and its 5.5-inch display with typical bezels makes the Z2 force rather wide — 76 mm, or 3 inches, across. Yes its light weight helps, but the only real fix for this is a Moto Mod.

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Moto Z2 Force with Moto Mods

So you'd think considering these usability issues, Motorola would've included a Moto Mod in the box, right? Wrong. You'll have to buy one, with the cheapest official Mod being Motorola's Style Shell at about $15 (which actually retails for $20). Understandable for a sub-$450 Moto Z2 Play, but the Moto Z2 Force is at minimum a $750 phonebuy it from AT&T in a state with a high sales tax, and you're approaching $900 out the door.

Moto Z2 Force with Moto Mods

And when you take that phone out of the box it feels incomplete, like it's missing something, like it's difficult to hold and you need to spend another $15-20 just to make it feel "right" in your hand. Thankfully the Z2 Force has a shatterproof display, because your chances of dropping this phone are dramatically higher until you get a Mod on the back. But that's just quick money up front, before you go through the consideration of a $79 TurboPower Pack, or maybe even a $299 Moto 360 Camera or Hasselblad True Zoom, which presumably you've considered if you're buying a Moto Z2 Force.

I completely understand Motorola's desire to want to spur its Moto Mods sales, as it's surely a nice profit center stemming directly from the design of the Moto Z line. But the Moto Z2 Force, at this price point, feels downright unfinished out of the box. Like it's missing a required piece. While some companies are going out of their way to include a basic case with their phones as a value-add, Motorola isn't including what I'd consider an integral part of the device.

It's a simple fix: just give customers a little credit toward any Moto Mod of their choice.

I know Motorola isn't going to change its entire packaging and supply chain to include a Style Shell in the box at this point. But I actually don't think including a generic Style Shell Mod is even the right solution to this problem. The real solution here is to give people a $25 credit toward any Mod of their choice when they buy a Moto Z2 Force. Sure some will just buy a $20 Style Shell to make the phone complete and feel like they got something for free that likely costs Motorola about $5 to manufacture; but sometimes it will also make $55 to $275 off of others who choose to splurge on something nicer for their first Mod.

Having that first Moto Mod purchase experience to be an undeniably positive one is the absolute best way to get customers on Motorola's side from the start. Sure it won't make as much money off of that first Mod when handing out a credit — but Motorola just sold a $750+ phone, and plans on selling each customer many more expensive Mods over the next two years. It seeds the idea of buying Mods while also keeping people from being upset that they just dropped big money on an incomplete product.

It's a simple equation. Get rid of the bad optics of asking customers to buy something just to comfortably use their new phone, and you'll be rewarded with satisfied customers who come back looking to buy other Mods — and hopefully more Moto Z phones in the future.

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