Motorola Moto X Force in-depth review - The Force is strong with this one

Brutally strong, rugged and powerful, Motorola's Moto X Force is a ruggedised device with he world's first shatterproof screen and a solid battery life.

 Motorola Moto X Force Review - The Force is strong with this one
4.5

Review by Sunetra Chakravati,11/25/2015 4:39:14 PM

10

out of 10

Performance

9

out of 5

Look and feel

9

out of 5

Ease of use

9

out of 5

Features

10

out of 5

Battery life

Pros:

Shatterproof screen | Pure android | Brilliant battery | Solid performance

Cons:

Not waterproof | no fingerprint scanner | not scratch resistant

- By Sunetra Chakravarti

It was barely a month after the big announcement by Motorola where they launched the Moto X Play and the Moto X Style that the Moto X Force was quietly aired.

Said to have the toughest screen of all smartphones in all the world, we decided to have a go at it, first with fists and nails then with hammers and tongs and when all else failed, trying to drop-kick it. And in homage to its Star Wars-esque name and game, and the newest film in the series, I thought it only made sense for the fun to not stop, even when writing the review for the phone.

State-side, the phone is called the Droid 2 Turbo 2 and the world wide web is rife with videos of how much torture the phone has been subject to, all in the name of research. And it is fitting too because Motorola have hailed this as the "world’s first smartphone display guaranteed not to crack or shatter.” 

'I’m Luke Skywalker, I’m here to rescue you.'

Motorola Moto X Force in-depth review

Are you one of those people with a smashed and shattered phone screen? Or do you have your phone in a super expensive ruggedised case? Or are you always worried of dropping it?

The Moto X Force is here to rescue you! With no Gorilla Glass in sight, the X Force is all plastic- so it is ballistic nylon, a type of plastic for the back and P-OLED for the display. As we saw with the LG G Flex 2 and Huawei's TalkBand 2, plastic is a great material because it curves, bends and takes hits without smashing, and those are exactly the charactieristics you need for it to be shatterproof. So when the phone hits the floor face-down or even at an angle, the flexibility saves it from cracking.

However, plastic also has its shortcomings. While hitting the display with a USB stick repeatedly, I managed to get a deep scratch on it. So all that scratches does not shatter. However, this is not that much of a deal breaker because irrespective of whether you have a cover for your phone, all users definitely have screen protectors and the Moto X Force has two of these built on top of the display. 

“Aren’t you a little short for a stormtrooper?”

The back is sheathed in ballistic nylon and even though it is a great ruggedised material, it is so thinly applied over the back that apart from making the phone superbly grippy, it doesn't do anything else to improve on its ruggedised credentials.

Motorola have not just provided us with an almost ruggedised phone but also gone a step further... if you still manage to break the screen, they have in-depth details and instructions on how to replace it, available on their website. 

The screen size is 5.4 inches and it is the smallest of the trio of Motorola's X series phones. However, the resolution is the same as that of the Moto X Style at 540ppi so it is still a good phone for consuming media. The speakers are on the front of the phone and there are two not negligible slits at the bottom and one main one at the top. Sound quality is nothing to write home about via the speakers but I couldn't really complain about the sound quality via headphones. 

“He’s the brains, sweetheart!”

The Moto X Force did very well in benchmark tests scoring a fabulous 56737, leaving the Nexus 6, HTC One M9 and its own stable mate the Moto X Style in the dust. 

As it has been like with all Motorola's products off late, the Moto X Force is a real workhorse. Familiar in shape and quintessentially Motorola, the update to Android 6.0 makes it work smoother and better than most other Android phones because of its lack of bloatware. No unnecessary apps is brilliantly refreshing and apart from Moto Connect and 'Moto', there is nothing else to cramp the phone's memory. 

As is to be expected from a phone with, otherwise such top of the line features and performance, the 3GB RAM does not hold it back in any way. Whether you are gaming/streaming/recording 4K video, you will be hard pressed to find any lag or stutter. The phone did warm a little when I was recording an under-7s fotball match in 4K but it was localised to one of the top edges of the phone.

Charging is superfast with the bundled turbo charger which adds about 20 percent of juice from a 10 minute charge. It can also be charged via a QI charger or PMA.

Although I am not a huge fan of Motorola's camera interface, when it comes to video it can record in 4K as well as 1080p. 

“The Force is strong with this one”

The battery on the phone is not just massive but also performs superbly well. When I streamed HD videos off Youtube over 4G with 100 percent brightness, the Moto X Force lost just 5 percent of charge in 15 minutes. 

 

Motorola Moto X Force in-depth review

 

 

“I’ve got a very bad feeling about this.”

The primary camera is 21-MP and even though pictures taken in bright light are fine, it falls down rather badly when it comes to low light photography. No Optical Image Stabilisation translates to blurry shots at night/club and although the aperture is a good f2.0, it is not enough to pull the Moto X Force out of the water.  

The camera on Motorola's phones works in a slightly different manner than on others. While you need to hit a dedicated button to take a picture elsewhere and tap on the screen to focus, with the Moto X Force, you tap somewhere on the screen to take a shot.

If you are getting bad to middling results, you will have to swipe sieways to bring up the functions menu and select the manual mode to then be able to focus on particular subects in your shots. Very long-winded and a tad unnecessary, like most other things in life you will probably get used to it over time but it results in masses of unwanted images before you get there.

The massively redeeming factor to the camera is the presence of the forward facing flash on the selfie camera so it isn't dark and blurry. The camera also has a CCT flash on its primary shooter which means colour temperature will be adjusted and your photoes wont be washed out.

Would I prefer the camera on here over the one on the LG G4 or the Samsung Galaxy S6? No, I wouldnt. But if the camera is one of many features you are looking for in your next phone, then this will not disappoint. 

Motorola Moto X Force in-depth review

 

“I find your lack of faith disturbing”

Needless to say, this is a great device, at a great price. Comfortable in hand with a beautiful screen and pure Android insides, this is basically the phone that all geeks secretly lust after. Add to it its shatterproof credentials and it is a fantastic product.

However, minor niggles remain. The fact that it is shatterproof and not scratch-proof is baffling and also the absence of IP67 rating. If the waterproof capabilities of the Motorola Moto G had been translated over, it would have made this device the one to kill them all. 

The 21-MP camera is good, but not the best and can definitely not outdo the one on the Nexus 6P, even though both boast the same 21-MP numbers.

The price seems almost astronomical given how Samsung have slashed the prices of the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge over the past months and others like the fantastic LG G4 already so keenly priced. The Moto X Force and the Blackberry Priv, currently flavour of the month, are priced the same and it doesnt take too much effort to see which one consumers would want to go for.

The tragedy of this phone is that tiny amends could have made it into something totally heroic, instead it is just very good. 

 

Motorola Moto X Force specifications

Price: £549

OS: Android 6

Dimension: 150x78x7.6mm

Weight: 169g 

Display:  AMOLED

Resolution: 2560 x 1440 

Processor: Qualcomm® Snapdragon Octa-core 2.0GHz

Camera: 21 megapixels; 5 megapixels

Memory: 3GB 32GB (24GB) / 64GB MicroSD slot (up to 2TB)

Battery: 3760mAh

Yes