During my time at MWC, I have been using the Moto Z2 Force which is the flagship Motorola phone that uses Moto mods. It was kindly loaned to me by Vodafone and uses the new pay as you go 1 tariff.

This is a unique tariff for the UK market where you simply pay up to £1 on any day you choose, then the rest of that day is entirely free.

When you reach £1, enjoy free unlimited minutes and texts, plus 500MB of data, for the rest of that day. But if you don’t use your phone that day, you don’t pay a penny – perfect for people trying to watch their phone bills. The Pay as you go 1 tariff is available on any Pay as you go device on the Vodafone Network.

As someone that works from home and is connected to Wi-Fi 90% of the time a tariff like this has the potential to save a lot of money over other PAYG sims or even a contract. I could potentially pay nothing most days then the occasional day out just pay £1.

Moving on to the phone itself, in a world of generic designs Motorola has done something unique to stand out from the crowd. The basic design itself is nothing special; it is a big black phone, perhaps the most noticeable thing about it is the finger sensor on the front of the phone rather than the back. This is my personal preference but others like it on the back.

What is unique about it is the ability to modify it with Moto mods, that clip onto the back with some strong magnets. The list of mods includes a 3490 mAh battery pack, Hasselblad TrueZoom Camera, a gamepad, Instaprint polaroid, JBL speaker, Alexa mod, a 30-degree camera and a projector.

This is the top of the range model, and the specifications are as impressive as you would expect from a flagship although ignoring the Mod nothing, in particular, makes it stand out as being better than other phones. With it being launched in 2017  the SoC is a Snapdragon 835 which may reduce its appeal with the announcement of several new Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 based phones.

The specification includes:

Operating SystemAndroid 8.0 Oreo
Display5.5-inch 1440p Super AMOLED
ShatterShield shatterproof display
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 835 octa-core
GPUAdreno 540
RAM4GB
Storage64GB
Expandableup to 2TB
Battery2730mAh
ChargingUSB-C
15W TurboPower fast charging
Water resistanceWater-repellent nano-coating
Not waterproof
Rear Camera 112MP (1.25µm pixels) color sensor
f/2.0, PDAF
laser-assisted autofocus
Rear Camera 212MP (1.25µm pixels) monochrome sensor
f/2.0, PDAF
laser-assisted autofocus
Front Camera5MP f/2.2
85-degree wide-angle lens
Front-facing dual-tone flash
ConnectivityGigabit LTE (X16 baseband)
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac dual-band
Bluetooth 5.0 (after Android O update)
Moto Mods support
SecurityOne-touch front fingerprint sensor
SIMNano-SIM slot
Dimensions155.8 x 76 x 6.1 mm
Weight143 g
ColorsSuper Black
Fine Gold
Lunar Grey (T-Mobile-only)

Build & Software

The phone is made out of 7000 series aluminium which gives it a very durable feel and is one of the selling points Motorola highlights. The basic phone itself it just 6.1mm thick making it one of the thinnest phones I have ever reviewed.

Without a mod, you get a basic plastic back attached to the phone, and I found the magnets didn’t feel that strong when connected, plus it looks like it doesn’t fit quite flush with the phone.

Motorola has opted to go with an almost pure Android experience, I don’t think it is signed up to Android One, but it is nearly as good. My review sample still had Android 7.1 one installed, but it immediately received multiple updates taking it to 8.0 Oreo.

The additional features Motorola have added include Moto Actions, a series of gestures designed to make it easier to control the phone, and Moto Display notifications. With Moto Display, the screen lights up every time you get a notification, and you get the option to select what apps show up and use quick replies without ever having to unlock the device.

The phone intermittently switches on the screen when you get a notification rather than using LEDs. When it does flash up, you can optionally peak at the notification, dismiss it or unlock your phone to go into it. I found this a great feature, and you can customise what apps access it, so you don’t get harassed too much.

One feature I was less fond of was the motion activation, which turns on every time it senses motion via its infrared sensors. Its great in theory but I found that the phone would flash up the display intermittently all the time when on a table, making me think I have a notification. It is easy enough to switch off though.

The display itself is good but not exceptional, you get minimal bezels to the side but quite chunky one's top and bottom which in turn gives you a 16:9 format versus the now ubiquitous 18:9 format found on many bezel-free phones such as the Galaxy S8/S9 and Pixel 2 XL.

It is claimed that both the screen and phone itself are exceptionally durable, with the screen having multiple layers designed not to shatter. Motorola guarantees it won’t crack for up to four years; however, it’s not scratch-proof and during my loan, it actually developed quite a few surface scratches which is quite worrisome. In comparison, my Blackberry is 6+ months old and does not have a single mark on the screen. So if you plan to buy this phone it is absolutely essential to use some sort of screen protector.

The unmodified version of Android along with the Snapdragon 835 means that everything on this phone runs butter smooth, I never experience any lag and it was a pleasure to use.