Do we have a good one for you today – the Moto Z Force goes up against the Huawei Mate 9. Both devices are designed with an all-metal backing and share a solid build quality. The Moto Z Force can accept Moto Mods to enhance its abilities or different backings to personalize its looks. The new Mate 9 follows the general Huawei design with a Full HD display, small bezels, curved sides, and back, making it comfortable to hold. It is intended for the crowd that likes to take pictures and is equipped with dual cameras. Both devices are high quality, well-built, and a delight to use. Let’s look at just what these two devices have in common, if anything, and then we will take a closer look at each one in hopes that we can determine a winner of this comparison.
The Moto Z Force and the Huawei Mate 9 have a few things in common. The display on the Mate 9 is only 0.4-inches larger, and the physical size is not very different, but the Mate 9 does weigh in at 27 grams more than the Moto Z Force. The displays use different technologies and different resolutions. They both use a different processor and GPU, although they're in the same league, and they both pack 4GB of DDR4 RAM and both have a 64GB memory option with the means to expand their memory via a microSD card. The primary camera areas are different, but both deliver great photos. Both have a fingerprint sensor for unlocking your device as well as authorizing mobile payments, and both have a large, non-removable battery with rapid charge capabilities. They both come with the usual suspects – WiFi, Bluetooth (v4.1 on the Z Force and v4.2 on the Mate 9,) GPS, NFC, and both use the newer Type-C reversible port for charging and data transfer.
Please take a thoughtful look at the detailed Specifications Comparison chart below, and here you will see just how these two great devices stack up against one another – click on the “View Full Comparison” link at the end of the chart to expand the details. After that, we will look at each device in greater depth and point out some of its pros and cons. From all of this information, we will try to determine the winner based on specs and execution of design and functions.
Moto Z Force
The Moto Z Force is the top phone in Moto’s new Z series, which include the Moto Z Play and Moto Z. It packs a Quad HD AMOLED display with an exclusive ShatterShield screen. They added an excellent 21MP camera, a large battery, and it comes with the Moto Turbo Charger. The Moto Z Force is a sturdy all-metal design with a solid build and a thin stature with a protruding camera and metal contact points on the back. All three of the Z family devices can use the Moto Mods that allow you to easily increase the functionality of the smartphone by ‘snapping’ one onto the back, held on with magnets and are stabilized by the protruding camera ring.
The Moto Z Force sports a 5.5-inch AMOLED QHD display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels and 535 pixels-per-inch (PPI.) Moto’s ShatterShield is a 5-layer design that helps prevent breakage or shattering of the screen is exclusive to the Z Force model. Lenovo smartly went with the Snapdragon 820 quad-core processor with dual cores clocked at 1.6GHz and dual cores clocked at 2.15GHz. To handle the most demanding graphics, they coupled it with an Adreno 530 GPU. The Z Force packs 4GB of DDR4 RAM and offers 32GB of the faster UFS 2.0 internal memory that is expandable 256GB via a microSD card.
Lenovo uses a hefty 21MP sensor on the Z-Force with a large aperture of f/1.8, laser and phase detection autofocus (PDAF), a dual-tone flash, and OIS. The front-facing camera (FFC) it uses a 5MP lens with a f/2.2 aperture and Moto even included with it a LED flash for selfies and video chatting. The Moto Z Force uses a large 3500mAh non-removable battery that comes with a Moto Turbo Charger, one of the fastest chargers available that can charge the Moto Z Force battery up to 50-percent in only 20 minutes. An $89 Moto Mod will increase the battery by size by 2200mAh and adds wireless charging capabilities.
One important thing to know about the Moto Z and Z Force – they do not have a 3.5mm headphone jack. The standard Moto Z is simply too narrow for the jack, and while the Moto Z Force is broad enough to handle a 3.5mm jack, Lenovo decided not to include the feature. Lenovo provides an adapter that plugs into the Type-C reversible port to accept earphones – it does produce a better sound, but you have to remember to carry around an adapter or look to purchase Bluetooth headsets. The Moto Z Force can utilize Moto Mods that can add features to your device such as an extended battery with wireless charging, JBL speakers, and a Hasselblad camera attachment. You can also add customized covers to the back to help personalize its looks. The Z Force is part of the Droid series that is exclusive to Verizon, but you can now buy an unlocked version to use on other networks. It has an IP53 certification for water resistance, but it is not a sealed phone. It measures in at 155.9 x 75.8 x 7mm and weighs in at 163 grams. It comes in four colors – Black/Gray, Black/Rose Gold, Black/Gold, and White with pricing around $700
Huawei Mate 9
Huawei reluctantly puts out some small displays but prefers big screens that use only a Full HD resolution citing that Quad HD is not necessary. The Huawei Mate 9 is the newest in this lineup of larger smartphones with its 5.9-inch display. Huawei was able to keep the Mate 9 relatively compact in physical size by using small bezels. There is an official US version on its way later this year that will work on all the major US carriers. It has a solid build to it and with its slightly curved edges feels great in hand. Let’s see just how it stacks up to the Moto Z Force.
The Huawei Mate 9 sports a large 5.9-inch IPS LCD FHD display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and only 373 PPI due to its tablet-size screen. Huawei supplied their powerful 64-bit Hisilicon Kirin 960 octa-core processor with four cores running at 1.8GHz and four cores running at 2.4GHz. To handle the graphics, Huawei included an outstanding performer; the Mail-G71 MP8 GPU. The Mate 9 packs 4GB of RAM and 64GB of expandable internal memory via a microSD card.
Huawei put a lot of thought into the camera area and used dual Leica optics for the primary camera with a 20MP sensor for colored photos and a 12MP sensor that shoots strictly monochrome (B&W) photos. The aperture of f/2.2 is rather small but added OIS, 2X zoom, both Phase Detection Autofocus (FDAF) and laser autofocus, and a dual-tone LED flash, that work together to give you great pictures. The B&W lens will give photographers the ability to experiment with some great B&W shots. The Mate 9 uses a large 8MP sensor on its FFC with a f/1.9 aperture and 26mm wide-angle lens for great selfies and video chatting. The Mate 9 uses a large, non-removable 4000mAh battery that uses Huawei’s own SuperCharge to charge your battery from 0-100-percent in only 90 minutes with the provided charger.
The Mate 9 has many good qualities, but like any smartphone, there are things we would like to see, such as adding Quad HD resolution. It has stereo speakers with one set mounted on the bottom of the phone and the second speaker is the earpiece – but it’s a shame Huawei did not add any Hi-Fi circuitry to enhance the sound. It is also disappointing a device in this price range has no dust or water protection. The Mate 9 has a rear-facing fingerprint sensor to unlock the device or authorize mobile payments, including Android Pay. The Mate 9 is running Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box, so there is no waiting for that update. The Mate 9 measures 156.9 x 78.9 x 7.9mm, weighs in at 190 grams and comes in Space Gray, Moonlight Silver, Champagne Gold, Mocha Brown, Ceramic White, and Black. Its pricing is in the $600 range.
…And The Winner Is…
The Final Word
Picking a winner was a real challenge as both devices have their good points, but I am choosing the Moto Z Force as the winner of this comparison.
The Moto Z Force has a better display – AMOLED, QHD, and ShatterShield, better primary camera specs for low light photos, IP53 Splash Resistance, comes with Turbo Charger, and it can use Moto Mods.
The Huawei Mate 9 is a great device and worthy of your consideration. You will find it about $100 cheaper than the Moto Z Force which is well worth it for its added features. If Huawei would slap a QHD AMOLED display on the Mate 9, give it IP68 certification, and beef up the main camera specs a bit, it could give other phones some great competition.