Do we have a good one for you today – the Moto Z Force goes up against its ‘little brother’ the Moto Z Play. This comparison is more than a ‘good one,’ this is a great study to see if the Moto Z Force is worth the extra money. Several people I know, absolutely love their Moto Z Play and rave about the build quality and great pictures that it can take. Physically, the Z Force and Z Play are very similar looking except the Z Force has a metal backing and the Z Play uses a glass backing. Because they both can use the Moto Mods, the design of the two had to be very similar. Which one of these devices has what it takes to win this competition? Let’s see just what these two smartphones have in common and just how much they differ.
Even though Lenovo made the Moto Z Force and Moto Z Play and both can use the Moto Mods, there are not many similarities between the two. They do have almost the same physical dimensions with the Z Play being slightly taller, wider, and weighing in 2 grams heavier. They both have the same 5.5-inch size display and both use AMOLED technology; however, they use a different resolution. Both use a Snapdragon processor and an Adreno GPU but are different models. Both models have 32GB of expandable memory but different amounts of RAM. The Z Force and Z Play take excellent pictures, although the Z Force has the upper hand for the primary camera – both use the same 5MP front-facing camera (FFC) for selfies and video chatting. Both use a front mounted fingerprint sensor, which does not double as a home button. They both have a large non-removable battery with Moto’s Turbo Charger for quick charges. Both can take advantage of the new Moto Mods and both models enjoy an IP53 rating for water protection. The usual suspects are here – WiFi, Bluetooth (v 4.1 in the Z Force and v4.0 in the Z Play,) GPS, NFC, and a reversible Type-C 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 priced in line with a Galaxy S7, but you get a lot of bang for your buck. It comes with a Quad HD AMOLED display, an exclusive ShatterShield screen, an excellent 21MP camera, large battery, and very quick charger. Like all Moto Zs, you have the ability to add Moto Mods. The Moto Z Force is a strong all-metal design with a solid build and a thin stature. The back of the device puts off potential buyers with its protruding camera and metal contact points, but if you slap on a Moto Mod or a decorative back, suddenly it looks great. The Moto Mods allows the smartphone to stay intact as the Moto Mods ‘snap’ onto the back with magnets and are assisted 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 was improved from last year is now a 5-layer design that helps prevent breakage or shattering of the screen. Lenovo grabbed the best processor they could at the time and went with the Snapdragon 820 quad-core with dual cores clocked at 1.6GHz and dual cores clocked at 2.15GHz, coupled with an Adreno 530 GPU to handle the most demanding graphics. The Z Force packs 4GB of DDR4 RAM and offers 32GB of the faster UFS 2.0 internal memory that is expandable via a microSD card.
The primary camera uses a 21MP sensor with a large aperture of f/1.8, laser and phase detection autofocus (PDAF), a dual-tone flash, and OIS. The primary camera is only 2 points lower than the top rated smartphone camera. For its front-facing camera (FFC) it uses a 5MP lens with a f/2.2 aperture and even includes its own LED flash for selfies and video chatting – the same FFC found on the Moto Z Play. The Moto Z Force uses a large 3500mAh non-removable battery but comes with one of the fastest chargers available – a Turbo Charger – it 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 it even adds wireless charging capabilities.
The Moto Z is so thin that they would have trouble fitting a jack in place, and while the Z-Force is broad enough to handle the jack, the Moto Z Force also lacks a 3.5mm earphone jack. Lenovo decided to be consistent with those devices but then added one in the Z Play model. Moto 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 as well as customized covers for the back to help personalize its looks. The Z Force is part of the Droid series that is exclusive to Verizon. It has the same IP53 certification for water resistance, but no 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 at $720 at Verizon.
Moto Z Play
We are comparing the most expensive Moto Z Force and the most affordable Moto Z Play, but that does not mean that you are getting some bargain basement phone. It has a Full HD Super AMOLED display, an excellent 16MP camera, and comes with a large battery, Moto’s Turbo Charger, and the ability to use Moto Mods. The Moto Z Play is metal trimmed with a glass backing rather than a metal one like the Z Force. It has a solid build with a 7mm thickness and is the only one of the Z family that has a 3.5mm headphone jack.
The Moto Z Play sports a 5.5-inch AMOLED Full HD display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and 403 PPI. Lenovo went with the Snapdragon 625 octa-core processor clocked at 2.0GHz and is coupled with an Adreno 506 GPU to handle the graphics. The Z Play packs 3GB of DDR3 RAM (a limitation of the processor) and offers 32GB of the faster UFS 2.0 internal memory that is expandable via a microSD card.
A 16MP sensor is used for the primary camera along with a large aperture of f/2.0, laser and PDAF, and dual-tone flash. For its FFC it uses a 5MP lens with a f/2.2 aperture and even includes its own LED flash for selfies and video chatting. The Moto Z Play uses a large 3510mAh non-removable battery and comes with one of the fastest chargers available – the Moto Turbo Charger that can charge the Moto Z Play battery up to 50-percent in only 20 minutes. Like the Z Play, there is an $89 Moto Mod that will increase the battery by another 2200mAh and it even adds wireless charging capabilities to the device.
The cheaper Moto Z Play keeps the 3.5mm earphone jack and can utilize the Moto Mods that can add features to your device as well allow you to use customized covers for the back to help personalize its looks. The Z Play is part of the Droid series that is exclusive to Verizon, but an unlocked Moto Z Play is available that everybody can use. It has a nano-coating for water resistance, but it is a shame they didn’t just make it a sealed phone. It measures in at 155.9 x 75.8 x 7mm and weighs in at 163 grams. It comes in two colors – Black or White with pricing at $408 on Verizon’s website.
...And The Winner Is...
The Final Word
This decision was a tough one, but I went with the Moto Z Play as the winner. To be sure, the Moto Z Force has better specifications from top to bottom, but the Z Play is such a well-rounded device for $300 less money than the Z Force.
The Moto Z Play has the same size AMOLED display with a respectable 403 PPI and a processor and memory that simply function well together. It takes great pictures and still has the 3.5mm headphone jack. It is built like a tank and can still take advantage of the Moto Mods or custom back panels.
If you want the top specs - a Quad HD display, faster processor and GPU, more RAM, a top rated camera, and ShatterShield display - then you should get the Moto Z Force. Otherwise, you will be very happy with the Moto Z Play and that extra $300 in your pocket.