Do we have a good one for you today – the Google Pixel 2 XL goes up against the Moto Z2 Force. The sleek, new Pixel 2 XL with its small bezels takes on the more dated looking, but equally powerful, Moto Z2 Force with its larger bezels. The Z2 Force came out in August and the Pixel 2 XL was available in October – the former is running Android 7.1.1 and waiting for its Oreo upgrade, while the Pixel 2 XL is already running the newest Android 8.0. The Pixel 2 XL had a complete redesign on the front, while the back looks very much like the original Pixel XL. The Moto Z2 Force looks very much like last year’s Z Force, mostly because it had to stay compatible with the Moto Mods. Which one of these phones has what it takes to win this comparison? These questions and more are what we hope to answer here. Before we look at each individual device, let’s take a look at what they have in common.
Despite the differences in their outward appearances, the Google Pixel 2 XL and the Moto Z2 Force do have a few things in common. For starters, they are almost identical in their physical size, although the Pixel weighs 32 grams more than the Z2 Force. Both devices use the P-OLED display technology, both use the QHD resolution, and both have a way to see notifications without awakening the device. The two devices use the same Snapdragon 835 processor and Adreno 540 GPU for processing power. Both pack 4GB of DDR4 RAM and both have standard memory storage of 64GB, although the Z2 Force has expandable memory while the Pixel 2 XL has a 128GB option. The camera areas on both devices are excellent – the single camera on the Pixel is rated number one by DxOMark, and the dual camera on the Z2 Force offers up many options. Both have a non-removable battery with a rapid charge option and if you purchase a Moto Mod extra battery, you will enjoy wireless charging. Both work on all major US carriers, have NFC, Android Pay, Bluetooth (v5.0 on the Pixel and v4.2 on the Moto), WiFi, and a fingerprint sensor.
Please take a careful look at the detailed specifications comparison chart below and here you will see just how these two great Android flagships stack up against each other on paper. After that, we will look at each handset in more detail and point out some of its pros and cons. From all of this information, we will try to determine the winner based on overall specs and the execution of design and functions.
Google Pixel 2 XL
Google has stepped up its game with the new Pixel 2’s and the top of the line Pixel 2 XL can hold its own with almost any Samsung, LG, and Apple phone on the market. With its advanced Android 8.0 Oreo and high-end technology, it is truly a flagship device. Google, in trying to compete with Apple, had to up the quality (and price) in order to define their own ecosystem. DxOMark has rated the new Pixel 2 camera the best mobile shooter on the market – all with only one camera. Google has followed Apple and some other high-end devices by eliminating the 3.5mm headphone jack. Google added new Active Edge(s), Google Lens, as well as an improved Google Assistant.
Google included the new 18:9 ratio display with small bezels on the Pixel 2 XL. Google chose a 6-inch P-OLED QHD display with a resolution of 2880 x 1440 pixels and a density of about 538 pixels-per-inch (PPI). The new 18:9 ratio offers a better entertainment experience when watching movies or playing games, and gives the user two perfect squares for dual-window multitasking. Google also included the Always-On display to make it easier on the battery and the user to check notifications without having to open their device.
The Pixel 2 XL, as most other 2017 flagships, chose the powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 octa-core processor with one quad-core clocked at 1.9GHz and another quad-core clocked at 2.35GHz and then paired it up to the Adreno 540 GPU for outstanding graphics – this is the same combo used in the Moto Z2 Force. The Pixel 2 XL comes with 4GB of DDR4 RAM and a base of 64GB of non-expandable internal memory. Google gives Pixel owners free Google Cloud space., if you want more internal memory, for an additional $100, you can purchase the 128GB model.
The Nexus devices were certainly not designed for photographers, but with the original Pixel models and now the Pixel 2 rendition, their cameras quickly shot to the top on DxOMark’s ratings. The primary camera is 12-megapixel with an aperture of f/1.8, with PDAF and laser autofocus, EIS and OIS for stabilization, and a dual-tone LED flash. The front-facing camera (FFC) is 8-megapixel with an aperture of f/2.4, and fixed focus. The Pixel 2 XL has a large battery at 3,520mAh that will certainly get you through an entire day and offers fast charging, but no wireless charging.
The Google Pixel 2 XL is one of the top-rated Android devices with its biggest disappointments being no memory expansion and no 3.5mm headphone jack. There is no Hi-Res audio on board, but it does provide two front-mounted stereo speakers. Google Assistant continues to improve and you can summon it by squeezing the edges of the device. The Active Edge feature shows a lot of promise, but Google needs to do more with it – possibly though a software upgrade – summoning Google Assistant and quieting an incoming call is all it is good for at this time. Google gave the new Pixel 2’s IP67 dust and water resistance and a promise of three years’ worth of updates. The Pixel 2 XL measures 157.9 x 76.7 x 7.9mm and weighs in at 175 grams. It is available in two colors – Just Black and Black & White. The Pixel 2 XL will cost about $849 with 64GB of RAM and $949 with 128GB of RAM and is available from the Google Store, Best Buy and as a carrier exclusive of Verizon where you can purchase it with monthly payments.
Moto Z2 Force
Lenovo’s Moto Z2 Force is its most expensive model to date – priced at around $756 to $800 – but is also very feature-laden. It sports a nice-sized P-OLED QHD display (16:9), Moto’s ShatterShield technology, the same powerful processor and GPU that the Pixel 2 XL uses, a new dual camera, and continues to use Moto Mods. Because Moto promised three years of models could use those Moto Mods, the design is a little dated-looking with its larger front bezels. The Z2 Force keeps its all-metal design and large round camera hump on the back that doubles as a stabilizer for the Moto Mods. Many users think the device looks better when it is sporting a Mod, even if it is just a decorative cover.
The Moto Z2 Force keeps its predecessor’s 5.5-inch P-OLED display with the standard 16:9 ratio, a QHD resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels, and a density of 535 PPI. It also allows you to wave your hand over the display for notifications. The Z2 Force uses Moto’s proprietary ShatterShield and this five-layer overlay helps to keep the display from shattering when dropping. While it works extremely well to protect the display, you need to use a screen protector to avoid scratching the plastic display.
The Lenovo-owned company went with the best processor it had available – the Snapdragon 835 octa-core with a quad-core clocked at 1.9GHz and another one clocked at 2.35GHz. This means the Adreno 540 GPU is on board to provide terrific graphics, be it movies or gaming. The Moto Z2 Force packs 4GB of DDR4 RAM and a base of 64GB of memory that is expandable via a microSD card. A 2,730mAh non-removable battery powers the Moto Z2 Force and comes with Moto’s Turbo Power charger. This is much smaller than the 3,500mAh battery found in the original Moto Z Force. By purchasing a 2,200mAh Moto Mod battery, you will get more power while also enjoying wireless charging.
The original Z Force had a great single lens camera, but Motorola wasted no time in giving the Z2 Force a dual-camera this year. It uses a dual 12-megapixel setup – the primary camera has an aperture of f/2.0, both laser and PDAF focusing, and a dual-toned LED flash. The secondary camera has a monochrome sensor to capture some great black and white photos. There is a 5-megapixel FFC camera with a smaller aperture of f/2.2 and a dual-tone LED flash for selfies and video chatting.
The Moto Z2 Force should satisfy most smartphone users, but you must be careful not to scratch its ShatterShield display – it is made from plastic, not glass – and we recommend a screen protector. I must remind you that, like the Pixel 2 XL, the Z2 Force lacks a 3.5mm headphone jack, even though the device is thick enough for one. Moto does supply a dongle that plugs into the Type-C port and converts it to a traditional 3.5mm headphone port. One of the best features of the Z2 Force is its ability to use Moto Mods – they can be as simple as an add-on battery or as advanced as a high-powered Hasselblad camera. While they do cost some money – some are very expensive – they do add a lot of value to your Moto Z2 Force. Moto is known for providing great radios, so if you live in an area that is difficult to grab a signal, you may want to give the Z2 Force a try. The phone measures in at 155.8 x 76 x 6.1mm and weighs in at 143 grams. It comes in three colors – Super Black, Fine Gold, and Lunar Grey with pricing ranging from $756 to $800 depending on where you purchase the device.
...And The Winner Is...
The Final Word
The Moto Z2 Force has many things going for it – ShatterShield, expandable memory, dual-cameras, Turbo Charging, great reception, and Moto Mods – but I am going to have to go with the Google Pixel 2 XL as the winner of this comparison.
The Google Pixel 2 XL does lack some desirable features – no 3.5mm headphone jack, no expandable memory, and no Hi-Res audio to go with its stereo speakers – but it does offer a larger display, IP67 dust and water resistance, one of the best mobile cameras around, newer BT, a much larger battery, and Android 8.0.
While the Moto Z2 Force is just slightly cheaper at $60 or so, you have to factor in the cost of the terrific Moto Mods – one of its best features. However, it too is missing the 3.5mm headphone jack, and the ShatterShield does work, but it also scratches easily, has a smaller display, a smaller battery, only offers splash resistance, and is running Android 7.1.1.