After its comeback in the Indian market, Motorola has rejigged its smartphone portfolio in an admirable manner. Unlike other phone makers who have overlapping devices in various price brackets, the Lenovo-owned brand has different models targeting different price bands. But after establishing itself in the respective segments, it has now started spawning its series to multiple devices. Same is the case with its flagship Moto X series which comprises the X Play (review) and X Style (review) catering to the mid-range and premium segment, and the duo were recently joined by a third member – the X Force.
Unlike its siblings however, the X Force brings forth a unique proposition – an unbreakable screen. Thanks to Motorola’s unique technology, the brand claims that its latest flagship’s display won’t break even if it falls on a hard surface. We’ve put it to test ourselves more than a dozen times and that certainly seems to be the case.
But with the price tag of Rs 49,999, the Motorola Moto X Force seems to be competing directly against some premium options such as the Samsung Galaxy S7 (review | FAQs) and Apple iPhone 6s. So, does it have enough in it to compete against them? Let’s dive into our review to find out.
Specs at a glance
|Resolution||1440 x 2560 pixels|
|CPU||Octa core, 2 GHz, Snapdragon 810|
|Internal memory||64 GB|
|External memory||Up to 2 TB|
|Capacity||3760 mAH, Li-Polymer, Non removable|
|Primary camera||21 MP|
|Secondary camera||5 MP|
|Network support||Single SIM 4G|
|Other options||Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS|
|Operating system||Android 5.1.1 Lollipop|
Display: the unbreakable
Size: 5.4 Inch
Resolution: 1440 x 2560 pixels
Display Type: AMOLED
Pixel Density: 544 ppi
The halo feature of the Moto X Force is its display and that’s why we’ll start our review by talking about it. Motorola has employed its proprietary ShatterShield technology to ensure that the screen doesn’t shatter with drops. As per a study by Motorola, dropping phones is a common phenomenon, and results in the display being broken more often than not. We have been victims of this ourselves, and the brand has taken complete steps to ensure that’s not the case with its flagship offering.
To ensure that the display panel remains smashproof, the brand has employed five layers. The bottom layer is the aluminium core, which holds all the components together, and above it, you’ll find the AMOLED display panel. This is followed by a dual-touch layer. The availability of two touchscreens makes sure that the touch inputs are recorded even if the primary touch layer is conked off. On top of it, you get an interior glass, which is followed by an external layer. This layer is akin to a screen protector and can be replaced manually as well. However, it attracts fingerprints like moths to a flame, and gets scratched easily.
Talking about the display, the Moto X Force features a rich resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 pixels. Thanks to dense pixel density and the use of AMOLED panel, the phablet offers sharp text and colours are nice as well. However, due the use of multiple layers, the display doesn’t look natural. This also affects its sunlight legibility.
Motorola must be commended with trying to make the Moto X Force as robust as possible. The display panel remains unbreakable even after several tries, and while the body isn’t shatterproof, it’s quite solid. We’ve dropped the phone from multiple heights and even different surfaces – marble, concrete, etc. and it has came unscathed every time. In fact, the company is so confident that the display won’t be smashed that it’s given a four-year warranty for the screen.
Design: solid build
Dimensions: 149.8 x 78 x 9.2 mm
Weight: 169 grams
At first glance, the Motorola Moto X Force seems to follow its siblings in terms of the design aesthetics, apart from the fact that it has a slightly smaller footprint. Both the Moto X Style and the X Play are built around screens measuring 5.7-inches and 5.5-inches respectively, while the X Force is fitted with a display panel sized 5.4-inches.
That doesn’t help in the handling of the device however, as unlike its brothers or even in comparison to other phones of its size, the Moto X Force is quite wide. As noted in our first impressions as well, at 78mm, it’s certainly among the widest phones out there. This means that you’d need to use both your hands to use the device easily.
When you take a look at the X Force closely, then you’ll notice several differences between the phablet and its siblings. The 5.4-inch display graces the front, and is accompanied by an earpiece, a couple of sensors and a front-facing snapper above along with an LED flash. There aren’t any capacitive keys at the bottom, since like all Motorola devices, the navigations keys are available virtually. Though you do get two speaker grille below the screen.
Adding to the looks is a metallic frame around the edges of the Moto X Force. The power button with ribbed texture is available towards the right, whereas the volume keys are present on the left spine. The top houses the audio socket along with an ejectable slot, while the micro-USB port is at the base.
The curved back helps in offsetting the wide profile of the Motorola Moto X Force to some extent, and it also makes it ergonomic. The rear panel features ballistic nylon that gives it a rugged feel. While it’s a matter of personal preference, we didn’t really like the texture at the back – and it also doesn’t look as upmarket as the texture available on other Moto X siblings.
Tipping the scales at 169g, the Moto X Force is also heavier than most smartphones out there. Another thing to note is that while the screen is sturdy, the body isn’t. The metal frame got several scuff marks during the period of our testing, which takes away the sheen of the device. Agreed, that the real-world usage won’t involve banging the Moto X Force every now and then, but you must know that even if it slips off from your hand inadvertently, the screen might not be shattered, the body will definitely get affected.
Another thing which we find odd is the fact that the mobile misses out on water-proofing capabilities even though it’s pegged as a durable offering. Thankfully though, it’s water-resistant and won’t be affected by minor splashes.
Software: the goodness of gooey Marshmallow in its purest form
Operating System: Android
OS Version: 5.1.1, Lollipop
In terms of software and camera, the Moto X Force is pretty much identical to its brothers, so we’d urge you to check our reviews to get all the details. But, we certainly can take you through the basics.
The Moto X Force comes with Android 5.1 Lollipop out of the box, but in line with Motorola’s promise, the device got an update to the latest iteration of Android, i.e. 6.0 Marshmallow. However, you won’t notice too much difference between the interfaces of the two versions, since the newer build brings changes under the hood.
Motorola has also not tweaked with the UI at all, and you get vanilla Android experience. There’s no bloatware either, though you do get some useful apps under the parent app called Moto. These apps are Moto Display, Actions and Voice – which add a lot of value to the user experience. Moto Display is definitely useful, and the idea is so good that both LG and Samsung has tried to offer it with their always-on display feature.
Camera: same as its siblings
Primary camera: 21 MP
Flash: Dual-color LED Flash
Secondary camera: 5 MP
In the optics department, the Moto X Force flaunts a 21-megapixel sensor at the back and a 5MP front-facing shooter. Both the snappers get help from an LED flash to illuminate dim environments. The camera interface offered by Motorola phones remain barebones, to the extent that some users might not like it at all. While the interface is good, due to the minimalism, it also looses out on several options available in most camera apps. You can only change picture or video sizes, toggle HDR and LED flash with the available camera app.
As mentioned in our Moto X Play camera review, the sensor employed by Motorola is pretty good and is the best among all the brand’s offerings. The same impressions continue with the X Force – colours are accurate, details are nice, in most conditions. HDR mode is pretty good as well, though the camera struggles in low-light environments.
Take a dekko at a few images captured by the primary camera on the Moto X Force.
The X Force can also capture videos at 4K resolution, as well as slow-motion videos at 720p. The front snapper results in decent selfies, and the availability of an LED flash is a big plus.
While the camera is decent, it fails to justify the price tag. That wasn’t a case with its siblings, since the pricing wasn’t as high. The Moto X Force on the other hand, is competing with devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S7, which simply blows it out of water when it comes to the imaging prowess.
Performance: the force is strong with this one
CPU: Octa core, 2 GHz, Snapdragon …
GPU: Adreno 430
RAM: 3 GB
Memory: 64 GB + Up to 2 TB
SIM Slots: Single SIM , GSM
Battery: 3760 mAH
Keeping up with flagship credentials, Motorola has packed the Moto X Force with top-of-the-line hardware. Inside ticks Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 SoC, which now can be considered older, since its successor, the Snapdragon 820 has started appearing in latest-gen premium devices. But the CPU is quite capable, thanks to its four high-power cores running at 2.0GHz and other four cores tuned at 1.5GHz. Combined along with 3GB of RAM, there’s enough firepower to ensure a smooth sailing for the handset. Be it doing basic things like moving between screens or intensive tasks such as running multiple apps together and switching between them… the phone doesn’t show any trace of lag.
Gaming is also a superb experience, and thanks to the Adreno 430, graphics also remain smooth. While we don’t have any complaint about the performance aspect of the smartphone, thermal efficiency is a different story altogether. The Snapdragon 810 is quite infamous for its heating issues, and the X Force also suffers from that. Within 10 to 15 minutes of strenuous usage, the phablet becomes quite warm. Thankfully though, it doesn’t reach the uncomfortable levels.
The available storage isn’t much of a concern with the Moto X Force, since the brand is selling it in 32GB or 64GB editions. Our demo unit of 64GB storage offered around 53.2GB to use. You can also top it up further up to 2TB, since the device features an expansion slot.
The Moto X Force supports 4G connectivity on its single SIM, along with the standard set of connectivity options – Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, NFC and GPS. The calling quality is quite good, and both sides were able to hear each other even in crowded environments.
The Moto X Force features a mammoth 3,760mAh battery, which is more than 3,630mAh capacity offered by its sibling, the X Play. In our day-to-day usage, the phone easily lasted a day, and we were able to run in though the evening, even when we had extreme usage with gaming, navigation and tethering. Having said that, the battery life remained a notch below the X Play, which might be due to the fact that the more juice is being utilised to push double the number of pixels on the screen, in comparison.
In our test, the phone was able to play an HD video continuously for a little over 14 hours. The bundled Turbo Charger is extremely effective, and was able to juice up the Moto X Force in a jiffy – within an hour tops.
The Moto X Force is Motorola’s most loaded and priciest offering yet. Its 32GB edition will cost Rs 49,999, while the 64-gig version will set you back by Rs 53,999. For your money, you get an unbreakable smartphone with powerful guts, impressive battery life and a decent pair of snappers.
However, it’s hard to justify its pricing apart from the fact that you get a smashproof screen. The phablet misses out on premium features such as optical image stabilisation for the camera, a fingerprint scanner and doesn’t have dual-SIM support either. In comparison, the Samsung Galaxy S7 and its slightly pricier sibling, the S7 edge (review) offer more features. You can also go for the Google Nexus 6P (review) in case you want a large-screen experience along with the latest Android iteration, which is available for almost Rs 10,000 lower.
The Motorola Moto X Force isn’t for every one – and that’s apparent from its USP as well as its pricing. But the shatterproof display in itself could be enough to appeal to those who want a rough-and-tough phone that doesn’t skimp on any other aspects either.
Update (Apr 19th): The Moto X Force is now available at Rs 34,999 and 37,999 for the 32GB and 64GB editions respectively. With this price tag, the smartphone is a more attractive proposition and also stands out from the competition.
Editor’s rating: 7 / 10
- Shatterproof display
- Top-notch internals
- Marshmallow with all its vanilla goodness
- Reliable battery life
- Camera isn’t as good as the competition
- No fingerprint scanner
- A costly proposition
Photos by Raj Rout