Motorola Moto X Force review - the incredible shatterproof smartphone
Processor: Octa-core 2.0GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 810, Screen Size: 5.4in, Screen resolution: 2,560x1,440, Rear camera: 21 megapixels, Storage: 32GB (24GB) / 64GB, Wireless data: 3G, 4G, Size: 150x78x7.6mm, Weight: 169g, Operating system: Android 5.1.1
Smashing your phone's screen is a moment that every smartphone user dreads. You can buy as many cases as you like to protect against dents and scratches, but there comes a time when it will inevitably slip out of our hands and fall, face down, onto the floor, shattering the screen into a million tiny pieces.
Thankfully, Motorola's saying 'No more!' to cracked smartphone screens, as its brand-new Moto X Force is being lauded as the world's first shatterproof smartphone. It's taken three years to come to fruition, but Motorola's so confident in the Force's display that it's guaranteeing the screen for four years of typical use, whether you drop it on the pavement or have it fall out of your pocket up a ladder.
I have to say the wait has definitely been worth it. It's so good, in fact, that you wonder how no-one else has done something like this before, but the Moto X Force is truly indestructible. It was able to survive repeated display-side down drops on a number of different surfaces, from wood, concrete and stone from a height of around two metres, all without incurring any damage to the screen whatsoever. Admittedly, the phone's metal frame did start to accumulate the odd dent or two from repeated whacks and smacks, but I'd say it's a small price considering the sheer resilience of the display.
The secret behind the screen's toughness is all down to what Motorola's calling its Moto ShatterShield technology. While most smartphones typically have three layers making up the display (the LCD or AMOLED panel, touchscreen digitiser and top glass layer), the Moto X Force has five. At the bottom is an aluminium core holding everything together, and on top of that is a 2,560x1,440 AMOLED panel. Next is a dual touch layer, just in case the first one happens to fail after a fall, which is then followed by an interior layer of glass. Sitting on top of all that is a sheet of hardened plastic, forming the main protective layer against scratches, bumps and dents.
Even better, that plastic layer is user-replaceable, so if you do happen to crack it, you won't have to pay a small fortune to get it fixed or send it off for repairs. That said, it's not like you can just whip off the screen at any given moment, as it's still firmly attached to the rest of the phone. However, Motorola's said it will play an active role in helping users to replace their screens in the form of published video tutorials and online advice.
Hopefully, though, you'll never have to do this, and that alone makes the Moto X Force one of the best phones of the year. Motorola hasn't stopped there either, as it's also water repellent. While not designed to be submersed in water, its nano-coating will survive an accidental spill, splash or a rain shower. It's a shame it's not completely waterproof, otherwise Motorola would have actually created the perfect smartphone, but this is still one of the most practical and hard-wearing smartphones you can buy today.
The quality of the display is equally excellent. At 5.4in, the Moto X Force has a smaller display than the Moto X Play and Moto X Style, but its 2,560x1,440 AMOLED panel makes it by far the best one of the lot. With 100% coverage of the sRGB colour gamut, almost perfect 0.01cd/m2 blacks and a high contrast ratio of 25,944:1, the Moto X Force's display looks stunning.
It's not as bright as the rest of Motorola's Moto X output this year, as its peak brightness only reaches 337.00cd/m2 rather than over 500cd/m2, but this is pretty normal for an AMOLED panel. Whites aren't quite the cleanest I've seen on AMOLED either, as the Moto X Force's default colour temperature is a little warm, but it's a pretty minor complaint overall.
Design and Moto Maker
If that wasn't enough, the Moto X Force is a bona fide flagship phone as well, so it has everything it needs to compete alongside the Samsung Galaxy S6 and its Android rivals. It feels gorgeous in the hand, and its ballistic nylon rear inspires a lot more confidence than the slippery edges of the glassy Galaxy S6. The rear still curves to sit comfortably in your palm, but the majority of the back is flat, giving it a rugged, rigid feel without looking like a plastic brick.
However, you can also opt for Horween pebbled leather or a grippy soft-touch texture at no extra cost through Motorola's Moto Maker service, adding that extra touch of class to an already seriously stylish handset. You can also add 64GB of storage for £35 through Moto Maker, but when both the standard 32GB version and 64GB model come with a microSD card slot that can take cards up to 2TB, paying extra for onboard storage seems like a waste of money.
Performance and Battery Life
The Moto X Force is also much faster than its Moto X siblings, as it comes with Qualcomm's top of the range octa-core Snapdragon 810 chip and 3GB of RAM. As a result, it breezed through our Geekbench 3 tests, scoring an impressive 1,248 in the single core test and 4,102 in the multicore test. This surpasses nearly all of its closest rivals, including the Sony Xperia Z5, HTC One M9 and LG G4. The Nexus 6P and Galaxy S6 family still sneak ahead, but you'd be hard pushed to notice the difference in day to day use. Android 5.1.1 flew by on the Moto X Force, and apps loaded in no time at all.
Add in a massive 3,740mAh battery that can last for a massive 15h 12m of continuous video playback with the screen set to 170cd/m2 and this Moto X is truly a force to be reckoned with. This is just 20 minutes shy of the Galaxy S6 Edge, which is currently our longest-lasting smartphone, giving it a full two hours on the normal S6, and four hours on the Xperia Z5.
Even better, the Moto X Force supports Motorola's Turbo Charge feature, which is really handy for topping up your battery just before you go out the door. It's incredibly quick to charge, too, reaching 20% battery in just 10 minutes, 70% in 30 minutes, and a massive 92% in an hour.
It took a little bit longer to charge that last 8%, coming in at just under an hour and a half altogether, but it's much faster than the Nexus 6P, which has a smaller 3,450mAh battery, can only get 15% in 10 minutes and 50% in 40 minutes. Even better, the Moto X Force works with wireless Qi and PMA chargers as well, making it even more convenient. Continues on Page 2