The number one thing you want to feel when you buy a smartphone is confidence – especially when it comes to Android devices. When it comes to the biggest smartphone OS in the world, there are so many players in the space that it sometimes feels like there are too many to keep track of. There are plenty of great handsets out there – but there are also a lot of mediocore ones. Even for someone entrenched in the tech world, it’s easy to become overwhelmed.
In those circumstances, Motorola’s new mid-range Moto X Force inspires more than confidence. It inspires staying power. It excels as a solid and user-friendly handset that’s well-priced, well-specced and well-positioned to deliver a great mid-tier Android experience.
Pitched as a phone that’s “tough enough to love you back,” the Moto X Force’s 5.4-inch Quad HD AMOLED display features Motorola’s own ShatterScreen tech which they assert will deliver both maximum protection and heightened clarity. While we admittedly didn’t go around trying to break the screen, the Moto X Force performed admirably the few times we did drop it, with no noticable marks of scratches.
That level of durability even extends to the other side of that display, where the Moto X Force is coated by a layer of obsidian-colored ballistic nylon. This nylon provides good grip when holding the device and also helps obscure and absorb any markings the phone would pick up on the reverse side. It’s an interesting choice of material – but one that pans out well for the handset.
Beneath all that protection, it’s touting a Snapdragon 810 processor, 3GBs of RAM, 32GBs internal storage and a massive 21-megapixel rear camera. In practice, the Moto X Force isn’t the fastest nor cleanest Android experience out there – but it’s feels fast enough for most purposes and it certainly feels fast enough for the pricetag.
The camera fares a little better. The camera app uses touch-based controls to allow for simpler control using just one finger. You can swipe left to unlock a tab of customization options, right to open your gallery, pinch to zoom and tap to capture an image.
It’s a neat control scheme that makes for a good experience once you’ve gotten your mind around how it operates. It certainly helps that the results are as good as they are. While megapixels aren’t everything – it feels like they’re well deployed here.
Motorola claim the phone will go the distance and deliver on the battery life of up to 48 hours – and for what it’s worth, we found it does come somewhat close to that number. With medium-to-heavy use, we managed to wring between 20 and 25 hours out of the Moto X Force. That said, the handset lacks the fast-charge feature that a lot of its competitors are shipping with – which is a notable downside to the phone.
All told, the Moto X Force is easy to recommend. On the software side, it’s an above average Android experience at a great price and when it comes to the hardware it’s packed with value. The camera, battery life and even ultra-durable form-factor deliver. Motorola should feel confident in what they’ve brought to market. This is a handset with more than just confidence on its side. They’ve got a mid-tier winner on their hands.