Motorola Moto X Force review
|Review: November 2015|
In a nutshell: Motorola's Moto X Force is a super-hero phone, claiming a shatterproof screen and the largest battery of any phone we've ever reviewed. Not only is it invulnerable to attack, but it comes with a superb 5.4 inch screen, a Snapdragon 810 processor, and plenty of onboard storage. In plain black, it looks unremarkable, but there are plenty of customisation options available, if you enjoy dressing up.
Today's best buy: Motorola Moto X Force Black from Amazon (£499)
Design and style
The Moto X Force is Motorola's latest flagship phone, and its name is something we like a lot. After all, who wouldn't want the X Force on their side? It's a tough phone for sure, being both water resistant and having what Motorola claims to be the world's first shatterproof display. This gets the name ShatterShield.
Please note that you should say ShatterShield and X Force an octave lower than your normal voice, to get the full effect.
Let's be up front with you. We haven't conducted any drop tests with this phone, nor have we wielded any heavy objects in close proximity. We can't tell you with certainty if the phone really is indestructible. Many phones these days come with Gorilla Glass, waterproofing of one kind, or are made of aircraft-grade aluminium. But two facts remain true. 1) If you're clumsy, you should buy a case. 2) Most phones get replaced after a couple of years because their owners fancy something new.
Moving on, let's see what this phone is capable of when it's not being a super-hero.
The X Force looks very much like the X Play and X Style. It's a large phone, and heavy according to the specs, but actually feels quite light in the hand. That's because its weight is spread over a large area. It's a thinner phone than the bulky X Style, but it's not as thin as many phones these days. It does have a curved back, which makes it feel thinner than it actually is.
There isn't too much more to say about the way the phone looks. The standard version of the phone is Black Ballistic Nylon, which is to say a plain black textured surface. It's not a look that we rate highly, although you can customise the back panel with a choice of materials and colours.
Quad HD display
The screen measure 5.4 inches and is a Quad HD AMOLED display with a very high pixel count of 2560 x 1440, or 540ppi. It's a very high resolution screen, and the AMOLED technology generates super dark blacks, making for a superb overall result.
It's shatterproof too. Don't forget that.
Snapdragon 810 processor
As befits a flagship smartphone, the X Force uses one of the very fastest processors available - the 8-core Snapdragon 810. This powers several of the top-performing phones of 2015. With an Adreno 430 GPU and 3GB of RAM, this configuration can handle any app you care to run, including all the latest 3D games at full frame rates. It's also a powerful multi-tasker.
We're pleased to find that there's ample onboard storage too - a choice of 32GB or 64GB, plus a microSD card slot. This is capable of handling memory cards up to a massive 2,000GB.
Motorola releases phones with almost-pure Android, in this case Android 5.1.1 Lollipop. This should help to ensure that an upgrade to the next version is made available at the earliest possible date.
There are a couple of additions though. The Moto Assist feature adapts the phone's behaviour according to whether you're at home, in the car, etc. For example, in the car it will read your texts aloud. At night it can silence the ringer automatically. It's a useful feature that adds functionality without ever becoming annoying.
The phone also has voice recognition.
21 megapixel camera
The X Force features the same excellent pair of cameras as the other Moto X phones of 2015.
The main rear-facing camera has a 21 megapixel HDR sensor and an f/2.0 aperture, enabling it to capture pin-sharp images even in poor lighting. It's fast to focus too, thanks to Phase Detect Auto-Focus (PDAF), and the two-tone dual flash with auto colour correlation is handy after dark.
It can record 4K video, at 30 frames per second, and can capture slow motion video too.
The front camera has a 5 megapixel sensor, and is unusually good at night-time photography, thanks to a front flash.
No surprises here. This is a 4G phone with GPS, and also includes fast Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1 LE, USB, a headphone jack and NFC.
Smartphone battery life is the bane of modern living, and Motorola has tackled this problem head-on by installing an extremely heavy-duty battery in the Moto X Force. With 3760mAh of juice available, this is the largest battery we've recorded on any phone to date. To put it in context, Samsung's Galaxy S6 phone has just a 2550mAh battery, with similar hardware to power.
This means that the X Force will significantly outlast many rival phones, with probably 2 days of use possible between charges. When it's finally time to recharge, its turbo charge feature enables a 15 minute charge to last for up to 15 hours of use. It's also compatible with Qi wireless charging.
Conclusion - a very high-powered phone
The Moto X Force is the best of Motorola's X-series phones of 2015. It's a real super-hero, thanks to its shatterproof high-resolution screen. It's a moderately bulky phone though, and we find its styling rather uninspiring, although it's possible to add some glamour through customisation.
There's no doubting the power of this phone however, with its Snapdragon 810 processor, 32GB storage, and excellent 21 megapixel camera. That extra-large battery will keep it fighting against evil for longer too.
And yet, we feel that 4 stars is the correct rating for the X Force. Although everything is good on paper, in the flesh, it just didn't sparkle for us. Rivals like the Galaxy S6 Edge, LG G4 or HTC One M9 have far more personality. This is a personal preference of course. The shatterproof screen and long battery life may be enough to sway you towards the X Force.
Motorola Moto X Force features include:
- Android 5.1.1 (Lollipop)
- 21 megapixel auto HDR camera with phase-detect autofocus and dual LED flash, 4K video capture
- 5 megapixel front camera with flash
- Display: 5.4 inches, AMOLED, 2560 x 1440 pixels, ShatterShield
- Processor: 2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 8-core CPU, Adreno 430 GPU, Natural Language Processor, Contextual Computing Processor, 3GB RAM
- Memory: 32GB/64GB built-in storage plus microSD memory card slot (supports cards up to 2TB)
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11a/g/b/n/ac + MIMO, Bluetooth 4.1 LE, micro-USB, 3.5mm audio jack, NFC
- Networks: 4G LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 17, 20, 25, 28, 40), UMTS/HSPA+, GSM/GPRS/EDGE
- Size: 150 x 78 x 9.2 mm
- Weight: 169g
- Battery: 3760mAh
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Motorola Moto X Force user reviews
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Average rating from 4 reviews:
Reviewed by LM1980
on 24th May 2016
I broke my Moto X Force :-(
It fell of the roof I was working on and hit solid concrete. Funny thing though is that the screen didn't break, just the rest of the phone.
Reviewed by Moto X Force user
on 1st Feb 2016
I find this phones runs better on 5.1.1 than the Marshmallow 6.0 update. I've tried both and prefer 5.1.1.
Reviewed by LM1980
on 31st Jan 2016
Putting things simply - this phones ticks all the boxes a smartphone should be.
Good camera for a phone.
Good screen quality.
Big screen but not unwieldy in the hand, might not be as thin as some due to battery size.
Battery life - awesome. Off charge at 06:00, by 21:15 only used 40% and I been using it with mixed heavy use. Fast charges from 60% to 100% in 20 minuets. Totally great.
Fast with no real lag issues - I've had all apps opened and the phone never slows down.
Signal coverage - comparing to an iPhone and other devices on the same network this phone managers to provide better coverage.
Screen comes with 4 year warranty as it is suppose to be really tough.
Near pure Android and now with Marshmallow, it just makes it even better.
S21 gives this phone 4 out of 5 as it lacks personality. Why - it's an inanimate object. Is it better than phones like the Galaxy S6, HTC M9, IPhone 6/6S and LG G4? I think so as it manages to do what they can at the same speed but lasts (with my usage) 2.5 days instead of almost 1 day.
Please note I am an iPhone user since 2007 until I. Role my last iPhone before Christmas 2015 where I got a Moto G 3rd gen as a temporary device. I was really pleased with how Android has come on since I last tried Android (Froyo & Gingerbread). Android Lollipop and now Marshmallow have converted me. The Moto G 3rd gen also converted me. A phone of such low specs managed to do what my iPhone and a Galaxy S6 could without a major issue (the Galaxy S6 performed badly running one app I use daily for work). I got the Nexus 5X but battery life wasn't any better than the Moto G 3rd gen. I took the plunge and got the Moto X Force and I am not disappointed. Apple have lost a customer for not being innovative enough and charging a fortune for what they produce (I've spent roughly £3850 on IPhones as I buy outright). Yes the Moto X Force costs, now £480. I traded in several phones for cash and the phone cost me £150 & £10 for a good case.
Please buy with confidence.
5 out of 5 Motorola. A perfect mix of features and battery life and being rugged enough for light misuse.
Reviewed by Cleave
on 28th Nov 2015
I have had this phone for just over a week now, i am very pleased with it to say the least.
It is very fast with no sign of lag, the camera is easily as good as any of the flag ship phones & beats the majority of them.
Benchmarks it even beats the galaxy s6 on some of them, & is second to none in some as well.
I know it uses the dreaded Snapdragon 810 processor but i have found it runs cooler than my old galaxy s4 & my Htc one m7.
I would recommend this phone to anyone who would consider a nexus device as its very similar with the added bonus of SD card support.
In fact i would personally take this phone over any available at this time.