While it's not as well-known as the Apple iPhone X or the Samsung Galaxy S9, the Motorola Moto Z2 Force should be on your short list for your next smartphone, especially if you care about durability. That's because the Z2 Force (currently $500) emerged as the toughest phone in our first annual drop test of a dozen handsets.
Motorola built the Moto Z2 Force to be tough. It boasts a ShatterShield display that offers five layers of protection, so it's much more durable than your typical Gorilla Glass screen. The phone's body is made of 7000 series aluminum, an alloy generally used in aerospace, and is composed of zinc, magnesium and other metals.
According to Motorola's site, "the display and embedded lens are warrantied against shattering and cracking for four years from the original date of purchase. This phone is not shockproof or designed to withstand all damage from dropping." And yet the Z2 Force passed our drop tests with flying colors.
For our first-ever toughness tests, we dropped the Z2 Force — as well as smartphones from Apple, Samsung, LG, Huawei, Google and OnePlus — onto wood and concrete from heights of up to 6 feet. The Z2 Force ended up with a toughness score of 8.5 out of 10, the best among the phones we tested.
In total, there were seven tests. We dropped the phone so that it landed on its face onto plywood from heights of 4 feet and 6 feet. Next, we dropped it from 4 feet onto concrete twice — once so it landed on its bottom edge, and once so it landed on its face. We then repeated these two tests, this time from a height of 6 feet.
After all of these tests, the only damage to the Z2 Force consisted of a few scuff marks along its bottom edge, from where it landed on concrete. Most other phones, including the iPhone X and the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, had screens that were completely shattered. Even the LG X Venture, a rugged phone, saw its screen crack.
Moto Z2 Force (after drop testing)However, although the display is shatterproof, it's not scratchproof; as others have noted, the ShatterShield display is prone to scratches from fingernails.
The final part of our toughness testing involved dropping the phone from a height of 4 feet into a water-filled toilet. Here, the Z2 Force did not do so well. While the phone has a "water-repellent nano-coating," it's designed to protect the phone only against "accidental spills, splashes or light rain," according to Motorola.
Unlike other smartphones, such as the iPhone X and the Samsung Galaxy S9, which can be submerged in up to 1 meter (3 feet) of water for 30 minutes, the Moto Z has no such protection. Not surprisingly, then, the phone conked out shortly after falling into the toilet. However, after it dried out, the Z2 started working again, so the damage was only temporary.
The Z2 Force is part of a family of phones that work with Moto Mods — accessories such as a camera, speakers, a projector and a battery — that magnetically attach to the back of the phone. It also has a 5.5-inch OLED display, dual 12-megapixel cameras and more than 10 hours of battery life. But, to us, those aren't the most important features.
Credit: Tom's Guide