6 things you'll love about the Moto Z Droids — and 6 you won't

The new Moto Z Droid and Moto Z Droid Force are now available from Verizon and Motorola. They’re some of the strongest Android phones on the market. Should you buy one? These 12 pros and cons could make or break your decision.

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6 things you WON'T love about Moto Z Droid, Z Force Droid

1. Moto Z Droid, Z Force Droid are Verizon exclusives

If you have an eye on either new Droid, but you're not a Verizon Wireless customer in the United States, you're out of luck. Both the Moto Z Droid and F Force Droid are available only on Verizon. You could buy the device off-contract and then unlock it. But there's no guarantee it will perform as expected on another compatible network.

2. Moto Z Droid USB C port means no audio jack or micro USB

With its two new Droids, Motorola decided to embrace what will likely be the future USB port of choice for the majority of smartphone makers, except for Apple: the USB C port. That's a good thing in some ways. For example, the port is symmetric on both sides, so you can plug in USB C accessories without checking the orientation. And it supports a wider variety of data transfer types, including audio.

However, the decision also comes with some inconvenient consequences. Neither Droid Z has an audio port, for example — an omission Apple has been senselessly blasted for, even though it hasn't even released any device without such a jack. They both come with a 3.5mm-to-USB-C adaptor, so you don't need to buy any other accessories to use your current headphones. But that's one more cable to cart. And you won't be able to use any micro USB cords or accessories with the Moto Zs without another adaptor. 

3. Moto Z Force Droid ‘Shattershield’ display far from scratch proof

Motorola claims the Shattershield screen on the Z Force Droid is shatterproof. However, devices like the Droid Z Force with ruggedized displays also have a dirty secret, as demonstrated in the video below.  

To protect the displays on these rugged phones, their manufacturer use a soft top-layer to protect the glass beneath. Unfortunately, the soft layer is much more susceptible to scratches than the Gorilla Glass that's used in the displays of many other non-ruggedized screens. So while the Moto Z Force Droid's display won't shatter easily, it will certainty scratch.

4. Moto Mods are clunky and awkward

With the exception of Motorola's Style Shell back cover, which is simply an aesthetic accessory, its Mods are somewhat unwieldy and they add bulk. This is especially noticeable when used along with the Moto Z Force Droid, because its big battery means it's already somewhat thick and heavy.

The JBL SoundBoost Speaker, for example, more than doubles the thickness of both phones. It's not something you want to carry in a pocket, in other words. And the Incipio offGRID Power Pack battery extender adds significant weight. This is less of a problem with the more diminutive Moto Z Droid, because it's so thin. But Z Force Droid feels too big when equipped with these Mods.

You also need to remove and replace any case you use to protect your Moto Z Droid whenever you want to use a Mod, because cases won't fit over them. All that on and off gets old fast and over time discourages Mod use. And many of the Mods are as large or larger than the Droid Zs, so they can be a burden to carry with you.

5. Moto Z Droid, Z Force Droid don't support wireless power

The majority of high-end Android smartphones today support some form of wireless charging, but neither of the new Droids can power up wirelessly — at least not unless you purchase and attach the $60 Incipio Mod. This lack of internal wireless power support will seem particularly unfortunate to consumers who've already invested in wireless charging accessories.

moto z force droid front back side Motorola

Motorola's Moto Z Force Droid

6. Moto Z Droid isn't water resistant

The Z Force Droid may be ruggedized, thanks to its Shattershield display, and water repellent. But the Moto Z Droid is just as prone to water damage as any other Droid of years past. That's a disadvantage for Motorola when compared to other modern rugged Android phones, such as Samsung's Galaxy S7 Active, which is both shatter- and water-resistant — though it's also much more bulky and not nearly as stylish as the Moto Zs.

Both the Moto Z Droid and Moto Z Force Droid are now available on VerizonWireless.com and Motorola's Moto Maker site. The Z Droid costs $624 (32GB) or $674 (64GB) off contract, while the Z Force Droid retails for $720 (32GB) or $770 (64GB). 

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Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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