First Impressions: The Moto X Force – Moto’s Crash Test Dummy?
It cannot be easy being the Moto X Force. Ever since
Motorola (scratch that, we mean Moto by Lenovo) announced the device, plots were being hatched to damage it in the worst manner possible. Hitting it with a hammer, stamping on it with hob nailed books and dropping it from a great height were just some of the options discussed. And all this – and worse – was duly done to it when the device was finally launched in India earlier this month.
If that sounds a little extreme, well, that is the price you pay for being “the phone with the world’s first shatterproof display,” to use the official line. Mind you, even without that with a pixel density of 540 ppi, the Moto X Force is a formidable device – it packs in a 5.4 inch quad HD AMOLED display, is powered by a Snapdragon 810 processor with 3GB RAM, a 21.0-megapixel camera and comes in 32 GB and 64 GB storage variations (both supporting memory cards), with pretty much every connectivity option you can think of (4G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, GPS). Round that off with a water resistant body, a 3760 mAh battery, and stock Android on top of it all (5.1 on the unit we received, but set for an update in best Moto tradition), and the device seems quite a formidable proposition.
And it is by no means bad looking either. Hey, it is form that part of the Lenovo block labelled Moto, so it comes with those curved edges, slightly convex top and base, and smooth sides that are a Moto trademark. There is a new touch about the front, though – you have a twin speaker grid on the ‘chin’ below the display. The phone rests on what seems to be a metallic frame – the left side is bare, the top has the 3.5 mm audio jack with the SIM card/memory card slot next to it, and the base has the micro USB port. The power/display button and volume rocker are on the right in a very slightly recessed section. The back has a textured finish similar to what we saw on the Moto G (3rd edition) and the camera and flash as well as the Moto ‘M’ icon are on a metal plate on the upper part. At 149.8 mm in length, it is surprisingly compact for a device with a 5.4 inch display, and at 7.6 mm at its thinnest point, it is relatively slim too – although the back curves out, increasing the thickness to 9.2 mm at other points. And well, 167 grammes is not too heavy either. No, it won’t give the original Moto X sleepless nights in the looks department, but it is a smart looking device which is comfortable to hold, and has a very solid feel to it…
Wait, did we just say “solid”?
For, that is understating matters a bit. The most talked-about feature of the Moto X Force is not on most conventional spec sheets. It is the Moto ShatterShield, “the world’s first shatterproof display” as Motorola terms it, and which comes with a four year warranty against shattering and cracking. Which of course, has pretty much resulted in the device being subjected to the sort of treatment that seems reserved for one’s worst enemies. We heard it had smashed against lamp posts, dropped from anything from a table to a few floors, kicked and even hit with a hammer. The Force has veritably had tech sadism unleashed on its handsome person.
And it survived most of it. Even the unit we had received had been to the wars (you can spot the odd dent on the back if you look closely) but it still took more than a dozen falls in its stride, grinned back amiably when stamped on, and stoically bore being thumped on the Starbucks counter when we demanded coffee. It finally gave way when it got hit against a sharpish table edge, but by that stage, even we were feeling like jerks. I mean, doing this to a foe is one thing. To a phone? Quite another. In the end, we were left with a severely dented display that was leaking light but doggedly kept working. Take it from us: this display ain’t giving way until you totally try to destroy it. Mind you, the rest of the phone seems a bit more vulnerable than the display – we saw the frame picking up dents.
So after three hectic days with our first Moto X Force, (the kind folks at Moto are getting us another and the despairing looks they gave us when they took away the damaged X Force made us feel like Phoney Murderers), what do we have to say? Well, just that it is pretty much one of the toughest phones we have seen.
Great specs? Yep. Decent design? Yep. That display as tough as they say it is? Yep.
The big question is whether all this digital and physical muscle is worth the Rs 49,999 price tag the Moto X Force carries in India. We will be answering it, of course, in our review. But in the meantime, our first impressions of the Moto X Force can be summarised thus: that display is a sight for sore eyes, and will make arms that try to break it just as sore as well. Stay tuned!