Facebook’s first smart speaker could go for the Echo Show’s jugular with massive 15-inch screen

“Instead” of voice recognition functionality, Facebook’s rookie smart speaker effort is tipped to focus on a gargantuan 15-inch display.

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Wallflower Release Date, Price and Specs – CNET

The Wallflower is a $ 170 Wi-Fi-enabled device that sends you alerts when the stove is on and you’re not home.
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Moto Z2 Force hands-on: I can’t believe it’s not breakable

Motorola’s latest flagship has a shatterproof screen and a crazy-fast processor, but at first glance you can’t really tell.

Perhaps the biggest compliment and criticism one can level at the Moto Z2 Force is that it doesn’t look unbreakable, or even particularly new. From the front, you’d have to squint pretty hard to tell it apart from the $ 408 Moto Z2 Play released in June, and its resemblance to the flagship Moto Z Force Droid Edition released last year is uncanny.

This is in large part due to the adherence to Motorola’s increasingly busy Mods accessory lineup, which snap on to the back of the phone with a satisfying click that continues to impress even a year later.

But the Moto Z2 Force does have some notable improvements both over its predecessor, which was held to Verizon, and to the Moto Z2 Play, which we lauded with praise earlier this summer.

Hands-on video

For the quick take on the Moto Z2 Force, be sure to watch our hands-on video above. After you get a feel for the phone, read through for our full initial impressions!

Moto Z2 Force Hardware

You’d be hard-pressed to tell this unbreakable screen isn’t glass.

For starters, though the Moto Z2 Force resembles all the Moto Z phones before it, its default color is Super Black, which finds Motorola jumping on the Matte Black trend that began with the Galaxy S7 and OnePlus 3T. While there are other colors — Fine Gold, and a T-Mobile-exclusive Lunar Grey — the Super Black model is really the one to get.

On the front of the phone, you’ll find the Quad HD Super AMOLED display, which looks great and gets extremely bright — its automatic brightness mechanism makes the phone quite usable in the sunshine, something you definitely couldn’t say about the original. But the real victory here is what you can’t see: the seams between the company’s ShatterShield layer and the display itself. What began as a fairly opaque differentiator on the Moto X Force was improved on the Moto Z Force and is now completely integrated into the chassis on the Moto Z2 Force.

While there is a small border when you turn the screen into the light, the gap is gone, and that’s probably the biggest advantage over the Forces of past. I didn’t get a chance to use the Moto Z Force for any length of time, and I definitely didn’t get to drop it, scratch it, or attempt to inflict damage to the ShatterShield screen in any way, it’s nice to know that should my clumsiness cause a fall onto cement, the screen will stay in tact.

That said, ShatterShield is not glass but a plastic-like compound that, though much more resistant to breakage than glass, is also more susceptible to scratches. In our limited time with the phone, both Andrew Martonik and I racked up some pretty nasty scratches on the screen that, while not visible to the naked eye, can be seen when tilted to the light. This isn’t a great first impression.

The phone also retains the more rounded front fingerprint sensor that debuted with the Moto G5 series earlier in the year, though Motorola’s made some improvements to the unlock speed by increasing the surface area of the reader itself. We also find the “Moto” logo on the bottom of the device instead of the top when compared to the Moto Z2 Play, along with a reversal of front-facing camera and flash placements. All very subtle.

Around back, the only real difference between the Z2 Force and Play is the new dual camera setup. The camera array, which we’ll deal with shortly, consists of 12MP sensors, as opposed to a single sensor on the Moto Z2 Play, but other than that you’d be hard-pressed to tell the two apart. Even the 6.1mm thickness is only 0.1mm greater than the Moto Z2 Play.

Despite being thicker than the Z2 Play, though, the new Force does not have a headphone jack. A USB-C to 3.5mm headphone jack is included in the box, but you’ll be turning to Bluetooth or a dongle should you need to get tunes from the thing — or listen to the single front-facing speaker, which is just as tinny and underwhelming as most phone speakers. C’est la vie.

Moto Z2 Force Specs

We’ve got a pretty thorough listing of specs, so let’s get to the finer points. Like most flagships this year, the Moto Z2 Force comes with a Snapdragon 835 platform, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage — at least in the U.S. International variants, such as those sold in Brazil, will come with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, while China is getting an extra-special 6GB/128GB version, because of course it is.

Despite looking like last year’s model, this is one of 2017′s most powerful phones.

Along with the higher-resolution screen and faster internals, this is definitely Motorola’s most powerful-ever phone, which is great to see, but the original Moto Z Force was no slouch, either. The company appears, however, to be resting on the strength of its Moto Mods ecosystem, in which there are four separate batteries, to shore up its significantly smaller battery this time around. The original Z Force was a scant 7mm thick, with a 3500mAh cell; its sequel knocks 0.9mm from its waist and 22% from its battery capacity in the process. Not a great trade-off, in my opinion, even with the addition of a Moto Mod.

We’ve also got Qualcomm’s X16 baseband chip, which means Gigabit LTE support on T-Mobile and, in some parts of the country, AT&T. So far, I’ve experienced excellent speeds using the Verizon model, though nothing surpassing 150Mbps on my home network of Telus.

Moto Z2 Force Cameras

No optical image stabilization is a huge disappointment.

Motorola went with two rear camera sensors this time around, one color and one monochrome, the purpose of which is to offer depth effects and a true black-and-white mode.

Both sensors are identical 12MP Sony IMX386 parts paired with f/2.0 lenses. Unlike last year’s Moto Z lineup, neither lens is supported by optical image stabilization, an enormous oversight and a decision that was probably not taken lightly given the advantage it would bestow to low-light imagery. The lenses are also narrower than the Moto Z and Z Force: f/2.0 lets in less light than f/1.8, so it would be incumbent on Motorola to figure out how to use both cameras at once to improve low-light performance. We’ll see.

Of course, Motorola has largely painted itself into a corner with its design, since the camera equipment has to fit into a narrow protrusion near the top middle of the phone, but the reality is still disappointing.

Moto Z2 Force camera samples. Left to right: Regular, Depth, Black-and-white

So is the trade-off worth it? It’s not clear if the phone uses both cameras at all times, or only when calling the depth effect, which is accessed through a separate mode, but so far I’m impressed with the photos I’ve taken. Moreover, the dedicated monochrome sensor allows for true black-and-white photos straight from the sensor, something that only Huawei has offered until now with its Mate and P series. It’s an interesting decision given how OnePlus and LG have differentiated themselves by using two color sensors at different focal lengths, and it remains to be seen whether Motorola made the right choice.

Of course, the company is also banking on users buying (or being gifted) the Hasselblad Moto Mod, which offers a larger sensor and 10x optical zoom, alongside a Xenon flash.

Moto Z2 Force Software

On the software side, the experience is largely identical to what you’ll find on the Moto Z2 Play: Android 7.1.1 with some Motorola tweaks, most of which are highly welcome.

Moto Display continues to showcase just what ambient screens should look like, while the company’s lo-fi, near-stock design is about as good as you’ll get from an OEM. Given that I’m using a Verizon unit, I had to disable a number of apps and stubs that I will likely never use, but customers that don’t want the hassle can pick up an unlocked version, updated straight from Motorola, in the coming months.

So far, so so

I’m certainly not writing off the Moto Z2 Force, since it’s only been in my hands a few hours, but my impressions of the phone are decidedly mixed. In eliminating a proper sequel to the Moto Z, it has been forced to compromise on camera specs and battery life, two of the original Force’s biggest advantages.

The Moto Z2 Force does a lot of things well, but its success will depend on its camera and its battery.

But the Moto Z2 Force is also an impressive piece of hardware, packing a lot of power into a very compact and well-made exterior. Every buyer will be getting at least one Moto Mod to start his or her collection, and Motorola is banking that, upon using one, more will follow. At the same time, add-ons can’t make up for what appear to be decisions that many customers will not be impressed by, especially since some of them appear to be regressions from the 2016 models.

With most carriers charging between $ 750 and $ 810 for the phone, the Moto Z2 Force needs to have a strong marketing push behind it, something that it can achieve with Lenovo’s deep pockets. That the phone is available at all four U.S. carriers, a first for Motorola, is a windfall for the once-powerful brand, and a confidence booster for an impressive line of smartphones that, despite a slow start, has emerged as a strong competitor to Samsung and LG in the Android space.

Much of the Moto Z2 Force’s lasting impression will come down to the quality of the camera, and the longevity of the battery. Everything else, despite being familiar, is already here. It just needs to clear those remaining hurdles.

Where to buy the Moto Z2 Force


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Flagship Moto Z2 Force goes official at last with Snapdragon 835, up to 6GB RAM, small battery

The Moto Z2 Force is everything we expected, with good and bad things, including a powerful SoC, dual cameras and modest battery.

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Ultimate List of Moto Mods

Want to give your Moto Z an ego boost? Tack on one of these magnetic modular backs.

Motorola’s Moto Z series phones are all modular, and can take advantage of Motorola’s proprietary Moto Mods. You can buy them separately online or through your carrier. Once you snap them on, the phone knows how to utilize them from there.

Which phones are compatible with Moto Mods?

As of writing, there are five phones compatible with Moto Mods:

Complete list of Moto Mods

JBL SoundBoost

The music is better when you’re dancing to it with your friends. Bring your Spotify playlists to life with the JBL SoundBoost speaker ($ 79.99), which snaps on to the Moto Z and has a built-in kickstand. The mod is comprised of two 27mm speakers with 6W of power each. You can use the speaker to broadcast conference calls and make sure everyone in the room can hear what’s being said back at headquarters. There’s also an extra 1000 mAh of battery packed in there.

See at Amazon

Moto Insta-Share Projector

YouTube is fun for everyone, but not when you have to huddle over a small screen to see what’s going on. Snap on Motorola’s Insta-Share projector ($ 299.99), which projects what’s on your Moto Z’s screen onto the wall of your choice. You can project up to 70 inches and adjust the device as you like with the included stand. The projector also adds on an extra 1100 mAh of battery.

See at Amazon

Hasselblad True Zoom Camera

Get up the ten times the optical zoom with the Motorola-commission Hasselblad True Zoom Camera ($ 299.99). This Moto Mod turns your regular old smartphone into a bonafide point-and-shoot of sorts. It features optical zoom, xenon flash, and physical buttons for zooming’ and shootin’. And if you use the Moto Z’s RAW shooting format, you can do all the editing and tweaking you need to do to make it look professional in a desktop app.

See at Amazon

Mophie Juice Pack

The battery will eventually peter out on your Motorola smartphone. Avoid living life without smartphone juice by packing something like the Mophie Juice Pack ($ 79.99). This snap-on module provides an extra 3150 mAh of battery and can be easily recharged when you charge up a Moto Z device.

See at Verizon

Kate Spade New York Power Pack

Kate Spade New York Power Pack ($ 79.99) hails the brand’s simplistic, modernist color palette while boosting the Moto Z series’ battery capacity by an extra 2220 mAh. Like the Mophie Juice Power Pack, this easily charges alongside the Moto Z when it’s plugged in for the night.

There is also a polka-dotted variant at Verizon.

See at Amazon

Incipio Offgrid Power Pack

One more power pack! This one is from Incipio and, like the Mophie Juice Pack, it’s a simplistic battery back you can tack on to the Moto Z for an extra boost of battery power. The Incipio Offgrid Power Pack ($ 79.99) features an additional 2220 mAh of battery. It also supports both Qi and PMA wireless charging, which will come in handy from time to time where wireless chargers might be available —this one compatible with the charging pads offered at Starbucks! It comes in both white and black.

See at Amazon

TUMI Wireless Charging Power Pack

We were clearly joking. Here’s one more power pack and it’s from trusted luggage brand, TUMI. The TUMI Wireless Charging Power Pack ($ 79.99) is outfitted in a cool black and adds an extra 2220mAh of battery to Moto Z devices. It also supports Qi wireless charging, so you can set it down to charge both the phone and the power pack at the same time. The TUMI Wireless Charging Power Pack will also charge with the phone when plugged in.

See at Amazon

Incipio Vehicle Dock

This phone mount doesn’t just cradle the Moto Z, it latches on to it. Once you snap in the smartphone, the dock will fire up Android Auto so that you can have immediate access to your contact, music, and maps without being distracted from the road. The Incipio Vehicle Dock ($ 64.99) also offers 15-watt fast charging in your car.

See at Verizon

JBL SoundBoost 2

A sequel to 2016′s SoundBoost, this Moto Mod is a speaker that attaches to the back of a Moto Z series phone, but this one is cooler: it comes in an assortment of colors, including bright blue or red, and is more rounded than the original, making it easier to hold. With two 3-watt speakers, the SoundBoost 2 ($ 79.99) sounds just as good (but no better) than the original, and the 1000mAh battery lets it play for 10 hours without needing to be topped up. This one is also splashproof, just like the Moto Z phones themselves.

See at Motorola

Moto Style Shell with Wireless Charging

Style Shells — the multitidunious covers that magentically attach to the back of the Moto Z series — aren’t really Mods, since they don’t really add functionality, except for this one: the Style Shell with Wireless Charging ($ 39.00) does exactly what it describes. Adding a tiny 3.25mm of thickness to a compatible phone, the back adds Qi and PMA wireless charging. Available in two colors: textured black, and colorful flowers.

See at Motorola

Moto TurboPower Pack

Motorola’s fast charging technology is branded TurboPower, so it makes sense that its most powerful and expansive battery Mod would be named after it. The Moto TurboPower Pack contains a massive 3490mAh cell that charges a Moto Z series phone at 15W for incredibly fast recharge speeds. While it adds a girthy 6.58mm to the phone it’s connected to, it’s not meant to be kept on all day; instead, it’s a top-up, bringing a phone from 0% to 50% in 20 minutes or so.

Available summer 2017.

See at Motorola

Moto Gamepad

This is so cool. Motorola’s Gamepad Mod lets a Moto Z series phone fit inside the comfortable confines of a game controller, adding dual control sticks, a d-pad and four buttons, along with shoulder buttons, for an incredible gaming experience. There’s also a 1035mAh battery to power the Gamepad for eight hours.

Available summer 2017.

See at Motorola

Moto 360 Camera

The newest Moto Mod is a 360-degree camera ($ 299.99) that attaches to the back of any Moto Z device and offers dual 13MP sensors and 4K video capture. There’s also 3D audio support using microphones from the phone and camera itself, and by attaching directly to the phone there’s no Bluetooth or Wi-Fi to struggle with when transferring photos over; they’re all on the device or microSD card itself, and can be edited on the phone and uploaded to Google Photos.

Available August 10.

See at Motorola

Update, July 25: This list has been updated with the latest Moto Mods added in 2017.


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