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August 4, 2017

Lenovo Moto Z2 Force vs. LG G6: Which is the better Android phone?

by John_A

The Moto Z2 Force , the modular successor to last year’s Moto Z Force, is a powerhouse of a smartphone. It features a 5.5-inch QHD (2,560 x 1,440 pixels) Super AMOLED screen with shatter-resistant glass, Qualcomm’s cutting-edge Snapdragon 835 processor, and a 12MP dual-sensor camera that mimics the look and feel of high-end DSLRs.

But the competition hasn’t been slacking. Earlier this year, LG hit one out of the park with the LG G6, the lauded followup to the G5. The G6 features a powerful processor that’s paired with 4GB of RAM, a capable pair of cameras, and an edge-to-edge screen that’s bright, colorful, and incredibly vibrant. Needless to say, the competition is fiercer than ever.

So how do the Moto Z2 Force and the LG G6 compare? Below, we’ve pitted the two against one another to see which is the superior device.

Specs and performance

Lenovo Moto Z2 Force

LG G6

Size
155.8 x 76 x 6.1mm (6.13 x 2.99 x 0.24 in)
148.9 x 71.9 x 7.9mm (5.86 x 2.83 x 0.31 in)
Weight
5.04 ounces (143 grams)
5.75 ounces (163 grams)
Screen
5.5-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED P-OLED touchscreen
5.7-inch IPS LCD touchscreen
Resolution
1,440 x 2,560 (538ppi)
1,440 x 2,880 (564ppi)
OS
Android 7.1.1
Android 7.0 Nougat
Storage
64GB (U.S.) 128GB (International)
32GB (U.S.) 64GB (International)
MicroSD card slot
Yes
Yes
NFC support
Yes
Yes
Processor
Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
Qualcomm Snapdragon 821
RAM
4GB (U.S.) 6GB (International)
4GB
Connectivity
4G LTE, GSM, CDMA, HSPA+, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi
4G LTE, GSM, CDMA, HSPA+, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi
Camera
Dual 12MP rear, 5MP front
12MP rear with OIS, 8MP front
Video
4K
4K
Bluetooth
Yes, version 4.2
Yes, version 4.2
Fingerprint sensor
Yes
Yes
Other sensors
Gyroscope, accelerometer, proximity sensor
Barometer, gyroscope, accelerometer, proximity sensor
Water resistant
Yes
Yes, IP68 rated
Battery
2,730mAh
3,300mAh
Ports
USB-C, Moto Mod connector
USB Type-C
Marketplace
Google Play
Google Play Store
Color offerings
Super black, fine gold, lunar gray
White, black, platinum
Availability

Motorola, Best Buy

Amazon, Best Buy

Carriers

AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile

AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile

Price
Starting at $750
Starting at $650
DT review
Hands-on
4.5 out of 5 stars

The Moto Z2 Force and G6 may not share looks in common, but they’re pretty much the same on the inside. In the United States, both have 4GB of RAM, 64GB of base storage, and MicroSD card slots that support memory sticks up to 2TB in size.

If there’s one major difference between the two, it’s the processor. The Moto Z2 Force packs Qualcomm‘s top-of-the-line Snapdragon 835, which is the same chip that drives the Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8 Plus, and HTC U11. The G6, on the other hand, sports the older Snapdragon 821.

The two processors aren’t all that different on the surface, however. They have the same number of cores — four faster, high-powered cores that kick in for intensive tasks and four power-efficient cores that handle background apps — and architecture. But the Snapdragon 835 is built on a 10-nanometer process, which means it crams 30-percent more parts into the same physical space as the Snapdragon 821. That gives it a substantial performance advantage — as high as 40 percent, in some cases.

Benchmarks don’t always translate to real-world results, of course, and we haven’t had a chance to put the Moto Z2 Force through its paces. But if test results are any indication, the Moto Z2 Force has a substantial performance advantage over the G6.

Winner: Moto Z2 Force

Design, display, and durability

There’s no mistaking the Moto Z2 Force for the G6, and vice versa. In terms of design, the two smartphones couldn’t be further apart.

The Moto Z2 Force is cut from the same cloth as last year’s model, with a brushed metal-design and Lenovo‘s distinctive, 16-PIN Moto Mod docking port. The phone’s  rear camera juts out slightly from the phone’s cover, and the oval-shaped fingerprint sensor sits underneath the screen, adjacent to the etched “Moto” logo. The edges are also curved on all four sides, concealing a USB Type-C charging port. The Moto Z2 Force, like its predecessor, lacks a 3.5mm headphone jack.

The G6, however, is constructed mostly of glass and metal. Its 5.7-inch, edge-to-edge display dominates the front, and it’s wrapped around shatter-resistant glass on all sides. The fingerprint sensor on the back of the G6 also doubles as a power button, and sits below a dual-lens camera and a flash.

It’s a close call between the Moto Z2 Force and the G6, but the G6’s clean, utilitarian design and edge-to-edge screen seals the deal in its favor.

The Moto Z2 Force has the edge in the display category. We haven’t gotten a chance to test the screen, but, from a technical standpoint, we expect its 5.5-inch QHD Super AMOLED to have better contrast and color accuracy than the 5.7-inch IPS QHD LCD screen on the G6. Again, spec advantages don’t always translate to the real world, but it’s a safe bet that most apps, games, shows, and movies will look better on the Moto Z2 Force compared to the G6.

That said, the G6 benefits from a wider aspect ratio — and high-dynamic range. LG optimized several of its apps to make use of the 18:9 aspect ratio, so you can see more information without having to pan or scroll. The company also worked with Dolby to incorporate support for Dolby Vision HDR, a format that calibrates colors and contrast to the levels intended by content creators.

Taking everything into account, we’re crowning the Moto Z2 Force’s display the winner. The G6’s aspect ratio and support for HDR are compelling points in its favor, but apps and videos have to be specifically optimized to take advantage of them. The Moto Z2 Force’s screen, on the other hand, elevates all media equally.

If there’s one thing that’s for certain, it’s that the G6 is better equipped than the Moto Z2 Force to protect against bumps and scratches. The device carries an IP68 rating, meaning it can survive dips in up to 1.5 meters of water for up to 30 minutes. It also has a thick, metal frame that cushions the phone against blows from the sides, top, and bottom.

The Moto Z2 Force, on the other hand, isn’t waterproof or water-resistant, though it does have a water repellent nano-coating. Its ShatterShield glass is designed to protect against cracks and scratches, but the jury is still out on its effectiveness — we haven’t had a chance to put it to the test.

Winner: LG G6

Battery life and charging

We won’t get a chance to test the Moto Z2 Force’s battery for ourselves until later this summer, but based on what we know so far, the G6 has the upper hand.

Not only does the G6 have a larger battery capacity (3,200mAh) than the Moto Z2 Force (2,730mAh), but the phone supports Qualcomm’s QuickCharge 3.0 fast charging standard, too. The feature can fully charge the LG G6 in about an hour and a half, while the Moto Z2 Force’s TurboPower is said to deliver six hours of run time in about 15 minutes. This means that, in theory, the G6 should last longer and recharge quicker than the G6.

In addition, the LG G6 has the advantage of wireless charging; it supports both Qi and PMA, two of the most popular standards in the United States. If you have a dock lying around or you’ve previously purchased one for another smartphone, tablet, or smartwatch, chances are it’ll work just fine with the G6.

We’ll have to see if real-world tests match our predictions for the Moto Z2 Force, but we’re not predicting miracles. The two will trade blows, most likely, but we don’t expect the G6 will have a clear advantage over the Moto Z2 Force, for example, or vice versa.

Winner: LG G6

Camera

We’ve yet to test the Moto Z2 Force’s camera, but based on the phone’s official specifications, it’s shaping up to be a great one.

What we know for sure, though, is that the LG G6 boasts capable pair of cameras on the rear. Two 13MP cameras — one with a f/2.4 aperture and a 125-degree lens and one with a 71-degree lens with optical image stabilization and a f/1.8 aperture — capture bright, vibrant, and color-accurate panoramas. In our testing, however, they occasionally struggled to resolve contrast and details in low-light scenarios. But for the most part, the LG G6’s cameras compare favorably to the best we’ve tried.

The cameras on the Moto Z2 Force promise to be just as good, if not better. Lenovo swapped last year’s single-lens camera for twin shooters, albeit at the cost of megapixels — its rear cameras are 12MP as opposed to the Moto Z Force’s 21MP. The phone’s software is akin to the iPhone 7’s camera setup, and uses a second sensor to zoom in on objects. A special, black-and-white mode also allows the phone to capture “true monochrome” images.

It’s a different story when it comes to front-facing cameras, though. The Moto Z2 Force sports the same 5MP selfie sensor as last year’s model, compared to the LG G6’s wide-angle camera. We appreciate the G6’s ability to capture more detail in a single shot, but we’re reserving judgement until we’re able to try out the Moto Z2 Force’s camera for ourselves.

Winner: Tie

Software

The Moto Z2 Force ships with Android 7.1.1 layered over Motorola’s skin, which isn’t too far from stock Android. The Galaxy S8 Plus, on the other hand, ships with Samsung’s TouchWiz.

The Moto Z2 Force features Moto Display and Moto Actions, which condense multiple steps into single taps and swipes to save you time. Moto Actions, for example, allows you to silence your notifications and calls when you place your phone face down. A single-finger swipe down the way can also shrink the Moto Z2 Force’s interface for one-handed use. You can also use the phone’s fingerprint sensor to navigate menus, home screens, and apps.

Apart from LG’s apps and a multitasking mode, which makes use of the phone’s 18:9 aspect ratio to show more information, LG’s UX 6.0 is relatively barebones. Android purists will note changes to the notification shade and settings menu, along with the option to enable the app tray and spread apps across multiple home screens. LG also provides various themes to match the color scheme of your G6, which allows you to quickly change the background, wallpapers, and icons.

LG installs a few of its own apps, such as QuickMemo+, which handily syncs with Google Drive, LG Health, a Tasks app, and the company’s own messaging, music, file manager, and calendar apps. Additionally, there’s an FM radio app, and an audio recorder.

Neither the Moto Z2 Force or LG G6 feature much in the way of software tweaks, but we’re crowning the G6 the winner of this round. The smartphone takes full advantage of the extra-wide screen in a way the Moto Z2 Force can’t, and it’s a little more featured when it comes to theme-changing and app customization.

Winner: LG G6

Price and availability

The Moto Z2 Force will cost you $800 direct from Motorola, however, you can get it for a little less from all the major carriers. Verizon is offering it at $756, you’ll pay $792 at Sprint, and it costs $750 at T-Mobile, though you can always spread the cost or pay less upfront by signing a contract. Either way, it’s more expensive than the LG G6, which starts at $650.

The LG G6 has another advantage: Availability. The Moto Z2 Force is expected to ship later this year — pre-orders are ongoing — while the Moto Z2 Force is available online and in brick-and-mortar stores now.

In light of all this, we’re giving this round to the G6. It manages to come under the Moto Z2 Force’s price tag without sacrificing much.

Winner: LG G6

Accessories

Smartphone manufacturers don’t tend to place a big emphasis on accessories, but for Lenovo, they’re selling points.

The Moto Z2 Force supports the full range of Moto Mods, the snap-on accessories that add all sorts of functionality to Lenovo’s smartphone. There’s one that extends the phone’s battery life, a wireless charger, an external speaker, a projector, a gamepad, and a vehicle dock. Lenovo even recently announced a 360-degree camera, which is slated for released on August 10.

The G6’s selection isn’t nearly as robust. Short of a few protective cases, a wall adapter, and select wireless chargers, it doesn’t have any compelling accessories to speak of.

That’s why we’re crowning the Moto Z2 Force the winner of the accessory round. Lenovo’s Moto Mod ecosystem might not be perfect, but it’s one of the largest and most diverse collections of accessories on the market.

Winner: Moto Z2 Force

Overall winner

The Moto Z2 Force is our overall winner here. There’s no denying that the LG G6 is a great smartphone, especially with its speedy processor, colorful display, and versatile camera. But it’s no match for the Moto Mods ecosystem and the faster processor in the Moto Z2 Force. The G6 is a bit cheaper and supports 4K HDR video, sure, but the Moto Z2 Force can do so much more. If its camera and battery life perform as well as expected, it’ll set a high bar for all flagships to come.




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