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After numerous rumors and speculations, the Lenovo-made Moto Z2 Force is finally out of the box and there’s no doubt that the phone is among the top contenders to become the best smartphone of 2017.

As expected, the Moto Z2 Force has a number of upgrades when compared to the 2016 Moto Z Force, but it still faces an uphill to beat some of the best phones from 2016, leave alone those that have just been released this year.

Last year, the Google Pixel XL was hailed by many as the best Android phone of the year and given that the search engine giant has yet to refresh the phone, it’s about time we put it head-to-head with the latest Moto Z2 Force and see how the two compare.

Hardware specs

On this front, it’s a bit of a new vs. old affair. Usually, new high-end phones are almost always ahead of the older ones and this is exactly what the Moto Z2 Force is compared to the Google Pixel XL. You will come across the same 4GB RAM on both phones, but it’s processor used that brings out the real performance difference between the pair.

The new Moto Z2 Force is powered by a new Snapdragon 835 SoC compared to the Snapdragon 821 that powers the Google Pixel XL. Given that the former is the successor to the latter, the performance levels of the SD835 are obviously ahead of the SD821. As for the storage, the base model of the Lenovo phone has an impressive 64GB on board compared to the 32GB used on the Google Pixel XL. Even though the latter has a bigger 128GB storage option, the former beats it by including a microSD card slot that can handle up to 256GB.

In short, the Moto Z2 Force is your choice when it comes to specs and performance.

Moto Z2 Force vs. Google Pixel XL

Design, display and durability

The Moto Z2 Force and Google Pixel XL are from two different schools of thoughts with respect to the design language. The design of the latter is what you’d expect from any phone. It has a metallic build with a half glass section on the back with a fingerprint scanner partly occupying the glass section. As for the Moto Z2 Force, you’ll feel unique when rocking this phone thanks to its slim design that is accompanied by a prominent back camera module.

Like the original Moto Z Force, you also get support for Moto Mods, something that you won’t be able to see on the Pixel XL handset. If you are a bit old school, you’ll be disappointed that the Moto Z2 Force has no 3.5mm audio jack, but for the futuristic folks, this is the way to go – or at least it will be sooner or later. The Google Pixel XL, on the other hand, has this traditional jack, but it may not last for long as rumors are pointing towards a USB-C port for the Pixel 2 XL.

As far as the display is concerned, the two phones have the same package. Both phones have a 5.5-inch AMOLED panel with the same QHD resolution. Thanks to the ShatterShield screen and metallic back, you are assured more resistance to falls and cracks from the Moto Z2 Force compared to the Pixel XL. And this is another win for the Motorola phone.

Moto Z2 Force

Battery life/capacity

This is where the Moto Z2 Force fails miserably. The phone’s slim profile has had a massive impact on the battery capacity on board, where you come across a meager 2730mAh unit compared to the 3450mAh unit used on the Google Pixel XL. Both have support for fast charging technology via the latest USB Type-C port.

Since the two phones have the same display size and resolution, you will be better off with the Google Pixel XL as opposed to the Moto Z2 Force when matters battery life are on the table.

Camera and software

The Google Pixel XL has proven time and again that it’s one of the best, if not the best, when it comes to photography. This is expected to remain so, even though all we have about the Moto Z2 Force are the on-paper specs. The Pixel XL has a 12.3MP shooter on the back with an f/2.0 aperture and EIS, PDAF as well as laser autofocus. The front part has an 8MP shooter with an aperture of f/2.4.

The Moto Z2 Force is the latest to join the dual-lens camera craze, coming in with two 12MP sensors with the same aperture as the Google Pixel XL, PDAF, manual controls as well as laser autofocus. The front camera has a 5MP shooter that should deliver a great job as well.

If you fancy dual-lens cameras, the Moto Z2 Force is a good choice here, however, since camera performance requires real world tests and we are yet to do tests on the new Motorola phone, the Google Pixel XL is still the go-to option here when you want the best photography.

Being a Google phone, the Pixel XL was always going to have an edge over the Moto Z2 Force and any other Android phone when it comes to the software front. Of course, the Z2 Force, like any other Moto phone, tries hard not to mess around with the stock Android experience that Google Pixel and Nexus users enjoy, but if you are interested in receiving timely updates, the Pixel XL is your only option here.

Google Pixel XL

Price and availability

From a Google Nexus perspective, the price of the Google Pixel XL is a bit high, however, from an Android flagship perspective, there’s nothing wrong with paying a premium price for a phone that tops most of its competition in almost all aspects.

To get your hands on the base model of the Pixel XL, you need to part with $769. As for the Moto Z2 Force, you’ll be set back a cool $800, but you can get it at about $50 less when you buy it from Verizon, where it’s valued at $756.

As far as availability is concerned, you will be happy to know that the Moto Z2 Force will no longer be a Verizon-exclusive. Anyone can get it from the official Lenovo store and given that the Chinese company has widespread reach than the Google Store, the availability of the Moto Z2 Force is a bit better compared to the Pixel XL.

So, what do you think about these two phones? Let us know in your comments below.