The newest Moto phone is strong and shatterproof - and really annoying

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Moto Z2 Force smartphone

Jeff Dunn/Business Insider

Motorola keeps trying to make modular phones happen.

It's really difficult to make money selling expensive phones when your name isn't Apple or Samsung.

This, more than anything else, is what I was reminded of while testing the Moto Z2 Force Edition .

The latest high-end smartphone from Motorola has all the usual attributes you'd expect from such a device: It's very fast, its screen looks good, its cameras are capable of taking nice photos, and it has a razor-thin frame. Better yet, unlike many of its premium rivals, the Z2 Force's display is particularly resistant to cracks.

But nailing the essentials simply isn't enough to guarantee sales in today's saturated, top-heavy smartphone market. Motorola knows that. So how do you get the highest return from your $720 device?

Motorola's answer is to sell accessories alongside the phone itself. The Lenovo-owned company last year introduced Moto Mods, a line of add-ons that snap onto the back of its Moto Z phones. They worked well with last year's Moto Z , and they continue to work well on the Z2 Force.

But just because they work well doesn't mean they are worthwhile. Motorola has thrown all its eggs in the Moto Mods basket this year, but in doing so, the company is chasing a fantasy that's both expensive and impractical. Combine that with a few unfortunate design choices, and you have one of the most baffling flagship phones of the year.

Let's take a closer look:

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