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The Moto Z Force Droid surprises with one of the top image testing scores from DxO

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Jessica Lee Star/Digital Trends

Cameras with big specs don’t always offer a strong performance, but according to testing by DxOMark, that’s not the case for the highly-anticipated modular smartphone Moto Z Force Droid. The image testing company gave the Moto Z Force’s built-in 21-megapixel camera the second highest rating for mobile, one point behind the first-place tie between the HTC 10 and Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. Of course, this is a benchmark test and real-world results may differ, so take this report with a grain of salt.

The Force earned DxO’s highest ranking for autofocus, thanks to focus hardware with phase detection as well as a laser-assisted autofocus. According to DxOMark, the focus is pretty reliable, but video focus lags a bit while shooting in low light.

One of the features that most impressed DxOMark is that the smartphone performs pretty well almost universally across different conditions. Detail is apparent in both well-lit and low light scenes. With a bright f/1.8 lens, DxOMark’s software detected minimal noise at higher ISOs.

The Moto Z Force also did particularly well at capturing a wide range of light, partially due to the auto HDR mode. While in very bright light the camera overexposed some of the highlights, resulting in white patches in the photos, the exposure was good across most scenes, DxOMark says.

The cons for the smartphone camera are largely due to a few irregularities in performance, with a few shots in both very bright and very dim scenes not matching up with other photos in similar conditions. Video performance in low light is also a negative.

DxOMark gave the Moto Z Force’s camera an overall score of 87, which is one point behind both the HTC 10 and Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. That also puts the Moto Z Force in line with the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus, and Sony Experia Z5, all receiving the same score. That’s followed by the LG G5, Samsung Galaxy Note 5, and Samsung S6 Edge at 86. Apple’s current flagship the iPhone 6S sits at 84 with four other cameras.

DxOMark tests are considered an industry standard, and while it’s not the only company specializing in testing sensors and lenses with software, its use of technology to analyze an image is often well-regarded. Of course, real-world tests may return different results, so stay tuned for our full review.