Lenovo-owned Motorola unveiled the all new Moto Z series of smartphones, the Moto Z and Moto Z Force at the Lenovo Tech World event earlier this year. The company has added another smartphone to its Z series with the Moto Z Play at the IFA 2016. The smartphone is essentially a Moto Z but with a few changes and is aimed especially at mid-range smartphone buyers.
That said, the Moto Z Play still offers full support for all the Moto Mods which is believed to be the USP of the Moto Z series of smartphones. For the uninitiated, the Moto Z Play (and all the phones in Moto Z series) is the company’s first attempt at modular technology.
We got lucky and had a chance to use the device for more than a week. Here’s what we think about the Moto Z Play. Take a look at it below.
Design Done right for a modular smartphone
There’s no denying the fact that the Moto Z Play is one of the best-looking smartphones Motorola has ever made. Despite the fact that it’s slightly on the thicker side (in comparison to the Moto Z), the smartphone sits well in the hand and feels quite sturdy.
The power button and the volume keys are placed on the right side of the smartphone. Unless you have larger hands it takes an inconvenient amount of travel to reach them. Most of the front is dominated by the display with a selfie shooter, a LED flash, an array of sensors, and a fingerprint scanner placed above and below the display respectively.
At the back is the primary camera along with dual-LED flash and the iconic Moto logo. Assuming that most of the users will use it with the bundled Style Mod, the huge camera protrusion at the back shouldn’t be a concern. However, make a note that adding the Mod will make the device significantly bulkier.
All in all, the Moto Z Play is quite a looker and the metal and glass design adds a touch of premium quotient.
Moto Z Play’s display is on par with the OnePlus 3
The smartphone has a 5.5-inch Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 1080×1920 pixels (Full HD) which results in a pixel density of 403ppi. As a result, you’ll find the display to be sharp and crisp at all the times. Additionally, a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass technology is present over the display to protect it from scratches.
The display is well calibrated and offers accurate and vibrant colours. As far as the sunlight legibility is concerned, we were able to read text even under bright sunlight to a good extent. You’ll have to crank up the brightness, though.
All said and done, the display on the smartphone is as good as the one on the OnePlus 3 (the best affordable flagship of the year), if not better.
At the heart of the device is an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 SoC paired with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of expandable storage space (up to 2TB). The dual-SIM smartphone is backed by a 3,510mAh battery.
The imaging department is taken care of by a 16MP camera at the back and a 5MP selfie shooter at the front. Both cameras are accompanied by a LED flash (dual-LED at the rear) for better results in low lighting conditions.
In terms of connectivity, the smartphone has a USB Type-C port at the bottom for charging and data transfer, Bluetooth 4.0, dual band Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, USB OTG, and also offers support for 4G VoLTE. Meaning you can make use of the Reliance Jio “Welcome Offer.”
Software and Performance
The Moto Z Play runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow out-of-the-box. However, it should receive the Android 7.0 Nougat update as early as December. Unlike most of the smartphones out there, the Z Play is free of bloatware except for the Moto app.
Speaking of which, there are a good number of useful gestures included in the app. Make sure to check them out. Our personal favourite was swiping up from bottom to shrink the screen which made one-handed usage effortless.
Despite the mediocre internals (in comparison to other phones like OnePlus 3 or the Xiaomi Mi 5 which fall under a similar price segment), the smartphone handles pretty much everything with ease.
We have stressed the device to a good extent to see how it fares and to our surprise, there were no signs of lag no matter what. The snappy performance of the device can be attributed to the well-optimised software.
Also, out of the 3 GB of RAM, you’ll have around 1.5 GB left at any point of time unless you are running multiple graphic-intensive apps which consume large amounts of memory.
Slightly Underwhelming camera
We’ve already covered about the camera specification in the hardware department. So, we will jump directly on to its performance. To begin with, at times the camera struggled to lock focus, as a result, the images turned out to be blurry. Moreover, some of the images captured also turned out be distorted.
With that being said, the camera delivers decent images in daylight and the colour reproduction is also pretty good. Low-light imaging is not among the best but you can make use of the LED flash (both at front and back) to capture usable images. The selfie shooter surprisingly captures good photos.
A battery Monster
The smartphone is backed by a 3510 mAh battery and also offers support for Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 fast charging technology. As long as battery life is concerned, the device is a battery monster. It lasted for more than one and half day on heavy usage. It is easily one of the few smartphones we’ve seen to offer such kind of battery life.
- Outstanding battery life
- Impressive display
- Near Stock Android experience
- Supports all the Moto Mods
- Camera could have been better
- Smartphone is Slightly on the thicker side
- Fingerprint scanner can be mistaken for home button
So, should I buy it?
The Moto Z Play is priced at Rs. 24,999 and is available on both Flipkart and Amazon.
It’s a perfect example of why you shouldn’t judge a smartphone merely by its specs. Despite its average internals, the smartphone offers commendable performance and is totally a battery beast. Additionally, it has support for Moto Mods (modularity), something which cannot be seen on any other smartphone in this price segment. However, the slightly underwhelming camera is what left us asking for more.
So, if you’re looking for a smartphone with swap-able hardware, the Moto Z Play makes a good bargain. The smartphone is still a good deal even without the Mods. And if you can spend a little extra cash, OnePlus 3 is a perfect alternative, or the 3T.
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