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Motorola Moto Z2 Play Review

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Moto Z2 Play is recently launched in India and boasts off a modular design. It isn’t just ultra slim and light in weight, there’s more about this modular phone. In a nutshell, the Moto Z2 equips a compelling camera 12 MP (IMX362) on the rear side, an AMOLED display alongside a midrange Snapdragon 626 CPU with 4 GB RAM and 64 GB storage. Here’s our Moto Z2 Play review.

What’s In The Box

  • Moto Z2 Play with built-in battery
  • USB Cable (type-C)
  • Fast Charger with TurboPower technology (5V, 3A | 9V, 1.6A | 12V, 1.2A)
  • Earphones
  • SIM Tray Ejector
  • User Manuals and Warranty Information

Motorola Moto Z2 Play Specifications

  • Display: 5.5-inch Full HD Super AMOLED Display (1920 x 1080 pixels resolution | 401 ppi), Corning Gorilla Glass 4 on top
  • Protection: Water repellent nano-coating
  • Fingerprint Scanner: Yes, on Home button, Gesture-based
  • Special: Modular Design, Moto Mods Accessories
  • Software: Android 7.1.1 Nougat
  • CPU: Up to 2.2 GHz octa-core Cortex-A53 processor, Qualcomm Snapdragon 626, 14nm LPP, Natural Language Processor, Contextual Computing Processor
  • GPU: Adreno 506
  • Memory: 4 GB LPDDR3 RAM
  • Storage: 64 GB eMMC internal storage, MicroSD up to 2 TB (Dedicated Slot)
  • Main Camera: 12 MP f/1.7 (Sony IMX362), dual pixel autofocus + laser autofocus, dual-tone LED flash, 4K video @30fps, 1080p video @60fps, Slow Motion 720p video @120fps
  • Front Camera: 5 MP f/2.2, 1080p video @30fps, Slow Motion 480p @120fps
  • Connectivity: USB-CTM port version 3.1, 3.5 mm stereo jack, 3 Mics, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4 GHz + 5 GHz), Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS
  • Sensors: Fingerprint Sensor, Accelerometer, Ambient Light, Gyroscope, Magnetometer, Proximity, Ultrasonic
  • Cellular: 4G LTE, 2x nano SIM (GSM band), VoLTE-enabled
  • Battery: 3,000 mAh (non-removable)
  • Power Supply: TurboPower (5V, 3A | 9V, 1.6A | 12V, 1.2A), charging for up to 7 hours of use in 15 minutes (50% charge in 30 minutes)
  • Dimensions: 76.2 mm x 156.2mm  x 5.99 mm
  • Weight: 145 grams
  • Colors: Lunar Gray, Fine Gold
  • Price: ₹27,999

Design, Build, & Ergonomics

Moto Z2 Play is now ultra-slim (5.99 mm) leaving most phones to look thicker. Motorola continues the modular design with the Moto Mod ecosystem which was first seen on the last year’s Moto Z lineup. The is no denying that the Moto Z2 Play looks highly premium, feels super strong and durable, it employs a full metal unibody rather than using the glass back used by its last generations.

Aside from the hardware improvements, the Moto Z2 Play hooks up the Moto Mods that transform it into a full-fledged digital camera, a mobile projector, portable stereo speakers, or hooking a battery power Mod extends the battery life.

Moto uses the gesture-based fingerprint scanner on the front. The fingerprint scanner is also the navigation control, i.e. you can swipe either left or right to go back or go to recent apps. As for the camera, there is a 12 MP f/1.7 camera with dual pixel autofocus + laser autofocus backed up with a dual-tone LED flash. On the front side, again you see a dual-tone LED flash for its 5 MP selfie camera.

5.99 MM Ultra Slim Body

Motorola has managed to put a 3.5 mm port at the bottom alongside a USB version 3.1 type-C port. The top carries a dual SIM tray that comes with a dedicated MicroSD slot. The three tiny buttons on the right are power and volume keys. It supports dual SIM 4G network with VoLTE calling.

Display

Moto Z2 Play uses a 5.5-inch full HD AMOLED display (1920 x 1080 pixels resolution). The screen is protected with a Corning Gorilla Glass 4 on top with a 2.5D curve on it. The screen looks great, text appears sharp, the blacks are deep, thanks to its AMOLED display. It can show you the on-screen notifications with its Moto Display feature. Talking about the display enhancements, Motorola offers Colour mode for adjusting the colors on the screen.

Software & User Interface

On the software side, the Moto Z2 Play runs on the ongoing version of the Android i.e. version 7.1.1 Nougat without any bloatware. Like most Motorola phones, Moto Z2 Play offers stock Android experience, probably everything on the phone is Vanilla Android. It uses the April Security patch.

Since it’s Vanilla Android, the interface is very straightforward, there are no heavy skins, bloatware, and other stuff other than just two Moto apps and that leads to a smooth user experience. One of the favorite things, why I like Moto devices, is due to its touchless controls. The Moto Voice app can be used to control the phone hands-free.

Motorola offers gesture-based controls like Chop Twice for Flashlight, Twist To Open Camera, Swipe to shrink screen and a few more. Like the Moto G5 Plus, the home key gestures can be able to help you navigate the phone like going back, open recent apps, and lock the phone by long pressing. I would stick to one button that does all your things rather than relying on three different buttons.

Swipe left to go back, Swipe right to visit recent apps, and tap and hold when you feel a short buzz to lock the phone. When you feel longer buzz, it opens Google Assistant. Unlock the phone with its super fast fingerprint scanner. It doesn’t work when you have wet fingers, so you will need to wipe the scanner and your finger before unlocking.

Want to know about its gesture home key? There are 5 cool things you can do with the Moto Z2 Play.

Hardware, Performance & Gaming

The Moto Z2 Play is equipped with a mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon 626 CPU with 4 GB LPDDR3 RAM and 64 GB eMMC storage. There is a total of eight Cortex-A53 cores clocked up to at 2.2 GHz. There is no significant upgrade in the performance considering its predecessor uses the almost same SoC i.e. Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 which is also present on the Moto G5 Play.

According to the benchmarks, the Moto Z2 Play is lie in the midrange segment. AnTuTu scored 66,080 points, Geekbench 4 app crashed when performing the CPU benchmark. It scored 3,127 points on Adreno 506 GPU. The 3D Mark benchmark gave us a score of 470 points while the Quadrant scored 16,066 points.

AnTuTu Benchmark

  • 68,068 points

Geekbench 4

  • 3,127 points (GPU)

3DMark – The Gamer’s Benchmark

  • 470 points

Quadrant Standard Edition

  • 16,066 points

The Moto Z2 Play can run many games fluently without any issues. It sports Adreno 506 so the performance is equivalent to the Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 4 and the Moto G5 Plus. For high-end gaming, a similar priced OnePlus 3 is worth picking up. We played games like Asphalt 8; Airborne and FZ9: Timeshift – Legacy of The Cold War.

Games Tested On Moto Z2 Play

  • Asphalt 8: Airborne
  • FZ9: Timeshift – Legacy of The Cold War
  • TRANSFORMERS: Forged to Fight

Storage Performance

Moto Z2 Play sports a 64 GB eMMC storage with options to expand the storage via MicroSD. The good thing is the MicroSD slot is dedicated so you can put two SIM cards without worrying about the storage expansion.

The storage performance is decent. The numbers are similar to that of the Moto G5 Plus.

A1 SD Bench

  • 211.24 MB/s (Read)
  • 202.53 MB/s (Write)

AndroBench

  • 248.30 MB/s (Sequential Read)
  • 184.33 MB/s (Sequential Write)
  • 68.61 MB/s (Random Read)
  • 82.83 MB/s (Random Write)

Cameras

When we say about the cameras of the phone, there’s a new camera on the Moto Z2 Play with a larger aperture that takes the photography to the next level. The main camera of the Moto Z2 Play is 12 MP f/1.7 (IMX362) dual pixel autofocus + laser autofocus with dual-tone LED flash. On the front side, again you see a dual-tone LED flash for its 5 MP selfie camera.

It is worth mentioning that the camera hump looks a little unusual from behind considering it’s not boasting the optical image stabilization technology like you see in the top-notch cameras of the flagships. This is a major let down in the Moto Z2 Play camera.

Moto Z2 Play Camera Specifications

  • Rear Camera: 12 MP f/1.7, Dual Pixel Autofocus + Laser Autofocus
  • Sensor: Sony IMX362 Exmor RS
  • Optical Image Stabilization (OIS): N/A
  • Rear Flash: Dual-tone LED
  • Features: Geo-tagging, Tap to Focus, HDR, Pro Mode, Panorama, Slow Motion, QR & Barcode Scanner, Burst Shot
  • Video Recording: Up to 4K @30 FPS, 1080p @60FPS, Slow Motion 720p @120 FPS
  • Front Camera: 5 MP f/2.2
  • Video Recording: Up to 1080p video @30FPS, Slow Motion 480p @120FPS
  • Front Flash: Dual-tone LED

No doubt the camera is great at performing in the daylight situations, even though it struggles in low light. We didn’t find the camera to be good in the low light situations. Then, the lack of the OIS in the camera is expected. The low light shots are less detailed, the noise is visible. Nevertheless, the camera can compete with many phones in its class, if not all.

Due to its stock Android interface, Motorola offers a stockish camera application that appears quite stagnant, it just provides basic camera features, that’s it. You can enter the Professional mode and Panorama from the bottom right camera icon. The Panorama takes a while to process the image and captures limited areas, not full Panorama. By looking at the camera specs, there’s plenty of room for the camera to offer other features but Moto has kept it simple.

It captures 4K videos at 30 fps and 1080p videos at 60 fps and that seems great in terms of the videography. Further, it captures slow motion 720p videos at 120 fps. Pretty close to OnePlus 3T camera features.

Moto Z2 Play Camera Samples

Battery Runtime

One of the amazing features where Moto Z2 Play shines out is its battery life. In a nutshell, its 3,000 mAh battery runs 2 days on a single charge. While there are phones with such battery capacity and doesn’t achieve 2-day battery life, Moto Z2 Play certainly does well at performing. What’s not surprising here is the battery is downgraded from its predecessor i.e. from 3,510 mAh to 3,000 mAh. Nevertheless, the phone is now slimmer than its the Moto Z Play.

Our tests suggest that the phone will last 2 days on below moderate usage and about 1.5 days on moderate usage. On heavy usage, the phone still lasts a day, thanks to its power-efficient processor. Also, note that our tests were performed on single SIM and no 3G/4G mobile data, so the battery life may slightly vary when using dual SIM and mobile data.

The Moto Z2 Play comes with a fast charger (5V, 3A | 9V, 1.6A | 12V, 1.2A) with TurboPower fast-charging technology. In 15 minutes of charging you get up to 7 hours power and charges till 50% charge in 30 minutes. This isn’t as fast as the OnePlus Dash Charge which fully charges the phone in half an hour

Moto Z2 Play Battery Test Results

Apps/GamesBattery usedRuntimeBrightnessWireless
1080p Video3%20 minutesAutoOff (Wi-Fi, GPS, Data)
4K Video3%20 minutesAutoOff (Wi-Fi, GPS, Data)
YouTube (1080p)3%20 minutesAutoOn (Wi-Fi)
FZ9: Timeshift - Legacy of The Cold War6%20 minutesAutoOn (Wi-Fi, 4G Data)
Asphalt 85%20 minutesAutoOff (Wi-Fi, GPS, Data)
Music (Offline)1%1 HourScreen OffOff (Wi-Fi, GPS, Data)
Music Streaming - SoundCloud3%30 minutesScreen OffOn (Wi-Fi)
Instagram2%20 minutesAutoOn (Wi-Fi, 4G Data)

Verdict – The Only Modular Phone Available?

If we have to say anything that’s good about the Moto Z2 Play, its beautifully designed aluminum shell is incredible. It is slim, light in weight and hooks up various Moto Mods at the back but, unfortunately, they come at a premium price. The performance of the camera and the software experience appears indeed positive. Besides, its AMOLED display is a plus.

But when it comes to the value for the money, there are certainly better options under this price range. The newly launch OnePlus 5 can burn it down so quickly in terms of performance. OnePlus 3T and Honor 8 are still the kings of budget smartphones.

On the flipside, you can go with the cheaper Moto G5 Plus if you don’t care about the slim and modular design because, at the end, they both going to offer a similar smartphone experience.

Buy it if you are Moto fan as well as a fan of Vanilla Android. If you have to choose the Moto Z2 Play, you probably have a chunk of money to spend it on the Moto Mods, right?

Competitors

  • OnePlus 5 – ₹32,999
  • OnePlus 3T – ₹29,999
  • Honor 8 (32 GB) – ₹17,699

Strength

  • Ultra Slim (5.99 mm) Modular Design | Hooks Up Moto Mods
  • Vanilla Android Experience
  • Commendable Camera Quality
  • AMOLED Screen is a Plus
  • Decent Battery Life | Fast Charging – 50% in 30 minutes
  • Fast Fingerprint Scanner | Gesture-Based Home Key is  Addictive
  • Front Camera Records Slow Motion Videos
  • Supports NFC
  • Water-Resistant IP67 Certified
  • Dedicated MicroSD slot

Weakness

  • Not The Best Low Light Camera
  • Expensive Moto Mods

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