Moto Z Play Review

The Moto Z Play can be your current playmate of the season or forever after with endless customization mods that are sinfully easy to tack on and generally work like a blissful dream. These serve to drastically ramp up the fun, usability, and practicality while being suitable for virtually any possible situation or scenario. It and its other Moto siblings are perhaps the most user-customizable smartphone currently available, while this particular specimen we are talking about punches far above its price point and zooms unerringly straight to our collective hearts.

The Moto Z Play is the successor to the pricey Moto Z flagship, though much cheaper, packing a bigger and more endurable battery and some pared-down specs. If you do need some Moto charm but couldn’t afford to partake before cos of the cost, then here is your chance. Simply because this latest Moto device is one seriously serious piece of work that comes surprisingly affordable and capable. Don’t believe me? Then let’s take a tour through the magnificent Moto Z Play palace.

Design and Build Quality

Moto Z Play Build Quality

The overall quality is very good, and the device looks and feels rugged and well put together, if somewhat hefty. It’s also eminently stylish and eye-candy enough to proudly go to the Oscars and raise hell with. Turn it over like a well-cooked turkey and on the back near the bottom, you find the ever faithful and reliable dual row magnetic strips that enable the attachment of user desired customization devices.  Next thing to catch -and hold- your attention near the top of the back is the 16 MP main camera equipped with laser auto-focus and a dual-tone LED flash. The camera sensor protrudes like a knobby and circular navel, but when the device is paired with the Style Shell, this sexy protrusion is eliminated.  And as a bonus, you additionally get to protect your endlessly useful phone from yourself and your clumsy-fingered abuse.

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At the glossy top are a pair of nano-SIM trays and an SD card slot. While on the sassy bottom appears a normally incompatible and mutually hostile couple: a headphone jack and a USB Type-C port. Bitter rivals these, there dual placement here future-proofs your device and means of course that you can use your stockpiled 3.5 mm audio jacks for old-school audio listening rather than say forcefully joining the Apple-inspired USB Type-C revolution.

The Moto Z is additionally thicker than other Moto Z series, courtesy says Motorola of a bigger battery, which incidentally is true. Overall dimensions are 6.16 x 3 x 0.28 in, while it tips the scales at 165 g. Device construction is of aluminum, while the back is glass, making for a slippery but solid feel when being held and used.

In the box, you get a USB Type-C cable, headset, 15W charger and SIM ejector. No freebie mods though, these you must get yourself.


Moto Z Play Display

This is a sizable 5.5-inch Super AMOLED display sporting a 1080 x 1920 resolution, While inferior to its other Moto Z siblings, in actual practice and usage the loss of pixels is rarely noticeable, and pixel density still works out to around a still impressive 403 ppi. Colors are thus crisp, sharp and life-like, while outdoor usability is excellent even in direct sunlight.


Moto Z Play Camera

The boss here is a main 16 MP back shooter with a brilliant dual-tone LED flash that feels akin to a searchlight. The main camera lacks optical image stabilization and requires a steady hand to really exploit it to its magnificent potential. Images taken are generally sharp, vivid and detailed, and the shutter additionally operated speedily, efficiently and gracefully. In low light conditions though footage can deteriorate in quality with noise and smudginess being evident, but not unforgivably so. If you do need spectacular camera functionality consider acquiring the 10x zoom Hasselblad True Zoom with physical controls as a mod.

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On the front glares a 5MP selfie camera equipped with a flash that mimics its big brother by being equally great in action. Both front and back cameras are additionally capable of shooting 4K videos, as well as slow-mo footage at 120 FPS AT 720p.

Performance and Connectivity

Moto Z Play Performance

OS is the Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, while punch power is derived from an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor that zooms along at 2.0 GHZ. This is coupled to 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of internal storage, which is readily expandable to a definitely gargantuan 2 TB on demand via SD card. Multitasking is great even under particularly heavy workloads. Similarly, device and control responsiveness was invariably light-fast and faultless. This is superbly aided by almost no bloatware out of the box.

The fingerprint sensor provides a convenient means of locking/unlocking your device and accessing some other functionality, and was generally effective, but proved troublesome occasionally. Audio performance through the provided headset was average, and if you are going to be doing much wired music listening, better prepare to get a better quality and much more accurately performing headset. Sound through the Moto Z Play’s speaker/earpiece though is rather excellent for audio playback, video watching or making calls. More, even when cranked up, the audio outputted from it was thankfully distortion-free and rich enough to season rice with.

Connectivity options include: Bluetooth 4.0, dual-band 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, NFC and USB OTG. Both nano SIM slots are additionally 4G capable.


A non-user-removable 3,510 mAh tireless beast that on its own is totally worth the price tag. With mild to medium usage, it is capable of lasting at least 2 days before you need to top it up.  Charging up too is easy and convenient courtesy of the included turbo charger and Moto’s TurboPower feature, which fully tops up the device in less than 2 hours. And gives you a quarter charge in 30 minutes.

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It’s pretty hard to find fault with any aspect of this marvelous device. But let’s see, we do wish it had a more capable processor just for the bragging rights it offers. The price point is irresistibly sweet, and the overall mesh is simply fab. And we particularly like the magnificent possibility of upgrading the device functionality anytime, anyplace, anywhere courtesy of the endlessly varied Moto Mods should we so desire.

The Moto Z Play is an all-round very excellent performer and delivers outstanding value for the price, as well as being a rather yummilicious playmate.

Moto Z Play Review
8.2 Overall
Build Quality8


Gabriel has always been fascinated by gadgets and tech. And absolutely can't wait to share his knowledge and infect you with his passion.

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