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Motorola Moto Z Play Initial Review: Mid-range Modularity

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Aside from the flagship Moto Z, Motorola also launched their Moto Z Play that has all the Z’s modular tricks at a slightly lower price. While the Moto Z Play is a little cheaper, it still has the same gorgeous design of its thinner brother along with a higher battery capacity and a physical 3.5mm jack.

Motorola Moto Z Play

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 octa-core processor
  • Adreno 506 GPU
  • 3GB of RAM
  • 5.5-inch full HD Super AMOLED display, 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • 32GB of expandable storage
  • 16-megapixel rear camera, f/2.0 aperture lens, PDAF, laser AF, dual LED flash
  • 5-megapixel front camera, f/2.2 aperture lens, LED flash
  • Dual SIM
  • 3G, LTE
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS, Fingerprint scanner, USB Type-C
  • 3510mAh battery
  • Android Marshmallow

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Initial impressions: Mods + Bigger Battery = Winner

While we like Motorola’s flagship Moto Z, the company had to make some serious compromises in the design of the phone to achieve that almost razor thin 5mm thickness. They had to do away with the 3.5mm jack, for example, something that not everybody agrees is the “couragous” choice. They also had to sacrifice a lot on the phone’s battery, slicing the usable juice to just 2600mAh.

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The Moto Z Play has none of those problems. While the phone is chunkier at 7mm thick, it feels better in the hands since there’s more real-estate for your palms and fingers to hang onto. The 3.5mm jack returns as well, which means you no longer have to keep an eagle eye on the USB Type-C adapter that’s included in the Moto Z’s packaging. You also get a lot more battery with that thicker body, as well as water and dust resistance. We suppose the Moto Z Play will survive an accidental dunk in the toilet, but we don’t recommend taking it out with you when you’re swimming or showering.

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Aside from those changes though, the overall design of the Moto Z Play looks similar to its more expensive brethren. Put both phones side by side and you’ll have trouble figuring out which one is which. Button and port placement is exactly the same as well – power and volume rocker on the right side, microSD/SIM tray on top and USB Type-C port on the bottom.

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Flip the phone over and you’ll see glass back that replaces the metal one found on the Moto Z. Just like its bigger brother, the Moto Z Play also uses the same Moto mods that effortlessly snap onto the back via magnets and the rear camera module as the locating hole. Speaking of the camera, the Moto Z Play has a 16-megapixel rear camera with an f/2.0 aperture lens, PDAF and laser AF and dual LED flash.

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Up front, you’ll see the Super AMOLED display that’s been downgraded to just full HD (1920 x 1080). The 5-megapixel f/2.2 front camera gets an LED flash as well. The phone uses on-screen keys for navigation, and a square fingerprint scanner located on the bottom that we managed to mistake for a home button. The phone also gets the same always-on display feature that’s present on the Moto Z.

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Powering the Moto Z Play is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 625 octa-core processor that we first encountered with ASUS’ Zenfone 3. That’s paired with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of expandable storage. If the Zenfone 3 is any indication, the Moto Z Play’s performance will probably be on the same level as most flagships in the market today in terms of smoothness and capability. And since the Moto Z Play won’t be burdened by the insane amount of bloatware (the phone runs a stock version of Android Marshmallow on it) we’re guessing it’ll perform better than the ZF3.

The Motorola Moto Z Play will retail for Php 22,999.

John Nieves

John is a veteran technology and gadget journalist with more than 10 years of experience both in print and online. When not writing about technology, he frequently gets lost in the boonies playing soldier.

2 Comments

  1. Lol at the pricing of Moto Style shells.
    I bought Moto Z from Expansys (they ship in PH from HK) for 28k pesos which includes the bumper case + Moto Style shell (nylon). But anyway, good job Lenovo for bringing Moto back to the Philippines!

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