Mo­torola Moto Z Play

£379 • mo­torola.co.uk

Android Advisor - - Contents -

The Moto Z range isn’t yet avail­able in the UK, but has been on sale in the US for a cou­ple of months. It’s the third model in the Moto Z line-up, and it’s com­ing soon along with the Moto Z (see page 33), though not the Moto Z Force.

Price

The Z Play is a mid-range phone which costs £369 and you will be able to buy it from Ama­zon and

John Lewis. It comes in black or white. It’s £160 cheaper than the flag­ship Moto Z and the same price as the re­cently launched Honor 8 and £40 more than the OnePlus 3.

De­sign

Un­like the Moto Z, which is just 5.2mm thick and has to ditch the head­phone jack, the Z Play is 7mm thick, al­low­ing it to have a 3.5mm mini­jack next to its USB-C con­nec­tor. The phone still feels thin and well built, though, just as a premium phone should. It has a glass back, un­like the metal rear of the Moto Z.

The cir­cu­lar cam­era and LED flash ar­range­ment pro­trudes from the rear, but it’s flush once you pop on a Moto Style Shell. A black ny­lon one is in­cluded in the box (no mat­ter whether you choose a black or white phone) and a va­ri­ety of other shells are avail­able from wood to fab­ric and

plas­tic: they sim­ply snap on us­ing mag­nets so are very quick to change.

Shells also hide the rather ugly con­nec­tor, which is used to com­mu­ni­cate with other Moto Mods ac­ces­sories such as speak­ers, bat­tery packs, pro­jec­tors and cam­eras. These ‘Mods’ are a dif­fer­ent ap­proach to the mod­u­lar smart­phone.

All Moto Mods are com­pat­i­ble with all Moto Z phones, and Mo­torola has promised sup­port for them for at least the next two gen­er­a­tions of Moto Z phones, so cer­tainly un­til 2018.

The con­nec­tor has been opened up to third par­ties, and any­one can buy a Moto Mods de­vel­oper kit and make their own ac­ces­sories, so there should be plenty of op­tions from well­known ac­ces­sory brands soon.

The Z Play’s other main claim to fame is its large 3510mAh bat­tery, which Mo­torola says will truly last you two days so you won’t have to charge it ev­ery night. We’ll be putting that to the test shortly.

Be­low the screen is a fin­ger­print reader. This can be used with An­droid Pay, as well as for un­lock­ing the phone and sign­ing into apps or web­sites that sup­port it. It’s not a phys­i­cal home but­ton: the Z Play uses the stan­dard on-screen An­droid but­tons.

Screen

In many re­spects it is hard to tell apart from the Moto Z at a glance. It has the same 5.5in AMOLED screen, al­beit with a full HD res­o­lu­tion rather than quad-HD, and the same de­sign on the rear to en­sure Moto Mods fit.

Few peo­ple will miss the Moto Z’s ex­tra pix­els: the Z Play’s screen is bright and sharp, with the

same eye-pop­ping colours from the AMOLED tech­nol­ogy. An­other ben­e­fit of the tech is that it can light up cer­tain pix­els to show in­for­ma­tion with­out im­pact­ing on bat­tery life. Mo­torola has of­fered this for a while, and al­though the Z Play doesn’t have in­frared sen­sors at the bot­tom of the screen like the Z, it uses ul­tra­son­ics to de­tect your hand over the phone and will then show the time, date and no­ti­fi­ca­tions in mono­chrome. There’s no op­tion to have the screen al­ways on as with Sam­sung’s flag­ship phones.

Pro­ces­sor and stor­age

Ob­vi­ously, as you ex­pect, the Moto Z Play doesn’t get the top-of-the-line Snap­dragon 820 pro­ces­sor. In­stead, it has the 625, a 2GHz octa-core chip. Graph­ics power is also a step down, the Adreno 506 in­stead of the 530 in the Moto Z. There’s also 3GB of RAM rather than 4GB, but you can add stor­age via mi­croSD up to 128GB. We’ll have to wait un­til we can run our usual bench­marks to see how the Moto Z Play per­forms com­pared to its ri­vals, but it was per­fectly zippy in our brief hands-on time with the phone.

Cam­eras

While the Moto Z has a 13Mp main cam­era with OIS, the Play gets a 16Mp snap­per with – amaz­ingly – slightly larger pix­els (1.3μm vs 1.12μm). It has only elec­tronic sta­bil­i­sa­tion, but this also works when shoot­ing video, which can be shot at up to 4K at 30fps. 1080p records at 30fps too, but you can in­crease fram­er­ate to 120fps by low­er­ing res­o­lu­tion to 720p.

The lens has an f/2.0 aper­ture and there’s phase-de­tec­tion aut­o­fo­cus. Around the front is a 5Mp cam­era with an LED flash and a ‘wide-an­gle’ 85 de­gree lens that has an f/2.2 aper­ture.

Al­though there’s no dual-cam­era trick­ery here, through the Moto Mods con­nec­tor you can snap on the lat­est ac­ces­sory: the Has­sel­blad True Zoom. This costs £199, but brings a 10x op­ti­cal zoom to the party. The dif­fer­ence this makes is enor­mous: we’re all used to a phone’s fixed lens and the in­her­ent lim­i­ta­tions of dig­i­tal zoom.

The True Zoom has a 12Mp sen­sor and op­ti­cal sta­bil­i­sa­tion. We’ve tried it out and it ap­pears to work seam­lessly with the Moto Z Play’s cam­era app. It has its own power but­ton, which launches

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