Motorola Moto Z2 Play Hands-on, Quick Review: Stunning Midranger

Motorola Moto Z2 Play Hands-on, Quick Review: Stunning Midranger

We go hands-on with the Motorola Moto Z2 Play!

We’re currently in Bangkok, Thailand for Motorola, who has just launched their new Moto Z2 Play in the region. The Moto Z2 Play is the company’s newest mid-range smartphone that takes advantage of their previous Moto Mod system of accessories. And until the Moto Z2 is officially announced, it’s also Motorola’s flagship device when it arrives later this month in the Philippines.

Motorola Moto Z2 Play

  • 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 626 octa-core processor
  • Qualcomm Adreno 506 graphics unit
  • 3GB/4GB RAM
  • 5.5-inch Full HD AMOLED display, 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • 32GB/64GB expandable storage, via microSD
  • 12-megapixel rear camera, f/1.7, Dual Pixel, with PDAF, 4K video
  • 5-megapixel front camera, f/2.2, wide-angle, with dual-LED flash
  • WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2 LE, GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, NFC
  • Fingerprint sensor, USB Type-C, 3.5mm headphone jack, Moto Mods
  • 3000mAh battery
  • Android OS

Initial Impressions: Feels like last year’s flagship, but with better battery life

We were pretty impressed with Motorola’s Moto Z last year, though the lack of a 3.5mm jack and less than impressive battery life dampened our excitement for the phone after we used it for around a week or so. That’s why we were pretty pleased to see that the Moto Z2 Play take a lot of design cues from its predecessors, namely the beautiful unibody aluminum body, large camera module on the back as well as Moto Mod compatibility.

There are a few, subtle changes though – the fingerprint scanner has been enlarged, and can now be used to navigate through the phone if you didn’t feel like using on-screen navigation buttons. The antenna bands have been relocated to the rear, now borders the entirety of the metal back. The phone is splash resistant as well, though it probably won’t stand being dunked in water.

And while it’s supposed to be the thicker of the new high-end devices that Motorola is releasing for this year, the Moto Z2 Play is still impressively anorexic, coming in at just 6mm – 1mm thinner than last year’s phone. That reduced thickness doesn’t come without a price though – the Moto Z2 Play has less battery capacity than the original – just 3000mAh over 3510mAh in last year’s device.

That reduced thickness helps quite a bit in the phone’s handling and ergonomics, though. Original Moto Z Play felt a little chunky, while the Moto Z felt too thin – the Moto Z2 Play is the perfect compromise between the two.

Like we mentioned, the Moto Z2 Play is still compatible with Motorola’s Moto Mod accessories, meaning all of the accessories that fits on the Moto Z and Moto Z Play will fit the Moto Z2 Play without any problems. While we’re on the subject of Moto Mods, Motorola said that they’re committed to the system, and guarantees at least three generations worth of backwards and forwards compatibility for the mods. As you can see, the Moto Z2 Play is compatible with the Hassleblad camera mod that was made available for the Moto Z and Z Play last year. Motorola also announced a few new mods for the system as well, which you can read here.

There are design compromises to be made to make that backwards compatibility  happen though – namely a gigantic camera module that houses the 12-megapixel camera that has a f/1.7 aperture, PDAF autofocus system and 4K recording capability.

On the upside the camera on the Moto Z2 Play looks similar to the ones on other flagships announced by its competitors on paper, though we still need to use the phone thoroughly before we can comment further on the phone’s camera performance.

The Moto Z2 Play uses a 5.5-inch AMOLED panel with full HD resolution and Gorilla Glass protection. The display looks pretty good for what it is, and since the display is an AMOLED panel you can expect inky blacks and vivid (if somewhat oversaturated) colors. The fingerprint scanner is located right below the display.

The Moto Z2 Play sports mid-range guts though – Qualcomm Snapdragon 626 processor, choice of either 3GB or 4GB of RAM, 32GB or 64GB of expandable storage along with Android Nougat. The processor choice leaves something to be desired considering there’s newer SoC’s available to the market, but it is what it is. On the upside, the Snapdragon 626 processor is pretty quick and more importantly, power-efficient for what it is, which means that the reduced battery capacity won’t adversely affect the phone’s longevity too much in the long run.

Just like its other phones, Motorola’s Moto Z2 Play is equipped with a near-stock version of Android Nougat, which is welcome change over the custom UI’s that we usually see on phones of other companies. The phone feels quick and snappy, thanks to not being burdened by tons and tons of bloatware.

That’s pretty much it for this hands-on. We don’t have local pricing as of yet – we’ll update you once we get pricing details. The phone is slated to arrive at either third or fourth week of July in the Philippines.



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