Motorola’s Moto X Play was a very nice smartphone for its time, and today, Lenovo is trying to regenerate the same excitement with the Moto Z Play. The Moto ‘Z’ series is the company’s new flagship, replacing the X series handsets, which were very successful so far.
However, Lenovo states that the Moto X series isn’t completely dead, it is quite evident the Moto Z is the new face of Lenovo’s premium-tier models.
Let us see how well it scores in our Moto Z Play review.
Moto Z Play Review: Design and Build
Moto Z Play isn’t as slim as its previous version the Moto Z, though it is a good thing. A little bit of heft in a smartphone makes it feel a lot more secure when you hold it in your hand or put it in your pocket. The thicker side means the handset will be easier to hold when you are using the phone or simply holding it. Although the length of the smartphone is a bit of an issue as it tends to peer out of the pockets. The handset also feels bare without its Style Shellback cover, and it is very slippery due to the glass back. Luckily, one Style Shell is packed with the smartphone.
The Moto Z Play feels strong due to the aluminium frame, and build quality is outstanding. While it is not as good as Moto X design, but it is not bad at all. The company has added edges on the power button that help in distinguishing it from the other. However, it would be better if it was space better or use different sizes.
The SIM slot is placed on the top and can house two Nano-SIMs and a microSD card ( up to 2TB). There is a USB Type-C port as well as a 3.5mm headphone socket at the bottom. At the back are the 16-megapixel primary camera, dual-tone LED flash module and autofocus sensor. The obtruding lens sits well with the Style Shell, thus prevent the screen from scratches. The speaker grille is missing because of the headsets doubles up as the loudspeaker.
The 5.5-inch Super AMOLED display offers vibrant colours and sharp text. Outdoor legibility is very good even under the sunlight. The touch response was also good. There are onscreen keys for Android UI navigation, and a fingerprint sensor embedded below the screen, though there were situations it failed to identify the touches.
In the box, there is a USB Type-C cable, headset, 15W wall charger, SIM ejector, and instruction leaflets. The quality of the headset is not up to the mark seeing that this is a premium model.
Moto Z Play Review: Specifications and Features
The smartphone is powered by the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 SoC seen in Asus ZenFone smartphones. While you can get the Snapdragon 820 SoCs for the same or less price, in the end, it is all about how the device employs the power. The chip is not as powerful as Qualcomm’s offering in the Moto Z, though it seems to be capable of handling most of the task efficiently.
The native octa-core chip consists of eight ARM Cortex-A53 cores build on the 14nm fabrication process. Paired with 3GB of RAM, the strong performance can also be pointed towards the Moto Z Play’s software.
The rest of the specifications consist of 32GB of internal storage, dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, and USB OTG. Both the SIM slot supports 4G on band 2,3,4,5,7,13, and 40. There is no mention of VoLTE support. There is no FM radio and Wi-Fi 802.11 ac support, which is disappointing.
Just like any other Moto smartphone, the Android is satisfying to use as there is no irrelevant skin hauling it down. Multitasking is fluent, with no major lag in the animation. On average, you will have about 1.1GB of RAM free always at your disposal. Android Marshmallow is similar to how it looks on Nexus smartphones with except for a few apps such as Moto Mods and Moto. The latter allows you to set up gesture-based actions. Moto Actions lets you clip hand gesture for activating the camera, flashlight, etc. A swipe up from the bottom minimises the display to make it simpler for one-hand use. Moto Display allows you to look at notifications and time when the handset is on standby by just waving the hand over the display. This works nicely, though it is a bit over-sensitive at times, and the display would sporadically light up even without any incentive. Lastly, the Moto Voice allows you to summon action by calling up the voice assistant with a trained phrase.
Moto Z Play Review: Performance
There is barely anything to complain about the performance on high-end Moto smartphones, and thankfully same is the case with the Moto Z Play. Regular performance is speedy, and the phone doesn’t heat up during active usage. The only time it did warm was during charging. Though with games, camera usage, there were overheating of the smartphone. The Style Shell fits nicely on the back with no movement during the regular usage. The smartphone is well compatible with all the mods that work with Moto Z.
The smartphone outshines at the multimedia playback credit goes its great display and good audio. It allows you to set individual audio settings for headphones and the speakers. High-resolution videos play effortlessly. Paired with good aftermarket headphones, the soundstage is broad and immersive. Even at high volumes, the speaker gets decently loud without any distortion.
The Moto Z Play sports a 16-megapixel primary camera along with PDAF and laser autofocus. In daylight, the clicks have a good level of details with good colour reproduction. They are some barrel distortion in few shots, though it is not a consistent issue. Focus is rather quick though there are some troubles getting the focus to lock onto the close-up subjects at times.
Macros too are well defined. Though we have seen the lack of details in low light shots and it is tougher to lock the focus of close-ups. Even then the images look good if you don’t crop them too much. A noticeable point here is the noise level are well kept so despite the lack of details; pictures still look presentable. You can get the even better result if you have the patience to manually set the setting in Pro mode.
Video recordings are good at HD and 4K., and the slow-motion videos rendered at 120fps at 720p are also very good. The camera app is regular, yet it still manages to cover all the rage shooting modes like Panorama and Professional. The 5-megapixel selfie camera does an impressive job under good lighting, and at night the front flash comes in handy. The dual-tone flash is powerful enough to brighten up a small room.
Battery capability is another area where the Moto Z Play really stands out. Packed with 3510mAh battery under the hood, the phone lasted for 17 hours and 4 minutes during video loop test. During normal usage the manages to last a day and a half. The smartphone supports Quick charging through the Moto’s TurboPower feature.
Moto Z Play Review: Final Verdict
The Moto Z Play is priced at Rs. 24,999, which is dangerously close to the markets current favourite. OnePlus 3. Not to forget the Honor 8 and Asus Zenfone 3 as well, which offer outstanding all-around performance. The Moto Z Play does outshine in all the departments placing it in the line of all-rounders. However, for that price, we expected a lot more powerful processor, and there is no valid reason to eliminate Wi-Fi 802.11ac in this age. Also, the smartphone feels a bit heftier, even without the Style Shell. While the bit of extra weight is not a problem, its length could create an issue for some.