Motorola, the company that actually invented the mobile phone, is back on the market. Now under the helm of not Google, but Lenovo. So what does Lenovo Motorola Moto Z Play – that’s quite a handful by the way – have in store for us? Stick around and find out.
I have covered the unboxing in a seperate video that you can see below, but aside from that you get standard wall plug with a power cable and the phone itself. Notably, there was no headphones included in the box. To get the specs out of the way it has an:
– Android 6.0.1 Marshmellow OS (7.0.0 upcoming),
– Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 Octacore CPU
– Adreno 506 GPU
– 3 GB DDR3 RAM
– 32 GB internal storage that can be expanded with an internal microSD card slot.
These specification enable the Moto Z Play to be blisteringly fast when using the UI, multitasking and playing games after all. We did not with our 1+ months of use of the device ever encounter lagging or applications closing when we did not want them to – everything just worked and that is the ultimate goal of a device, that it enables us to be more productive, not obstruct us in our daily usage of services.
The dimensions of the device are 156x76x7mm that enabled Lenovo to cram inside a 5,5″ Super AMOLED screen with 403 ppi, so a full HD panel that is covered by Corning Gorilla Glass 3 for security. As is to be expected from a SAMOLED screen the colors are amazing and super vibrant and the information on the screen is perfecly legible even in direct sunlight. Above the screen there is a 5MP camera that has a wide angle 85-degree POV lens with a dedicated flash and night mode. It is perfectly satisfactory for selfies and stuff like that, especially with additional beautification software, so image processing, but still it isn’t anything spectacular. But that can’t be said about the rear camera. It’s a 16 megapixel shooter with laser and phase-detection auto-focus, a wide and bright f/2.0 aperture and zero shutter lag. Yes I do miss the OIS found on Moto Z Play’s bigger brother, but still if your hands aren’t particularly shaky, it is good enough. The images taken by the camera in good lighting conditions are, I would say really good. The quality drops off a little as there is less available light and when tracking fast-moving subjects – the camera just can’t keep up with. But still it supports Auto HDR, 4x digital zoom, panorama pictures that are pretty messed up, especially in low light, and of course 4K recording. The latter isn’t anything special, it certainly can’t compete with Samsung Galaxy S7’s or Apple Iphone 7’s camera, but still it isn’t even in the same price range, therefore we can’t expect that. The warp stabilizer is noticeable, but still, if you are not too picky about your image quality and you can appreciate the inclusion of 4K while not being overly obsessed about the not that high bitrate and so on, you will be pleased with the image reproduced by the camera.
Moving away from the camera and onto the speakers and microphones – in the Moto Z Play, three microphones are hidden for better noise reduction for talking on the phone. But sadly I have to report that there is only 1 front sided speaker on the phone. That is the earphone speaker – and it can’t compete with HTC’s stereo solutions that blast towards you while viewing the device. It’s just so uninspiring, but then again, the reasoning behind those is Moto Mods.
They are the reason that make Lenovo’s Motorola Moto Z line actually interesting and make us wonder about the future prospects that with the technology. Moto Mods enable you to clip on a mod, be it a speaker, be it a projector, be it a photo-expansion onto your back side of your Moto Mods compatible device via a few strong magnets and these golden connector pins that enable a good fit without any chance of them falling off. To the people afraid about the future compatibility about Moto Mods – we have received confirmation that Moto Mods will be compatible for two generations. So Moto Z Play will be compatible with Moto Mods coming out in not 2016, not 2017, but in 2018 too! And that, that gives us some peace of mind.
We’ve talked about the future potential of the devices, but what are they? Major parnters are developing Moto Mods products, such as GoPro. But as of right now we have the Hasselblad camera with 10x optical zoom, we have the Instashare projector that broadcasts your screen via WiFi direct, but onto an actual, physical projector, we have JBL speaker, we have a dedicated, 2000+ mAh battery and of course the style mods, that enable us to change the back side of our Moto Z phone.
Currently I would be hard pressed to say that its a system worth buying into, as it feels an early-adopter program right now, with so scarce a selection of products. But if we are to believe the words of Lenovo, more products and mods are coming. And then it will be a decent and sensible product to buy yourself into, because the Moto Mods themselves are definitely not cheap – as the Hasselblad camera costs over 250 euro, and the battery is over 80 euros, so not trivial by any stretch of the imagination.
But it has to be said that when the Moto Mods are connected, the experience is better when compared to other devices – so the speakers on the JBL mod are better than any other mobile phone on the market, the same can be said about the camera and battery with the addon. In some dumbed-down way it is similar to the Google Aria project that was cancelled, so who knows what the future holds for the Moto Mods ecosystem. But it is innovative, so there is that. And that is a word that can hardly ever be used in the mobile sector these days, so thumbs up for that.
All in all, the Moto Z Play is a cheaper and affordable Moto Z phone that is somewhat cut down on the specs and boosted in the battery department. For me personally, that is a trade-off that I’m willing to take any day, given that I have never found the performance lacking, there was no apparent lagging whatsoever. Yes, I miss the OIS and the 2.7k or 4k screen, but then again 403ppi on the Moto Z Play is more than enough and you can’t really see the pictures on the display itself. Therefore, if you are an early-adopter and like new, up and coming tech, the Moto Z Play is the decent enough without any mods, and gets only better with their addition.
So if you don’t want to buy a Samsung Galaxy or an Iphone, yet still want a high performing phone that will stand out from the rest, the Moto Z Play is a sure thing.