The original Moto Z Play was a popular device for those who wanted a massive battery in a mid-range device with decent hardware and software. The 3,510 mAh battery delivered some of the best results of the year. Combined with Moto Mod functionality, the Z Play was one of Motorola’s most successful devices at a price of $ 400.
The Moto Z2 Play is a little different. It's still a mid-range offering that lies between the flagship Moto Z2 Force at the top and the high-quality budget Moto G phones below. Instead of turning to battery enthusiasts like its predecessor, the Moto Z2 Play is a more traditional mid-range handset that offers access to modular features at a cheaper price.
The battery has been reduced to 3,000 mAh, which is average for a medium-sized handset, since Motorola has chosen a slimmer handset with better battery life. The phone continues to use a mid-range SoC from the Snapdragon 62x series with a 5.5-inch AMOLED display with 1080p. It is still unlocked and available with standard Android on board.
The strangest aspect of the Moto Z2 Play is its price. The phone is available for $ 408 tied to Verizon or for $ 499 as an unlocked device. It is dangerously close to budget flagships like the Xiaomi Mi 6 and OnePlus 5, which offer better hardware at a lower price.
Sure, the Moto Z2 Play is cheaper than most high-end phones like the LG G6, the Galaxy S8, the Moto Z2 Force, etc., but the market is crowded and the Z2 Play has to offer something special to compete strongly. Let's look at that.
The most striking aspect of the Z2 Play is its slim body. With a thickness of less than 6.0 mm and a 3,000 mAh battery, the Z2 Play is currently one of the thinnest phones on the market. This is still at the expense of battery capacity: the Z2 Play is millimeters slimmer and 20 grams lighter than the Z Play, but the battery is 15 percent smaller. The Z Play was by no means a thick phone, so it's interesting that Motorola felt the need to make the Z2 Play slimmer. Personally, I would prefer to keep the bigger battery, but the slim design of the Z2 Play is certainly quite remarkable.
The decision for such a slim body resulted in a very distinctive circular camera shock on the back, which protrudes several millimeters to accommodate the 12-megapixel sensor and the 1: 1.7 lens. From a design point of view, the protruding bulge doesn't look bad, although it can look a little strange when you look at the phone from a different angle. Optionally, you can purchase “style shells” that are attached to the back and reduce the effects of the bump. one is included in the box.
The build quality of the Z2 Play is consistently very good. The phone is mostly made of metal on the sides and on the back. A polycarbonate antenna tape wraps the entire rear panel in a way that looks pretty good looking. The design and abundant use of metal make the handset easy to grip and hold, which is not the case with competing phones with slippery glass backs. The front is protected by Gorilla Glass.
My main design problem is the enormous amount of bezel around the display. This is clearly a 5.5-inch screen in a 5.7-inch case with large bezels above and below the display and a gap on both sides. Modern smartphone design trends are about reducing the size of the front bezel, but Motorola didn't care why the design looks dated. Of course, they have some design limitations to keep the Moto Z line compatible with mods, but a larger screen would have been desirable not only for the Z2 Play, but also for the other Motorola Z phones.
Speaking of moto mods: The Z2 Play is compatible with the entire cast that has been released to date. Motorola is the only company with a successful modular phone range – other companies like LG have tried and failed – and part of the success is due to the fact that multiple phones support the same mods. The Moto Mods ecosystem has grown slowly but steadily and has reached a point where there are some really useful additions.
My personal favorites are third-party batteries like Incipio and Mophie. The new 360-degree camera along with the gamepad is a clever addition that some may enjoy. All mods are magnetically attached to the back and connected by the large pins on the bottom. Mods are easy to attach and detach if you want, and magnets are strong enough to keep mods from falling off in everyday use. The implementation is clever and works simply.
The rest of the phone is pretty well equipped. There is a fingerprint sensor on the front below the display. However, I think it would be better if it also functions as a home button in addition to capacitive navigation buttons. Instead, the Z2 Play selects on-screen buttons. There's also a USB-C port, a 3.5mm headphone jack (not available on the more expensive Z2 Force), and a water-repellent nano-coating that protects against small splashes. The Z2 Play has no IP protection and is not waterproof. However, it should survive if you accidentally spill some water on it.
Like some other recent Motorola phones, the Z2 Play has a single speaker over the display that is used for both phone calls and speakers. The volume of this speaker is average and the quality is okay, although it would have been nice for a stereo experience to see an additional speaker at the bottom (or on the front).