What’s the most important feature you prefer on a smartphone? Is it the camera? The display? The design? The processor? The software and apps it runs? Chances are, it’s a combination of all of those things and more. But over the past few weeks of my research I’ve learned that the most important feature on my smartphone is none of the above but it’s the battery life, if your phone’s battery is dead, none of the other features are useful or even matter, Moto Z Play gives you 2 days long battery, latest android and great features.
Moto Z Play is a sweet phone with headphone jack and long-lasting 3510mah battery on 6.99 mm metal body and gorilla glass front and back panel.
The Moto Z Play isn’t as slim as its sibling, the Moto Z, but in a way that’s actually a good thing. Personally, we prefer a bit of heft in a smartphone as it feels a lot more secure when you hold it or have it in your pocket, but your mileage may vary. The thicker sides also mean it’s easier to grip when you’re typing or just generally holding it. The phone also feels naked without its Style Shell back cover but its beauty shines, and is a lot more slippery due to the glass back.
The Moto Z Play feels rugged thanks to the aluminum frame and build quality is excellent. It’s a far cry from the Moto X design which we loved, but it isn’t bad at all. The buttons have good tactile response but end up feeling a bit too small to be comfortable. Lenovo has added ridges on the power button to help distinguish it from the others but it would have been better to space them better, or use different sizes.
The SIM tray sits on the top, and can accommodate single or dual Nano-SIM(s) depends on market as well as a microSD card (up to 2TB). There’s a USB Type-C port and a 3.5mm headphone socket at the bottom. Around the back are the 16-megapixel camera, laser autofocus sensor, and dual-tone LED flash module. The protruding lens sits flush with the Style Shell if you use it, thereby helping protect it from scratches. There isn’t any speaker grille because the earpiece doubles up as the loudspeaker.
The 5.5-inch full-HD Super Amoled display delivers vibrant colours and sharp text. Outdoor legibility is particularly good even under direct sunlight. We also had no issues with the touch response, which works flawlessly. There are onscreen buttons for Android UI navigation, and a fingerprint sensor just below the screen, which can be used for locking or unlocking the phone. The hit-rate for recognition is good, although there were instances where it failed to detect our touches sometimes (2-3%) because of its small size.
Moto Z Play specifications and features
The Moto Z Play uses the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor clocked at 2GHz octa-core CPU, 3GB of RAM and an Adreno 506 GPU found in couple of Asus ZenFone models, including the ZenFone 3 (ZE552KL). While this chip is nowhere near as powerful as Qualcomm’s flagship offering in the Moto Z, it should be more than capable of handling most of the tasks you’d typically throw at it.
The native octa-core chip has eight ARM Cortex-A53 cores built on the efficient 14nm fabrication process. Along with 3GB of RAM, the snappy performance can also be attributed towards the Moto Z Play’s lean software.
In terms of numbers, the Moto Z Play returned a respectable 63,584 points in AnTuTu, but the graphics processor is a bit weak. Gaming performance is still decent, as titles like Gods of Rome work pretty well.
Near to stock Android experience
Moto Z Play runs one of the latest versions of Android and it functions like Google intended it, without the alterations that Samsung, LG, and other phone makers see fit, while Android 7.1.1 made it even better as compare to 7.0.0 in many ways including Google assistant, new camera app features, performance and some other features.
Updating the device to Android 7.0 Nougat when Moto finally delivered made this device better as compare to on Android 6.0 Marshmallow but there were no any noticeable camera features, Updating Moto Z Play to Android 7.1.1 Nougat brought great features including in camera app and its overall performance.
Stock Android is a big deal for many purists, and for good reason. This Android Nougat interface is very streamlined. Motorola (a Lenovo Company), once a Google company, doesn’t deviate far from its former parent’s playbook.
It adds a few of its own apps to the phone, like Moto Actions and Moto Voice, but these are only a help, not a hindrance. All of the menus are just like a Nexus or Pixel phones running stock Android.
The Moto Z Play camera is 16MP with an f/2.0 aperture, and it provides around the same picture quality as the Moto Z, with its 13MP sensor but superior f/1.8 aperture. The Moto Z Force is better in all ways with a 21MP camera, and a f/1.8 aperture to match the standard Moto Z.
Moto Z Play combines laser autofocus and phase detection autofocus that translates into zero shutter lag, but it have the average low-light capabilities which most of the budget phone have and lacks optical image stabilization.
Video capabilities here are surprisingly robust for the price, with the resolution climbing all the way up to 4K. It doesn’t go beyond 30fps at 4K or 1080p, but it can shoot okay slow-motion 720p video at 120fps.
A 50 hours claim by Motorola of mixed use took us the most time to confirm in our full review: just how long does the Moto Z Play battery last?
We found that the Moto Z Play lasted a full between 44 to 48 hours (up to two days) based on our heavier-than-average phone addiction. That’s a big deal among even the best smartphones in the world.
Generally, we’ve been impressed by day-and-a-half battery life, but this phone tops that by another half day. It’s about less time charging, and, just as the name suggests, more time playing.
Compared to Google Pixel, which typically kicks the bucket after two and a half or three hours of screen time, even other devices with exceptionally long-lasting batteries, such as the OnePlus 3T or Samsung’s S7 Edge, usually only provide four or five hours of screen time before giving up.
Going to bed two nights into testing the Moto Z Play and having it cling to life at 2% in the morning (47 hours after originally taking it off the charger) gave us a new battery life benchmark. That extra use time is thanks to the 3,510mAh battery capacity. It makes the phone thicker than the ultra-thin Moto Z (with a small 2,600mAh capacity), but the Play will get you through more just a day.
Even the Moto Z Force, touting its big battery life in marking materials, doesn’t last quite this long. It’s rated at 40 hours thanks to its nearly-as-large 3,500mAh. Here’s how the Moto Z Play does it. Not only does it have a big battery size, its 1080p screen resolution and lighter specs easily make it go 12 hours longer than the Z Force. It’s all about saved resources here.
This longer-lasting version of the Moto Z does take more time to fully charge, but it features the same fast-charging TurboPower charger in the box. It took a depleted battery to 24% in just 15 minutes. We liked the TurboPower charger’s reversible USB-C connection, and only had an issue with the fact that Motorola permanently ties the big charger block and USB cable. You can’t separate the two and plug it into a computer, for example. We had the same issue with the Moto Z and Moto Z Force. You can, thankfully, use almost any QuickCharge charger from a different phone.
What is new in Moto Z Play Android 7.1.1 Nougat
Motorola has brought Android Nougat 7.1.1 version (API 25) to Moto Z Play. This one is not a minor release – as a matter of fact it bundles some interesting features under the hood. One of these extra features is App Shortcuts (Apple’s 3D touch like feature) and vulkan API support. We will explore what they are, how they work.
Motorola have finally implemented google assistant instead of Google Now this change makes Moto Z Play a charm for who love to use virtual assistant
App shortcuts represent prominent feature of an App and are easy to activate, the menu of shortcuts can be activated, long-press on an app icon for about a second as if you wanted to move it. The menu will appear along with a quick vibration. If you release the press, the menu will remain; drag in any direction and the menu disappears and the icon moves with the drag. This works with icons anywhere in the launcher, including icons sitting out in the open, in folders, or even right from the app drawer.
Camera app of Moto Z Play in Android 6.0/7.0 lacked so many features. We found new app with great improvement and new features.
New camera App offers different mode such as Professional Mode, Slow Motion, Panorama, Video and Pictures, Burst Mode on rear camera. Panorama is missing on front facing camera while added beauty mode which is not available on rear camera.
Burst Mode takes infinite pictures as we took over 500 pictures and stopped seems to be taking as much as available space of phone is.
Though this feature is not very prominent or needed but it provides some important setting suggestions.
App icons are round now and they look beautiful and uniformed.
Home Control: You can add and control smart home appliances.
News Source: you can manage news source to get latest news from your favourite news media.
Sync Dictionary: Now you can sync dictionary so that you will not waste time to add words on different devices.
What is missing
It lacks Motorola gallery and file manager out of the box, obviously apps of your choice can be downloaded.
Shrink screen (one hand) activation is made difficult in 7.1.1 and need to be dragged down. In android 7.0 one can active this by dragging upward.
Activation in 7.0 was not flawless unlike Xiaomi’s Mi Mix, Redmi Note 3/4 by sliding mid to left or mid to right over navigation.