Moto Z Play Review: 8-Cores And Insane Battery Life

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Introducing the Moto Z Play

Moto introduced the Moto Z family back in July with the launch of the Moto Z and Moto Z Force. Packed with flagship worthy hardware like the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, both phones made a serious statement (click for full review) thanks to their modular capabilities, by way of Moto Mods. Moto Mods tune the already premium smartphones to a whole new level when attached. We were impressed by the Moto Mods we played with, including JBL's SoundBoost and the Moto Insta-Share Projector. Unfortunately, these phones were tied to Verizon at the time of our review, but unlocked variants are now trickling onto store shelves.
moto z play camera bump closeup
Today, however, we take a close look at the newest sibling in the Moto Z family - the Moto Z Play. The Moto Z Play is pitched as a more affordable alternative to the Moto Z and Moto Z Force. In exchange for a lighter price tag, the Moto Z Play trades in the Snapdragon 820 for a Snapdragon 625, shaves onboard RAM from 4GB to 3GB, and steps down from a 1440p QHD display to a 1080p FHD panel while keeping approximately the same footprint as the Moto Z Force at 7mm thin. It is fully compatible with any of the Moto Z Family mods as a result.

Modular phones have long been on our radar thanks to the long rumored Project Ara (Rest in Peace). However, Moto is not the first manufacturer to bring a modular smartphone to market . That honor belongs to the LG G5 (click for full review). While certainly innovative, the LG G5's modular implementation via the Magic Slot just does not compare with the ease at which Moto Mods are popped off and on. Another hit against the G5's platform is a lack of modules, with only two on the market currently.
moto z play stand next to hasselblad mod
Moto is careful not to echo the LG's limited portfolio as they saw fit to release a new Moto Mod alongside the Moto Z Play. This new mod, the Hasselblad 4116 True Zoom, purports to "capture images in ways that have never been possible on a phone." To accomplish this, the Hasselblad True Zoom employs a 10x optical zoom lens and brings its own 1/2.3-inch sensor. It's a bit akin to slapping a true point-and-shoot camera on the back of your phone, an intriguing prospect for anyone's Instagram portfolio.

Moto Z Play Droid
Specifications & Features
Model Name Moto Z Play Droid
Display 5.5 inch Super AMOLED Display (1080 x 1920 Resolution, 403 ppi pixel density)
Processor Qualcomm MSM8953 Snapdragon 625, Octo-Core Processor
Dimensions
156.4 x 76.4 x 7mm, 165g
SIM Single SIM (nano) or Dual SIM (nano)/SD Card Slot
Protection IP52 Water-repellent nano-coating
GPU Adreno 506
OS Android v6.0.1 (Marshmallow)
RAM 3 GB LPDDR4
Storage 32 GB
Micro SD up to 256 GB
Camera 16 MP f/2.0 rear camera, phase detection and laser autofocus, dual-tone LED flash, Video 2160p@30fps, 1080p@30fps, 720p@120fps
5 MP f/2.2 front facing camera with LED flash, Video 1080p
Networking GSM / CDMA / HSPA / LTE support
v4.0 LE Bluetooth, NFC, USB Type-C, 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, A-GPS
Sensors Accelerometer, Fingerprint, Gyro, Compass, Proximity
Battery 3510 mAh Removable Battery
Colors Black, White
Extra
Moto Mods including Hasselblad True Zoom camera mod
Price  ~ $449 on Verizon, Unlocked Variants Also Available

The Moto Z Play isn't trying to take on the latest Samsung Galaxy or Apple iPhone with sheer performance. Instead of packing in features for power users, the Moto Z Play aims to be a capable phone for the majority of consumers with, spoiler alert, monstrous amounts of battery life. That's right, Moto promises 50 hours of battery life - no mod necessary - and we think this time they might be right.

We have a lot to cover, so first let's take a close tour of the phone...

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