Moto Z Play: Software & User Experience
Motorola embraced the look and feel of stock android several years ago and has not looked back. There’s no custom skinning to be found and even ships with Android’s basic Launcher3 homescreen. Instead, Moto uses pure Android as a base over which they add features via the Moto app. One caveat here is, like the Moto Z and Moto Z Force we reviewed, this Moto Z Play is actually a Droid edition. This means it also comes loaded with Verizon’s app choosings. Fortunately, these can all be uninstalled or otherwise disabled away as desired.
The Moto app brings serious value and convenience. Our two most used gestures are the double chop for flashlight and double twist to activate the camera. These gestures work even with the phone locked to help you capture a moment or find your way that much more easily. The Moto app also has some new tricks, such as enabling a swipe from the bottom of the screen to shrink it. This works like the iPhone’s Reachability feature to make everything more accessible for one-handed usage.
The Moto Z Play doesn’t concern itself with adding every feature under the sun. What it does bring works well and it becomes difficult to adjust to using a phone without its quality of life perks after some time with it. It works with you while staying out of your way.
The best testament to this is in the fingerprint reader. Love or hate the appearance, it works well and it works fast. The phone vibrates the moment it is touched and the screen is on and unlocked before you can fully lift your finger. I experienced no issues unlocking the phone that weren’t due to wildly misplacing my finger on the sensor or using an unregistered finger. It is also front-facing which means the phone doesn’t need to be lifted off a desk or table in order to unlock it. As an added bonus, the fingerprint reader can also be touched to turn off the display. I found myself using this functionality significantly more often than the physical power button.
Moto absolutely nailed functionality with the phone and we haven’t even covered the mods yet.