Moto Z2 Play Review: A Refined Battery Life Champion Returns

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Moto Z2 Play: Battery Life And Final Thoughts

Instead of performance, the big question with the new Moto Z2 Play is how battery life fares in comparison to the everlasting Moto Z Play. The Z2 Play does have a smaller battery which should result in less battery life, but by how much exactly?

To examine this we ran AnTuTu’s battery test, a high-load benchmark that aims to drain the battery in a device as quickly as possible. The test sets the display brightness to high and cranks up workloads for the processor, graphics core, and memory, and runs through many real-world scripted workloads as well, including web browsing, gaming and video playback.

moto z2 play bench antutu battery

The Moto Z2 Play does fall short of the incredible score of its predecessor but still stands head and shoulders above everything else we have tested. Is a slightly slimmer frame worth sacrificing an hour or two of battery life? That depends on your needs and preferences. While we never like to see newer generation phones give up battery life, the Moto Z2 Play is still significantly ahead of the competition.

We will note that we also attempted to run the PCMark Work Battery test but on each device run it would hang a few hours in and not produce a score, so we had to omit it.

moto z2 play 8

In practical usage, the Moto Z2 Plays still powers through more than ten hours of screen time with mixed usage split between email, Google Hangouts group chats, texting, web browsing, reddit reading, YouTube and Netflix watching, very light gaming, Bluetooth music streaming in the car, and more. It has never quite reached the 12 hours of screen time we could achieve with the Moto Z Play under similar circumstances but we are not really complaining.

moto z2 play turbo battery life

The Turbo Power battery pack unfortunately does not play well with our benchmarks because when it kicks in, the tests stop, but anecdotal usage puts it at around 16 to 17 hours of screen time using Efficiency Mode as shown above. The first battery "shelf" is the period of charging care of the Turbo Power battery, and the second shelf is overnight standby usage. There is some efficiency lost from the charging process itself, but having Doze disabled also contributes to higher power consumption particularly as it prevents deep sleep. For optimal battery life, users may want to connect the battery pack only when the charge is needed. In practice, it is probably fine to just leave it on for convenience.

The Moto Z2 Play - Our Final Assessment

In total, the Moto Z2 Play is closer to a variant of the original Moto Z Play than a true successor. It doesn’t feel overwhelmingly new but rather with iterative refinements throughout. In short, those who disliked the original will probably still find shortcomings in the Z2 Play. However, if you're a follower or fan of the original, you're likely to enjoy this new Z Play even more. 

moto z2 play 1

For what it’s worth, the Moto Z2 Play is an overall better package than the original. We never like to see a successor deliver worse battery life, but the Z Play was so far ahead of the pack,that even with the percentage reduction we saw, it still puts the Moto Z2 in top form. Performance enhancements or dramatic efficiency improvements would have also been nice, however.

There’s no denying that the Moto Z2 Play just feels like the superior phone. It has better ergonomics by a mile, so it is more enjoyable to carry around and use. One of bigger boons comes from the improved fingerprint sensor. It is surprisingly natural to use and has the further benefit of increasing screen real estate.

moto z2 play 9

The camera is a major bounceback from the Moto Z Play's questionable camera as well. Autofocus is nearly perfect every time, thanks to its overhauled AF system, low-light performance is better due to a wider aperture, and overall it just seems to work better. Sure, it is still a far cry from the images produced by a flagship Galaxy, Pixel, or iPhone, but it is now very impressive for a midrange device with the option to use the Hasselblad True Zoom mod, when lighting conditions are challenging or subjects are distant.

moto z2 play 7

On the Moto Mods front, the JBL SoundBoost 2 delivers immersive audio and is a sure pickup for frequent music listeners, though it may lack broader appeal since many Bluetooth speakers are available to get essentially the same job done.

If you only buy one mod for the Moto Z2 Play, however, make it the Turbo Power battery pack. It makes the already outstanding battery life of the Moto Z2 Play last even longer with better capacity and integration than competing solutions like the 2220mAh Incipio OffGrid Power Pack or a more traditional battery case.

moto z2 play 5

Still, Lenovo has shored up many weaknesses we saw in the original Moto Z Play. The more comfortable ergonomics, slightly thinner frame, gesture-sensitive fingerprint reader, and improved camera certainly offset the still midrange performance and slightly reduced battery-life. The Moto Z2 Play is a must-consider for any battery life junky, but also holds strong appeal with more mainstream audiences, thanks to its clean stock Android interface and useful Moto actions. Its only remaining pain point is relatively weak 3D gaming performance, but when doing without means incredible battery life, I'll happily take it as my daily driver.


 hot not 
  • Top tier battery life
  • Dramatically improved build quality and ergonomics
  • Better camera performance
  • Fingerprint navigation gestures
  • Intuitive Moto actions
  • Full Moto Mod compatibility
  • Midrange performance
  • Large top and bottom bezels
  • Unlocked variant is still pricey
  • Does not ship with Style Shell backing
Tags:  Lenovo, Android, mod, moto

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