Moto Z3 Play Review: Have Mods, Will Travel

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Moto Z3 Play: Software Experience

The Moto Z3 Play is driven by true to stock Android. Beyond a few default Google Apps, Moto only adds a few pertinent apps of their own.

moto z3 play screenshot home

The most prominent of these is the eponymous Moto app. This app is found on all of Motorola’s smartphones where it primarily grants control over Moto’s special-sauce Action, Display, and Voice controls. The Suggestions tab is new to this round which provides some basic tips to familiarize users with the unique features of the Z3 Play.

moto z3 play screenshot moto app

We’ve covered many of these features in previous reviews, but the Z3 Play brings some new tricks as well. Up first, the Screenshot Editor is an optional pop-up menu that appears after taking a screenshot which allows users to take long scrolling screenshots or else crop them to just the pertinent area. The Screenshot Editor also enables instant sharing via any application along with quick access to the trash can for screenshots gone wrong.

moto z3 play screenshot editor
Screenshot Editor

The Moto app also provides an option for a three-finger touch to trigger a screenshot, but we found this gesture to be more awkward than the traditional Power + Volume Down approach, but that might not be the case for all users.

moto z3 play navigation bar options
Left - Standard Navbar Right - One Button Navbar

The One Button Nav setting is one of our favorite tricks. Technically, this is a carryover from the Z2 Play although in lieu of a home button, the Z3 Play creates a small on-screen bar where users can swipe. This option is ever so slightly narrower than the traditional navigation buttons which affords more screen real estate. It can also be kinesthetically pleasing to fling pages away, but maybe that is just us.

moto z3 play screenshot mod market

Moto also provides a Moto Z Marketplace where users can shop for mods and accessories in one place. It contains a mix of first and third-party accessories. It is far from the most exciting mobile app, but users can disable it if they wish.

The final software trick we have to highlight relates to the Moto Z3 Play's extra-wide display. Most video content will play in its 16:9 default aspect ratio, but this results in pillar boxes on either side.
moto z3 play video native ratio
Default 16:9 Video with Pillar Boxes

Thankfully, the deep blacks of the AMOLED display make these unobtrusive, but users who wish to use every last pixel can use a simple pinch gesture to zoom into a 2:1 cropped view. Content at the very top and bottom of the screen may be cropped out, but most footage simply looks more cinematic this way.
moto z3 play video pinch in
Punched-In 2:1 Video Looks Best

The Moto Z3 Play user experience is very pleasing, all told. The Snapdragon 636 has no issues keeping up with the interface and users are able to zip through everyday tasks without any suspicion of the processor being anything other than top tier.

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