Motorola Moto Z Play Smartphone Review

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Product Review

Smartphone makers claims about battery life usually have to be taken with a large pinch of salt. My iPhone 6s was one of the worst phones I have every owned for battery life, frequently running out by the early afternoon if used too much.  Motorola’s Moto Z Play Play makes an audacious claim of up to 2 days use from a single charge and for once its claims have been born out in our testing.  The Moto Z Play has the best battery life of any smartphone we have ever used. If battery life is your most important criteria in choosing a smartphone then look no further.

Motorola have combined a big battery, a mid-range Qualcomm processor, a 1080p screen with 3GB of RAM to produce a phone that easily lasted 2 days on a single charge.  And it has done this at an excellent competition beating price point.  It’s available on Amazon (UK) from only £354.27.

The Moto Z Play has got a colourful 5.5” 1080p Super AMOLED display. The phone is constructed with a glass and aluminium chassis with the same splash-proof coating as its pricier siblings. But this is thicker and heavier than other members of the Moto Z family, but not by much.  There’s a USB-C jack on bottom with a headphone jack beside it, allowed by those thicker proportions, and the volume and power buttons on the phone’s right side feel well built as on the other Zs. They’re still placed a little high and confusingly close together, though. The fast, not-a-home-button fingerprint sensor is also carried over from the main Moto Z Play.
The MotoMod connector pins are also a feature carried over from other Z models. They are lined up in a rounded rectangle near the bottom of the phone’s back.  The MotoMods are
modular attachments that can help expand and improve the functionality of your phone.  For more information of the mods available you can visit here – https://www.motorola.co.uk/moto-mods .

The Moto Z  Play has a 16-megapixel sensor camera with f/2 aperture, laser / phase detect autofocus, and 4K video recording on board. The results are average for the £354.27 price point.  In normal lighting conditions the photos and videos are of a good standard but in low light there is a little more noise in dark areas.  It loses out to the OnePlus 3 and Nexus 5X in overall picture quality. It’s serviceable, but better options exist if you put camera performance above all else.

Inside the Moto Z Play is Qualcomm’s mid-range Snapdragon 625 processor. Although not as powerful as the Snapdragon 820 you do get better power consumption and it’s extremely difficult to pinpoint any performance issues with no lag evident in any of our tests on standard smartphone usability.  The 3GB of RAM was sufficient to complete multiple tasks without any noticeable dip in performance.  The main exception to this is gaming, particularly with the latest processor hungry titles. Pokemon Go, The Room, Monument Valley, Two Dots, and Lara Croft Go were playable but not perfect.

Compared to the Snapdragon 820 processor, the Snapdragon 625 difference in performance is imperceptible. But the gains in battery life are enormous. The Moto Z Play lasted for 8 1/2 hours looping a continuous video, a performance better than any other Android smartphone we have tested.  The Moto Z Play has the usual mix of battery saving modes and optimisation settings, but even without using these features this smartphones battery life is awesome.  Using this phone to watch full length movie or using it as a satnav will not exhaust the battery in a day.

Verdict

Although the outstanding feature of the Moto Z Play is its battery life, this phone is not a one trick pony.  It is also a pleasant phone to use thanks to Moto’s software features built on top of Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Motorola has also stated it will bring out an update based on Android Nougat to all the phones in the Z family sometime in the coming month.
Here at LGR we really rate the Moto Z Play. Especially for the relatively inexpensive price point of £354.27! It may not have the kudos or brand recognition of an iPhone or Samsung but if you choose this phone you will be happily using it for hours after Samsung and Apple users have be scrabbling for their phone chargers.  If you’re tired of being tethered to a phone charger or battery pack, the Moto Z Play is probably the best phone for you.

Good

  • Outstanding battery life
  • Cheapest Moto Z phone
  • Works with all MotoMods I
  • ncludes a 3.5mm headphone jack

Bad

  • Average camera and picture quality
  • Thicker and heavier than its Z family alternatives
9.3

Excellent

Build Quality - 9
Ease of Use - 9
Value for Money - 10

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