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Motorola Moto Z Play Droid Review

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Motorola Moto Z Play Droid Review

James Shisiah

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What We Love

  • Outstanding battery life.
  • Solid build quality.
  • Incredible cameras.
  • Impressive Octa-core processor.
  • 32GB internal storage.
  • 3GB RAM
  • Moto Mods

Overview

The Motorola Moto Z Play Droid follows in line with the pricier Moto Z Droid and the Moto Z Force Droid, all from Motorola. The Moto Z Play is a midrange gadget possessing some of the impressive features found in the aforementioned high-end Motorola phones. It boasts a 5.5-inch Super AMOLED display, 32GB of internal storage, 16MP back camera, Octa-core 2.0GHz processor, and an all-day lasting battery. The Prepaid Motorola Moto Z Play Droid is exclusive to Verizon Wireless which offers amazing monthly no-contract. Like the other smartphones in the Moto Z series, the Moto Z Play Droid supports the Moto Mods – these are seamless add-on accessories that attach to the back of the phone. Let us discover more as we go along in the review.

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Design

Although in the mid-range tier, the Moto Z Play Droid exterior design is almost indistinguishable from the high-end Moto Z Force Droid. Let alone for the thickness, in which the Moto Z Play is slightly thicker to allow room for the 3.5mm headphone jack, while the Moto Z Force is thinner hence lacks a headphone jack. In dimensions, the Motorola Moto Z Play Droid measures 6.2x3.0x0.3 inches.

On the front of the gadget sits a 5.5-inch display. The top of the display hosts the earpiece, front camera, and the LED flash. The bottom of the display hosts the fingerprint reader. The fingerprint reader is for locking/unlocking the phone and not the home button. The phone does have the floating navigation keys embedded into the operating system.

The Moto Z Play Droid share a similar layout with the Motorola Moto Z Force. The volume rockers and power/lock button are on the right edge while no buttons whatsoever on the left edge. A combined SIM/microSD slot is available on the top edge. A USB-C and the headphone jack are on the bottom edge.

A noticeable difference between the Moto Z Play Droid and the Moto Z Force Droid comes in the design of the back cover. The Moto Z Play has a glass back panel, while the Moto Z Force has a metal back panel. The back cover also features a removable panel with magnetic pins that communicate with the Moto Mods. It's compatible with the various Moto Mods like the Moto-Share projector, JBL SoundBoost, Hasselblad True Zoom camera and battery packs. The support of the Modular packs is one of a fascinating feature of the Motorola smartphones. The good thing is, the Motorola Moto Z Play automatically recognizes the mods once they are attached to the back panel.

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Camera

The lens on the Motorola Moto Z Play Droid includes a 16MP back camera and a 5MP front camera. With the back cover off, the camera protrudes a bit. Otherwise, it sits flush with the cover on. Considering this is a midrange device, camera performance is impressive. The fast-focusing sensors capture crisp shots with an excellent detail that's likable. The camera has laser autofocus to help in low light capture.

Video capture is incredible with the camera recording up to 4K and 1080p videos at 30fps. The front camera is short on pixels but can still capture 1080p videos. The camera app is also impressive with all the standard options to get you capturing photos and videos straight away.  The camera also supports manual modes where you can adjust the ISO value, white balance, focus and other settings. In case you would like a camera with more advanced features, the Hasselblad True Zoom mod can easily attach to the back of the Motorola Moto Z Play and turn your phone to a professional shooting gadget.

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Display

Motorola brings the Super AMOLED technology to the midrange market. The Motorola Moto Z Play boasts a 5.5-inch Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen. In the Priceline of midrange gadgets, this is amongst the best screens I have seen. It offers a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels and a pixel density of 403ppi. With such resolution, the screen gives enough detail for the eye. While outdoors, the screen brightens up enough ensuring that you have no problem seeing. Just like the flagship Motorola Moto Z Force Droid, the Moto Z lay also features the Moto Display. This feature lets you see stuff like notifications, time and date by simply waving your hand over the display. This is another impressive feature if you ask me.

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Battery

The Motorola Moto Z Play Droid features a larger 3510mAh battery making it a little bit thicker than its pricier sibling - the Moto Z Force. The large battery capacity is intended to match the spec sheet of the phone considering it has a 5.5-inch 1080p display. When it comes to battery life, the Motorola Moto Z Play Droid falls in the class of the longest lasting phones on the market.

What is even more interesting is the battery pack Moto Mod which you can use to double the battery life in an instant. Additionally, the battery supports fast charging with the Motorola’s TurboPower which gives you up to 9 hours battery power with just 15 minutes of charging. Furthermore, you can still get wireless charging by purchasing a compatible Moto Mod. Whatever you plan to do with your phone, the Motorola Moto Z Play is sure to give you a full day of usage.

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Storage

The Moto Z Play Droid ships with 32GB of internal storage, just like the flagship Motorola Moto Z Force. I found the internal storage to fit all my files. If you would like more storage space, then you are in luck because it supports external memory expansion with a dedicated microSD card of up to 256GB.

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Performance

As you would expect from a mid-range gadget, the performance of the Motorola Moto Z Play Droid is impressive. The phone comes running Android 6.0 Marshmallow. There's not much of a Motorola Skin running on top of the Operating System, so you get to enjoy something close to the stock Android version. It's more like what you get on the Google Pixel phones. If you love using stock Android with almost zero modifications, you will definitely enjoy using the Moto Z Play.

The processor is a powerful Octa-core 2.0GHz Cortex-A53 Qualcomm Snapdragon 625. This is paired with 3GB RAM making the Moto Z Play the smoothest and fluid mid-range gadget I have used. I especially enjoyed the smooth animations of Android Marshmallow and the fluidity of navigating through apps. The gaming department is fully considered by the phone including the Adreno 506 GPU; the phone can handle a wide range of graphics and high definition videos without breaking a sweat.

Multitasking is fully supported thanks to the ample RAM and the octa-core processor. I noticed fast app launch speeds and minimum lags even with several apps open in the background. Internet speeds are also at the top thanks to the 4G LTE capabilities. You will also notice how the fingerprint reader is snappy especially when unlocking the phone.

Typical connectivity features such as Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi are available. The phone has a USB-C connector which guarantees fast charging and fast data transfer. NFC is available for fast and secure payments in stores. The gaming experience is further amplified by the presence of sensors like the accelerometer and the gyro sensor.

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Specifications

  • 4G LTE/Wi-Fi/CDMA.
  • 5.5-inch Super AMOLED 1080p HD.
  • Corning Gorilla Glass.
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow.
  • Battery: 3510mAh with TurboPower fast charging.
  • Internal Storage: 32GB, expandable to 2TB with external microSD card.
  • 3GB RAM.
  • Camera: 16MP back and 5MP front.
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon.
  • USB-C reversible connector.
  • Sensors: Fingerprint, accelerometer, proximity, gyro, compass.
  • NFC.
  • GPS.
  • Bluetooth 4.0.