Hey everyone, Jimmy with JimsReviewRoom. It’s that time of year again, starting off phone reviews for August and into the fall season, we’re going to start seeing phones being announced and released pretty shortly. So first up, Motorola sent over a loaner unit for 30-days to test, and we’re looking at their new Moto Z2 Play accompanied with several Moto-Mods. Per their website, this phone is going for $408 and the moto-mods prices are on screen for your convenience. https://www.motorola.com/us/products/moto-mods
So without further ado, be sure to follow me on Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram, again, I’m Jimmy with JimsReviewRoom, and I’m here to help YOU, make that purchase decision. Welcome everyone, to another review.
Going over the physical features first, the Z2 Play is crazy thin from the factory. While most other phones are coming in around 8mm thick, the Samsung S8+, LG G6, iPhone 7 to name a few, this is the thinnest phone that I’ve personally tested coming in at 6mm. I’ll all for slim phones as they’re easier to manage in the pocket, but when holding the Z2 Play… it is a bit slippery as there’s less meat you can say to hold on to. There’s moto mods you can attach that does completely fix the matter, but I’ll show you those later in this review.
The phone is splash proof, perfect and ideal for those who likes using their phones around the sink in the morning. My time testing, spills to splashes, they all held up fine. You just can’t submerge it.
Going around the physical features, your Sim and Micro-SD card reader is uptop. Rotating to the right there’s volume rocker buttons with power below. All three buttons were quite small and very similar to each other, having it take more time than usual to build up muscle memory. Give it several days and you should be fine in identifying where everything is located. On the bottom is the 3.5mm connection for your earphones… in the middle is a USB-TYPE C port for charging. Motorola claimed from a dead battery, you can have upto 8hrs of life with it in the charger for just 15minutes. From my testing, after leaving it the charger for a quarter of an hour, I achieved 15% of battery life.
For general battery life, I’m getting on average a day and a half before needing to recharge, and 6hrs and 52mins of screen on time. The most I’ve gotten was 7hrs and 32mins for days of heavy use.
Rotating to the rear, this is where it gets really interesting and the phone starts to differentiate itself from the others. The Moto Z line of phones, they’re modular to an extent. You can buy various back plates to attach for different functions. First up is the JBL Soundboost 2. It looks great, it has a little kickstand, it’s also splash proof… Shaking this in mid air didn’t have the speaker move or shimmy at all. From my testing, the audio performance sounds equivalent to a small $50 stand-alone bluetooth speaker. It’s great for personal casual listening even at maximum volume. On a few rare occasions, there is some slight raspiness at those high levels. The biggest concern that I had, at maximum volume, the battery drains at about 10% every 5 minutes. At 50% volume, the audio is low for very casual at the desk listening, I was able to achieve 16 and a half hours worth of use.
Other attachments to quickly glance over, there’s the additional power bank back plate which I loved. This gives you an additional day of battery life. Also, there’s tons more grip not only because it’s awesome texture, but it does give the phone slightly more meat to hold on to. Last, Motorala sent me this floral pattern which isn’t really my style, but… there’s other designs out there. This gives the back some protection, gives the phone a bit more meat to grab again and last, this mod gives the phone the ability to wirelessly charge. There’s many other Moto Mods out there like a projector for displaying video on the wall, to a camera attachment that gives you better optical performance, better looking images….
But getting back to the phone. Continuing with what is unique. The Moto options include chopping the phone twice to activate the flashlight. Two more chops to turn it off.
And Twisting the screen to turn on the camera, even if… the phone is locked. Both of these actions required a pretty firm movement, most likely to prevent accidental actions when not intended. The Home button can be used as your navigation with swiping right to left to go back on webpages and certain apps. Left to right to access the menu features, and to lock the phone, a slight hold till it vibrates. Sounds great in theory, but from my testing, it’s been hit or miss. There’s moments where it works, and some moments where you’re swiping multiple times to execute.
Now, looking at the camera, we have a 12megapixel shooter on the rear. This has to be the second fastest auto-focus system I’ve experienced to date. Motorola says it’s using Dual Autofocus Pixels and laser’s to measure distance and such. And this is not Motorola’s $700 flagship phone either which is impressive. Well, who has the fastest Auto-Focus, both the Samsung S7 and S8 phones are instant, and works at closer distances. With the Moto, it does a slight hunt for a millisecond that you might see in this demonstration. Although not number one, it’s very darn close and beats nearly every other phone out there.
The menu’s and features are very straight forward. You can’t adjust aspect ratios and resolution size for photos which was odd. I think most won’t mind unless you absolutely need a wide 16×9 aspect ratio. On the flip side, you do get PRO mode, where you can manually control and adjust shutter speeds, ISO levels, focus, etc. Possibly the biggest downfall for me while using the camera is after each photo, there are no icons that let’s me preview my images. I would have to back out the camera, then go into Google Photos.
Going through some samples… Everything was set on Automode as most average consumers would use. The photos in general were good for a $400 phone. The images doesn’t necessarily pop, but offered photos still worth using and sharing on social media. One example, here’s a photo from the Motorola. (POST : Green sushi photo) This was in a dimly lit restaurant on Saturday. As I said, nothing too special but clearly usable. And I know this is not an apples to apples comparison, but only for reference to see how far off the Motorola is from a flagship phone, this image is comparing to my Samsung S8+, a $800 plus device. Here’s another one real quick. The Motorola shows up first, again, not bad, and showing the Samsung once again. Definitely some differences. Here are a few more photos from motorola itself and you can see, it’s not as sharp, not as saturated in colors, if I can sum it all up, the images don’t pop, but again, the images are still usable for very generic use. I’d say, throw on a filter and you’re good to go. Last up is low light performance. The camera does somewhat struggle here with providing more noise in moderately dark areas and objects..
Alright, so enough about the camera. We’ve seen the unique features from Motorola like the flashlight turning on, twisting your wrist to turn on the camera. We’ve seen the moto mods which were very unique. And we went into the camera. Jumping over to phone use, I’ll place the specs on your screen for your convenience. Please pause the video if you like the details. http://www.gsmarena.com/motorola_moto_z2_play-8674.php
The display comes in at 5.5inches with a 1080 resolution. The bezels are quite large however, having the phone in black, it doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb as my white Pixel XL.
Despite flagship phones offering more pixels, using the Moto Z2 play on a daily basis I couldn’t tell the difference. Colors are accurate and strays away from popping out at you with strong contrasts and saturation. The Super Amoled display still gives off a pleasing look and more importantly, doesn’t make skin-tones look orangy or red. For average user experience, it looks perfectly fine in my experience.
As for performance, the Z2 Play is using the latest mid-tier Processor available, the Snap Dragon 626. From my experience, the average consumer will be perfectly fine. During my time using the phone like my work phone, checking on twitter, instagram, uploading and downloading photos, opening up the camera app, they all performed as it would normally. I quickly tested playing a bit more graphic intensive games like Madden, UFC and such and during gameplay, never noticed a hiccup or skipped frame rates ect for those titles. Everything loaded in a reasonable amount of time. Webpages loaded reasonably. Down to call performance, cell signal in my office building and such. Really no complaints for everyday use, to gaming on it.
In the end, for a mid-tier performer, you’re getting a lot of value considering how thin it is, the unique and proprietary features, plus the options and expansion with Moto Mods. If you’re in the $400 range and you have the right expectations, this phone is surely a hit in my opinion.
In the comments section below, please let me know your thoughts, is this an awesome phone, are the Moto Mods cool, are they worth it? I would love.. To hear your thoughts.