Home Opinion Moto Z Play Review: Pure Android Experience With Moto Mods Goodness

Moto Z Play Review: Pure Android Experience With Moto Mods Goodness

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We were watching a fellow blogger’s You Tube live show and he was ranting about many Android OEMs (original equipment manufacturer) putting their own skin as he is looking for something pure like Nexus devices. Well, Google has the Pixel but it is darn expensive. We ourselves are fans of vanilla Android too. Good thing Motorola has returned to the Philippines. We have the Moto Z Play here. It is Moto’s premium mid range offering priced almost half of the the Google Pixel. We’ve been using the Moto Z Play for a few weeks now and here’s our full review.

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Moto Z Play:

  • 2.0 octa core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor
  • Adreno 506 graphics
  • 3GB RAM
  • 32GB internal memory expandable via MicroSD up to 256GB
  • 5.5-inch Full HD Super AMOLED display (1920 x 1080 pixels)
  • 16 megapixel rear facing camera with PDAF, laser autofocus and dual LED flash
  • 5 megapixel front facing camera
  • Dual SIM, Dual Standby
  • 4G/LTE, WiFi, Bluetooth, Fingerprint Scanner, USB Type C
  • GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS
  • 3,510 mAh battery
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow upgradable to Android 7.0 Nougat
  • Price: P22,999
  • Status: Available at select MemoXpress and Silicon Valley stores

Related article – Moto Z Play Unboxing and First Impressions

HARDWARE AND DESIGN

Honestly, we do miss Motorola a lot. We never got a chance to review the older generations of the Moto X and this is our first Motorola review. From its very old RAZR line flip phones 10 years ago, Motorola has changed when it comes to build quality. The Moto X Play is very well built, very well put together. We just find it a little heavier than, say, the Zenfone 3. We don’t really know where the added heft is coming from and we guess the combined metal and glass chassis may be the main factor for the weight. Lastly, the Moto Z Play is very slippery. There were countless times that we were taking photos and videos that the phone slipped. Good thing we have good reflex, hehehe.

AUDIO WITH JBL SOUND BOOST MOD

Audio is coming from the phone’s earpiece. Generally it is loud but it gets distorted on max volume. Good thing we have the JBL Sound Boost mod. Oh boy, the JBL mod has the best music experience we’ve ever had in a long time. We use the Moto Z Play and the JBL Sound Boost mod a lot at work as our music background, playing our favorite songs at Spotify.

The JBL Sound Boost mod has its own battery – 1,000 mAh. It does not sip power from the phone’s battery so if you are going to use it make sure you charge this mod separately. It also uses USB Type C which means you can use the phone’s own charger.

DISPLAY

It is good the see that Motorola opted for an AMOLED panel instead of the traditional IPS LCD. It sips less power from the battery thus produces punchier colors and more saturated. We actually favor more towards AMOLED rather than IPS because of that. Samsung’s flagships the Galaxy S7 uses AMOLED. Good thing the 5.5-inch display can also withstand the harsh direct sunlight.

SOFTWARE AND PERFORMANCE

The Moto Z Play is powered by Qualcomm’s mid range Snapdragon 625 processor which is found on the ASUS Zenfone 3. The phone performed with no effort handing our extreme multitasking. It is also noticeably fast and responsive.and the reason behind it is its stock Android UI. Motorola was used to owned by Google and the company still holds many of its patents. Motorola also said that Android 7.0 Nougat update is coming to its current offerings including the Moto Z Play within this year. Cool!

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CAMERA

We’ve been reading and watching reviews from foreign blogs and You Tubers. The camera remains to be Motorola’s weak spot according to them. Using the Moto Z Play’s front and back camera during our trip in VIetnam, it actually takes really good photos. Maybe they have high standards, hehe. Here, take a look at some of the photos we’ve taken.

Video is surprisingly good too! Check out some of our videos here!

CONNECTIVITY

We brought the Moto Z Play to Vietnam and we inserted Vietnamese carrier SIM Viettel into the device. The country does not have 4G/LTE service yet but we are surprised on how fast their 3G is. Viber calls and video calls are lag free! Back at home, LTE is within normal range. Voice calls are outstanding. It one of Motorola’s best strengths even in the past.

BATTERY

The Moto Z Play’s main selling point is that large 3,510 mAh battery. This is for those who are seeking a larger battery from the flagship Moto Z. Well, the battery did not disappoint. We managed to get around 5 hours of screen on time and 12 hours of heavy use. We got more than a day of moderate use. Impressive!

It does have Motorola’s turbo charge technology and charging the Moto Z Play took us a liitle bit over an hour from zero to 100%. It gets warm while charging but there’s nothing to be alarmed.

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WHO IS THIS FOR?

  • For Android purists – We know many Pinoy don’t mind whether it is stock Android or not nor can it be updated to the latest software. But for those who care for all of these, the Moto Z Play is your best option.
  • Old Moto fans – The old fanboy in us just came out when we first took gaze on it. Maybe you should consider one
  • Looking for something different – in the sea of Samsungs, Oppos, Apples in the Philippines flaunting a Moto while in a meeting or hanging out in a coffee will make you stand out.
  • Audiophiles – If you are an audiophile who prefers listening music at the background and not using earphones. Yeah. This phone is for you! Sadly, you have to buy the JBL Soundboost separately now unless you get it with Globe’s postpaid plan.