Motorola Moto Z2 Play Review
Motorola Moto Z2 Play Review – Unlimited possibilities.
up to 30-hour battery: Plus, get up to 8 hours of power in 15 minutes with TurboPower
focus faster: Dual autofocus pixels plus laser autofocus for amazing photos in any light
fast memory and tons of space for music, movies, and photos: Enjoy 64 GB and 4 GB RAM, or 32 GB and 3 GB RAM. Plus, add up to 2 TB more with a microSD card.
Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 626 processor: With up to 2.2 GHz Octa-Core CPU
ultra-slim aluminum unibody: Classic Motorola style with durable Corning® Gorilla® Glass and our water-repellent nano coating**
5.5” full HD super AMOLED display: Vivid color, razor sharp detail
available this summer: Moto Z² Play is available exclusively on Verizon in early July, and available on Motorola.com later this summer.
With the Moto Z2 Play, Motorola is still on the path it started last year. The new model is slimmer, but at the cost of battery capacity. Dropping the battery size for aesthetics might not have been the best idea because Motorola has weakened one of the Z Play’s best attributes. You can of course spend some money and snap on one of the Moto Mods to increase the battery capacity (and thickness/ weight). The updated Snapdragon 626 SoC and 4GB of RAM keep games running smoothly and make multitasking easy.
If you want a sleek modular smartphone running stock Android then the Moto Z2 Play is pretty much your only option. You also have to factor in the cost of the Mods, as opposed to standalone accessories. However, if you aren’t interested in the Moto Mods, Samsung offers the Galaxy C7 Profor a little less, or you can spend a little extra and get the OnePlus 3T.
The $499 Moto Z2 Play is yet another solid modular phone from Motorola. On its own, it offers respectable performance, long battery life, and compatibility with all major US carriers. It pulls ahead of some of the competition when you start snapping on Moto Mods. It’s a unique level of flexibility you don’t get with G6, the S8, or any other non-Motorola phone, for that matter.
That said, the Z2 Play doesn’t have the fastest processor or the highest-resolution screen you’ll find in this price range. The ZTE Axon 7 may be nearly a year old, but it gets you a higher-resolution display, a more powerful processor, and consistent software updates for $100 less than the Z2 Play. If you’re willing to spend more, the Galaxy S8 is the best Android phone we’ve tested, with a sharper display and the fastest processor you can get. And if you’re looking to save money and Moto Mods aren’t of interest to you, the Moto G5 Plus remains a perfectly solid option.
I love this phone. I don’t even want to go back to my Samsung Galaxy S8 right now because the Moto Z2 Play does everything I need it to, and has the deep (and growing deeper) Moto Mods ecosystem to help do what it can’t out of the box. That’s great.
But I am also partial to many things Motorola does, including (especially) Moto Display and a low-fat version of Android. I am also not overly concerned about the diminished battery, despite the fact that I no longer get the same astronomical uptime as I did on the Z Play. That’s because I always have a portable charger with me, and the Z2 Play still — even without anything external — still manages to last the whole day with room to spare. That room is just a little more cramped this time around.
Finally, I love the little things, like the speed and placement of the fingerprint sensor, and the way the camera takes reliable photos in basically any lighting condition. I appreciate the aluminum back, which means I don’t have to wear a Style Shell if I don’t want to. I love the well-calibrated side buttons.
I am also aware that the phone is probably too expensive, at $499 unlocked, for most people, and that when it’s available at a carrier (for an unknown price right now) it’s once again going to be a Verizon exclusive for a while before an unlocked model comes available. I know that the chip inside the phone is already old, and will get older quickly. And I know that the 3000mAh battery is going to turn off the very people that made the Moto Z Play such a cult hit in the first place.
I know all these things and yet, after using the phone, I don’t really care. After using the phone yourself, you probably won’t care, either.
The reason last year’s Moto Z Play was so compelling to me was that it blended stellar battery life with solid performance, good software, and a usable camera. The mix has changed a little with the Z2 Play — the battery life is not quite as stellar, while the camera is better — but the essential package is the same. It’s a very well-executed device that gets all of the basics you need in a phone correct without spoiling the recipe with gimmicks or an unreasonable price.
At $500, however, it’s not an instant purchase. It’s a lot more expensive than true budget phones and not that far off from the actual flagships that offer better displays, better cameras, and more forward-looking designs. This is especially true if you purchase a phone on a monthly payment plan: the difference between a Moto Z2 Play and a Galaxy S8 might be only a few dollars per month.
Still, the Z2 Play provides a great mix of what matters without any unnecessary stuff piled on. And it does so with better battery life than even most flagships can provide. When you think about it, isn’t that all you really want from a phone?
The Moto Z2 Play is currently a Verizon exclusive, and if you buy it by July 26, the JBL SoundBoost Moto Mod is included for free. If you are not on Verizon, there is an unlocked version that will be available later this summer, priced at $500. That is a $50 hike when compared to its predecessor, and is definitely a steep ask considering that it’s a mid-range device.
Moto Mods aren’t exactly cheap, however, and there are cheaper third-party accessories that offer similar functionality and are compatible with all devices. Granted, there is nothing as sleek or unique as Moto Mods, but in the end, what you are essentially paying for is the convenience factor.
The Moto Z2 Play is not a bad smartphone by any stretch of the imagination. However, to truly make it worth your while, you will need to spend your money on more than just the phone itself.
The Moto Z2 Play is an important phone, if only because it’s keeping the Moto Mods story going. It’s incredible that the project has lasted as long as it has, and other manufacturers would have thrown in the towel long ago (just look at LG or Google), so we love the fact that the Z2 Play exists at all.
And looked at by itself, this phone does a lot reasonably well. Performance is alright for a mid-ranger, battery life is good (even if we were hoping it might be better), and even pricing’s not bad, with Verizon selling the handset for just over $400.
But then we take a step back, and can’t help but find ourselves wishing for something more – or maybe just something different. There are lots of little issues that start adding up, like the not-nearly-bright-enough screen, or the speaker that seems to utterly lack any ability to reproduce bass tones.
That dissatisfaction is compounded by the Z2 Play not feeling like a full-on sequel to the original Z Play; it’s just not better in enough ways, and feels more like a “Moto Z Lite,” that trades battery life for thinness.
Looking at the rest of the Motorola lineup, we also find ourselves forced to draw comparisons to another recent affordable handset, the Moto G5 Plus. That phone has similar performance, a very similar camera, and while it doesn’t support Moto Mods, it costs nearly half as much. Modular hardware may be cool, but is it worth paying an extra $150 or more for? And when the simplest add-ons cost $40 themselves, you really have to stop and ask yourself how much money you intend to sink on your smartphone spending.
If you like modular hardware, you like your phones on the thinner side, and you dig a screen with bold colors over one that’s super-bright and easy to read outdoors, the Moto Z2 Play won’t do you wrong. It’s a solid handset, and the ability to add new capabilities really does help offset some of our misgivings. But there’s also a lot of room for improvement here, and maybe more than anything, this phone has us wishing for yet another Moto Z handset, one that pushes the envelope even further.
Lenovo’s Moto Z2 Play is a good smartphone. It would look even better if the Moto Z Play (no longer) existed. The predecessor does many things just as good, some things just a bit worse, and other things even better while being considerably cheaper.
Are there any reasons at all for buying the successor? The casing of the Moto Z2 Play has been reworked and is now even slimmer. This would sooner be a marketing scheme for a normal smartphone. However, it receives another dimension in the Moto Z2 Play: The attachable Moto Mods can make one millimeter quite significant. The lower weight is also an argument since the Mods add enough weight. Apart from that, the buyer gets a very rigid and stylish casing with a less conspicuous fingerprint scanner than in the predecessor. Fast LTE is installed, but still not 802.11ac Wi-Fi and the Wi-Fi transmission rates are actually audacious. In return, the GPS module is very accurate and the cameras produce good photos. The screen is darker and the performance is only marginally higher than that of the predecessor. The battery life is still first-rate but also much shorter than that of Lenovo’s Z Play.
We can give the Moto Z2 Play a purchase recommendation if the buyer finds the Moto Mods system convincing, which function very easily and well. The problem here is that often good alternatives, such as a power bank or Bluetooth speaker, exist. Compared to that, the Moto Mods hardly offer any real advantages. However, buyers should also consider the Moto Z Playand even the Moto Z: Both are presently much cheaper and Lenovo also guaranties the compatibility with the Moto Mods for the next few years.