Moto Z2 Play review: Camera works well, but where are the new Mods?

Moto Z2 Play smartphone review: Successor of Moto Z Play, which was announced last year, the new Moto Z2 Play is thinner than its predecessor, and the battery capacity has been reduced. We used Moto Z2 Play for over a week, and here’s our full review.

Written by Hansa Verma | New Delhi | Updated: June 29, 2017 9:43 am
Moto Z2 Play, Moto Z2 Play review, Moto Z2 Play price in India, Motorola, Moto Z2 Play features Moto Z2 Play gets a Full HD 1080p Super AMOLED display. The screen looks vivid and colours come out really well.

The strategy for Motorola in India is simple – increase offline presence – since that has worked well for Lenovo, says the company. Motorola with the help of its premium Moto Z smartphones (which come with Mod Connectors), wants to create an ecosystem of its own, where people use at least one Mod with the device. Affordable Mods aren’t on the cards as of now, but the company doesn’t deny this possibility in the future.

Motorola recently unveiled its Moto Z2 Play smartphone in India. It is the successor of Moto Z Play, which was announced last year. The smartphone is thinner than its predecessor, and the battery capacity has been reduced. The highlight of Moto Z2 Play remains the 16 magnetic pins at the back, which can be used to connect Mods. The company launched several new Mods which include – JBL SoundBoost 2, Moto TurboPower pack, Moto Gamepad, and Moto Style Shell with wireless charging, but the new ones are not available in India yet.  We used Moto Z2 Play for over a week, and here’s our review.

Moto Z2 Play specifications 5.5-inch Full HD (1080p) | 2.2GHz octa-core Snapdragon 626 processor | 4GB RAM + 64GB storage (expandable) | 12MP rear camera + 5MP front camera | 3,000mAh | Android 7.1.1

Moto Z2 Play price in India Rs 27,999

Moto Z2 Play Design, Display review

Moto Z2 Play is a good looking smartphone, probably the best that I’ve reviewed so far thanks to its minimalistic design, and thin form factor. Moto Z2 Play has rounded edges, and the Fine Gold colour option that we got has white bezels in the front. Moto Z2 Play is pretty light at 145 grams. Since it is really thin (and likely to slip from your hands), we’d recommend a back cover with the smartphone.

The back has a nice premium finish, complete with Moto’s logo right below circular camera lens, and magnetic pins further down below. There’s a USB Type-C port for charging, along with a 3.5 mm headset jack at the bottom. The SIM tray is placed on top. Volume rocker keys and the power button are almost the same size, which can be easily accessed from the right side.

Moto Z2 Play, Moto Z2 Play review, Moto Z2 Play price in India, Motorola, Moto Z2 Play features Moto Z2 Play is a good looking smartphone, probably the best that I’ve review so far thanks to its minimalistic design and thin form factor.

The rear camera bump will not appeal to a lot of users, given it defeats the whole purpose of making the smartphone look thinner. My bigger concern is Moto Z2 Play rests on the camera lens each time I keep it facing upwards, which might eventually lead to scratches and marks on this. Still, Moto Z2 Play scores highly on build quality, design and form factor.

There’s a dedicated fingerprint sensor on the front, and it does not double up as home button, which is frustrating, It took me some time to get used to that. The fingerprint sensor isn’t the most accurate I’ve come across. I had to try at least twice each time I had to unlock the phone, which is a let down given the price.

Moto Z2 Play gets a Full HD 1080p Super AMOLED display. The screen looks vivid and colours come out really well. The viewing angles were great as well. I didn’t have to struggle to use the smartphone in bright sunlight. Moto Z2 Play comes with Moto Display, which keeps flashing notifications, even when the screen is turned off. In my case, I found it a bit awkward and distracting as the screen just keeps blinking on and off to show notifications every five seconds or so.

Moto Z2 Play, Moto Z2 Play review, Moto Z2 Play price in India, Motorola, Moto Z2 Play features There’s a dedicated fingerprint sensor on the front, and it does not double up as home button (it took me some time t get used to that).

Moto Z2 Play performance review

Moto Z2 Play is powered by an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 626 processor clocked at 2.2 GHz, with Adreno 506 GPU. There’s 4GB RAM, and 64GB internal storage which is further expandable up to 2TB via a microSD card. Moto Z2 Play won’t disappoint you when it comes to performance. It handles day-to-day tasks of multitasking, watching videos, playing games, and listening to music quite well. There were no noticeable lags while opening apps or switching between multiple tabs.

Moto Z2 Play, Moto Z2 Play review, Moto Z2 Play price in India, Motorola, Moto Z2 Play features Moto Z2 Play is powered by an Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 626 processor clocked at 2.2 GHz, with Adreno 506 GPU. There’s 4GB RAM, and 64GB internal storage which is further expandable up to 2TB via a microSD card.

I didn’t experience major heating issues while playing graphics heavy games like Asphalt-8 on it, or while watching videos, which is great given Moto Z2 Play is a premium smartphone. There are no capacitive keys in Moto Z2 Play, something I’m not fond of. The 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage in Moto Z2 Play should be good enough to please an average user. Plus there’s an option to expand the storage thanks to microSD card support.

Moto Z2 Play camera review

Moto Z2 Play has an excellent 12MP rear camera, one that takes great pictures. The pictures have enough details, and that’s something I liked the most. The colour reproduction was also brilliant. In dimly-lit places, the camera does an equally good job. In most cases, the details were intact, and colour reproduction was close to natural.

Moto Z2 Play, Moto Z2 Play review, Moto Z2 Play price in India, Motorola, Moto Z2 Play features Moto Z2 Play camera sample. (Image resized for web) Moto Z2 Play, Moto Z2 Play review, Moto Z2 Play price in India, Motorola, Moto Z2 Play features Moto Z2 Play camera sample. (Image resized for web)

The rear camera comes with go live mode, professional mode slow motion, and panorama. The Go Live mode allows users to directly go live via YouTube, which is great for users who do a lot of live videos.

Moto Z2 Play, Moto Z2 Play review, Moto Z2 Play price in India, Motorola, Moto Z2 Play features Moto Z2 Play camera sample. (Image resized for web) Moto Z2 Play, Moto Z2 Play review, Moto Z2 Play price in India, Motorola, Moto Z2 Play features Moto Z2 Play camera sample. (Image resized for web)

The front camera produces good pictures in bright outdoors as well. In places where there’s little light, it does miss out on details. In such cases, pictures look a bit grainy. However, the front camera exceeds expectations, especially if we look at the fact that there’s only a 5MP sensor on the front.

Moto Z2 Play software, UI review

Moto Z2 Play runs stock Android 7.1.1 Nougat. The UI is pretty simple (close to stock Android) with no added bloatware, which is great. The app drawer can be launched by swiping upwards, and app icons are rounded. Moto Z2 Play comes with a ‘Hi Moto’ tab, which has options like Moto Actions, Moto Display, and Moto Voice. Moto Actions can really make your Z2 Play experience simpler by offering certain useful gestures like – chop twice for flashlight, twist for quick capture, and flip for do not disturb.

Moto Z2 Play, Moto Z2 Play review, Moto Z2 Play price in India, Motorola, Moto Z2 Play features The rear camera bump will not appeal to a lot of users, given it kind of defeats the whole purpose of making the smartphone look thinner.

Moto Display comes with a Night display option that allows the screen to automatically adjust to warmer tones at night, and Moto display. Moto Voice lets users control Z2 Play with their voice, which is pretty cool.

Moto Z2 Play battery review

Moto Z2 Play has a smaller 3,000mAh battery when compared to 3,510mAh battery in the original Moto Z. The battery in Moto Z2 Play is claimed to last for up to 30 hours. While it lasts for an entire day with moderate usage, it is tough to squeeze out an entire day on heavy usage. I mainly used Moto Z2 Play for making calls, browsing through social media platforms, watching videos, and listening to songs. Moto Z2 Pay can be charged from 2 per cent to 50 per cent in 35-40 minutes thanks to Turbo charging technology.

Moto Z2 Play Verdict

Moto Z2 Play is an ambitious smartphone given the whole Mods coupled with an ultra-slim design. But the phone does have mid-level specifications, for its price tag of Rs 27,000. Could Moto have added the 820 series here? Perhaps. The problem is that the competition has options like OnePlus 3T with its Snapdragon 821 and 6GB RAM. Samsung Galaxy C7 Pro can be considered as well, and this phone has an excellent camera too.

The USP of Moto Z2 play is that it can be used with Mods. If you’re ready to spend another Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000 (or even more), then Moto Z2 Play makes a lot of sense. However, as a standalone device, Moto Z2 Play will have a tough time standing against the competition.

Video of the day

For all the latest Technology News, download Indian Express App

    Live Cricket Scores & Results