Lenovo, the parent company of Motorola, has announced the launch of the latest, premium handset for the Indian market. The company wants to build on the ‘modular’ Moto Mod ecosystem that started last year with the launch of the Moto Z. The smartphone is priced at Rs. 27,999 and will be available exclusively on Flipkart from 15 June along with retail channels.
The company is trying its best to push forward the ‘modular’ smartphone concept to the people. The company also announced four new Moto Mods – the new JBL SoundBoost 2 which when attached to the phone it will work as an audio enhancer, TurboPower Pack Mod which acts as an extra battery to increase the battery life of the phone, new Moto Shells which are the colorful covers to protect the phone and a new Moto GamePad which can be used as joystick while playing games.
We reviewed the first generation Motorola Moto Z along with the Hasselblad True Zoom Mod and JBL SoundBoost Mod and we concluded that this interesting approach to mods could use some polish. Moto Z2 Play is the third smartphone after the Moto Z and Moto Z Play to support the MotoMods. The smartphone looks stellar, but does it fix the quirks that we faced in the original Moto Z? Let’s have a quick look at how Moto Z2 Play fares.
Build and Design
Motorola has opted for a full aluminum back with its latest device in India. The smartphone looks great and feels sturdy in hand without any squeaking parts.
The company has not changed much in terms of the design except the redesigned ‘fingerprint’ scanner in front of the smartphone, which also doubles as your home button.
Motorola also emphasized that the company has redesigned the antennas in the Moto Z2 Play to ensure better connectivity for users depending on how they hold the smartphone.
One thing to point out is that the smartphone has managed to make the smartphone even slimmer. it's now just 6 mm in comparison to the 7 mm of thickness in the previous model.
The new Moto Z2 Play will feature a 5.5-inch Full HD screen with a protection of Corning Gorilla Glass 3. The phone will come with 4 GB RAM with 64 GB storage. It supports memory cards up to 256 GB in size for enhancing the storage.
The rest of the features include a 3,510 mAh battery, an octa-core Snapdragon 626 processor clocked at 2.2 GHz, Android 7.1.1 Nougat, a water repellent nano-coating, a USB Type-C port and two color options of gray and gold. Lenovo also announced the launch of four new Moto Mods along with the smartphone.
The new Moto Z2 Play will feature a 5.5-inch Full HD (1080x1920 pixels) Super AMOLED display with a protection of Corning Gorilla Glass 3. The AMOLED panel comes with a 401 ppi pixel density and a 70.1 percent screen-to-body ratio.
These things remain largely unchanged from the Motorola Moto Z Play that was launched last year. The display looks bright and vibrant with good viewing angles.
Chipset, RAM, and storage
The Moto Z2 Play comes with an Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 626 processor clocked at 2.2 GHz. It is coupled with an Adreno 506 GPU to handle any graphically intensive tasks on the smartphone. This marks a marginal improvement in terms of the clock speed for the processor as the last generation Play packed a Snapdragon 625 clocked at 2.0 GHz.
The RAM has been increased by 1 GB from the 3 GB RAM last year. Coming to the storage, Moto has decided to double the storage of the smartphone from the 32 GB available in the last generation model. The company has not added any revolutionary features in this section, but they do seem to function as evolutionary changes.
OS and Software
Moto Z Play comes with Android Nougat 7.1.1 out of the box along with the April Android security patch. This is one of the few smartphones that is running Android Nougat 7.1.1 as other smartphone makers are still launching smartphones with Android Nougat 7.0. I would like to point out that the first generation Moto Z Play is still running Android Nougat 7.0 with a planned 7.1.1 release.
The company has continued the Motorola philosophy of not adding any bloatware, except the ‘Moto’ and ‘Moto Mods’ app on the smartphone, to deliver the ‘Moto Experience’. The company detailed ‘Moto Experience’ as the overall experience that it wants to deliver using the ‘Moto Actions’, ‘Moto Display’, and ‘Moto Voice.’ Each adds on additional functionality to the stock Android experience to improve overall usability.
It is interesting to note here that the company has supposedly added some Pixel-centric features in the software that include the support to ‘circular’ icons along with support for ‘App Shortcuts’ along with the Pixel launcher like default launcher.
Last but not the least, the company has also added the subtly ‘Google Assistant’ animation when the user long presses on the home button to activate Google Pixel.
The smartphone comes with a 12 MP camera with an aperture of f/1.7 for better shots in low and dimly-lit conditions. The company has also added dual-autofocus by adding phase detection and laser detection along with a dual tone dual-LED flash for sharper and improved focus. The camera feels very snappy in performance and it does not hunt for focus as the shot is taken almost immediately, in my limited testing.
The company clarified that the 1.4 µm pixel size of each pixel in the camera sensor will ensure better photos. The resolution of the front camera is 5 MP with an aperture of f/2.0 along with a dual tone dual-LED flash. In terms video recording, the rear camera can shoot 4K at 30 fps while the front camera can only manage 1080p video. When compared to the previous generation, the megapixel count is down from the 16 MP mark but the camera gains dual-autofocus.
Connectivity and Battery
The smartphone comes with a 4G-enabled Dual Nano-SIM slot along with a dedicated micro-SD card to expand storage by up to 256 GB. It comes with Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot, Bluetooth v4.2 A2DP and LE, GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS, NFC, FM Radio, a 3.5 mm headphone jack, Moto Mod connector pins on the back and a reversible Type-C USB 3.1 port for connectivity options. The device also packs a fingerprint scanner on the front along with an accelerometer, gyroscope, proximity and compass sensors to expand the functionalities of the device.
Moto Z2 Play comes with a 3,000 mAh non-removable Lithium-Ion battery along with Turbo-Charge to last you a day. In terms of specifications, the smartphone comes with some added features here and there but it also comes with a reduced battery size from the 3,510 mAh in the original Moto Z Play.
Motorola has announced a compelling device in terms of the build quality while improving on the design to improve usability. The company had to make some trade-offs in terms of the battery size or the megapixel count on the primary camera at the back when compared to the previous generation, but those trade-offs may have been worth it. The update looks like an evolutionary one rather than a revolutionary one. The company is still pushing the "revolutionary" agenda of MotoMods.
It clarified that letting customers know about the concept of Mods online or through television advertisements does not convey the full picture of ease and versatility. We will have to see what the latest generation Mods, especially the ‘Gaming Pad’ bring to the table.
The price tag of Rs 27,999 might be a bit steep, especially considering the fact that you only get the Style Mmod inside the box. But the people who are interested in the entire 'Modular' smartphone would not mind paying for the added convenience. The company also pointed out that it does not want to be the specification leader in the smartphone market. Instead, the company wants to be known for providing comprehensive solutions in terms of the integration between hardware and software.
We still have to test the smartphone thoroughly of course and we'll give you a proper verdict when we've finished putting the device through its paces. For now, the first impressions are very favourable.