The Moto Z2 Play (£379) is a 5.5″ 1080p AMOLED display. It’s not super high-end, but get’s the job done without trashing the battery life. Around the back, you’ll find a 12MP shooter and the unique Mod pins. The volume rockers and power buttons are located in their usual home to the right of the display and at the top of the phone, you’ll find a dual microSD/SIM tray slot.

Moto Z2 Play sim tray

Internal storage and RAM are 4GB and 64GB of space.

Design

The design of the Moto Z2 Play is very inline with last year’s model, as well as the current generation of Moto devices. The phone is almost identical in width and height as the original but shaves off a full millimetre in thickness. You wouldn’t think this would translate to much, but it’s noticeably different in the hand. The slimmer body also downsizes the battery to a 3,000mAh capacity

Turning to the screen, we also have a Super AMOLED 5.5-inch panel with Full HD resolution (1080 x 1920 pixels), which gives the Moto Z2 Play the same density of 401 ppi found in the original Moto Z Play.

The colours are very beautiful and the levels of contrast and brightness satisfy, being comfortable to use the device both indoors and outdoors, whether with lighting or not. If the colour pattern that comes from the factory does not suit you, you can change it to something more natural.

Back of the Moto Z2 Play without the back cover on

The performance of Moto Z2 Play, which by the way was one of the points where the device stood out the most. In terms of technical specifications, we have a Snapdragon 626 chipset with eight cores up to 2.2 GHz, Adreno 506 GPU and 4 GB of RAM, with 64 GB of internal storage expandable via microSD up to 2 TB.

We can not stop talking about the software, even though a fairly clean version of Android 7.1.1 Nougat is included here. In general, we have basically the same seen in the purest form of the system, is included here only two great changes.

The first is the presence of the Moto app, which includes some commands that make life much easier for the user. In Moto Action, we have the possibility to use the biometric reader as a substitute for the Android navigation bar, simply slide to one side or the other to access the multitasking screen or return to the previous screen, or give a quick touch to go back to the home screen. If you leave the button pressed, the screen is locked, simply position the registered finger for biometrics so that it will be unlocked quickly.

In the tests, the fingerprint reader worked well most of the time, except of course when the hand was wet. Other important commands of the Moto Action are to rotate the wrist twice to open the camera or switch between the rear camera and the front camera, and to shake the device to turn the flashlight on or off, both very intuitive and usually work in the first attempt. There are also a few others such as sliding down to activate the mode of use with one hand or flip the device to activate Do Not Disturb, making the user experience quite intuitive.

The other major change is the Snaps settings menu, where you can choose how to recharge with the Battery Snap, with Standard and Efficiency Mode, where the first one keeps the phone battery at 100% until the Snap is fully discharged and the second retains approximately 80%, which extends the duration of the Snap

Moto Mods

Z2 Play: the JBL SoundBoost 2 (£89), Style Shell with wireless charging, TurboPower Pack, and GamePad and the 360 camera Moto Mod (£239), more on that one later on

One of the more popular Mods of the last generation was the JBL SoundBoost.

The SoundBoost 2 is an iterative release with many similarities. It offers great sound in a slightly smaller body. They also have replaced the all plastic speaker grill with a nylon, which while it may feel better, causes some concern on durability. Don’t forget it has its own battery bank rated at 1,000mAh. For £89 it’s a worthy addition to the mods if you are fans of portable speakers.

360 camera mod review

The Moto 360 mod uses its magnetic feature to snap on to the back of your Mod-supported device and adds some 8 inches to the depth of the Moto Z2 force. There is a nice white finish to the back of the mod and the 360 camera bulges out, ensuring that you have access to your phone’s inbuilt camera. It also adds 3 ounces to the weight of the device. Attaching this mod is no different than other mods; you simply do away with your phone’s back cover and align the mod with the device and watch them magnetically fit into each other. The device is fully functional once powered and can be accessed from the same camera menu. There is also a small button beneath the 360 zoom lens around the Motorola logo which you can push to launch the camera also. Once ready your phone assumes a periscoped look as the camera portion bulges out slightly.

Moto 360 Camera mod

A slip-on rubber is included to enable users to cover the lens when not in use. The dual lenses on the Moto 360 mod allow capturing of the world in an all-around view, the ability to record 4K video from a 360 view is arguably the best feature in the camera. The camera also impresses with a host of other features; it can take wide-angle panoramic pictures and 360 views and has the ability to stream live videos to top social media platforms such as Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and the likes.

360 shot via the 360 mod

What we loved about the Moto 360-degree camera mod

  • Very good 4K 360 quality
  • Live streaming
  • Easy installation
  • Dual lens
  • Light weight
  • Impressive solution
  • 4K 360-degree camera
  • High-resolution picture quality

What we didn’t like about the Moto 360-degree camera mod

  • Pricey
  • Seam lines when recording – odd
  • Imbalanced EV for two lenses
  • Occasional purple fringing

Camera

Taken on a fast moving train into London

Speaking of Moto Z2 Play cameras, we have a 12-megapixel main sensor with f / 1.7 aperture, Dual Pixel technology for faster focus, dual-LED flash in two-tone and auxiliary laser focus, which is a coming set becoming quite used in the intermediate niche. On the front, we have a 5-megapixel camera with aperture f / 2.2 and flash also double in two different tones.

The camera app is pretty much the same as you’ll find in the rest of the Moto line upgraded to Android Nougat, the big change here being the presence of a shortcut for recording videos on the camera’s home screen, something that should reach out to others like that who receive version 7.1.1 of the green robot.

The device records videos up to 4K at 30 fps, and also allows Full HD at 60 fps for more fluid scenes.

The front camera of the Moto Z2 Play is cool, delivering reasonable images both indoors and outdoors, and with the good two-tone LED flash so even your nightly selfies come out good. You have to be smart not to blow everything when you take the photo with a flash, but overall the result is very good.

Moto Z2 Play:

With the charger delivered by Motorola, you will get no less than 87% charge after one hour connected to the outlet, which demonstrates the company’s concern to find a way to mitigate this reduction.

To fully charge the battery, it is necessary to wait for 1 hour and 42 minutes, demonstrating that the major focus here is on several fast charges throughout the day rather than just one to the end.

In the tests, between seven and eight hours of screen-on time, with the phone consistently lasting a full day

Strong points

  • Stylish design;
  • Great screen;
  • Good performance for all types of tasks;
  • Functions that make life easier;
  • Practical and fast fingerprint reader;
  • Good battery life;
  • Front camera with dual LED;
  • Separate slots for SIM chips and microSD card;
  • Possibilities for use with Moto Mods.

Weaknesses

  • Moto Voice still extremely basic;
  • Main camera lower than main competitors

I really like where Moto is going with the new Z2 Play and the next generation of Mods. I’m relieved that they have stayed true to their word that Mods would support multiple generations.

All of the new Mods work flawlessly between both Z Play and Z2 Play. The Z2 Play is a great phone with a few compromises from last year.

 

Many thanks to Vodafone UK and Motorola for the review sample of the Moto Z2 and the JBL Soundbooster 2/ Moto 360 Camera mod.

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A True Tech Geek at Heart, I Started my life of being a Tech Geek at the age of 5 with the BBC Micro. Went on through most of Nintendo stuff and now a Xbox and PlayStation fan.
I also leaked the information about the leaked Hotmail passwords story from October 2009 that went World Wide. I Started writing tech articles at the beginning of 2011, most of my articles are about Android phones and Xbox One and PlayStation 4 and other gaming news. When Chris has free time its with the family.