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| December 15, 2018

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REVIEW: Moto Z2 Play

Derek Reilly

It looks like Irish shoppers will finally be getting a chance to pick up the Moto Z2 Play and a selection of Moto Mods when Three start selling this 2nd generation handset later this month. There is no sign of it yet on their site but as soon as it does, we’ll let you know on our social media channels. If you are in the market for a mid-range smartphone that is different to all the rest, then we’d recommend holding on making any decisions until this launches.

For some reason, the first generation of this interesting smartphone never launched in Ireland. Maybe the market size wasn’t big enough but we we’re very jealous looking across the water. That didn’t stop those that wanted something different ordering sim free and spec’ing out their phone with the Moto Mod that suited their needs. That’s the beauty of this phone, you buy a fairly decent base model and then you can buy extra mods and you get the best of both worlds.

Moto Z2 Play Rear

Moto Z2 Play Rear

Let’s talk about the phone first. This is the Z2 Play edition which is their mid-range model, it doesn’t look like the Irish market will get the flagship Z2 Force edition. The way to tell the difference at a glance is the Z2 Play has a single rear facing camera and the Z2 Force has a dual camera setup. This phone is 1mm thinner than it’s predecessor and this gives it a much sleeker feeling in the hand. The rear of the phone is now also metal which is a huge improvement over the fingerprint prone glass back on the original Z Play.

The overall design and form is the same because of the Moto Mods and how they fit the phones. Motorola has promised that all Moto Mods will fit last years Gen 1, this Gen 2 model and even into Gen 3. That’s a great commitment from a company that is trying to do something different. Also, any new mods that are brought out this gen and next gen are reverse compatible which is also very cool. Headphone jack is still here but the slimming down of the body means that the battery size had dropped from 3510 mAh to 3000 mAh. There is also “Turbo Charging”.

There’s a 5.5″ 1080p AMOLED screen which is the norm on this level of phone but it could be a little brighter. Memory expansion is also available with an Micro SD card slot. Android N is on here but thankfully, Motorola doesn’t overload this device with bloatware. We still really like the “Chop Chop” hand gesture to turn on the flashlight and double-twist to launch the camera. Motorola call these “Moto Actions” and they become second nature after a few days. Speaking of the camera, it has improved with a reduction in the number of pixels but Motorola has increased their size and a large F1.7 aperture. It’s no flagship but it’s not bad. If you are looking for an even more advanced camera set up, look at some of the Moto Mods. That’s where this phone gets interesting.

Okay, you’ve picked yourself up a new Moto Z2 Play but you there’s still a feature you’d like to improve. You might want a larger speaker, a better camera or more battery life, this is where the unique Moto Mods come in. We were lucky enough to have some generation 1 mods along with some of the newer ones to test out and we really like them. They also have a head turning factor with one of the team being asked what type of phone he was using whilst on holiday recently after he had attached the Hasselblad Moto Mod to his own Moto Z. We also really like the mini projector Moto Mod which allows you to cast a massive version of whatever is on your screen onto any wall. The only downfall with these cool accessories is the price. Moto Mods can start to get expensive and you can nearly get a similar add-on for any smartphone with a 3rd party accessory. We also got to test out the updated JBL SoundBoost 2 speaker which was more than capable of filling any room with impressively deep audio whilst still keeping the vocals clear. Another Mod we tested was the new Moto Style shell with wireless charging which worked fine as expected but we would have like if this feature was built directly into the phone.

Moto Mod Hasselblad Camera and Insta-Share Projector

Moto Mod Hasselblad Camera and Insta-Share Projector

All in all, we like this phone. Is it as good as the similarly priced OnePlus 5T? When comparing phone to phone, not really but if you want a niche attachment because you really like taking pictures or being the DJ in the office, this is the phone for you.

The Moto Z2 Play is set to have an RRP of €449 when it launches later this month.

Moto Mods like the JBL SoundBoost 2 Speaker will have an RRP of €99, the Turbo Charge Battery will be priced at €65 and the wireless charger Moto Mod at €45.

We only got to play with a few of the Moto Mods but there are 15 available globally with availability varying depending on the region.

 

Moto Mod Sound Boost

JBL SoundBoost 2 Moto Mod

Review Overview

Design
8
Battery
7.5
Innovation
9
Price
7
7.9

Very Good

As a standalone phone, the Moto Z2 Play is an impressive handset made all the more appealing by its customisation options in the form of the Moto Mods.

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