You may think modular phones are dying off, with Google Project Ara getting canned and the LG G6 ditching the swappable design of the LG G5, but Motorola is pressing ahead with its Moto Mods-led project – and the Moto Z2 Play proves it can work on mid-range phones too.
This is a more affordable phone than the newly launched Moto Z2 Force, which still packs suitably impressive spec for the price, and comes with the added, innovative feature that enables you to swap out the back of your phone for a brand new accessory.
It’s easy to swap modules in and out, and the Z2 Play proves that modular designs can work at an affordable price point. Does that mean it’s good enough for you to pick up as your next smartphone though?
Moto Z2 Play price and release date
- Launching at $499 or £379.99 (about AU$630)
- Out now in the US and UK, no word on Australian release
If you live in the US or UK, you can buy the Moto Z2 Play right now; an Australian release date for the phone is currently unclear.
Those in the US can buy the phone exclusively through Verizon with deals starting at $17 a month for 24-month contracts. There’s also an unlocked retail sale of the phone launching soon which will cost $499.
In the UK you can buy the phone outright for £379.99 from Motorola’s website. None of the major UK networks are currently offering the phone, so for now if you want the Z2 Play you’ll have to buy it outright.
- Modular design allows you to switch features on your phone
- Variety of Moto Mods that allow you to have a projector, speaker and much more
The Moto Z2 Play’s headline feature is that it’s a modular phone. In fact, it’s one of the few modular devices on the market right now.
Motorola's way of allowing you to add extra features to your phone is via accessories called Moto Mods, swappable rear modules which you slide onto your phone.
For example, one will add extra battery life to your phone, while another will give you wireless charging. There’s even a Mod that includes a projector, enabling you to project a film from your phone onto a wall.
You can even add a next-gen camera module to the back of your phone. These Mods will cost you extra money, but they give you the option to snap on a feature when you particularly need it.
We found it useful to be able to snap on the battery pack on a morning when we knew we’d need some extra juice, or the speaker if we wanted to use the phone around the house for listening to music.
If you want a phone that genuinely does something different, the Moto Z2 Play it is – it’s unlike anything else on the market right now.
- All metal design with a 6mm thin body
- 3.5mm headphone jack and USB-C connector at bottom of the phone
- Moto Mod connector at the bottom of the back of the phone
It’s thinner than all of those devices, with the body of the phone coming in at only 6mm, but the large camera bump is thicker, which may annoy some people. You should also bear in mind that adding on various modules will mean the phone gets much thicker.
Without the modules, this is an extremely lightweight phone, and is comfortable to have in your pocket. If you’re going to add the projector or speaker modules though it will get quite chunky and may not fit in your pocket easily.
The Z2 Play features a fully metal design with brushed edges and a mostly flat back, which feels strange in the palm of your hand. It’s not glass like the original Moto Z Play, and some may find this phone a tricky to handle, as it can prove a bit slippery.
Some of the modules you buy will give you better grip than you’d expect including a dedicated case, which doesn't bring any extra features but simply attaches to the rear of the phone
There’s a small fingerprint sensor below the screen, which is easy to reach and quick to work when you’re holding the phone in one hand.
At the bottom of the phone sits the USB-C port, and next to it is a 3.5mm headphone jack. Unlike on the Moto Z, Motorola has decided to include a headphone jack on this phone, and that’s something we particularly appreciate.
Sadly Motorola hasn’t gone for a waterproof design for the Moto Z2 Play, but it is splash-proof, so it should be able to handle the odd drop of water if you accidentally get it wet.
- Full HD 5.5-inch AMOLED screen
- Bright and crisp with great color calibration
Motorola has opted for a 5.5-inch display on the Moto Z2 Play, which is a comfortable size, and the Full HD panel has a high enough resolution that you won’t spot pixels while using the phone.
It’s 401 pixels per inch, which is the norm for phones around this price point. We found the colors to be well calibrated, and it hit good levels of brightness when turned up to full.
Motorola has included an AMOLED panel, which may be why the colors look so deep, and when you’re watching video you’ll particularly notice the vivid picture on the screen.