Moto Z Play review

The longer-lasting modular phone with a headphone jack

Moto Z Play review
Moto Z Play review

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Moto Z Play is all about playing longer and doing it all with ease. Its extended battery life and embedded headphone jack give us what we want (and expect) from a smartphone.

Moto Z Play

Yes, it's thicker than the incredibly slim Moto Z and the 1080p display isn't going to wow your friends. But it still has inventive MotoMod add-ons, Moto Active Display proximity sensing capabilities and a fingerprint sensor that pulls double-duty by turning the screen on and off.

Its battery life clocks in at a record-setting 48 hours, meeting even our unwavering smartphone addiction. That's enough to set aside softer specs and camera quality for most people who appreciate range vs depth in a smartphone.

Best of all, the Moto Z Play opens up Motorola's MotoMods concept to a much bigger audience with its reasonable price. You'll have money leftover to buy into that snazzy pico projector after all.

Who's this for?

Moto Z Play is going to appeal to mid-range phone buyers who want a long-lasting, versatile Android phone at a reason price. That's a potentially big audience.

Its MotoMod accessories add to the cost, but that's all the more reason to go with Moto Z Play over the more expensive Moto Z or Moto Z Force. You can by an extra mod or two that way.

Just don't expect it to push the limits of gaming now or sail as smoothly through menus two years from today. Its specs aren't nearly as future-proofed as a high-end phone, even if it comes off as a premium handset otherwise.

Should you buy it

Yes, if you want to dabble in MotoMods, or get a powerful-enough Android phone with two-day battery life. This is a cheap way of achieving both of those goals without sacrificing or spending too much money.


Moto Z Play vs LG G5


The LG G5 is the other modular smartphone of 2016 you need to know about. Its add-ons don't clip on with fancy magnets, but it does feature expandable battery life and killer speaker accessories. Motorola has already demonstrated that its MotoMods have legs beyond the initial LG. LG has not. But the G5 has better specs for its just-above-mid-range price.

It's faster than the Moto Z Play, in line with the performance of the higher-end Moto Z and Moto Z Force, and it's one of the few phones to feature a removable battery. We also like its 5.3-inch Quad HD screen and always-on display. Basically, it's the middle-of-the-road alternative between the Moto Z Play and Moto Z in terms of price, design and features.

Matt Swider