Moto Z2 Play Review - Solid Mid-Range Smartphone
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Moto Z Play

Moto Z2 Play Review – Solid Mid-Range Smartphone

The Moto Z2 Play is a solid well designed mid range smartphone with a flagship look and feel. A worthy successor to last year’s Moto Z that still provides great battery life despite a smaller battery.


Moto Z Play


The Moto Z2 Play is Motorola’s new battery life-focused smartphone for 2017, one that can last all day on a single charge, or for two days if you snap on a Moto Mod battery pack. Like its predecessor, the Moto Z Play, it does this without sacrificing must-have features, compromising design or dialing back on performance compared to other mid-tier Android phones with one-day battery life. In other words a slick full featured phone with great battery life. Check out these specs.


Display 5.5-inch Super AMOLED

1920 x 1080 resolution

401 ppi

Processor 2.2 GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 626 with Adreno 506 GPU
RAM 3/4 GB


Storage 32/64 GB
MicroSD Yes, up to 2 TB


Cameras Rear: 12 MP Dual Autofocus Pixel sensor, f1.7 aperture, laser autofocus, phase detection autofocus, dual LED flash

Front: 5MP sensor, f2.2 aperture, wide-angle lens

Battery 3,000 mAh

Non removable

TurboPower charging for up to 8 hours of use in 15 minutes (50% charge in 30 minutes)

Water resistance Water repellant nano-coating
Software  Android 7.1.1 Nougat
Dimensions and weight 76.2 x 156.2 x 5.99 mm

145 g


The Moto Z2 Play is is better than last years model in so many ways. It’s much thinner, much lighter, has a better camera, and comes with a refined design and a handful of new software features. Most of the external dimensions however, remain the same to accommodate all of the Mods Motorola has released — battery packs, projectors, cameras, speakers, etc. You can read reviews of all these add ons here, here and here.


Trimming the thickness and the weight did come at a cost in the form of a smaller battery but in my experience still good for a full day; more than double that with the battery mod. Plus the included turbo charger gives you up to 8 hours of battery life in only 15 minutes.


The Moto Z2 Play feels good in the hand for a big phone and performs like a champ. The bright super AMOLED screen displays full HD 1080p images with aplomb. Sharp, bright with deep blacks great for videos even outdoors in bright sunlight. Scrolling is smooth and, apps open quickly and multi tasking is painless.

Android fans will appreciate the pure vanilla Android 7.1.1 and most will like the minimal Moto additions such as opening the camera with a twist of the wrist. A clever new voice feature has been added, “Show Me” opens apps, sends messages and unlocks the phone. All you have to to is say Show Me Maps for example and up a shade shows at the top of the screen that allows you to open the app by sliding it down. Things like Weather just pop up. Currently it is limited to opening apps and checking weather and today’s calendar but it shows promise for the future.


Moto Z2 Play

You’ll notice the fingerprint scanner has adopted the new elongated form, just as you’ll find on Moto G5 Plus and Moto G5 models. It looks, feels and functions far better. It isn’t a real button, but it does provide haptic feedback that makes it feel like something approaching a real clicky button.


One of the best things about the scanner is that it offers Moto’s One-button Nav control. This mode removes the usual trio of Android soft keys – home, back and recent apps – from the screen, instead offering them as finger-input gestures on the scanner itself. Swipe left to go back; swipe right to open current apps; press to return home (or the lock screen); or press-and-hold to activate Google Assistant. It doesn’t really speed things up but does give you a bit more screen real estate.


Moto Z2 Play


Motorola has also upgraded the camera hardware with a faster lens and much faster focusing systems. It is a better camera than last year’s version but,  the Moto Z2 Play can struggle with high-contrast scenes or, and its lack of optical stabilization really hurts it in low light. The images are acceptable for sharing provided you resist the temptation to compare them to shots taken with the iPhone 7 or Galaxy S8


Shot with Moto Z2 Play

Shot with Moto Z2 Play

Shot with Moto Z2 Play

Shot with Moto Z2 Play


The front camera is the same as last year and takes decent selfies in good light but even with the powerful flash low light selfies leave a lot to be desired.


Shot with Moto Z2 Play

Shot with Moto Z2 Play


The Moto Z2 Play is yet another solid modular phone from Motorola. It offers respectable performance, long battery life, and decent cameras. In the fiercely competitive mid range the addition of Moto Mods give the Moto Z2 Play a unique level of flexibility you don’t get with even flagship phones.


Moto Z2 Play + JBL Soundboost2

The Moto Z2 PLay is available today July 5, 2017 at Bell Mobility, Bell MTS, Freedom Mobile and SaskTel. Pricing starts at $200  with a two year plan $800  with no plan. As a special bonus, while supplies last the Moto Z2 Play will include the JBL SoundBoost 2 Moto Mod speaker in the box (a $115 added value).

Bob Benedetti

Former RCAF Fighter Pilot Bob worked for CTV Montreal as a Reporter, Producer and Executive producer for 35 years retiring in 2004. Bob started reporting on personal technology in 1995 at CTV and continues today at Home Technology Montreal

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