The Moto Z Play was launched last year as a more affordable alternative to the Z bike, aimed at those who seek the same experience offered by Moto Mods modules and with a long battery life. The Moto Z2 Play reaches the market maintaining some of these characteristics, despite having reduced the capacity of its battery compared to its predecessor. Here’s our in-depth analysis of the Moto Z2 Play.



  • Stylish design
  • Screen
  • Software with voice commands


  • Camera is not surprising
  • Battery low
  • New icon interface

Motorola Moto Z2 Play – Availability and price

The Moto Z2 Play has been launched in Brazil and is already on sale in this country in the first place. The starting price is 1999 Brazilian real (~ 553 €) and in the United States it will cost 499 $. For European markets it is expected to reach € 499. Available colors are topaz blue, platinum and gold.

In Brazil, it can also be purchased in a pack with a Moto Mod. It will progressively reach more markets but specific dates and countries are still unknown.

Moto z2 play box snaps
Moto Z2 Play with Moto Mods and Turbo Charging. / © AndroidPIT

Motorola Moto Z2 Play – Design and finish

Motorola has made some changes to the new model compared to the Moto Z Play. These changes have been welcomed, such as the replacement of the glass in the back by aluminum. One positive aspect is that fingerprints on aluminum are significantly less noticeable than on the glass.

We have significant changes in the front edges of the Moto Z2 Play which, contrary to current market trends, have reduced the device’s thickness by about 1 mm compared to last year’s device. The Moto Z, launched last year, had to give up a better battery to have a finer and sleeker look. Unfortunately, the same thing happens now with the Z2 Play, which comes with a smaller battery than its predecessor.

Moto z2 play front screen review
Moto Z2 Front Play / © AndroidPIT

Anyone who has used the Moto Z will have no surprises in this regard. Fans of the line wishing to buy the Moto Z2 Play should also not worry about its thickness, since everything is a matter of habit. The truth is that it is always better to have a model that is thinner and more consistent than a heavy and robust smartphone.

The markings for the output of the antenna signal make a contour in the back part and end in the molding of the device. These are made of plastic and provide a smooth contour to the body of the Moto Z2 Play. As we see in the image below, have been integrated into the phone, and is very discreet.

Z2 bike play back review
Moto Z2 Back Play / ©

The overhead camera module has always been a feature of the Z line of smart phones and serves to provide stability to Moto Mods. In the case of the Moto Z2 Play, we have a tighter molding, which can be an inconvenience, or not, depending on how it is going to be used. In conjunction with a module, such as the Style Shell or Power Pack, for example, the difference is imperceptible.

For use on flat surfaces, however, the device does not remain static, since the prominent module causes the phone to swing sideways easily. Personally, I have not had many problems because I used the Moto Z2 Play with two different modules, exactly the ones I just mentioned.

Moto z2 play slot side
Thickness and prominent camera module / © AndroidPIT

At the bottom is the conventional headphone jack and a USB type C. The headphones that come with the Moto Z2 Play in the box are different, and are no longer those with that format so unpleasant that Motorola launched with the Moto X In 2014. We have a quality intra-earpiece headphone, flat silicon cable and accompanied by three different sizes of rubber for audio output.

Bike z2 play review snap grill
Motorola maintains compatibility with Modules Moto Mods / © AndroidPIT

The front has few changes, especially if you had the opportunity to know the Moto G5 or Moto G5 Plus . This is because we have the start button which can also be used to navigate the system through gestures, which, in my opinion, is not very functional.

I confess that I did not get used to the effects of this touch button. I believe that navigation with virtual buttons is more intuitive and precise. The problem with this button is that it is in usable screen space, which can be best used to display various contents.

Motorola Moto Z2 Play – Screen

The screen of the Moto Z2 Play remains the same as the Moto Z Play, with 5.5 inches and Full-HD resolution. The panel technology is the same, thankfully, the Super AMOLED. The colors reproduce very well and the contrast is right. I think all users will enjoy this screen and its 401ppi without the slightest problem.

Under sunlight the screen remains considerably readable, since its brightness is high. The strong point here may not be the light level of the panel, but its reflectivity, which is low. That’s why it can be used in an open environment and without too many problems with reflections.

Moto z2 play screen icons detals review
Moto Z2 Play Full-HD Screen / © AndroidPIT

The Moto Z2 Play has an ideal quality screen for use with virtual reality glasses. The hardware also has the minimum requirements imposed by Google for compatibility with Daydream, the company’s virtual reality platform. However, the model is not compatible with this technology at the moment.

Motorola Moto Z2 Play – Software

The operating system of Moto Z2 Play is Android 7.1.1 Nougat with a user experience similar to that of its normal version. This time I would like to emphasize the issue of interface changes, which has been modified, albeit discreetly.

For some reason, Motorola is using a launcher that, according to the manufacturer, provides Google itself through the AOSP. This is a transparent application drawer, different from what we have in Pixel Launcher or other devices manufacturers using Android Nougat with few changes, such as Quantum.

Moto z2 play review screen icons
Application drawer of the new Moto Z2 Play / © AndroidPIT

The biggest change the company has made, however, has been the application icons, following a pattern that Google started with Google Pixel . This is not a problem exactly, except that the company has not been content to make circular icons and decided to remodel them by adding a 3D-looking background. It is not pretty and also does not stick with the other icons that appear in the applications panel. They collide with the rest and give the interface a heavier air.

Of course, this is a subjective matter, but I do not think it’s a change for the better on this occasion. I also hope that changes in the interface do not evolve to the field of icons, as it would be very depressing to review the current Moto Blur then.

Moto z2 play software screenshot
Motorola Software with System icons retouched / © AndroidPIT

With a normal software experience, few resources stand out in the Moto Z2 Play system, except those that are inside the Moto center. I am referring to the central resource that brings together all the smart features of the brand’s devices and that have gestures, voice and movement. Motorola has incorporated some new features in this regard, and I will discuss them below.

Moto Voice

Moto Voice was presented with the first Moto X, and it was an integrated voice system with Google Now. Now, however, the mechanism responds to different commands, and can be used as a kind of personal assistant. It is necessary to do some tests for the command to get used to your voice, which should be done in a quiet environment.

Saying the phrase “show me” can trigger the calendar, weather forecast and other applications open. In this case, you can not configure a customizable voice command, that is, you just have to take the device between your hands and say “show me my schedule”. It is worth noting that Moto Voice only recognizes commands that start exactly with that term.

All the information is displayed in a custom interface, ie if you ask for time, for example, will not open the default Android application for news and weather. This Motorola interface is very interesting and it leaves a bit of the pattern of Google services.

Custom Moto Voice app interface / ©

Moto Voice can also open applications, in addition to other queries. If you say “show me Chrome”, for example, a strip appears at the top of the screen that the user can use to open the browser.

The list of Moto Voice commands is small, and voice recognition is unstable. I had to restart the voice test at least six times, even when I was at home, quietly and without noises around. Queries appear quickly, but, as mentioned earlier, the user has to say clearly the phrase “show me”, which bothers me personally sometimes.

Motorola Moto Z2 Play – Performance

The technical specifications of the Moto Z2 Play improved compared to its predecessor. We now have 4 GB of RAM, 626 Snapdragon processor and 64 GB of storage. They are numbers worthy of a top line, but of course we are talking about an intermediary. Qualcomm’s 600 series processors look quite efficient with respect to system performance and battery performance.

The Moto Z2 Play has its own game specifications of a top line

In fact, when it comes to running Z2 Play, we have hardware capable of performing daily tasks without any problems, including heavier games like Implosion, NOVA Legacy and Wild Blood. All these titles worked perfectly without hanging in any way, even with the multitasking function considerably full.

Moto Voice commands are activated quickly, as well as queries in the Google application and loading social networking applications. Everything works without any mishap. Below you can see the results of the Z2 Play tests with the main market benchmarks:

Moto Z2 Play: benchmarks

Moto Z2 Play 66,642 3.191
Asus Zenfone 3 57,762 4.058
Moto Z Play 62,674 2,418

Motorola Moto Z2 Play – Audio

The audio output of the Moto Z2 Play is mono, and is located on the top front of the unit. The speaker is the same as the one used for the connection. Here we have a balanced sound, with sharp accents and weighted bass. The location of this output is not an inconvenience, as it barely blocks audio when the device is used in landscape mode.

As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, the Moto Z2 Play has in-ear headphones that are very well designed. The sound of this accessory is relatively good, with treble and bass balanced, but not very powerful. I had no problem using the microphones and loudspeaker during calls, the volume is excellent.

Moto z2 play phone review
New headphones that come with Moto Z2 Play / © AndroidPIT

Motorola Moto Z2 Play – Camera

The camera is not the strong point of the Moto Z2 Play, but I admit that the device does take acceptable photos when it is in proper lighting conditions. With the Moto Z2 Play, Motorola has been changing the amount of megapixels, going from 16MP with f / 2.0 lens aperture to 12MP with f / 1.7. Other points remained unchanged, such as the presence of dual pixel technology and laser flash.

As far as the front camera is concerned, we have 5 megapixels and 85 degree aperture lens, which helps capture more information in a single photo, as in group selfis. The dual-tone front LED flash is also maintained. This objective has the beautification function.

Moto z2 play speaker front review
Front camera and dual tone LED flash / © AndroidPIT

I can say that the camera has improved compared to its predecessor, especially in controlling the exposure by removing more noise. This difference can be seen when using the Z2 Play in low light environments. This is due to a smaller lens aperture, able to work better under these conditions.

Moto z2 play camera detals flash
12MP Moto Z2 Play Camera / © AndroidPIT

The shot is fast, and you can see the captured image shortly after the click. The camera software is the same on this phone as on other Motorola models like the Moto G4 Plus , with full manual mode. We have found in the software a slow motion function and another one of “live transmission”, which is a plug-in for YouTube in which the user can transmit in real time.

Despite the presence of the laser flash, I had difficulty focusing sometimes, especially in the automatic mode. Despite being a viable option for a few, the manual mode was more agile at times when I could better control the scene settings. Often, the automatic option suggested a scene that did not match my needs, such as the night mode to use in sunny environment.

It is possible to activate the front and the main camera with the movement, as well as to save all the content in the memory card. The videos can be recorded in 4K at 30 fps. There is also, strangely, the VGA recording option, from 480p to 30fps.

Motorola Moto Z2 Play – Battery

We come to the controversial issue of the Moto Z2 Play: the 3000 mAh battery, which means a reduction of 510 mAh compared to the Moto Z Play. The reason for this change, according to Motorola, lies in the thinner design, based on the company’s survey where users showed a preference for the reduced look.

Therefore, the new model left the autonomy of its predecessor in the past, and now has a day and a half of weighted use. If you use many social networks, applying the camera several times a day or games from time to time, you can reach the end of the day with little load, less than 20%. With more intense use, with the location and synchronization activated, the brightness by 60% and making use of streaming video and music, this autonomy is reduced to seven hours.

Moto Z2 Game can reach the end of the day with a 20% load with a conventional use

As a general rule, and also according to the tests performed, Moto Z2 Play loses an average of 11% of load per hour during a conventional continuous use, while the average Moto Z Play is 9% per hour. The turbocharger has decreased in size, but maintains the power of 15W, and can fully charge the device in 1h40min.

Finally, I can say that the Moto Z2 Play is a device with an energy autonomy within the standard of current models, thus losing the advantage of the previous model, which was to provide more hours of life between load and load. Of course, this is not a problem for those who want to use it with the Motorola Power Pack, which has 2.220mAh and adds a 40% capacity to the Z2 Play battery.

It seems to me, in addition, that Motorola has reduced the battery to stimulate the sales of Moto Mods, especially the Power Pack, created by Incipio and own Motorola. It does not make much sense to go back on a point that has always been the difference this Play series, and only to make the model thinner. This is a clear investment of values.

Motorola Moto Z2 Play – Technical specifications

DIMENSIONS: 156.2 x 76.2 x 5.99 mm
WEIGHT: 145 gr
SCREEN SIZE: 5.5 inches
SCREEN: 1920 x 1080 pixels (401 ppi)
FRONTAL CAMERA: 5 megapixels
REAR CAMERA: 12 megapixels
ANDROID VERSION: 7.1.1 – Nougat
CHIPSET: Qualcomm Snapdragon 626
NUMBER OF CORES: Referring to Fig.

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