We are quickly approaching the halfway mark for 2017, but the year is still young in regards to smartphone announcements and release dates. So far we’ve seen devices like the HTC U Ultra, Huawei P10, LG G6, and Samsung Galaxy S8 released, with many more anticipated for the future. But while there’s a lot of focus placed on upcoming and new devices, there’s still one company dedicating continued effort into last year’s devices: Lenovo.
The introduction of Moto Z wasn’t exactly a home run for the Motorola brand – not at first, at least. Focusing on thinness and omitting the 3.5mm headphone jack in the process is nothing new, and widely regarded as a step in the wrong direction. However, to me, the Moto Z was never the true star of the lineup anyway. The Moto Z Play is.
Between the Moto Z and Moto Z Play, there is some push and shove when it comes to which has what specs. For example, the Moto Z features a Quad HD display, which is a big step above Moto Z Play’s modest 1080p display, and has a more powerful processor, more RAM, and more storage options. That’s basically where the benefits end with the Moto Z over the Z Play; the Z Play takes over from here.
The Moto Z Play may not be the thinnest device (by a long shot), but there’s a good reason for that: between the device’s 3,510 mAh battery, Snapdragon 625 processor, and 1080p display, the Moto Z Play’s battery life is phenomenal, even with real world usage. The added thickness also allows for a 3.5mm headphone jack, which, from my perspective, is still a necessary feature in smartphones.
Pricing is another reason in why I view Moto Z Play so favorably, and the Z Play and its affordable $449 price tag couldn’t have come at a better time. Considering Google replaced the affordable Nexus line with the expensive Pixel flagship last fall, the Moto Z Play could serve as a “next best thing” considering Motorola is one of the few brands that keep a nearly stock UI.
Another great aspect of the Z Play is that it also supports Moto Mods, which is still quite active in development. Aside from the mods already available such as the JBL SoundBoost, Insta-Share Projector, Hasselblad True Zoom, and swappable backs, 12 new mods are expected to surface over the year. Some of the new mods include a SIM swapper, screen dock, Amazon Alexa mod, and Polaroid mod.
To me, it’s easy to appreciate the Moto Z lineup for this reason alone. Most manufacturers are following tradition by gearing up for new releases while simultaneously caring less and less about previous generations. With Moto Mods, however, Moto Z users can swap out new features without having to swap phones entirely. It will be interesting to see how future mods will pan out, particularly in regards to pricing. Although I view Moto Mods favorably, their expensive price tags is likely what’s holding back the Moto Z line from really taking off, but I digress.
Mods or not, the Moto Z Play is one of the best values for a smartphone on the market. It’s hundreds of dollars cheaper than a flagship with twice the battery life, and the potential to use Moto Mods (both now and in the future) is an appealing and unique concept that you won’t find in any other phone for the price.