Verizon sent us the Moto Z2 Play, the mid-tier version of the Moto Z2 Force that has support for Moto Mods and retails for about $400 off-contract. Does it offer more bang for your buck than the Moto Z2 Force, that is the very question I’ll be asking myself for my full review.
The Z2 Play measures in at 6mm thick and it comes with a very similar, premium build consisting of aluminum. The camera does protrude significantly from the rear of this smartphone but it also does that on the Z2 Force. At least with the Play, you have a larger 3,000 mAh battery packed under the hood that should help it last through a full day of moderate usage.
The Super AMOLED display is still present here but it does feature a more conservative 1080p resolution. It’s very vibrant and saturated and has a retina-pleasing 401 ppi index. Do I prefer the display on the Z2 Force? I mean yeah but the difference is minimal and honestly, I’d rather have some extra battery life at the end of day than a slightly more pixel dense display.
The most up to date version of Android Nougat is running on the software side of things and I have very few complaints. It’s clean, runs a near stock Android skin and has some actual useful features sprinkled in here and there via the Moto app like the ambient display and option to use a trackpad as a form of navigation to free up some precious screen real estate. Really the only major complaint based upon first impressions is just the Verizon apps-- the Verizon bloatware that comes installed on pretty much any Verizon device you buy. But the phone does run quite well. There’s a Snapdragon 626 octa-core processor under the hood with 3GB of RAM for the 32GB variant. There is a variant with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage that you can purchase. You will notice marginally faster load times and smoother graphical performance with the Z2 Force given its Snapdragon 835 chipset but it’s really tough to say that the higher price you pay for the Z2 Force is worth it in the performance department alone.
There’s only one camera sensor on the rear. It’s a 12-megapixel sensor with an f/1.7 aperture, face detection autofocus, and laser autofocus. It actually has a larger aperture than the Z2 Force so in theory, it should be able to take better low light photos. But with that said, it doesn’t have a monochrome sensor or the ability to capture any extra special milky depth of field shots.
The front-facing speaker can still be found above the display. What you won’t find with the Z2 Force is a headphone jack. Despite the Z2 Play having a thinner build, it has a headphone jack and also has a larger battery.
On paper, the Z2 Force and Z2 Play are very similar. The biggest shock has to do with the price. The Z2 Force retails for over $750 off-contract via Verizon while the Z2 Play just retails for over $400 off-contract via Verizon. It’s your money and you can do what you want with it but I find it hard to justify the Z2 Force over the Play. Maybe that’s just me.