Last year was tough for Motorola. Its Moto Z and Moto Mods platform were the most practical take on the modular phone concept, but they didn’t exactly ignite the smartphone world. A distinct and predictable design and screen size for at least two years to ensure compatibility. The Moto Z Play wasn’t the flashiest phone, didn’t have the fastest processor or best camera. But it did have the best battery life you could get in any smartphone. We're now into the second year of the Moto Z line, beginning with the Moto Z2 Play.
Design Moto Z2 Play
The Moto Z2 Play is largely the same phone as the Moto Z Droid and Play Droid in terms of design. Measuring 6.1 by 3.0 by 0.2 inches (HWD) and 5.1 ounces, the Z2 Play is identical to the slim Z Droid in dimensions, but manages to include a headphone jack on the bottom. There's a sizable bezel above and below the display here, making the Z2 Play hard to reach across with your thumb and difficult to operate with just one hand, especially if you're using a thick Moto Mod.
Camera Moto Z2 Play
The rear camera, has been G5'd, dropping from 16MP to 12MP while expanding the aperture to f/1.7 and adding Dual Focus Pixels to make the laser-assisted and phase-detection autofocus options even more accurate. The front is the same as Z. In low light, the Moto Z2 Play is awesome. The right exposure and focus in even the most challenging of lighting situations. The problem with the Z2 Play's camera is its speed: its aging image signal processor just can't keep up with the latest-generation stuff from Qualcomm.
Hardware Moto Z2 Play
The Moto Z2 Play will cost $499 when it debuts unlocked in the U.S. later this summer — but there are a few choice upgrades that do. The Snapdragon 626 that powers the phone is 10% faster than the 625 in the Z Play, and the phone now comes standard with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. Its 5.5-inch 1080p AMOLED display is not changed from the original, which is fine: the 626 can't support higher-resolution displays.
Software Moto Z2 Play
It comes running Android 7.1.1 Nougat. Motorola has a respectable track record with updates, so there's a good chance you may see Android O on the Z2 Plus in the near future. The phone is free from bloatware aside from two preinstalled apps from Motorola. Cool right!
The Z2 Play supports CDMA (850, 1900MHz), GSM (850, 900, 1800, 1900MHz), UMTS (850, 900, 1700, 1900, 2100MHz), and LTE bands (1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/13/17/20/25/26/28/29/30/38/41/66). It's the same set you'll find on the G5 Plus, allowing the phone to work on all major US carriers, including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon.
The Moto Z2 Play offers respectable performance, long battery life, and compatibility with all major US carriers. It's a unique level of flexibility you don't get with G6, the S8, or any other for that matter.