Do we have a good one for you today – the Moto Z Play goes up against the ZTE Blade V8 Pro. The glass-backed Moto Z Play and its bevy of Moto Mods go up against the faux leather backed Blade V8 Pro with its dual cameras. The Moto Z Play is the more entry-level device in a series of three Moto Z phones, but it is far from the specs (and price) of your typical entry-level device. The ZTE Blade V8 Pro offers a lot of bang for your buck, and both the Moto Z Play and Blade V8 Pro are finding respect among critics and users. Let's look at just what these two devices have in common, if anything, and then we will take a closer look at each one in hopes that we can determine a winner of this comparison.
These two devices do have several things in common, including their physical size and their 5.5-inch screen. Their displays use different technologies – the Z Play is an AMOLED display, and the Blade V8 Pro uses an IPS LCD display – but do use the same Full HD resolution and Gorilla Glass 3 for protection. They both even use the same Qualcomm 625 processor, Adreno 506 GPU for graphics, and 3GB of RAM and 32GB of expandable internal storage via a microSD card. The camera areas attack taking pictures in very different ways, but both take great photos. They both use larger, non-removable batteries and offer rapid charge capabilities. They both pack a front-mounted fingerprint sensor for unlocking the device, and both have NFC to authorize mobile payments, including Android Pay. They have the usual suspects – WiFi, Bluetooth (v4.0 on the Z Play and v4.2 on the Blade V8 Pro), GPS, NFC, and the reversible Type-C port for charging and data transfer.
Please take a thoughtful look at the detailed Specifications Comparison chart below, and here you will see just how these two great devices stack up against one another – click on the "View Full Comparison" link at the end of the chart to expand the details. After that, we will look at each device in greater depth and point out some of its pros and cons. From all of this information, we will try to determine the winner based on specs and execution of design and functions.
Moto Z Play
Of the three Moto Z models, the Moto Z Play is the only one with a glass backing rather than a metal one like the Moto Z, and Moto Z Force. In this comparison, we are looking at the most affordable Moto Z Play that is far from an entry-level phone. It combines an FHD Super AMOLED display, an excellent 16MP camera, a large 3510mAh battery, Moto's Turbo Charger, and the ability to use Moto Mods. It has a solid build and is the only one of the Moto Z family that includes a 3.5mm headphone jack.
The Moto Z Play sports a 5.5-inch AMOLED Full HD display, giving you a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels with 403 pixels-per-inch (PPI). Lenovo decided on the Snapdragon 625 octa-core processor clocked at 2.0GHz and coupled it to an Adreno 506 GPU to handle the graphics. The Moto Z Play is packing 3GB of DDR3 RAM (due to the limitations of the processor), and it offers 32GB of the faster UFS 2.0 internal memory that is expandable via a microSD card.
The main camera on the Moto Z Play uses a 16MP sensor with a decent aperture of f/2.0, both Phase Detection Autofocus (PDAF) and laser autofocus, and dual-tone flash. For its front-facing camera (FFC), it uses a 5MP lens with a smaller f/2.2 aperture along with its own LED flash for selfies and video chatting. The Moto Z Play comes with Moto's Turbo Charger that can charge the Moto Z Play's 3510mAh non-removable battery up to 50-percent in only 20 minutes. Like the other Z series, there is an $89 Moto Mod that will increase the battery capacity by another 2200mAh and even adds wireless charging capabilities to the device.
The Z Play began as part of the Droid series that is exclusive to Verizon, but an unlocked Moto Z Play is available for everybody to use. The Moto Z Play is the only one of the new Moto Z series that retains the convenient 3.5mm earphone jack. It also allows you to utilize the Moto Mods that add features to your device but one can also use customized covers on the back to help personalize its looks. It has a nano-coating for water resistance, measures in at 155.9 x 75.8 x 7mm, and weighs in at 163 grams. It comes in two colors – Black or White with pricing at $408 on Verizon's website and the unlocked version is about $450. According to Moto, the Z Play should receive its Android Nougat upgrade in March, although unlocked versions are receiving their update now.
ZTE Blade V8 Pro
ZTE gives you a lot of phone for the low price you pay, and the Blade V8 Pro is another excellent example of this philosophy. The Blade V8 Pro is available now in the US, but only through popular retailers such as Best Buy, Amazon, and Newegg and is a GSM device that will only work on AT&T and T-Mobile networks. It has a solid metal frame with a plastic back, covered with diamond style patterned faux leather that results in both a comfortable and a firm grip. While we do not expect a QHD display in this price range, surprisingly, there is a dual camera setup with some interesting camera software. The Blade V8 Pro includes the same Snapdragon processor and Adreno GPU, and expandable memory. Let's see if it has what it takes to stand up to the more expensive Moto Z Play.
The Blade V8 Pro sports a 5.5-inch IPS LCD FHD display, which provides it with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and a respectable 401 PPI. Like the Z Play, it uses a 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 octa-core processor (MSM8953) clocked at 2GHz and an Adreno 506 GPU to handle the graphics. Qualcomm designed this processor to use very little battery life while still providing an overall good experience. The Blade V8 Pro packs 3GB of RAM and has 32GB of internal memory that is expandable up to 256GB via a microSD card.
It seems improbable in this price range for the Blade V8 Pro to included dual 13MP primary cameras that have bokeh, monochrome, and monocolor modes. Both cameras use PDAF and a dual LED flash that even has seven levels of brightness. These options will allow the user to experiment with B&W or Monocolor photos. The FFC uses a rather large 8MP sensor to capture selfies for social media or to handle video chatting. A 3140mAh non-removable battery powers the device and uses Quick Charge 2.0 for quickly charging the battery. ZTE claims the Blade V8 Pro will last you the entire day on a full charge.
If you are content to use a GSM network, such as AT&T or T-Mobile, then ZTE Blade V8 Pro is a great buy. The 3.5mm earphone jack is on the top of the phone. It does have NFC capability and a fingerprint sensor on the bottom of the front so that you can unlock the device and make mobile payments, including Android Pay. ZTE also included Hi-Res Dolby audio for listening through the earphones. It would be nice for dual speakers, and while it does have two holes at the bottom end of the device, only the left hole has a speaker behind it. The Blade V8 Pro measures 156 x 77 x 9.1mm and weighs in at a hefty 185 grams. It is available in our favorite color, Black, runs Android 6.0 out of the box, and costs about $230.
…And The Winner Is…
The Final Word
As good as the Moto Play is and as great as the Moto Mods add versatility, and the fact that the Z Play can be used on all US carriers – I have to go with the ZTE Blade V8 Pro as the winner of this competition.
The Blade V8 Pro has the same size display, albeit an LCD, the same processor/GPU, the same 3GB of RAM and the same 32GB of expandable memory, Then it adds dual primary cameras, a larger FFC, and handles Hi-Res audio for your earphones. It does this all for only $230.
The Z Play is already receiving its Nougat upgrade, and there is no word on the Blade V8 Pro. Even at $450, the Z Play is a good buy, but at $230, the Blade V8 Pro is an excellent buy. It does have an AMOLED display and can use Moto Mods, but the price differential is too great to justify the Moto Z Play.