Moto Z2 Play Impressions: A True Upgrade of the Original

June 29, 2017 - Written By Alexander Maxham

Earlier this month, Motorola announced the Moto Z2 Play, its latest smartphone in the Moto Z series. Along with the new smartphone came a couple of updated Moto Mods, like the new JBL SoundBoost 2 and the Moto TurboPower Pack (instead of being an Incipio or TUMI-branded battery pack, like last year’s model). Now, all three are in our hands, and while it’s still to early to have a full review written, we do have some early thoughts on the latest long lasting smartphone from Motorola.

The Moto Z2 Play is definitely a true successor to the original Moto Z Play last year. While many were disappointed at the fact that Motorola made the phone a bit thinner and the battery quite a bit smaller (going from 3510mAh to just 3000mAh), the Moto Z2 Play still seems to have somewhat similar battery life. Obviously, since the phone has only been in our hands a couple of days, it’s way to early to have a verdict on battery life, but so far, things are looking good. Of course, since there is a Snapdragon 626 inside, there is also Quick Charge 3.0 available. So recharging this smartphone is quick and easy.

Motorola also got away from using a glass back on the Moto Z2 Play this year, and went with a matte finish on the back, which with the Lunar Gray model that we have, it looks pretty nice. Although the Moto Style Shell makes it look even better (not to mention it adds wireless charging as well as more grip to the back of the phone). There are plenty of them available, but the black one here does look nice, and definitely hides the camera bump (which is pretty large) and the pogo pins used for Moto Mods on the back.

Speaking of Moto Mods, as we noted already, there are some new Moto Mods coming out with the Moto Z2 Play, like the JBL SoundBoost 2 and the Moto TurboPower Pack, both of which are in hand for the review. The Moto TurboPower Pack adds 3490mAh of capacity to the Moto Z2 Play, which more than doubles the capacity of the battery on the Moto Z2 Play. This means that with the pretty good battery-efficiency that the Snapdragon 626 provides, the Moto Z2 Play should last you a few days with the TurboPower Pack added on. Now unlike a traditional extended battery, this works as two batteries. So the battery pack will charge the internal battery, via the pogo pins on the back. With it being a 3490mAh capacity, it should be able to fully charge the internal battery once. Of course, we’ll talk more in the full review later on.

The JBL SoundBoost 2 is a great Moto Mod to pick up, if you’re one to use Bluetooth speakers. It’s like adding a JBL Bluetooth speaker to the back of the phone. The JBL SoundBoost 2 is even better than last year’s iteration, and it is just a tad bit thinner and lighter. Of course, that always happens when something gets a successor, so that’s no surprise. It also uses a USB-C connector to charge, like the Moto Z Play, and Moto TurboPower Pack. The JBL SoundBoost 2 has a built-in battery so that it does not use your phone’s battery which is good, even though it wouldn’t be a big deal on the Moto Z2 Play.

When it comes to performance, there’s no surprises with the Moto Z2 Play. Internal specs are basically the same from the predecessor. The Snapdragon 626 is just a tad faster than the Snapdragon 625 that was in the Moto Z Play last year. And while there is a 4GB of RAM model available, the model that we have is 3GB of RAM. And so far, there’s been no issues with RAM, of course if there are during the review period, we’ll be sure to talk about it in the full review. The camera does seem to be better than last year, which wasn’t too bad, to be honest. It’s a 12-megapixel sensor this year with a f/1.7 aperture, instead of the 16-megapixel f/2.0 sensor from the Moto Z Play. The sensor is also a tad larger, which will let in more light – and also gives you a better aperture.

There’s not many surprises here with the Moto Z2 Play, and we really didn’t expect to see any. At this point, everyone knows what to expect from Motorola. And that’s a solid build, great software and with the Moto Z2 Play, great battery life. And that’s what is present in the Moto Z2 Play. Sure it’s a bit more expensive than its predecessor, but it seems to be worth it, and filling in the gap of the Moto Z from last year which likely won’t get refreshed (just a Moto Z2 Force). We’ll have a full review up soon enough, once we can put the Moto Z2 Play through its paces with its Moto Mods, so definitely be on the lookout for that.

Buy the Moto Z2 Play (Verizon)