The Moto Z3 Play is the ultimate modular mid-ranger.
Motorola's Wednesday product launch event in Brazil saw the introduction of the Moto Z3 Play, the company's latest Android mid-ranger with modular capabilities which is set to become available for purchase on a global level this summer. The widely leaked handset is succeeding last year's Moto Z2 Play, coming with significant imaging improvements, as well as a wide range of other novelties, all while still offering full support for the firm's range of Moto Mods.
Moto Z3 Play Specs
Motorola's new offering comes with a 6.01-inch Super AMOLED display panel featuring an FHD+ resolution of 2,160 by 1,080 pixels, Qualcomm's octa-core 1.8GHz Snapdragon 636 chip, 4GB of RAM, and a 3,000mAh battery. Two Moto Z3 Play memory configurations will be made available, offering 32GB and 64GB of storage space, with both featuring a microSD card slot with support for up to 2TB of extra flash memory. The device is 156.5 x 76.5 6.75mm in size, weighs 156g, features a USB Type-C port, NFC, Bluetooth 5.0, and an 8-megapixel front camera, whereas its back plate accommodates a dual camera setup using a 12-megapixel sensor and a 5-megapixel one. Dual-SIM capabilities will only be offered by models in select markets, with Europe and India both being likely members of that list, as suggested by Motorola's previously released products.
Moto Z3 Play Hardware & Design
Compared to the Moto Z2 Play, its successor is slightly taller and thicker, though its overall physical footprint isn't that different as Motorola had to ensure its backward-compatible with all of its previously released Moto Mods. The smartphone uses a 6000-series polished aluminum frame with 2.5D glass on both of its sides. The display of the Moto Z3 Play is protected by Corning's Gorilla Glass 3, with the overall package offering p2i splash resistance, meaning it will be fine in rain but shouldn't end up underwater in any scenario. With highly rounded corners and a screen-to-body ratio of 79-percent, this is by far the most bezel-free addition to the Moto Z lineup released by the Lenovo-owned company to date. The Moto Z3 Play will only be available in Deep Indigo at launch and Motorola has yet to provide any indication that it's working on more color options for the series, which is uncharacteristic for the company with such a long history of varied smartphone families.
Moto Z3 Play Cameras
The main 12-megapixel camera of the Moto Z3 Play sits behind an f/1.7 lens, with its sensor having a pixel size of 1.4 microns. The supporting module is a 5-megapixel affair and its sole purpose is to help the phone with simulating bokeh. A dual-LED flash is part of the package as well, with Motorola also promising the handset has no shutter lag. The addition of a second camera compared to last year's Moto Z2 Play allows for Portrait Mode, whereas the Cutout functionality allowing you to quickly change the background of your photos is making a return here following its debut on the Moto G6 lineup earlier this spring. Native real-time translation enabled by Google Lens are included, as are all other major features of Google's computer vision solution. The Moto Z3 Play comes with built-in YouTube Live support, face filters, and a traditional Pro Mode allowing you to exercise more control over your mobile photography. Much like its predecessor, the device can deliver 4K videos at 30 frames per second, though it improves on its recording capabilities with the addition of a Slow-Motion mode and video face filters. The front-facing camera uses an 8-megapixel sensor and isn't anything to write home about but it will get the job done and easily take on the selfie module of any other Android mid-ranger on the market that doesn't come from OPPO or Vivo.
Moto Z3 Play Software & AI
The vast majority of the Moto Z3 Play's camera functionalities such as the Cutout mode are powered by artificial intelligence, as was the case with the Moto G6 series, though the device itself isn't advertised as a highly AI-focused offering. The handset runs Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box but outside of minor features such as Moto Voice (still in beta), Quick Gestures, and Moto Actions, it offers a largely stock experience which should run in a smooth and consistent manner.
Moto Z3 Play Battery Life
The 3,000mAh battery is unchanged compared to last year's model and the 15W TurboPower charger that comes bundled with the Moto Z3 Play promises half a day worth of power in 30 minutes. While below-average in terms of capacity compared to other mid-rangers, the fact that the device will be offered alongside a free 2,000mAh battery Moto Mod to early buyers should make up for this shortcoming to a degree. In combination with the module in question, the Moto Z3 Play can offer 40 hours of battery life, according to the phone maker.
Moto Z3 Play Security
The fingerprint sensor of the Moto Z3 Play can be found on its right edge, sitting below the handset's Power button. Outside of that traditional authentication solution, the smartphone also offers Face Unlock support but as is usually the case with such systems, anyone who cares about security should avoid using it as any conventional front-facing camera can be spoofed relatively easily.
Moto Z3 Play Variants & Availability
The Moto Z3 Play will be released this summer, with Motorola confirming the handset will be sold through Amazon, B&H Photo, Walmart, Best Buy, Target, Fry's, and its own online storefront in the United States, among other outlets. The handset isn't expected to become available for purchase on a global level simultaneously but is instead more likely to gradually be introduced to more markets over the course of the summer. With a starting price of $499, Motorola is hoping to compete with even the most value-oriented mid-rangers on the market, though it's presently unclear which countries will receive both the 32GB and 64GB models and whether both will come with dual-SIM capabilities in certain regions. Sprint and US Cellular will also be carrying the device in the United States but are yet to share more details on the matter. A 2,000mAh battery module will be bundled with all early stateside purchases of the device, though that offer is likely to be time-limited in nature.
Moto Z3 Play Gallery