7.3/10
Informr score
The Motorola Moto Z3 Play currently has an Informr score of 7.3 out of 10. This score is based on our evaluation of 31 sources including reviews from users and the web's most trusted critics.

The "1-Minute" Review

Verdict

Apart from price, the Moto Z3 Play is one of the most compelling modular phones to date. However, pricing considered, there are other phones that offer better performance or cameras if Moto Mods aren’t important to you.

What's good

  • Modular design
  • Great battery life
  • microSD support
  • Sleek design
  • Strong camera (for the price range)

What's bad

  • No 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Price
  • No water resistance
  • Dim display

As the longest running modular Android phone series, the Moto Z-series offers a blend of flexibility and mid-tier performance that helps it stand out from the competition. The Z3 Play is their 2018 update to the popular lineup and comes with some interesting design changes and spec updates. But it also comes with a price increase -- a potential issue for people new to the Moto Mods ecosystem.

The new design follows this year’s trend of glass front and rear panels with an aluminum chassis. Reviewers thought the phone looked great but noticed that the aluminum sides were prone to scratches and scuffs. Normally, you’d just grab a case to protect the phone, but with the mod support, that is a tricky problem.

The major changes come in button placement. To keep the phone the same size as previous models while adding a bigger screen, they had to shift the fingerprint scanner to the side of the phone. This forced them to move the power button to the phone’s left side. 

While reviewers questioned the arrangement at first, most had no problems hitting the scanner or powering on the phone after a few days of use.

They also ditched the 3.5mm headphone jack. So if you want to use your favorite cans, you’ll need a 3.5mm to USB Type C adapter.

The phone includes a 6.01-inch 1080-by-2160 pixel Super AMOLED display -- the Z-series’ first release with a taller aspect ratio. Reviewers loved the slim bezels and the detail on offer from the display. Screen brightness was the only weak link mentioned. While not dim enough to be a problem, it’s noticeably dimmer than most phones in the same price range.

Motorola chose an octa-core 1.8Ghz Snapdragon 636 processor with 4GB of RAM to power the phone. While far from a flagship processor, the chip provides enough muscle for daily tasks and light gaming with no noticeable lag or stuttering. With graphics-intensive games, you might need to scale settings back.

In typical fashion, Motorola applies few touches to the Android 8.1 Oreo interface. you’ll find slight tweaks to the interface and the addition of Moto Actions. Otherwise, it’s a stock setup and reviewers appreciated how smoothly the software ran.

Depending on your region, you’ll find variants with 32 or 64GB of internal storage. Support for microSD cards up to 2TB makes adding extra space affordable and simple.

While the phone includes a dual-lens 12MP/5MP rear camera, the 5MP sensor is only used for depth sensing. There’s no telephoto zoom or true monochrome mode. However, reviewers were impressed with the results with many calling it the strongest Motorola camera to date. In good lighting, the phone produces well-balanced images with plenty of contrast and color. 

Low-light shooting produced softer images with muted colors. Yet, images were mostly noise-free and well focused -- a common issue with low-light shots in mid-tier phones.

The front-facing lens received equal praise. While it lacks a flash, it captures plenty of detail as long as there is any amount of light in the room.

The phone’s 3,000mAh battery lasted most reviewers a full day with no problems -- even with gaming and streaming music or video. Paired with the USB Type-C TurboPower charger for full charges in under 90 minutes, you should have no worries about battery life. Pairing it with the Moto battery mod, many hit two days with ease.

Despite the praise, the phone has one glaring issue that stopped most reviewers from recommending it -- the price. With the bump in price, the Z-series has moved from a firmly mid-tier phone with excellent specs to a questionable value. 

Tom’s Guide summarizes concerns well, saying, “The issue the Z3 Play faces involves the competition. A few years ago, all of those Z3 Play charms would have sufficed at [the price]. But then, [the OnePlus 6] and [the Honor V10] arrived and raised the stakes, with top-tier performance and very few concessions. Of course, the Z3 Play has its mods, but they're hardly a replacement for a brighter screen, better low-light photos or a faster processor.”


Operating system
Android
Processor
1.8 GHz
Screen Size
6.01"
Camera
12+ MP


What the Critics Are Saying...


Reckoner

One of the biggest selling points of any of the new Motorola smartphones is the inclusion of its Moto Mod connector on their rear. At the bottom of the Z3 and its prior iterations are a series of pins that connect hardware accessories to use with the phone.

- Raj Deut, Reckoner
Softpedia

The Z3 Play comes with its pros and cons, yet I believe that Motorola neglected some key capabilities thinking they could be improved with Mods anyway. This is entirely true, but from a customer perspective, it means we’d have to spend extra to get features you would otherwise receive out of the box...

- Bogdan Popa, Softpedia
What Mobile

Overall the Moto Z3 Play has plenty of positives in performance and the operating system and the fact most of the Mods are not overly expensive and there is a wide range to chose from such as a stereo speaker, Insta-Share projector, Polaroid printer and 360 camera to name a few. At less then £500 it...

- Stephen Watson, What Mobile
Ausdroid

Despite a couple of failings, the Moto Z3 play represents not just great bang for buck for the vast majority of users – but an outright good phone.

- Phil Tann, Ausdroid
TrustedReviews

Moto Mods are still magical but, head over heart, there are better options close to the predicted RRP that you should carefully consider them before buying.

- Alan Martin, TrustedReviews


Prices (Where to Buy)




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Quick view

Screen Size
6.01"

The Motorola Moto Z3 Play's screen size is 6.01 inches with 1080 x 2160 pixels resolution.

Processor
1.8 GHz

There is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 Octa core 1.8 GHz processor (CPU).

OS

The phone runs on the Android 8.1 Oreo (Update Available: 9.0 Pie) operating system (OS).

Camera
12+ MP

You can take photos or capture video with the phone's onboard 12+ megapixel camera.

There is also a secondary front facing camera with 8+ megapixels resolution.

Storage
32/64 GB

Internal memory is 32/64 GB. An external, MicroSD, MicroSDHC, microSDXC (up to 2000 GB) expansion slot is available for increased storage capacity.

Battery
3000mAh

The phone is powered by a Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion), 3000 mAh battery. Motorola's performance ratings are 595 minutes Wi-Fi surfing.

Moto Z3 Play Specs

Overview
Release date June 6, 2018
Regions available USA, Canada
Mobile / Cellular Data
4G/LTE
Networks
GSM:
850/900/1800/1900 MHz
UMTS:
850/900/1900/2100 MHz
LTE:
700/2100/850/1800 /2600 MHz
Data:
GPRS, EDGE, HSUPA, HSPA+, LTE
SIM card size
Nano-SIM
Dual SIM Yes
Operating System Android 8.1 Oreo (Update Available: 9.0 Pie)

Compare Android Smartphones

Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 Octa core 1.8 GHz
Internal Storage 32/64 GB
RAM 4 GB
ROM No
GPS Type A-GPS
Hearing Aid Compatible No
TTY/TDD No
Noise Cancellation Yes
SAR Head: 1.18 W/kg
Body: 1.18 W/kg
Languages English
Manufacturer Warranty 1 Year
Accessories Included USB Power Adapter, Manual, Headphones, Data Cable
Power & battery
Battery Type Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion)
Battery Capacity 3000 mAh
Removable Battery No
Wireless Charging No
Fast Charging Yes
Video Playback Time Up to: 648 minutes
Internet Use (Wi-Fi) Up to: 595 minutes
Internet Use (Celluar) Up to: 603 minutes
Talk Time Unknown
Standby Time Unknown
Physical Characteristics
Design type Bar
Multi-Use Smart Phone / PDA Yes
Material Aluminium
Colors Deep Indigo
Dimensions [H x W x D] 15.65 x 7.65 x 0.675 cm (6.2 x 3 x 0.3 in)
Weight 156 grams
Water Resistant / Waterproof Water Resistant
Rugged design No
IP Rating No
Display / Screen
Type Color
Technology Super AMOLED
Colors 16.7 million
Resolution 1080 x 2160 pixels
Pixel density 402 pixels
Size 6.01 inches
Secondary Display No
Sensors Ambient Light, Proximity, Motion / Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Digital Compass
Graphics Yes
Themes No
Backlit Illumination Yes
Zoom / Magnification Yes
Screen Orientation Lock Yes
Multi-Touch Yes
Fingerprint-Resistant Coating No
Additional Display Features Capacitive touch screen, Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Input / Navigation
Sleep / Wake Key Yes
Home Key No
Mute Key No
Input Type Touchscreen
Navigation Type Touchscreen
Predictive Text Entry Yes
Physical keyboard No
Voicemail Key No
Any Key Answer No
Voice Commands Yes
Keypad/Screen Lock Yes
External Volume Control Yes
External Media Playback Controls No
Fingerprint Sensor Yes
Call Management
Wi-Fi Calling Yes
Voice over LTE (VoLTE) Yes
Contact List Capacity Depends on system memory
Multiple Numbers Per Contact Email address, Other fields
Contact Groups Yes
Auto Answer No
Voice Activated Dialing Yes
Photo Caller ID Yes
Web / Email / Messaging
Web Browser Yes
Email Client Yes
Email Protocols POP3, IMAP, Microsoft Exchange
Additional Email Features Gmail
Messaging SMS, MMS, IM
Push-to-talk (PTT) No
Connectivity
USB USB Type-C
USB OTG Support Yes
Infrared No
Bluetooth 5.0
Bluetooth Profiles A2DP, AVRCP, OPP/FTP, HID, HFP, HSP, PAN
Bluetooth Audio Codecs SBC, aptX
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n
WiFi Encryption WPA/WPA2
Mobile Hotspot Yes
WiMAX No
Memory Expansion Slot Yes
Expansion Slot Info MicroSD, MicroSDHC, microSDXC (up to 2000 GB)
PC Synchronization Yes
TV Out No
DLNA Support No
NFC Yes
Data Tethering Compatibility Yes
Java Applications No
Brew Applications No
ECML / Digital Wallet No
Camera
Main Camera
Aperture
ƒ/ 1.7
Resolution
12+ megapixels
Multi-camera
Yes
Zoom
Yes
Flash
Yes (LED)
Additional Rear Camera Info
Auto focus, Effects, Face detection, Geotagging, Multi-shot, Panorama, Self-timer, Dual camera feature (5 MP 2nd camera, f/2.4), Zero Shutter Lag, Slow motion recording, Time lapse mode, HDR
Video Recording Formats
MPEG-4
Video Recording Parameters
Ultra HD (3840 x 2160 pixels), 30 fps
Front Camera
Resolution
8+ megapixels
Zoom
Yes
Additional Front Camera Info
Aperture F2.0
Video Recording Parameters
Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels), 30 fps
Audio / Video
Audio Playback Yes
Audio Formats AAC, AAC+, AMR-NB, AMR-WB, eAAC+, MIDI, OGG, WMA, WAV
Radio Yes (FM)
Video Playback Yes
Video Playback Formats 3GP / 3GPP, H.264 / AVC, MPEG-4, WMV
Streaming Video Yes
External Speakers Yes
Headset Jack No
Custom Ringtones Yes
Vibration Alert Yes
Downloadable Ringtones Yes
Ringer ID Yes
Haptic Feedback Vibration Yes
Speakerphone Yes
Apps
To-Do / Task List No
Calendar Yes
World Clock Yes
Alarm Yes
Stop Watch Yes
Timer Yes
Calculator Yes
Currency Converter No
Weather Yes
Stocks No
Maps Yes
NotePad No
Voice Memos / Recorder Yes
Games Downloadable
Apps Downloadable
Included Software / Apps
More
Additional comments Other Names (AKA): Motorola Moto Z Play (3rd Gen)

Related Links Manual (PDF)
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