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A battery to beat: Motorola’s X Play reviewed

By Leigh D. Stark | 12:03 pm 06/10/2015

Fancy screens and amazing cameras don’t make up the needs of all smartphone buyers, and if battery is the biggest concern, Motorola’s X Play has your name all over it.

Features

Motorola’s next take on its flagship “X” series of handsets is the “Play”, one of two models the company will be bringing to Australia that take the large screen often high performing standard of the Moto X devices and applies a big battery to the equation.

Inside this handset, you’ll find one of Qualcomm’s eight-core processors, the Snapdragon 615, made up of one quad-core 1.7GHz section and another quad-core 1GHz section. This chip is being paired with 2GB RAM and 16GB storage, with room to move provided you bring a microSD card, given expandable memory is supported.

Google’s Android 5.1 “Lollipop” arrives on the phone out of the box, and no overlay is included, given Motorola likes to keep Android looking the same, applying its features on top with apps that are updated from Google Play.

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Cameras are included, of course, and you’ll find a 21 megapixel camera on the back supporting a two-tone LED flash and Full HD video capture, while the front camera is set to 5 megapixels.

Connections on the phone include 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0 with LE (Low Energy), GPS, Near-Field Communication (NFC), and of course 4G LTE technology for getting online quickly.

This technology sits under a 5.5 inch Full HD 1920×1080 display, showing 403 pixels per inch and protected by Corning’s scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass 3.

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Buttons are hard to find on this device, and you’ll only see two, both sitting on the right edge, revealing a ridged power button just above a smooth volume rocker.

Ports are also low in number, with merely a 3.5mm headset jack at the very stop of the handset, while a microUSB port sits at the very bottom.

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A pin ejectable tray can be found at the very top of the handset, revealing a tray able to be set up with one nanoSIM and one microSD card.

The battery is rated at 3630mAh and is not removable.

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Performance

In a change for Motorola, two flagships are landing in 2015, with each made for a different type of user. For instance, if you feel you need the latest technology and a phone that looks a little more high class, there’s the Moto X Style. But if you want something with life — you know, one that won’t die under pressure of a single day of usage — there’s another model.

That model is the Moto X Play, a handset that Motorola has built with much of the tech that would have been seen as high end last year, but this year is a little under that. Still great, but just not market leading, and with a big battery to back it up.

That last part is a key feature here, because phones don’t often go the distance, at least in the battery department, and the X Play yearns to be different.

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Design on this one is a little more interesting than just another Motorola, and not just because the company has decided to make the back a little more textured, with an option here to even change out the back if needed, which you can remove just for looks, replacing it with a back of a different sort if need be.

You’re also seeing a change in textures to the buttons, giving your dominant phone holding hand the chance to work out which button they’re pressing simply by rubbing your digit over the surface.

It’s not just a matter of working it out by getting a feel of the size and shape, because that’s what usually does it for the mostly button-less smartphones of today.

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Rather, the Moto X Play has ridges all over its home button, while the volume rocker beneath this is smooth and simple, giving your fingers an easy way to work out which button you’re pressing, which is handy.

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Price (RRP)

$TBA; No outright pricing, with plans available on Vodafone;

Pros & Cons

Product Pros

Upgradeable storage via a handy dual-use slot; Two day battery life without problems; Very fast mobile broadband support;

Product Cons

Thick; Not as much water resistance as the less expensive Moto G; Pretty weak camera performance;

Ratings

Overall

Features

Performance

Ease of Use

Design

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