The Motorola Z3 Play is the first of the new 3rd generation Z series that fits Moto Mods – the clever way to expand the phones functionality.
While the Motorola Z3 Play is a good smartphone in its own right
Moto Mods were the first true innovation that GadgetGuy has seen over the past five years of smartphone ‘glass slab’ evolution. The others are OPPO’s Find X pop-up camera and ZTE’s Axon M dual screen foldable smartphone. Although I expect to see Samsung, LG and Huawei improve on that this year.
To be fair glass slab smartphone innovation has been under the hood. Faster processors and more ram/storage allow better post-processing of camera images and AI allows better scene recognition. Machine learning allows smartphones to anticipate our needs. Software like Google Assistant and Google Lens adds new functionality. Evolution, not revolution.
What is the Motorola Z3 Play?
All the specifications are at the end of the article. The ‘Play’ is the mid-range, entry level with a 6” AMOLED screen, a Qualcomm mid-range 636 SoC, 4/64GB, 12/5MP rear camera and 12MP front camera. It runs pure Android 8.1 meaning it will get an upgrade to Android P and all security updates and patches as quickly as Google can roll them out.
The Z-series are the same shape/size to fit the Mods that magnetically snap onto the back and connect via pogo pins.
To be blunt while the Z3 Play (and later the Z3 with a Qualcomm 845) you buy the Z-series if you are prepared to invest in the unique Mods ecosystem.
That is not to say you should not buy it as is, but competition in the <$799 space is fierce. There are too many options like the OPPO R15 or Pro, Samsung A7 or Samsung Galaxy S8, Huawei mate 10 (or whatever supersedes that soon), Nokia 7 Plus, Sony XZ Premium or my outright favourite bargain the LG V30+ ThinQ. Within weeks we will see Google Pixel 2 drop into this space when the 3 is released.
So, Mods it is!!!
|moto mods Incipio offGRID Power Pack $79/99||Up to 22 hours of battery life (2200mAh); sleek design; wireless charging version available|
|JBL SoundBoost Speaker $119||Stereo speakers; integrated kickstand; 10 hours of extra battery|
|Insta-share Projector $379||Project and view pictures; videos and shows up to 70”; pair with a Bluetooth speaker; ultra-thin, pocketable design; an extra hour of battery life|
|Hasselblad True Zoom Camera $329||10x Optical Zoom; Xenon flash; physical shutter and zoom; raw format option|
|Wireless Charging Shell $49||10W fast charge rates; double the standard wireless charging speed; 3.25mm slim and lightweight design; Qi and PMA compatible|
|360 Camera $319||360° and 180° image capture: 2 x 13MP wide-angle cameras; 360 spherical panorama; a 4-mic solution for surround audio|
|Gamepad $119||Full physical controller: realistic gameplay experience with full access to on-device games; no BT pairing, no wires; dual speakers and HSJ for immersive audio experience; a built-in battery for up to 9 hours longer|
|Polaroid Insta-Share Printer $129||Snap, print, share – anywhere: print instantly with zinc paper; print from Instagram, Facebook or phone gallery; integrated design for instant capture and print with the phone camera; edit photos to add borders, shapes, and filters|
|Car Dock $109||153 x 74 x 6.2mm; up to 15W Turbo power charging while you drive; mod pins, USB-C for power; Bluetooth, built-in 3.5mm aux connector or phone speaker for audio support; voice control|
Key features of the Z3 Play
|Specifications Display||6” 18:9 max vision, Super AMOLED. 2160 x 1080p, Corning Gorilla Glass 3, 77.9% S-T-B-R|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 processor with a 1.8 GHz octa-core CPU and 850 MHz Adreno 509 GPU – 30% faster than the Z2 Play|
|Connectivity||4G: DL: Cat 11 (600 Mbps, 256QAM) UL: Cat 5 (75Mbps, 64QAM) B1, B3, B4, B5, B7, B8, B12, B17, B18, B19, B20, B26, B28, B38, B40, B41 3G: B1, B2, B4, B5, B8, B19, 2G: B2, B3, B5, B8|
|Operating System||Android 8.1, Oreo includes Google Assistant and Google Lens. Also adds Moto Experiences and Moto Actions|
|Camera Front||8 MP, f2.0, 1.12um, wide-angle 84° lens, screen flash|
|Camera Rear||12 MP, f1.7, 1.4um + 5 MP depth, Dual Autofocus Pixel (pDAF), Colour Correlated Temperature (CCT) dual LED flash, Zero Shutter Lag (ZSL)|
|Memory||4GB LPDDR4, 64GB UFS dual lane, microSD up to 2TB|
|Battery||3000mAh, 15W TurboPower|
|Wireless Charging||via Wireless Charging Mod|
|Sensors||Fingerprint (side), NFC, sensor hub, accelerometer, gyroscope, ambient light sensor, barometer, AOD, gesture sensor (acoustic)|
|Audio||Four mics, Dual Stereo Speakers|
|Wi-Fi||802.11 a/ac/b/g/n 2.4 GHz + 5 GHz|
|Water Protection||Splash-resistant P2i|
|Sim Support||1 x Nano Sim + MicroSD or Dual Nano Sim supporting 4G/3G|
|ID / CMF||2.5D glass front and back, 6000 series polished aluminium frame|
|Dimensions and weight||76.5 × 156.5 × 6.75 mm x 156g|
|Price and Availability||A$799 from 4 October|