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 are, in my opinion, more important than the phone itself. For example, you can magnetically attach a Hasselblad True 10X optical zoom camera that offers amazing detail and clarity over digital zoom found on most smartphones. Or amp up the sound with a JBL SoundBoost speaker with 10-hours extra battery life. My favourite is the 10W Qi Wireless charging mod that adds wireless fast charging to all the Z series.
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,
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
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.
Up to 22 hours of
battery life (2200mAh); sleek design; wireless charging version available
integrated kickstand; 10 hours of extra battery
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
Zoom Camera $329
10x Optical Zoom;
Xenon flash; physical shutter and zoom; raw format option
10W fast charge rates; double the standard
wireless charging speed; 3.25mm slim and lightweight design; Qi and PMA
360 Camera $319
360° and 180°
image capture: 2 x 13MP wide-angle
cameras; 360 spherical panorama; a 4-mic
solution for surround audio
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
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;
Key features of the
6” 18:9 max
vision, Super AMOLED. 2160 x 1080p, Corning Gorilla Glass 3, 77.9% S-T-B-R
Snapdragon 636 processor with a 1.8 GHz octa-core CPU and 850 MHz Adreno 509
GPU – 30% faster than the Z2 Play