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Motorola Z3 Play – Inspector GadgetGuy smartphone
4.0Overall Score
Name: Motorola Z3 Play
Price (RRP): $799
Manufacturer: Motorola

The Motorola Z3 Play is the foundation of Motorola’s innovative Moto Mods range where you can magnetically attach a range of mods to extend the phone’s functionality. Inspector GadgetGuy would be proud.

So, it is important that you realise this is a review about a modular phone. Snap on a Moto Mod to the Motorola Z3 Play and you have a unique device capable of so much more than any other smartphone.

Go, Go GadgetGuy Camera – snap on an amazing Hasselblad pedigree 10X digital Zoom with Xenon flash for those amazing distance shots.

Go, Go GadgetGuy JBL SoundBoost for 10-hours of party-like sound. This is a great stereo speaker with 6W sound reaching 80dB and a warm and sweet sound signature.

We won’t go, go into depth the other Moto Mods

Suffice to say these are the Z-series raison d’être – reason for its existence. Take my word from it as a happy Moto Mods user – you will love the Mods including

  • JBL Sound Boost stereo speaker *
  • Hasselblad 10X True Zoom camera *
  • Polaroid Insta-Share Printer *
  • 360° camera *
  • Gamepad *
  • Insta-share Pico projector *
  • Incipio Vehicle Dock *
  • Incipio offGRID power pack (2,220mAh and Qi version as well)
  • 10W Qi charging shell (back cover)
  • Style shell (back cover)
  • Power pack
  • Turbopower pack

Moto Mods are a little bit of a religion with most Z-series owners buying between three and five. In my case, the Hasselblad 10X True optical zoom camera has been invaluable as a journalist wanting to get better long shots. The speaker really makes listing to music on a smartphone a pleasure again. The Incipio offGrid 10W Qi charging/powerbank completes my travel kit.

Z3 Play

But we are here to review the Z3 Play – the third generation of Z-series and a mid-tier phone at $799 including (for a limited time) a choice of a Moto Mod (* above) – good value!

Review: Moto Z3 Play

Australian Website here

In the box

  • Moto Z3 Play
  • USB-C Qualcomm 5V/3A, 9V/2A AND 12V/1.5A Quick Charge 4.0
  • USB-A to USB-C cable

  • 3.5mm earbuds/mic
  • USB-C to 3.5mm DAC adapter

The first impression

It is very thin at 6.75mm and light at 156g – part of the Moto Mods design. The Mods require all Z-series to have a dimension of 156.5 x 76.5mm to accept the magnetic interchangeable add-on devices. That is what the row of 16 gold pogo pins on the rear are for.

The original Z had a 16:9 screen and largish top and bottom bezels. The Z3 Play has a more modern 6.1″, 18:9, 2160 x 1080p screen, so it has a smaller top and bottom bezel to fit that same size chassis.

It is the entry-level and uses a Qualcomm 636 SoC. The Z3 (standard) uses a more powerful Qualcomm 835 and has a different camera – it is not sold in Australia.

After a week of solid use, I can say that Motorola (a Lenovo company) knows how to build a good quality device that works in perfect harmony with the pure Android.

It is a mid-range device using the same processor as BlackBerry Key2, Nokia 6.1/Plus/7.1 – it has plenty of power all around.

Buy here – or you will regret it

The Model number is Model XT1929-8, and the firmware is ‘retapac’. There are at least seven other variants (XT1929-1-to-7) for different countries and carriers.

We issue the standard warning that you must buy the genuine Model with Australian firmware as it works on all Australian Carrier LTE bands and can make a 000-emergency call without a sim.