Lenovo-owned Motorola introduced its own concept of how modular phones should be last year, and while comparisons were drawn to LG and how the Korean company s methods were half-baked, Motorola s way of doing things was largely praised. With more modules — aptly called Moto Mods — and an easier way to attach the accessories onto the phone, the modular concept showed the way forward to other smartphone makers. Also Read - How to record screen on your Android phoneAlso Read - Phones launching next week: Pixel 6 series, Samsung Galaxy S21 FE, Motorola Edge S, more
Let s skip to 2017, and Motorola is still going strong with the modular concept. Today, the company has launched the Moto Z2 Play at a price of Rs 27,999. We ve given the phone a quick go, and here are our first impressions. Also Read - Nothing reportedly working on its first smartphone, expected release date revealed
From glass to metal
One of the most significant changes comes in the build material and styling of the phone. While the Moto Z Play came with a ceramic rear panel, the Moto Z2 Play goes with brushed metal. The new phone is also a lot slimmer than its predecessor with a thickness of 5.9mm. Notably, and unlike the higher-end Moto Z, the reduction in thickness hasn t led to the removal of the 3.5mm jack. The universal audio connector socket does find its place at the bottom of the phone.
There s a massive camera bump at the back, which when considered, increases the phone s thickness to far more than 5.9mm. The camera module comes with flash and laser auto-focus, with Motorola s iconic batwing logo right below. At the bottom of the phone is the connector-pin array for the Moto Mods — when you attach a mod, it connects to the smartphone through these pins. Additionally, the entire back panel is magnetic to allow for easy attachment and clasping by the mods. The good news here is that the existing Moto Mods will work with the Moto Z2 Play, so you can choose to purchase any of the wide range of Mods already available to use with the phone.
The SIM tray is at the top and is refreshingly not a hybrid design, allowing for two SIM cards and a microSD card simultaneously. The right side has the power and volume keys, while the bottom has the USB Type-C port and 3.5mm jack. Also worth noting is that the Moto Z2 Play has front flash as well as rear flash, which makes for well-lit selfies.
A lot like the Moto G5 Plus
The Moto Z2 Play bears a lot of similarities to the Moto G5 Plus, as can be seen in the specifications. The device comes with 4GB of RAM, 64GB of internal storage, Qualcomm Snapdragon 626 SoC, a 3,000mAh battery, Android Nougat out-of-the-box, and a 12-megapixel rear camera. Despite this, it s significantly more expensive than the G5 Plus, thanks to a few tweaks in the specifications as well as the modular concept itself. The screen, at 5.5-inches, is a full HD Super AMOLED affair, which makes for excellent black levels at the expense of lower peak brightness. Although a bit on the warm side, the screen does appear decent enough at first glance.
I also had a chance to try out the camera a bit, and results were acceptably good to start with. We will of course put the phone through more comprehensive testing for our full review, and you ll get a better idea of how the 12-megapixel fares. The front camera is a 5-megapixel shooter, and front flash will help get better selfies in low-light conditions. For photography enthusiasts that are looking to buy the phone, you can also pick up the Hasselblad Moto Mod that was launched last year, which will add a better camera with 10X optical zoom to your phone.
Some other Moto Mods launched today include the JBL Soundboost 2, an improved version of the JBL Soundboost Mod that was launched last year, as well as a style-shell Mod that allows wireless charging, a new power-bank Mod and more. Motorola will also soon be bringing a game-pad mod, which allows you to have full-fledged gaming controls to use with the Moto Z2 Play and other Z-range smartphones. However, details are scant on when this will be coming.
While the Moto Z2 Play is a great device that brings the more affordable modular range from Moto up to 2017 specification levels, there isn t much to distinguish it from last year s Moto Z Play at this point. Nonetheless, it remains an interesting smartphone today and if you re keen to exploit the growing range of Mods to boost functionality on your smartphone, the Moto Z2 Play could well be a good choice for you.
The Moto Z2 Play will go on sale on June 15 online exclusively on Flipkart, as well as through traditional retail channels using large-format retailers as well as small-format stores. We ll be bringing you our full review of the Moto Z2 Play soon, so stay tuned.