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Moto Z Play Droid Review

Motorola Moto Z Play Droid 8

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Call Quality

Talk all night with the combo of good voice quality and great battery life

Moto Z Play Droid Review

If you can't say goodbye to voice calls just yet, the Moto Z Play Droid offers a really attractive handset option. First there's its killer battery life, which we'll get to in a second, that allows you to make call after call without running low on juice.

And when you do make those calls, they sound really good. Chalk it up to Verizon's network, or just well-executed phone hardware, but we had nary a complaint about audio quality – we sounded clean and loud to callers, even when outside, and they came through nice and sharp on our end.

Battery Life

The most affordable Moto Z shows the flagships how it's done

Moto Z Play Droid Review

Our review structure being what it is, discussions of battery life come up late in a phone's story, but don't let that undermine just how important battery performance is to what the Moto Z Play Droid has to offer.

The Play is roughly the same size as the Moto Z Force, so it only stands to reason that its battery is pretty much the same size – right around 3,500mAh. But since the Play has a lower-res screen, less RAM to refresh, and a much more subdued, power-sipping mid-range processor, that power goes farther … a LOT farther.

Moto Z Play Droid Review
It was a little disappointing to see the Moto Z Force achieve just over seven hours of screen-on time in our custom battery tests, but the Play positively takes it to school. With essentially the same size battery, the Play pushes operating life past half a day; we clocked well over thirteen hours of use – not too short of fourteen – when running the Play through those same tests.

That's all sorts of impressive, and it's easy to see why Lenovo's making a point to emphasize the Play's battery life as among its biggest features. Recharge times don't look quite as impressive, even with the included Turbo Charger, but considering the ridiculous battery life the Play is offering, we can live with it taking two-and-half hours to fully juice up.

Battery Benchmarks

Battery life (hours)
Higher is better
Motorola Moto Z Play Droid 13h 43 min (Excellent)
Motorola Moto Z Force Droid Edition 7h 9 min (Good)
Honor 8 9h 7 min (Excellent)
Charging time (minutes)
Lower is better
Motorola Moto Z Play Droid 156
Motorola Moto Z Force Droid Edition 110
Honor 8 98
View all

Conclusion


Moto Z Play Droid Review

The Moto Z Play Droid offers the most affordable ticket of entry yet into the world of Moto Mods expansion, supporting all the existing add-ons like the projector, speaker, and various battery packs, as well as the new Hasselblad True Zoom camera. If you liked the idea of all those when you first heard about the Moto Z, but weren't quite up for paying flagship prices for your new phone, the Moto Z Play is practically built for you.

Even if we ignore all that modular-phone action, the Moto Z Play still represents a fantastic option for users looking to stretch battery life to its absolute limits. We've seen plenty of mid-3,000-mAh phones before, but few that push operational life into this well-above-twelve-hours space; and while the LG X Power might have killed things with its fifteen-hour run-time, the Moto Z Play offers a heck of a lot more phone than that bargain-basement model.

For about $400, the Moto Z Play Droid represents a really attractive mid-range offering. It looks and feels just like the much more expensive Moto Z Force Droid, and while performance and camera capabilities aren't quite up to the level of that model, we don't at all get the sense like we're giving up $300 worth of functionality – all that considered, the Moto Z Play Droid feels like quite the deal.

When looking at the broader market, however, the Play's allure starts to dim a little. Affordable flagships start popping up in this same price bracket, and other mid-rangers run more capable chips like the Snapdragon 652. And as always, it's very much in your interest to weigh those options alongside the Play and see if one might not give you a little more of what you want for the same price – if not less.

But none of this detracts from the Moto Z Play Droid from being a well-built, totally capable Android in its own right, one with some nothing-short-of-insane battery life, and with all the hardware-expansion flexibility Moto Mods has to offer. For just a little over $400, that's one really attractive package.

Software version of the review unit: Android 6.0.1; Build Number: MCO24.104-35-1


Pros

  • Battery endurance like few other phones can touch
  • Moto Mods compatibility without a flagship price tag
  • Speedy fingerprint scanner's a joy to use

Cons

  • A slightly more capable 6-series Snapdragon chip would have been lovely
  • Recharging times slower than with Moto Z Force Droid
PhoneArena rating:
8 Good
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18 Comments
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posted on 15 Sep 2016, 09:34 3

1. zeeBomb (Posts: 2271; Member since: 14 Aug 2014)


Legit thought it was an early i review...good review by PA with a score I can agree on.

posted on 15 Sep 2016, 12:37

7. PhoneFix (Posts: 81; Member since: 30 Aug 2016)


I don't!
This is DEFO not better than Honor 8!
PA AGAIN praising USA manyfs. Just bcos it is from usa they had to or theyvmust rank it high..

posted on 15 Sep 2016, 14:27

11. jellmoo (Posts: 1862; Member since: 31 Oct 2011)


Lenovo is a Chinese company... The phone isn't manufactured in the US... I'm not sure what your point is?

In same ways this is better than the Honor 8, in other ways it is worse.

posted on 15 Sep 2016, 09:44 1

2. SYSTEM_LORD (Posts: 885; Member since: 05 Oct 2015)


They listed not having a slightly more capable 6-series SoC as a con, but they fail to realize that doing so would destroy this thing's battery life. Oh PA...

On another note, this phone fares so well in benchmark battery tests because of the low-and-slow type of performance scheme the SoC has.

In day to day use, you'll likely do about 9-10 hours screen on time. My Z3C did 10-11 on kitkat...lollipop screwed it up and brought it down to 8 hours :-(

posted on 15 Sep 2016, 10:30 3

5. JC557 (Posts: 1720; Member since: 07 Dec 2011)


I'm sure a 652 wouldn't be bad when it comes to efficiency but the current processor in use still feels smooth on the Z Play.

posted on 15 Sep 2016, 10:37

6. SYSTEM_LORD (Posts: 885; Member since: 05 Oct 2015)


Yes it would. The Xperia X uses a 650 series SoC, and its battery life is no better (actually slightly worse) than the battery on the X Performance. They have 2600mAh and 2700mAh batteries, respectively.

The 625 has the efficiency that the SD801 series had, only this time it's in 64-bit

posted on 15 Sep 2016, 10:05

3. raju516 (Posts: 14; Member since: 05 May 2016)


Can some one clarify why Moto Z force has not great call qulaity when compared to this phone which is not a flagship. Therotically they might have used good speaker.mic in flagship phones

posted on 15 Sep 2016, 10:28

4. JC557 (Posts: 1720; Member since: 07 Dec 2011)


Some people may have faulty units. The call quality on my Force is loud and clear though a recent update rendered notification sounds to be quiet yet ringtones and alarms remain really loud. The battery life is still really good but sometimes Google Services randomly eats up my battery life.

posted on 15 Sep 2016, 21:53

16. EricNC (Posts: 2; Member since: 15 Sep 2016)


Consumer Reports did give the Z series 4/5 stars on call quality, which was about as good as any touch screen received in their rankings.

posted on 15 Sep 2016, 12:45

8. Clars123 (Posts: 876; Member since: 16 Mar 2015)


*that goes further..A LOT further...PA please proof read your reviews

posted on 15 Sep 2016, 12:48 1

9. roldefol (Posts: 4362; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)


It must pain Verizon not to call this the Droid Maxx 3. Now that the Droid brand is secondary to the Moto brand, can they finally let it go?

posted on 15 Sep 2016, 13:35

10. libra89 (Posts: 686; Member since: 15 Apr 2016)


This seems like a solid phone. Decent review.

posted on 15 Sep 2016, 16:24

12. LeoC57 (Posts: 8; Member since: 28 Feb 2015)


I get it... its all decent and great and all... but then again id take those $400 and get a Axon 7 or a One Plus 3 (im sure they dont do as well on battery life, but then again you cant have it all, QHD panels, SD820, 4GB and 6GB of RAM).

IMO those 2 are better (way better) options than the Z Play Droid.

posted on 15 Sep 2016, 17:02

13. BigCTM (Posts: 9; Member since: 25 Oct 2009)


Not on Verizon...The Z Play Droid looks like the best mid range option on Verizon.

posted on 15 Sep 2016, 21:33

15. EricNC (Posts: 2; Member since: 15 Sep 2016)


From Consumer Report reviews of one plus 3 and Z Droid series, it sounds like they are very similar. The One Plus may be a little better with video because of the processor (but lesser battery life). I saw the Z play this week, and it's much nicer than the older Turbo2 despite better price point. It compares well to the 600.00 Z Droids.

posted on 23 Sep 2016, 14:29

17. Veteater (Posts: 45; Member since: 04 Aug 2015)


I understand what you are saying, but the software on the ZTE Axon 7 is nowhere near as good as the software on here, though it does beat it everywhere else; the OnePlus 3's battery life doesn't come close to this thing and it has no expandable storage. I really wish this thing had a SD652; that would lower battery life a bit due to the use of Cortex-A72 cores, but that would be fine considering this already has some of the best battery life as is.

posted on 15 Sep 2016, 19:22

14. iLovesarcasm (Posts: 582; Member since: 20 Oct 2014)


Good review, good phone if you're not a flagship guy.

posted on 17 Dec 2016, 15:19

18. Tommy5725 (Posts: 1; Member since: 17 Dec 2016)


Hello all,

I'm in the process of changing my mvno. I now have 5 lines with Cricket (At&t) and use a OP3. I have recently moved and now need Verizon's network. I am planning on moving 4 lines to Total Wireless (TW) and dropping the last. So I'm preparing for the conversion, and will be needing new phones. I like the ZTE Axon 7 but what I really want is the "Moto Z Driod Play" ( motorola.com/us/products/moto-z-play-droid ) on TW. So I've been reading for what seems like days and need some help or clarification. I chatted with a rep on moto's site and asked him that very question. Can I activate a Moto Z Driod Play on a mvno like "Streight Talk" or "Total Wireless"? He said yes, just use the BYOP option and it'd be no problem. I then found this link ( motorola.com/us/carrier-compatibility ), which seems to contradict what the rep told me. Although the Moto X Pure and Moto G's seem like they'd work fine. I have called TW customer service and they said it would not be a problem so long as i wasn't under contract to Verizon. They told me to get the IMEI and that they could check it. Problem is to do that I'd have to buy the phone. It seems that they do not even list the IMEI's in ebay auctions any more. I found a link where I could check ( totalwireless.com/wps/portal/home/h/check-compatib​ility ) though I do not have an IMEI.

I didn't think phones could really be locked any more but it sure seems that way. Maybe the Axon 7 would be a better idea?

I was hoping that someone that really knows and understands the process could give me some pointers. I would really appreciate it

Thanks for your time,
Tom

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Display5.5 inches, 1080 x 1920 pixels (401 ppi) Super AMOLED
Camera16 megapixels
Hardware
Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 , Octa-core, 2000 MHz, ARM Cortex-A53 processor
3 GB RAM
Size6.16 x 3.01 x 0.28 inches
(156.4 x 76.4 x 6.99 mm)
5.82 oz  (165 g)

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