Motorola Moto Z Play rumor review: specs, features, price and release date

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UPDATE: The Moto Z Play and Hasselblad True Zoom camera are now official. Check out our unboxing and hands-on coverage for an up-close look at both. 

At a special event back in June, Lenovo-owned Motorola Mobility introduced the new Moto Z and Moto Z Force smartphones to the fold. In the run-up to the showcasing, it was thought that the Moto Z Play would also make its grand entrance, but it wasn't to be. Thankfully, the rumor mill has regathered, and the elusive device should finally launch on September 6th. Here, we we take a quick look at what can be expected of the Moto Z Play. 

TL;DR:


  • Design: The Moto Z Play, from what we gather, is to be a cheaper, mid-range version of the Moto Z and Moto Z Force handsets. From what we've seen, it will look fairly similar to its official cousins, though leaks do seem to indicate that a plastic finish could be employed. This would help to keep costs down at the expense of a more accomplished aesthetic. 
  • Hardware: The Moto Z Play looks set to pack Qualcomm's Snapdragon 625 SoC, 3 GB of RAM, 32 GB or 64 GB of expandable storage space and a 3300 mAh+ battery. The device will be supportive of the new Moto Mods hardware add-ons, and apparently will get a 3.5mm audio jack, unlike the other new Moto Z models.
  • Software: It's almost certain that the Moto Z Play will run Android 6 Marshmallow out of the box, though a Nougat update shouldn't be too far behind.
  • Display: The Moto Z Play will probably get a 5.5-inch, 1080p screen, which would be a drop in resolution from the quad-HD sharpness offered by the Moto Z and Moto Z Force. 
  • Release date: Expected September 6th, at a cost of between $400 and $500. 

Design


Motorola mightn't be the first to have brought modular smartphones to the mainstream — LG did so with its flagship G5 earlier this year. But there's a certain elegance to the Moto Z range that we've come to expect from Motorola Mobility. The sleek design of the Moto Z and Moto Z Force is expected to carry over to the belated third instalment to the series, protruding camera and all. 

According to leaked info, the Moto Z Play will be a mere 7 millimeters thin, and will be available in the choice of black or white color configurations:

Hardware


The Moto Z Play is poised to include a 5.5-inch AMOLED display of 1080 x 1920 in resolution. Keeping the device powered will be Qualcomm's octa-core Snapdragon 625 processor with Adreno 506 graphics, along with 3 GB of RAM. Leaked benchmarks suggest there will probably be a choice of 32 or 64 GB of on-board expandable storage. As the images above also confirm, the device includes the pin connectors required for Motorola's supplementary range of Moto Mods.

The rear-facing shooter is expected to be a 16-megapixel offering, whilst selfie lovers will get a 5-megapixel snapper on the front of the device. Additionally, the Moto Z Play's battery will likely fall somewhere between 3300 and 3510 mAh, which should comfortably see those upper-mid-range specs through a day's unbridled usage.

We should also point out that the Moto Z Play will almost certainly have a 3.5 mm audio jack. Typically, this feature would simply be assumed. But since neither the Moto Z or Moto Z Force include this staple, it's a bit of a surprise to see it return, so to speak. 

The Moto Z Play should also be equipped with a fingerprint sensor just like its peers, along with quick-charging capabilities. 

Software

Android Nougat shouldn't take long to reach the Moto Z Play

Android 7.0 Nougat is now upon us, though given the impending nature of the Moto Z Play, the device won't ship with the latest flavor right off the bat. Prospective purchasers should expect to be greeted by Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow initially, though the leap to Nougat should be both swift and relatively painless. 

Price and Release


Per tweets from serial tech leakster The Malignant, the Moto Z Play will retail in China at somewhere between $400 and $500, off contract of course. This is quite a bit cheaper than the $624 off-contract asking price of the Moto Z or the $720 cost of the Moto Z Force. The same source also mentions that the Moto Z Play will be available from September 6th, so we shouldn't have to wait too much longer for the roll-out. 

Elsewhere, we're still eagerly awaiting an official nod of approval to the Hasselblad camera Moto Mod, which is arguably the most exciting of all the early modular accessories. According to our most recent tidbit, it could offer an impressive-sounding 10X optical zoom. Here's hoping it'll be launched alongside the Moto Z Play on September 6th, if not before. 

Given the sheer volume of corroborative leaks, it seems like most of the Moto Z Play's features have already been outed. Still, should we hear anything interesting on the subject between now and that purported release date, we'll have it covered right here, so stay tuned. 

Related phones

Moto Z Play
  • Display 5.5" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 16 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 625, Octa-core, 2000 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3510 mAh

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18 Comments

1. Scott93274

Posts: 6040; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

Nice.... but not interested, I'm still waiting to see if the Moto X 2016 leaked specs are real.

4. rubyonrails3

Posts: 375; Member since: Oct 01, 2014

What spec do you hear? Is Moto X 2016 real? Don't see point of Moto X. Unless it's cheap at $400. But then what we will get from $400 device. If it got SD820 who will buy Moto Z ? Moto Z is cool I wish it had Stereo speakers and rest what is Moto Z without mods

9. Bm888

Posts: 517; Member since: Jul 06, 2015

Hallo Moto* ......miss them days of moto, Nokia, Sony Ericsson

6. roldefol

Posts: 4744; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

What Moto X 2016? Moto Z, Moto Z Force, now Moto Z Play... Sounds to me like it replaced the X line.

7. Scott93274

Posts: 6040; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

I agree that it sounds like a replacement to the X lineup, but there have been rumors, even posted on this site that there's still a Moto X to be released this year that has a significantly smaller display and resolution reduced to 1080p, but still gets a boost in RAM. Based off of what I read, it sounds like a very nice secondary device.

8. Scott93274

Posts: 6040; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

Here's a link to one of the articles from two weeks ago. http://www.phonearena.com/news/Motorola-Moto-X-2016-certified-by-CCC-in-China_id84078

12. snowgator

Posts: 3621; Member since: Jan 19, 2011

Thanks... asked about this to you in the other post about this Z Play before I clicked on this one. Feel free to ignore that request from that earlier, more ignorant Snowgator.

14. Scott93274

Posts: 6040; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

lol, too late, I already posted the same link. And you're welcome sir.

16. roldefol

Posts: 4744; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

Last line is key: "We don't expect this model to join the Moto lineup outside of Asia." There's little reason for Moto to market a midranger between the Moto G and Moto Z in the West.

2. shield

Posts: 862; Member since: Sep 12, 2015

Moto X Play is better.

3. jellmoo

Posts: 2648; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

o_0 You'll have to explain this one...

10. shield

Posts: 862; Member since: Sep 12, 2015

X Play Better design, Better battery, (~74.4% screen-to-body ratio). X Serie is better than Z Serie

11. shield

Posts: 862; Member since: Sep 12, 2015

camera lens is flush with the back phone, Z series do not. A pin on the back spoils the appearance.

17. jellmoo

Posts: 2648; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

Better design? The X Play is a plastic build and 11mm thick. Better battery? We don't actually know that. What does seem apparent is that the Z Play will have a better processor, more ram, a fingerprint scanner and probably a better camera. If you like the X Play better, that's cool. But it certainly isn't "better".

5. rubyonrails3

Posts: 375; Member since: Oct 01, 2014

It's just cheaper with less powerful internals and bigger battery. How's better I don't see it. Even IR sensoes are gone.

13. Swordylove

Posts: 209; Member since: Jun 27, 2015

LOL... rumor review, preliminary specs review, specs review, ... XD

15. sip1995

Posts: 1771; Member since: Feb 07, 2014

Why not the SD 650/652 ?

18. Doakie

Posts: 2478; Member since: May 06, 2009

:-/ at $400 just buy an Axon 7. Snapdragon 820, QHD screen, front facing speakers. Everything that the Moto Z has at Moto Z Play prices.

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