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Moto Z Play hands-on review: Long battery life never looked so good

Moto Z Play hands-on review: Until now Motorola’s flagship handset – the Moto Z – has been a US exclusive, but Lenovo finally announced at IFA that it’s bringing it and its new sibling – the Moto Z Play – to the rest of the world.

Moto Z Play: Specs at a glance

Screen size 5.5-inches
Screen resolution Full HD (1920×1080)
Weight 165 grams
OS Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Front camera 5-megapixels w/ 85-degree wide-angle lens
Rear camera 16-megapixels w/ hybrid autofocus, dual-tone LED flash
Processor 2GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625
Memory 3GB RAM
Storage 32GB. Expandable via microSD up to 2TB
Battery 3510mAh w/ TurboCharge fast charging

Moto Z Play: Hands-on review

As with the Moto X Play and G4 Play, the suffix highlights the more affordable focus of the new Moto Z Play. To look at head-on, the new Play resembles its flagship sibling almost identically, but in actuality there are a few key differences.

Moto Z Play hands-on review: Front

The most obvious one has to be the phone’s thickness, which at 6.99mm allows for the return of a standard 3.5mm headphone jack (a notable absence on the wafer-thin 5.2mm thick Moto Z, which is amongst the first smartphones in the world to ditch it in place of a Type-C USB to audio jack adapter). Speaking of Type-C USB, the Z Play still enjoys the reversible connector, which allows for faster data transfer and charging speeds using Moto’s own ‘TurboPower’ charging.

The additional bulk comes as a result of the phone’s lofty battery claims, reaching beyond anything we’ve seen from Lenovo and Motorola’s previous handsets with regards to longevity. The 3510mAh cell promises up to a staggering 50 hours of use between charges (for the US and European versions at least) and, as the phone supports the company’s Moto Mods accessory line, you could technically strap on the Incipio-made Offgrid Power Pack mod that contains its own 2220mAh cell to stretch the phone’s life even further.

Moto Z Play hands-on review: Hasselblad View Zoom moto mod

Launching alongside the Moto Z Play is the new True Zoom mod, built in partnership with camera specialists Hasselblad (price: £199.99), which adds a 12-megapixel camera module with 10x optical zoom and RAW image support as well as a xenon flash and physical controls. Even without this mammoth mod, however, the Z Play boasts a 16-megapixel primary snapper of its own, with hybrid PDAF/laser autofocus, a dual-tone LED flash, zero shutter lag and impressively large 1.33μm pixels. You can expect 4K recording from the main camera and 5-megapixel stills from the front-facer, the latter of which also enjoys its own LED flash.

The Z Play doesn’t quite match up to the standard Z with regards to display, but it’s still an absolute stunner, with vibrant colours and solid viewing angles from the 5.5-inch Full HD Super AMOLED panel. Lenovo has also emulated the Moto Z’s approach gesture using ultrasonic technology, letting you check notifications and the clock simply by placing your hand in front of the display to wake it momentarily.

Other premium elements include a fingerprint sensor and an attractive glass back with invisible ink, which brings out an etched pattern against the light and a hydrophobic coating to give the Z Play some level of water resistance.

On the inside, there is Qualcomm’s latest octa-core Snapdragon 625 processor, backed up by 3GB of RAM with 32GB of internal storage and expandability up to a mighty 2TB.

The phone’s expected to land in Europe (and the UK) in September, priced at £369.99 SIM free.

You can watch our full hands-on review of the Moto Z Play here:

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