Motorola Moto Z3 Play

7.4/10 AVG.
RATING



7.4/10
Informr score
The Motorola Moto Z3 Play currently has an Informr score of 7.4 out of 10. This score is based on our evaluation of 26 sources including reviews from users and the web's most trusted critics.

The "1-Minute" Review

Verdict

Apart from price, the Moto Z3 Play is one of the most compelling modular phones to date. However, pricing considered, there are other phones that offer better performance or cameras if Moto Mods aren’t important to you.

What's good

  • Modular design
  • Great battery life
  • microSD support
  • Sleek design
  • Strong camera (for the price range)

What's bad

  • No 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Price
  • No water resistance
  • Dim display

As the longest running modular Android phone series, the Moto Z-series offers a blend of flexibility and mid-tier performance that helps it stand out from the competition. The Z3 Play is their 2018 update to the popular lineup and comes with some interesting design changes and spec updates. But it also comes with a price increase -- a potential issue for people new to the Moto Mods ecosystem.

The new design follows this year’s trend of glass front and rear panels with an aluminum chassis. Reviewers thought the phone looked great but noticed that the aluminum sides were prone to scratches and scuffs. Normally, you’d just grab a case to protect the phone, but with the mod support, that is a tricky problem.

The major changes come in button placement. To keep the phone the same size as previous models while adding a bigger screen, they had to shift the fingerprint scanner to the side of the phone. This forced them to move the power button to the phone’s left side. 

While reviewers questioned the arrangement at first, most had no problems hitting the scanner or powering on the phone after a few days of use.

They also ditched the 3.5mm headphone jack. So if you want to use your favorite cans, you’ll need a 3.5mm to USB Type C adapter.

The phone includes a 6.01-inch 1080-by-2160 pixel Super AMOLED display -- the Z-series’ first release with a taller aspect ratio. Reviewers loved the slim bezels and the detail on offer from the display. Screen brightness was the only weak link mentioned. While not dim enough to be a problem, it’s noticeably dimmer than most phones in the same price range.

Motorola chose an octa-core 1.8Ghz Snapdragon 636 processor with 4GB of RAM to power the phone. While far from a flagship processor, the chip provides enough muscle for daily tasks and light gaming with no noticeable lag or stuttering. With graphics-intensive games, you might need to scale settings back.

In typical fashion, Motorola applies few touches to the Android 8.1 Oreo interface. you’ll find slight tweaks to the interface and the addition of Moto Actions. Otherwise, it’s a stock setup and reviewers appreciated how smoothly the software ran.

Depending on your region, you’ll find variants with 32 or 64GB of internal storage. Support for microSD cards up to 2TB makes adding extra space affordable and simple.

While the phone includes a dual-lens 12MP/5MP rear camera, the 5MP sensor is only used for depth sensing. There’s no telephoto zoom or true monochrome mode. However, reviewers were impressed with the results with many calling it the strongest Motorola camera to date. In good lighting, the phone produces well-balanced images with plenty of contrast and color. 

Low-light shooting produced softer images with muted colors. Yet, images were mostly noise-free and well focused -- a common issue with low-light shots in mid-tier phones.

The front-facing lens received equal praise. While it lacks a flash, it captures plenty of detail as long as there is any amount of light in the room.

The phone’s 3,000mAh battery lasted most reviewers a full day with no problems -- even with gaming and streaming music or video. Paired with the USB Type-C TurboPower charger for full charges in under 90 minutes, you should have no worries about battery life. Pairing it with the Moto battery mod, many hit two days with ease.

Despite the praise, the phone has one glaring issue that stopped most reviewers from recommending it -- the price. With the bump in price, the Z-series has moved from a firmly mid-tier phone with excellent specs to a questionable value. 

Tom’s Guide summarizes concerns well, saying, “The issue the Z3 Play faces involves the competition. A few years ago, all of those Z3 Play charms would have sufficed at [the price]. But then, [the OnePlus 6] and [the Honor V10] arrived and raised the stakes, with top-tier performance and very few concessions. Of course, the Z3 Play has its mods, but they're hardly a replacement for a brighter screen, better low-light photos or a faster processor.”


Operating system
Android
Processor
1.8 GHz
Screen Size
6.01"
Camera
12+ MP


What the Critics Are Saying...


Good Gear Guide

If you don’t take the usual spec-bumps and display changes into account, the Moto Z3 Play is arguably a worse device than the previous Moto Z2 Play was. It’s more expensive, and it lacks waterproofing and a headphone jack to boot. If you’re looking for a more modern-looking entry-point to the MotoMo...

- Fergus Halliday, Good Gear Guide
TechnoBuffalo

The Moto Z3 Play might not have cutting-edge specifications or a beefy battery; however, its incredibly clean and simple user interface is refreshing. Other companies are still smothering Android, but Motorola lets it roam free. With this phone, you get close to a Pixel-like user interface.

- Justin Herrick, TechnoBuffalo
Expert Reviews

The performance of the Z3 Play leaves something to be desired, but it is at least a more powerful phone than the Z2 Play, and it’s set to be the first handset with 5G network connectivity. Motorola’s Moto Mods have expanded the horizons of the smartphone far beyond anything else from other manufactu...

- Tom Bruce, Expert Reviews
Pocket-lint

The Moto Z3 Play brings the series up to date thanks to an 18:9 aspect ratio display, but this model stands in the shadow of the Z3 proper - which is not only more powerful but cheaper - and can't hold its weight against other flagship leaders of the moment. Mods may have had their moment...

- Mike Lowe, Pocket-lint
Tech Advisor

The Moto Z3 Play is a charming but frustrating smartphone. Moto has improved the design, the display and the software from the past couple of years but then maddeningly taken away the headphone jack and the outstanding battery life.

- Henry Burrell, Tech Advisor


Prices (Where to Buy)




Common Questions


Motorola released the Moto Z3 Play on June 6, 2018.


The Moto Z3 Play price will vary depending on retailer, age, special offers and whether or not it's purchased with a service plan. If purchased with a 2 year service contract for example, you would likely pay much less for the phone itself up front. You can compare Motorola Moto Z3 Play prices from around the web here on The Informr.


We've got you covered! Download a free PDF copy of the Motorola Moto Z3 Play user manual here.


Motorola backs up the Moto Z3 Play with a 1 Year parts & labour warranty.


If your Moto Z3 Play has problems and is still within its warranty period, you could contact Motorola support or the retailer you purchased the phone from. You'll find Motorola's contact information here. If your phone is off warranty and needs repair for a physical problem such as a broken screen or bad battery, you should visit an authorized service centre or a local phone repair shop. You can also connect with others in The Informr Community Forum to find and share answers to questions.



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Quick view

Screen Size
6.01"

The Motorola Moto Z3 Play's screen size is 6.01 inches with 1080 x 2160 pixels resolution.

Processor
1.8 GHz

There is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 Octa core 1.8 GHz processor (CPU).

OS

The phone runs on the Android 8.1 Oreo operating system (OS).

Camera
12+ MP

You can take photos or capture video with the phone's onboard 12+ megapixel camera.

There is also a secondary front facing camera with 8+ megapixels resolution.

Storage
32/64 GB

Internal memory is 32/64 GB. An external, MicroSD, MicroSDHC, microSDXC (up to 2000 GB) expansion slot is available for increased storage capacity.

Battery
3000mAh

The phone is powered by a Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion), 3000 mAh battery. Motorola's performance ratings are 595 minutes Wi-Fi surfing.

Moto Z3 Play Specs

Overview
Release date June 6, 2018
Regions available USA, Canada
Networks
GSM:
850/900/1800/1900 MHz
UMTS:
850/900/1900/2100 MHz
LTE:
700/2100/850/1800 /2600 MHz
Data:
GPRS, EDGE, HSUPA, HSPA+, LTE
SIM card Nano-SIM
Dual SIM Yes
Operating System Android 8.1 Oreo

Compare Android Smartphones

Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 Octa core 1.8 GHz
Internal Flash Memory 32/64 GB
RAM 4 GB
ROM No
GPS Type A-GPS
Digital compass Yes
Flightmode Yes
Hearing Aid Compatible No
TTY/TDD No
Noise Cancellation Yes
SAR Head: 1.18 W/kg
Body: 1.18 W/kg
Languages English
Manufacturer Warranty 1 Year
Accessories Included USB Power Adapter, Manual, Headphones, Data Cable
Power & battery
Type Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion)
Battery Capacity 3000 mAh
Removable Battery No
Wireless Charging No
Fast Charging Yes
Video Playback Time Up to: 648 minutes
Internet Use (Wi-Fi) Up to: 595 minutes
Internet Use (Celluar) Up to: 603 minutes
Talk Time Unknown
Standby Time Unknown
Physical Characteristics
Design type Bar
Multi-Use Smart Phone / PDA Yes
Material Aluminium
Colors Deep Indigo
Dimensions [H x W x D] 15.65 x 7.65 x 0.675 cm (6.2 x 3 x 0.3 in)
Weight 156 grams
Water Resistant / Waterproof Water Resistant
Rugged design No
IP Rating No
Antenna Type Internal
Changeable Faceplates No
Display / Screen
Type Color
Technology Super AMOLED
Colors 16.7 million
Resolution 1080 x 2160 pixels
Pixel density 402 pixels
Size 6.01 inches
3D No
Secondary Display No
Sensors Ambient Light, Proximity, Motion / Accelerometer, Gyroscope
Graphics Yes
Themes No
Backlit Illumination Yes
Zoom / Magnification Yes
Screen Orientation Lock Yes
Multi-Touch Yes
Fingerprint-Resistant Coating No
Additional Display Features Capacitive touch screen, Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Input / Navigation
Sleep / Wake Key Yes
Home Key No
Mute Key No
Input Type Touchscreen
Navigation Type Touchscreen
Predictive Text Entry Yes
Physical keyboard No
Voicemail Key No
Any Key Answer No
Voice Commands Yes
Keypad/Screen Lock Yes
External Volume Control Yes
External Media Playback Controls No
Fingerprint Sensor Yes
Call Management
Wi-Fi Calling Yes
Voice over LTE (VoLTE) Yes
Contact List Capacity Depends on system memory
Multiple Numbers Per Contact Email address, Other fields
Contact Groups Yes
Auto Answer No
Voice Activated Dialing Yes
Photo Caller ID Yes
Web / Email / Messaging
Web Browser Yes
Email Client Yes
Email Protocols POP3, IMAP, Microsoft Exchange
Additional Email Features Gmail
Messaging SMS, MMS, IM
Push-to-talk (PTT) No
Connectivity
USB USB Type-C
USB OTG Support Yes
Infrared No
Bluetooth 5.0
Bluetooth Profiles A2DP, AVRCP, OPP/FTP, HID, HFP, HSP, PAN
Bluetooth Audio Codecs SBC, aptX
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n
WiFi Encryption WPA/WPA2
Mobile Hotspot Yes
WiMAX No
Memory Expansion Slot Yes
Expansion Slot Info MicroSD, MicroSDHC, microSDXC (up to 2000 GB)
PC Synchronization Yes
TV Out No
DLNA Support No
NFC Yes
UMA Support No
Data Tethering Compatibility Yes
Java Applications No
Brew Applications No
ECML / Digital Wallet No
PictBridge No
Camera
Main Camera
Aperture
ƒ/ 1.7
Resolution
12+ megapixels
Dual lens
Yes
Zoom
Yes
Flash
Yes (LED)
Additional Rear Camera Info
Auto focus, Effects, Face detection, Geotagging, Multi-shot, Panorama, Self-timer, Dual camera feature (5 MP 2nd camera, f/2.4), Zero Shutter Lag, Slow motion recording, Time lapse mode, HDR
Video Recording Formats
MPEG-4
Video Recording Parameters
Ultra HD (3840 x 2160 pixels), 30 fps
Front Camera
Resolution
8+ megapixels
Zoom
Yes
Additional Front Camera Info
Aperture F2.0
Video Recording Parameters
Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels), 30 fps
Audio / Video
Audio Playback Yes
Audio Formats AAC, AAC+, AMR-NB, AMR-WB, eAAC+, MIDI, OGG, WMA, WAV
Radio Yes (FM)
Video Playback Yes
Video Playback Formats 3GP / 3GPP, H.264 / AVC, MPEG-4, WMV
Mobile TV No
Streaming Video Yes
External Speakers Yes
Headset Jack No
Custom Ringtones Yes
Vibration Alert Yes
Downloadable Ringtones Yes
Ringtone Composer No
Ringer ID Yes
Haptic Feedback Vibration Yes
Speakerphone Yes
Apps
To-Do / Task List No
Calendar Yes
World Clock Yes
Alarm Yes
Stop Watch Yes
Timer Yes
Calculator Yes
Currency Converter No
Weather Yes
Stocks No
Maps Yes
NotePad No
Voice Memos / Recorder Yes
Games Downloadable
Apps Downloadable
Included Software / Apps
More
Additional comments Other Names (AKA): Motorola Moto Z Play (3rd Gen)

Related Links Manual (PDF)
Motorola Moto Z3 Play Reviews
Where to buy Motorola Moto Z3 Play
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Critic Reviews


Good Gear Guide

Yet another MotoMod-enabled smartphone, with all the strengths and shortcomings that title implies

from Good Gear Guide

If you don’t take the usual spec-bumps and display changes into account, the Moto Z3 Play is arguably a worse device than the previous Moto Z2 Play was. It’s more expensive, and it lacks waterproofing and a headphone jack to boot. If you’re looking for a more modern-looking entry-point to t...More

If you don’t take the usual spec-bumps and display changes into account, the Moto Z3 Play is arguably a worse device than the previous Moto Z2 Play was. It’s more expensive, and it lacks waterproofing and a headphone jack to boot. If you’re looking for a more modern-looking entry-point to the MotoMod ecosystem, the Moto Z3 Play fits that mold. But if you’re looking for a reason to invest in that ecosystem, you’ll struggle to find it here.

Read full review

Less

TechnoBuffalo

Priced into a predicament

from TechnoBuffalo

The Moto Z3 Play might not have cutting-edge specifications or a beefy battery; however, its incredibly clean and simple user interface is refreshing. Other companies are still smothering Android, but Motorola lets it roam free. With this phone, you get close to a Pixel-like user interface.

Read full review

The Moto Z3 Play might not have cutting-edge specifications or a beefy battery; however, its incredibly clean and simple user interface is refreshing. Other companies are still smothering Android, but Motorola lets it roam free. With this phone, you get close to a Pixel-like user interface.

Read full review

Less

Expert Reviews

Middling but modifiable

from Expert Reviews

The performance of the Z3 Play leaves something to be desired, but it is at least a more powerful phone than the Z2 Play, and it’s set to be the first handset with 5G network connectivity. Motorola’s Moto Mods have expanded the horizons of the smartphone far beyond anything else from other m...More

The performance of the Z3 Play leaves something to be desired, but it is at least a more powerful phone than the Z2 Play, and it’s set to be the first handset with 5G network connectivity. Motorola’s Moto Mods have expanded the horizons of the smartphone far beyond anything else from other manufacturer’s, but if you want to kit out your Moto Z3 Play with the latest gadgets you’ll have to pay a premium.

Read full review

Less

Pocket-lint

Mods and odds

from Pocket-lint

The Moto Z3 Play brings the series up to date thanks to an 18:9 aspect ratio display, but this model stands in the shadow of the Z3 proper - which is not only more powerful but cheaper - and can't hold its weight against other flagship leaders of the moment. Mods may have had their moment...

Read full review

The Moto Z3 Play brings the series up to date thanks to an 18:9 aspect ratio display, but this model stands in the shadow of the Z3 proper - which is not only more powerful but cheaper - and can't hold its weight against other flagship leaders of the moment. Mods may have had their moment...

Read full review

Less

Tech Advisor

Merely OK

from Tech Advisor

The Moto Z3 Play is a charming but frustrating smartphone. Moto has improved the design, the display and the software from the past couple of years but then maddeningly taken away the headphone jack and the outstanding battery life.

Read full review

The Moto Z3 Play is a charming but frustrating smartphone. Moto has improved the design, the display and the software from the past couple of years but then maddeningly taken away the headphone jack and the outstanding battery life.

Read full review

Less

TechRadar

Motorola’s mid-range is confused

from TechRadar

The Moto Z3 Play offers solid mid-range performance, a big screen, plenty of customizability thanks to its compatibility with Moto Mods. It’s on sale at a fair price, but it can’t compete with its slightly better, oddly cheaper sibling, the Moto Z3 if you’re on Verizon.

Read full review

The Moto Z3 Play offers solid mid-range performance, a big screen, plenty of customizability thanks to its compatibility with Moto Mods. It’s on sale at a fair price, but it can’t compete with its slightly better, oddly cheaper sibling, the Moto Z3 if you’re on Verizon.

Read full review

Less

Talk Android

Third time, but no more charm

from Talk Android

As it stands, the Moto Z3 Play is a flagship wannabe that struggles to stand on its own against the bigger Moto Z phones and competitors like the OnePlus 6. If you’re really into the Moto Mods there’s no alternative, but for anyone else, it’s tough to truly recommend it over devices on the...More

As it stands, the Moto Z3 Play is a flagship wannabe that struggles to stand on its own against the bigger Moto Z phones and competitors like the OnePlus 6. If you’re really into the Moto Mods there’s no alternative, but for anyone else, it’s tough to truly recommend it over devices on the market. There’s just no killer Moto Mod after all these years that can pull people in, and $499 is still too high for an impulse purchase for most people.

Read full review

Less

Hothardware

Have mods, will travel

from Hothardware

The Moto Z3 Play is an excellent, if less exciting, midrange phone. Battery abusers, such as myself, can still fallback on mods to fill the gap while more traditional users can enjoy a more fluid experience all around. It may not be the battery life champion we once knew, but it still delivers a...More

The Moto Z3 Play is an excellent, if less exciting, midrange phone. Battery abusers, such as myself, can still fallback on mods to fill the gap while more traditional users can enjoy a more fluid experience all around. It may not be the battery life champion we once knew, but it still delivers a good experience and seriously strong battery life, as long as you don't mind snapping on its Power Pack mod.

Read full review

Less

Wired

Goes all-in on Mods and glass

from Wired

There’s a lot to like about the Moto Z3. It has roughly the same overall dimensions as its predecessors, yet the HD AMOLED screen is longer, stretching to 6 inches. A faster Snapdragon 835 processor, which was the fastest Android phone chip in 2017 and the same processor that was in last year's...More

There’s a lot to like about the Moto Z3. It has roughly the same overall dimensions as its predecessors, yet the HD AMOLED screen is longer, stretching to 6 inches. A faster Snapdragon 835 processor, which was the fastest Android phone chip in 2017 and the same processor that was in last year's Z2. For the price, it’s easy to forgive some of the Moto Z3 Play’s quirks.

Read full review

Less

Techaeris

An excellent midrange offering with one big gripe

from Techaeris

Listen, there will always be some people that need flagship phones. But many average users don’t want to spend that much money. This is where the moto Z3 Play fits. It doesn’t have flagship specs but it can easily fill the needs of the average user. It does come with its problems though. The...More

Listen, there will always be some people that need flagship phones. But many average users don’t want to spend that much money. This is where the moto Z3 Play fits. It doesn’t have flagship specs but it can easily fill the needs of the average user. It does come with its problems though. The power button on the left is annoying. The camera isn’t the best but it’s good enough. But the price point is going to make this a must look for many buyers.

Read full review

Less



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