Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone
Introduced last year, the original Moto Z Play was released alongside the flagship Moto Z Force last year and served as a half-step back from that top-of-the-line phone. This second-generation phone, while still not as powerful as the Z Force, comes with minor improvements in many areas, providing a premium experience.
Like the original Moto Z Play, the new version features a 5.5-inch Super AMOLED 1080p screen, but, with the dimensions 76.2 mm x 56.2 mm x 5.99 mm and weighing 145 g, it is 0.2 mm smaller in width and length, 1 mm thinner and 20 g lighter than last year’s model. As one would expect, the display is bright and vivid, and video playback is smooth and the sound is clear.
It also runs on the newer, slightly faster 2.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 626 octa-core CPU, with a 605 Adreno GPU. It comes with 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage – which is expandable up to 2 TB with a microSD card. The phone uses a 3,000 mAh battery, promising up to 30 hours of mixed use. (The original phone uses a 3,510 mAh one which may explain why the new phone is thinner.)
Like with most Moto phones, the interface is very clean. Running on Android 7.1.1 (Nougat), the Moto Z Play uses an almost vanilla implementation of the OS, so its not bogged down by the manufacturer’s apps – other than the long-standing Moto Actions, which allows you to do things, such as twist your wrist while holding the phone to activate the camera’s quick capture or chop twice to turn the phone into a flashlight. The phone also uses its own Moto Voice, in addition to Google’s virtual assistant.
The second-generation Moto Z Play also offers improvements with its cameras. It uses larger 1.4-micrometre pixels in its 12-MP dual autofocus main camera and 5-MP front-facing camera. There is also a professional mode with manual control to allows the more photographically inclined to take sharper pictures with a realistic colours. Video also looks quite smooth and the sound is decent – if a little airy at times.
The real appeal of the Moto Z line are the mods. Sold as accessories, you can buy a variety of mods that attach onto the back of the phone with magnets that enhance the phone’s capabilities. Back when the phones first launched last year, Moto released a battery pack, sound speaker, vehicle dock, a camera mod with a 10x optical and a projector that allowed you to display your photos and videos on a wall.
Along with the release of the 2017 Moto Z Play, the Lenovo-owned company announced the JBL SoundBoost 2, a Moto GamePad mod and a Moto Turbopower Pack – a 3,490 mAh battery that offers an extra day of battery life. (A 360-degree camera mod is also now listed on Motorola’s website but I did not get a chance to see that one.)
The 152 mm x 73 mm x 14.5 mm JBL SoundBoost 2 is 1.5 mm thicker than its predecessor but, at 135 g, it weighs 10 g less. It has two 3 W speakers and comes with a kickstand, so you can prop the phone up on your desk to listen to music or watch movies. The sound is on par with most small external stereo speakers. It comes with its own 1,000 mAh battery which offers roughly 10 hours of use before it would draw power from the phone to work.
The Moto GamePad mod basically turns the phone into a hand-held game console. I tested a demo model and, while a little bulky (226 mm x 75.9 mm x 24.4 mm), it worked quite well. It has two toggles and the layout is similar to that of a PlayStation controller – although it has the A,B,X,Y buttons instead of the shapes. In the demo, I played a driving game but I imagine the functionality would differ from game to game.
Both the mods and phones are backwards compatible so any of the mods work with any of the Moto Z phones. But you can only use one mod at a time and, of course, you have to buy them. None of these new mods are available yet in Canada, but you can buy the JBL SoundBoost 2 through the U.S. Motorola site for US$ 79.99 and the Moto 360 Camera for US$ 299.99. (The U.S. store also a few other mods not available here.)
As for the phone itself, you can buy the second-generation Moto Z Play through Freedom Mobile and Bell. Freedom Mobile offers the better price for the phone without a contract at $ 700, while you can get it free at either a two-year plan on Bell or Freedom’s $ 35/month MyTab Boost.
Moto E4. (Supplied)
On the other hand, if you just want a decent Android phone to update Facebook, watch YouTube and take pictures of your friends after they passed out in the bar, you might prefer to just pick up the Moto E4.
The Moto E4 has 2 GB of RAM and runs on a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917) processor with a clockspeed of 1.4 Ghz, which is nothing special nowadays but will get the job done.
The 144.7 mm x 72.3 mm x 9.3 mm phone features a 5-inch 720p screen and weighs 150 g. So not full HD but the image quality is fine.
Overall, the phone works slightly better than you’d expect a budget phone to work. The big drawback is storage. The Moto E4 only has 16 GB and has no slot for a memory card so you can’t expand it.
But still, at $ 200, it’s a steal.