Last year, Motorola (Lenovo) surprised everyone when it hit pause on its Moto X flagship line and introduced a new modular silo to take over the mantel. The Moto Z Play was the cheaper sibling of the Moto Z, with better battery life and a more affordable price tag, and both were designed to showcase the new Moto Mods attachments. The second generation model leaked a couple of months ago, and the Moto Z2 Play has now been officially unveiled, alongside 4 new or updated Moto Mods.
The new device looks pretty similar to its predecessor, with the same 5.5" FHD AMOLED screen with Gorilla Glass and a now rounded, front chin-mounted fingerprint scanner that's reminiscent of many 2017 phones. It is noticeably thinner, however, by a full millimeter. The reason for that is a smaller battery, 3000 mAh compared to the 3510 mAh unit in the first generation model. That will no doubt lead to shorter battery life, but hopefully not by too much. At least with TurboPower charging Moto promises up to 8 hours of power from a 15-minute charge. Of course, the real number will vary wildly.
The Z2 Play features a mid-tier Qualcomm Snapdragon 626 processor, an Adreno 506 GPU, and will ship with Android 7.1.1 Nougat. There are two choices featuring different memory and storage options, 3GB RAM with 32GB storage or 4GB RAM with 64GB storage, and there's also a MicroSD slot for expansion. One particularly intriguing feature is the addition of fingerprint scanner gestures. Tapping the capacitive button takes you home, swiping left goes back, and swiping right enters recent apps. If implemented well that could turn out to be useful.
Unlike the more expensive Moto Z, the Z2 Play retains the headphone jack. For imaging, it's got the same front-facing snapper as the original with a 5MP sensor, but the rear module is now a 12MP lens with an ƒ/1.7 aperture and dual autofocus. It's a similar setup to the budget Moto G5, so it'll be interesting to see if it performs more admirably here. Rounding out the spec sheet is a splash and dust resistant coasting (no IP rating mentioned) and all the usual sensors and connectivity.
You can't mention connectivity without mentioning the Moto Mods. They seemed like a neat idea but have probably suffered from a lack of choice. Motorola is obviously hoping to change that with the introduction of 4 new modular accessories. Three of those come from Motorola itself: a gamepad, battery pack, and wireless charging Moto Style Shell. The fourth is an upgraded JBL Soundboost 2 speaker.
The Moto Z2 Play will be available in two colors at launch later in the summer, Lunar Grey and Fine Gold, and it'll be sold through the Moto store or via Verizon. There's conflicting information on pricing at the moment, but the 64GB model will apparently cost $499. It's unclear how much the 32 GB model will be, but we've reached out to Moto for more information. Whether it's worth the extra money with that smaller battery will be a key question many will ask. Once we've put it through its paces we'll be sure to share our findings.
Moto Z2 Play now up for pre-order on Verizon with free JBL SoundBoost 2
The Moto Z2 Play is now available for pre-order on Verizon. The 32GB version costs $17/mo over 24 months or $408 upfront, while the 64GB doesn't appear to be available yet. Delivery is expected around July 6. And if you buy your device between June 29 and July 26, you have until August 9 to redeem a free JBL SoundBoost 2 moto mod (value $79.99).