By Samantha Gonzales

MOTOROLA’S Moto Z2 Play is its 2017 upgrade of its mid-range modular smartphone. With a thinner and lighter body than that of 2016’s Z Play, it packs upgrades here and there while actually downgrading select parts.

Moto Z2 Play
Moto Z2 Play retails for P24,999

We’ve tested the flagship Moto Z before, but the Moto Z2 Play is still shockingly thin despite being 0.8 mm thicker than the Moto Z (at 5.2 mm). Still, it’s easy to hold and type with one hand due to its thinness, although without the custom plate attached to the back, it is more prone to slippage. It also emphasizes the camera bulge and leaves the magnetic sensor (which is used to connect to different Moto Mods) unprotected. The phone is protected with water repellent nano-coating for spills, splashes, or light rain, but does not make it waterproof.

The most exciting part of the Moto Z series is, of course, its compatibility with Moto Mods, or accessories like a projector, speaker, extra battery, or camera lens, that can be used, swapped, or stored depending on the user’s needs. The Moto Z2 Play gives you access to these accessories at a lower price point (P24,999). Attached to the phone, they look varying degrees of awkwardness and fluidity, although for technology like this, sleekness and minimalism make way for function.

Moto Z2 Play
Moto Z2 Play sports a 12-MP, f/1.7 camera

Looks aside, we’ve also tested Moto Mods before and loved the Insta-Share Projector that makes viewing videos from a mobile phone way more convenient and enjoyable.

The 1080×1920 pixel display is kept constant and in working order, rendering crisp graphics and standard colors. You also get other standard upgrades with a Snapdragon 626 (from 625) Chipset and 4-GB RAM (from 3 GB). These enable the Moto Z2 Play to run smoothly, although we did notice lag when switching from application to application. The biggest surprise is the camera downgrade. From the Z Play’s 16 MP, f/2.0, the Moto Z2 Play sports a 12-MP, f/1.7 camera. This shouldn’t be that big of a deal since some flagship devices use the same hardware, but the Moto Z2 Play struggles with low light and uses sharpening to a fault. We weren’t even aware of the specs and downgrade as we were testing the camera. Lastly, the battery is also downgraded to 3,000 mAh (from Z Play’s 3,510 mAh) but is actually still pretty reliable with one and a half day of normal use. It is also capable of charging 50 percentage points in 30 minutes, which makes it more convenient for heavy users.

Overall, the Moto Z2 Play sounds like a mixed bag from the spec sheet alone, but in practice, works well, reliably, and smoothly.

Moto Z2 Play and Moto Mods are available in three exclusive Motorola outlets located in the CyberZone areas of SM Mall of Asia, SM Megamall and SM North EDSA. They are also available in major Motorola retailers nationwide and via online shopping site Lazada.