The midrange Moto Z3 Play is on sale for an entry-level price

Originally $500, it's now $170 and comes with a free Moto Mod. It's also unlocked and carrier-agnostic.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
2 min read
Moto Z3 Play

Not shown: The backside of the Moto Z3 Play, which can accommodate various snap-on add-ons.

Sarah Tew/CNET

When it was released just over a year ago, the Motorola Moto Z3 Play had a $499 list price. Sure, that included a battery pack, one of various Moto Mods that would magnetically snap onto the backside to enhance the phone's capabilities, but many still felt it was overpriced.

Okay, how about this price: For a limited time, Motorola is offering the Moto Z3 Play (32GB) for $169.99. That doesn't include the battery pack, but does let you choose from a handful of other free Mods. Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page.

On paper, the Z3 Play sounds pretty solid: 6-inch Full HD OLED display, dual rear cameras, fast charging, expandable storage and a side-mounted fingerprint sensor that, by all accounts, works quite well. It's unlocked for use on just about any major US carrier.

Unfortunately, Motorola's gamble on Moto Mods didn't pay off. Not many people wanted to pay extra for things like battery packs, external speakers and gamepads. (Anyone who remembers the ill-fated Handspring Visor PDA, which tried a similar ploy with plug-in cartridges, could have predicted that.)

The Moto Z3 Play looks a little naked without its Mods

See all photos

Anyway, this deal includes your choice of one of the following: The Moto Stereo Speaker (normally $60), the Moto Gamepad ($80), the Moto Folio ($10) or a pair of Moto Style Shells ($3 -- seriously). Just add one to your cart after you add the phone.

In her review of the Moto Z3 Play, Jessica Dolcourt found a lot to like, including the aforementioned fingerprint reader and Motorola's take on Android. But she thought it was outperformed by a handful of other similarly priced phones and wished for better battery life, without the need for a battery pack.

So, yeah, the Z3 Play for $500? No. For its current price of $350? Still a tough sell. But $170? That feels like a deal indeed.

Your thoughts?

Watch this: Moto Z3 Play's free battery pack lasts for days

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