CNET Tech Review
Moto Z3 Play's free battery pack lasts for daysBut we'd like the phone even more if it cost less.
[MUSIC] The Moto Z3 Play is a midrange phone through and through. It is part of the Moto Z family, which means that it's got magnetic connectors on the back that can accept mods of all sort, either cases. Battery packs or anything else. What makes the Z3 Play special is that it comes with a mod in the box. This is an extra battery pack that will take the phone to two days of battery life on a single charge. You can set the battery to keep your phone at 100%, or to keep your phone at 80%, but you'll get a little bit longer life if you keep it at 80%. I was able to do pretty much everything on the phone. Phone with the battery pack on, and one thing I will say about the Mod though is that it's not very attractive. The back of the phone looks pretty sleek, it's glass, it looks really nice. But it looks a little half finished when you don't have something on top of it. When you put the Mod on it it snaps on easily like all the Mods do and it starts working instantly. But it feels a little bit bulky, And the backend which was glass and pretty nice, now has this like semi plastic semi rubbery feel and it doesn't pick up fingerprints. I like that, but it just doesn't really feel that nice. This definitely looks and feels like a mid range device. Unlike last year's Moto Z2 Play, the Z3 Play loses the headphone jack which is a bummer. It's got this USB. [INAUDIBLE] C connector which is standard, but if you want to use your own wired headphones you're going to have to buy a dongle. One thing I do like about the design is the fingerprint reader on the right side of the phone. At first I thought it was really awkward because I hold the phone lower, so I was sort of lunging my thumb up to unlock it. But even after a couple of days it just became a second nature. Let's talk about the cameras. There's a dual camera set up on the back. You've got a 12 megapixel lens and a 5 megapixel lens. You can take a portrait shots. All the photos were pretty much middle of the road and all sorts of lightning conditions. Indoors, outdoors, portrait, group shots, low light, you name it. All of the photos are totally usable, share them with friends directly, uploading them to social media, but these are not the kinds of pictures that you're gonna wanna use. To print onto a mug, for example. There's an eight megapixel front facing camera for all of your selfies. It does a pretty decent job, there is a beauty mode and there's also an automatic mode if you don't want to manually adjust. I've always been a really big fan of Motorolla's take on Android. This phone comes with Android 8.0 and the Motorolla UI is one that I just find really easy and nice to work with. One example is the one handed button navigation. At the bottom of the screen instead of seeing three buttons to navigate around, go home, and go back, pull up recents, etcetera, there's one slider button and you do everything with it. So you can press and hold to pull up Google assistant. [MUSIC] You slide to the left to go back, and you slide to the right to get your recent apps. I think it's really seamless, it's fluid. It was easy for me to pick up and use right away. It's kind of a like a better version of what Google is showing with Android P, so I do like that. It's totally opt in, so it's not there by default. And if you try it and don't like it, you can always switch back to the stock navigation. I like the Moto Z3 Play, but I don't love it. And, part of that comes down to price. I do love the valued add of having this add-on battery pack that comes in the box. But, when you look at some of the competition for about the same price, you're looking at the [INAUDIBLE] 6. Even last years LGG6. And those phones are faster, they're better, they do more. So, until the price comes down, I say go with one of those. When it drops, this will definitely become a better value mid range offering.