Thankfully, the time has now come for the release of the 5G Moto Mod.
It will be available for pre-orders from March 14 and release on April The back of the phone has a very similar look to previous Moto Z phones, which is aimed at allowing support for older Moto Mods. Like the Moto Z3 Play, Motorola has moved the fingerprint sensor from the front of the phone to the side, to accommodate the slightly larger display. Under the hood, the phone carries a 3,mAh battery. The phone has a faster file storage system that will allow it to cope with the download speeds 5G allows, and this all will work with a 5G Moto Mod that Verizon and Motorola plan to release in early The mod also has a built-in 2,mAh battery, and can be attached and unattached without having to turn off the phone.
Verizon said the mod will be capable of offering up to 5Gbps download speeds, and if you have no 5G service in the area, it will still receive 2Gbps speeds on 4G LTE. On the back of the phone, the Moto Z3 features a dual-sensor camera, with two 12 megapixel sensors. The camera has also gotten a few software upgrades, like a black-and-white mode and integration with Google Lens.
Like many other phones these days, the Moto Z3 also supports facial recognition, though we expect it to be very basic and not as secure as what you would find on phones like the iPhone X. Motorola phones stick pretty close to stock Android , and the Moto Z3 is no different running Android 8.
Previous Next. The colors also tend to look more vibrant because of this, as a backlight can make them look somewhat washed out. You'll notice that on the back of the phone, there are 16 pins, which are for connecting Moto Mods. When I reviewed the Moto Z2 Force last year, I wasn't sold on this, although since then, Motorola has sent me a variety of Mods, and I'm sold on the idea.
The one I used last year was a degree camera. Personally, this isn't something that I'd walk around with on my phone, especially when the camera popping out of the top. But there are a number of others. The Moto Z3 Play itself comes with a battery Mod, and this is the first time I found myself regular carrying the device with a Mod attached.
You can probably get about two days of real-world battery life with it attached. I don't think I could see myself carrying around separate Mods with me for sporadic use that's why I wouldn't use the degree camera , but they come in handy at home. For example, there's another that adds a gaming controller to the sides of the device.
Motorola even has the Moto Game Explorer app to show you which games are compatible. But for general use at home, I like to use the Alexa Mod. I wouldn't take this on the go, unfortunately, at it blocks the camera. Still, it turns the phone into a mini-Echo. I'll even use it for playing music instead of the speaker Mod, as it stands the phone up nicely while in use. Most Moto Mods work right out of the box with plug-and-play functionality.
Just snap one onto the Moto Z3 Play, and it works.
Some, like the Alexa Mod, will require you to install an app and sign into it. And the best part is that so far, all new devices are backward compatible with older Mods. If you're upgrading from the original Moto Z and you have a collection of Mods, you can still use them. To me, this is the main value proposition of the Moto Z lineup. If you're definitely never going to snap one of these things onto your phone, this device might not be for you. Motorola added two key new features to its camera with the Z3 Play: portrait mode in the front camera, and Cinemagraph.
Personally, I love the fun features that Motorola includes in its camera software, as it reminds me of the old Lumia Windows phones. And you might recall that Nokia had a feature called Lumia Cinemagraph, and this is the exact same thing in concept and functionality. You're taking a mini video, and choosing a select portion of it to keep motion. In practice, it's a bit harder to get right.
As you can see, you'll want to keep a steady hand.
Once you record the image, you select the area where you want to keep motion, and the rest is still. Then, you can export it as an animated GIF.
Moto Z3 Play Review: Modular Design, Midrange Price
Other fun features include Spot Color, which allows you to keep one color and leave the rest of the image as monochrome while taking the picture. And then there's portrait mode, which lets you adjust with Selective Focus later. You can choose to focus on a separate part of the image, or with Selective Black and White, you can choose colors to pick and leave the rest as monochrome.
The big difference between that and Spot Color is that Spot Color is only when taking the image, and you can only pick one color to keep. Selective Black and White gives you more options, but can only be done with an image that's shot in portrait mode with the rear camera. Unfortunately, there's no way to achieve that effect with just a regular image that you've already taken. That's one thing that the old Lumia Color Pops still have on Motorola. It's also worth noting that the depth editor - where you'll find Selective Focus and Selective Black and White - is only available for images taken with the rear camera.
Portrait mode is now available with the front camera, but since it's done with a single lens, you don't get the same editing options. The most notable thing I want to point out about these photos is that the Moto Z3 Play does struggle a bit in low light. I included the pictures of my food on a plane to demonstrate just how hard it is to focus with this device on a close object when there isn't proper lighting.
On something of a side note, this device, like a number of others, uploads images taken in a portrait orientation, in landscape mode. You'll want to be aware of this when using the device, as you may have to rotate the image in a photo editor. You'll also notice that I tested Spot Color quite a bit, and that's mainly because I struggled to get the color right. You'll see plenty of images where I tried to use red, yet the Camera app still kept the subject's skin color.
You can adjust how much color is included with a slider in the app, but it just seemed impossible to get it right in these real-world situations. Other than that though, the camera is pretty good. For most users, you'll be pleased with it. Ever since the original Moto X, Motorola has provided some valuable features for its phones.
Review: Motorola Moto Z3 Play: Software : Software (Phone Scoop)
The experience is still nearly stock Android, so these other features come through the Moto app. One that you'll definitely want to use is Moto Display. On by default, this is a sometimes-on ambient display that will show you the time, your battery life, and notification badges. You can even hold and drag a notification icon to launch it.
One thing that's been added in recent devices is that Moto Display comes on when you raise the device, rather than just turning on and off randomly. Also, Moto Voice is back, albeit in beta form. This was one of the greatest features of the original Moto X. I used to love saying "OK, Moto X, goodnight", and it would put itself on do not disturb until I said, "Good morning".
The feature eventually became a shell of its former self, in the face of pre-installed voice assistants like Google Assistant. Unfortunately, the new feature doesn't have that one voice feature that I really liked, but it's still in beta, so I'm hoping for it. This is also where you'll find one-button navigation settings, which hasn't went away despite the different location of the fingerprint sensor. It now places a bar on the display, similar to what you'll see on an iPhone X. This feature isn't for me, just because I switch between devices so often that it's hard to get that muscle memory down.
Otherwise, it's pretty good. It's also off by default, so you don't have to try it if you don't want to. This should be fine to meet the needs of most users.