A modular smartphone? LG’s G5 introduced the concept, after Google’s promise of a true building-block device failed to materialize. Gadgets clamp magnetically to the back of the Z Play more neatly than LG’s accessories, and Motorola (now part of Lenovo) has recruited some impressive collaborators. So far you can get a high-quality JBL stereo speaker, a handy Incipio battery pack and a Hasselblad 10x zoom camera as well as Motorola’s Insta-Share mini projector. These look genuinely useful.
With nothing attached, the Z Play’s rear panel sports a blank connector strip as well as its protruding built-in camera. This lacks zoom and optical image stabilization, but it gave us good pictures with well-balanced color.
On the front, above a fingerprint sensor, is a big Full HD AMOLED screen that covers the whole sRGB color range, lacking only the extreme brightness offered by the likes of Apple’s iPhone.
Inside, a mid-range eight-core Snapdragon processor runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow quite acceptably, albeit less quickly than more expensive phones such as the OnePlus 3T. It’ll cope with most current games, but might struggle in a couple of years’ time.
Importantly, though, it also takes a long time to run down the Moto Z Play’s large battery, which lasted us an amazing 23 hours 45 minutes of video playback.
That’s the longest we’ve ever seen, and confirms this as a superbly practical smartphone.
5.5in 1920×1080-pixel screen • 16-megapixel rear camera • 5-megapixel front camera • 32CB flash storage • MicroSD card slot • 802.11n Wi-Fi • Bluetooth 4.0 • 3C/4C • 156x76x6.9mm (HxWxD) • 165g • One-year warranty
It may not be the prettiest phone, but it’s got everything you need and a fantastic battery
This new 5.5in rival comes with 64CB of storage and a more powerful processor
It may not be the prettiest phone, but it's got everything you need and a fantastic battery.