The Android smartphone space has been a tough place and hard to breakthrough this year. There are numerous smartphones already on the market, providing consumers with lots of options.
To be a successful smartphone brand this year, you need to have something unique that differentiates your brand from other smartphones and not just be another iPhone X or Samsung copycat.
In this regard, we have the Lenovo’s Motorola brand which built on the Moto modular platform, giving the brand the needed uniqueness to separate it from other brands. The company might not be Samsung, Xiaomi or HTC killer, but has a unique selling point which gives the needed advantage over most smartphone brands.
While still maintaining the template of the Moto Z series and Z2 Play, the Moto Z3 Play was able to get a taller 6-inch 18:9 Super AMOLED screen with 1,080 x 2,160 pixels display and slimmer bezels.
Moto adopts an old Sony feature
Following the old Sony Xperia models footsteps, the phone fingerprint sensor was moved from the rear to the left side. But the sensor wasn’t merged with the power button unlike the Xperia models, which according to the Lenovo can affect the sensor’s performance.
The side-mounted fingerprint sensor is attributed to the slim bezels and Moto Mods support, and for now, the option of in-display sensors are for flagship smartphones.
The Moto Z3 Play comes with support for more than a dozen Mods like bigger speakers, a bigger battery, and a pico-projector. This is in line with the Motorola’s Mods concept released two years ago and it still remains unchanged. The phone is set to launch with a speaker Mod in the global market and a battery Mod in the US market.
Mid-range Qualcomm processor
The phone runs on a mid-range Snapdragon 636 processor which has eight Kryo 260 cores with Adreno 509 GPU. The Z3 Play comes in two variants: 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage (exclusive to the US alone) and 4GB/128GB of storage for the global market.
Gestures instead of keys
While the Moto Z2 Play fingerprint sensor comes with “swiping” functionality, the Moto Z3 Play adopted a gesture navigation system similar to the one in Android P.
There is a bar at the bottom of the home screen which acts as the navigation system. Swipe left to go back, swipe right to open the recent apps, tap once to go home.
The development of full gesture-based interfaces in iOS and Android P means new smartphones will start adopting these interfaces with Motorola being already at the forefront.
Inline with 2018 budget and flagship devices, the Moto Z3 Play features a dual rear camera of a 12MP sensor with f/1.7 lens and a 5MP secondary shooter. One of the purposes of the dual camera which is portrait mode is available with dual-Pixel autofocus.The Z3 Play also comes with camera features such as cinemagraphs, spot colour effects (partial monochrome) and the ability to edit (cut out and replace) photo’s background.
An 8MP selfie camera with f/2.0 lens can be spotted at the front. The camera also comes with portrait mode functionality but no LED flash unlike in the previous Z2 Play.
Gorilla Glass 3, Thin form factor
The front and back of the phone are protected with older Gorilla Glass 3 panels, which according to Lenovo is no different from the current ones as they both offer similar durability.
Lenovo was able to fit a 3,000 mAh battery inside a is 6.75 millimetres thin body with TurboPower 15W charging support offering 7 hours of charge within 15 minutes.
Software and updates
Although the Moto Z3 Play will run on Android 8.1, Lenovo promises updates as soon as Android P and Android Q are available, with Q impending launch coming this summer. Apart from the gesture-based navigation, there are no major additions to the Android 8.1 iOs.
Moto Z3 Play price and availability
The Moto Z3 Play has already been launched today in Brazil. While in the US, the phone will go for $499 (~N180,000) for the unlocked model, bundled with the Battery Mod.
The rest of the pricing and availability is not yet available but we will update this post as soon as they are announced. The Z3 Play will be available globally in the next few weeks.