The similarities between the Moto Z Play and the Moto G4 Plus, we reviewed earlier, are notable and on at least a few levels. However, the display is one area where the added hardware value of the former starts to shine through. Instead of a simple IPS panel, even the entry-level Moto Z handset offers a superior Super AMOLED panel.
It has a diagonal of 5.5-inches and a resolution of 1080p, for a total pixel density of 403ppi. We continue to stand firm behind our believe that this is perfectly sharp for a display of this size. Plus, an OLED panel, combined with said resolution and the efficient Snapdragon 625 chipset should yield some impressive battery endurance results. But, more on that later.
The "Super AMOLED" notation itself indicates that the panel comes from Samsung. However, it is not really a top-of-the-line piece. Viewing angles are sub-par and the maximum brightness could use some improvement. In our test, we measured 371 nits in normal mode and up to 526 in max auto. The auto brightness adjustment is not very quick to respond to changes in ambient light, so we often found ourselves reaching for the brightness slider to override it.
Color accuracy is only about average. We understand that vibrant colors are what most users have come to expect from OLED so that we won't judge the Moto Z Play too harshly. If that is what you are after, the Vibrant mode has all the "pop" you could ever want. There maximum color deviation has a DeltaE 2000 of 11.8, and the average is 5.3.
Then, there is the Standard mode. It lowers the maximum DeltaE to 7.1, which is quite good. You do, however, end up with a slightly colder color pallet and it's still not calibration-grade color reproduction.
We can thank Super AMOLED technology for the practically infinite contrast. The almost uncanny exact match in numbers with the more expensive Moto Z is not a typo. Motorola seems to be using panels with basically identical performance between the pair.
The Moto Z Play's AMOLED panel is superior over the Moto G4 Plus one in the sunlight legibility as well. The results themselves are nothing spectacular, but, still, the improvement is tangible.
We already mentioned this on a few occasions, but we will reiterate that the Moto Z Play offers a dual-SIM variant. Not only that, but it is incredibly convenient since you can use two Nano SIM cards and a microSD, all at once - a real rarity these days.
Dual-band Wi-Fi a/b/g/n is supported along with Bluetooth 4.1 LE. This is a rather odd downgrade since the Moto G4 Plus does have a newer Bluetooth 4.2 radio. Still, NFC has not been omitted this time around. That means you also get support for Android Pay in supported regions.
Including USB Type-C is a pretty progressive move on Motorola's part. However, like many other manufacturers, the new connector standard doesn't necessarily bring about new communication tech on the backend. Data transfer is handled by USB 2.0. There is no video output - MHL, SlimPort or otherwise. Luckily OTG is thrown in the mix.
Most of the Moto Z Play's girth can be attributed to the rather sizable 3510 mAh battery pack. It is sealed in, which has been the norm in the industry for some time now. We won't hold a grudge against Lenovo on this point.
Battery endurance is definitely one of the Moto Z Play's strong suites. It is one of those mid-range offers with a focus on power efficiency. Their number has been growing in 2016, and we expect the trend to continue well into 2017 as well.
The better part of the magic lies within the chipset. The Snapdragon 625 SoC is still among the select few to use an efficient 14nm process. Since it relies on less powerful Cortex-A53 cores, the benefit is almost entirely to power efficiency.
Combine that with the 3510 mAh battery and the efficient nature of the FullHD Super AMOLED panel and you end up with what our endurance tests calculated at 100 hours. This is quite respectable and on par with the Samsung Galaxy C7.
The battery testing procedure is described in detail in case you're interested in the nitty-gritties. You can also check out our complete battery test table, where you can see how all of the smartphones we've tested will compare under your own typical use.