The Motorola Moto Z3 Play is the 3rd generation of smartphones compatible with the range of Moto Mods accessories. A timid evolution compared to the previous model, which tends to show that the recipe is running out of steam.

Lenovo has announced that compatibility with its range of Moto Mods modules will be supported at least 3 years. This Moto Z3 Play proves that the manufacturer – who ironed its smartphones under the Motorola brand last year – has kept its word. On the other hand, the number of new modules was smaller than initially announced. It can be assumed that this will be the last generation of Moto Z, as the constraint of compatibility limits developments in design.

The introductory price of Moto Z3 Play climbs by 50 € compared to Z2 Play, reaching 499 €. At this price, it will find serious competitors on its way as the Honor View 10, Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S or OnePlus 6. Three smartphones globally successful and appreciated. Not sure that simple modules can convince consumers.

EFFICIENCY AND DESIGN

Motorola has kept its commitment to continue its smartphones compatible with Moto Mods for 3 years. As a reminder, this system of modules is both simple and rather effective. The Mods hang on the back of the smartphone, by a magnetic fastening system. At the first iteration of the Moto Z, we already rent this device for its ease of use, but less for the proposed modules.

Finally, the lack of interest of most modules does not necessarily help to convince of the relevance of this system. In addition, Motorola necessarily locks into a design to reproduce from one year to another. The Moto Z3 Play, however, displays a bit of novelty, with the transition to a screen at 18: 9, from 5.5 “on the Z2 to 6 inches now quite logically, the screen occupies a more important place on the front (78%, against 70% for the Z2 Play) .The borders are reduced compared to the previous year, but remain more impressive than many competitors.

This slimming of curbs has pushed Motorola to find a new location for its fingerprint reader. In the back ? Impossible with Moto Mods. Only left the edge – right, in this case – solution chosen by the Z3 Play. A solution that requires a little adaptation, especially since the reader could have been a few millimeters lower to fall perfectly under the thumb.

The finishes are still of a good standard and the Moto Z3 is a stylish smartphone. We can of course blame him, as many others, his back catch fingerprints. We also regret the disappearance of the back shell provided with previous generations. This allowed to give a good grip on the smartphone when no module was associated. Without module, this Z3 Play is not very pleasant in hand with its prominent edges.

Motorola will be able to defend itself by arguing that the hull disappeared from the box, certainly, but that the external battery module appeared there. Good news all the same, because it is the best integration of an external battery to a smartphone. No cable or strange format, this battery blends into the Moto Z3 Play. We must still agree to end up with a terminal with a thickness of almost 1.2 cm.

The 3.5mm mini-jack headphone jack has definitely disappeared from the Moto Z range. Only a USB-C connector is present on the bottom edge. No IP waterproofing certification, but Motorola is offering splash resistance through a nanoprotection process. Finally, the Moto Z3 Play can accommodate either a microSD card and a nano-SIM or two nano-SIM cards.

SCREEN

The Motorola Moto Z3 Play retains a slab in Super Amoled technology. However, it moves to more current standards, with a ratio of 18: 9 and a diagonal of 6 inches (15.24 cm). The resolution of 402 dpi is preserved, with a definition Full HD + (2,160 x 1,080 px). Oled requires, the contrast ratio is almost infinite. The brightness of the screen can reach 650 cd / m² and the light reflection rate is in the average, at 13%. All this allows a perfect readability of the display in full sun.

Colorimetrically, things are going a bit less well for the Z3 Play. We measured an average delta E at 4.5, above the bar of 3 under which most of its competitors are positioned. To achieve an acceptable color temperature, choose the color profile “normal colors” and set the cursor to “warm” in the display settings. In this configuration, we find a temperature of 6 350 K, a bit too hot, but less disturbing than that proposed by default.

The reactivity of the screen is in the average of our comparison. We found zero persistence – classic for Oled – and a 90 ms delay time.

PERFORMANCE

Overall, the Moto Z3 Play’s performance is good. With a Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 SoC and 4 GB of RAM, it’s not surprising to see the terminal out in all uses. The launch of gourmet applications or the transition from one to the other is smooth.

The Adreno 509 graphics chip ensures good performance in the game too. Without being the fastest of the moment, it allows to launch all the titles of the Play Store without problem. Only the most demanding games will require a small drop in the graphics level to remain perfectly fluid.

AUDIO

As on previous generations, the Moto Z3 Play ignores the mini-jack headphone output. Motorola still provides a USB-C adapter. This one delivers a correct service in the whole. Its output level is particularly high and the distortion remains very discreet. The dynamic range offers a nice width, while the restitution of the stereo image is a little more disappointing.

The speaker dedicated to multimedia is the same as that used for calls. Its sound is quite poor and the saturation is particularly audible. High frequencies are very aggressive for the ears. We’ll settle for calls, not much more.

The front module is based on an 8 Mpx sensor. The clichés he captures are pretty good. We would have liked that the smoothing is a hair less pronounced, but overall the results are satisfactory. Backlight management works well.

INDEPENDENCE

The autonomy of the Z Play series has gone decrescendo. While the first model of the family had bluffed us by its foolproof endurance, this Z3 Play shows a clear drop of regime. On our SmartViser test protocol, the Moto Z3 Play held 12:12. A score that is not catastrophic, but below the expectations of such a configuration. However, it must be taken into account that Motorola provides a battery mod that doubles the endurance of the smartphone. With this one, we raised 25h12 of autonomy. Admittedly, we must deal with the thickness of the whole, but it remains one of the best systems to date.

CONCLUSION

The 3rd generation of Moto Z Play shows that the concept is starting to run out of steam. Finally, this Z3 Play does not bring much novelty compared to its predecessor, it is even worse on some points. It remains nevertheless a good smartphone in all and benefits from Moto Mods accessories interesting for some.