Motorola Moto z3 Play and Moto Mods: Owner Review
by A.R. Navarro
July 20, 2019
Artis here, the proud owner of a Motorola Moto Z3 Play.
I love this phone. I use it all day, every day for everything, but that is normal for anyone living in this day and age. I can’t imagine any more a life where I was baking, and while washing my hands say “OK, Google. Count ten minutes”. I mean… having to look for the app and program the timer? Or even worse, look for the physical timer? Too much work. I use it to communicate with my family and friends, listen to music, watch videos and play games like anybody else. But…
What makes this phone so special?
The Moto mods.
First is the battery pack. or power pack. I usually don’t have to charge my phone very often, charging it at night covers my basic communication needs, but when I go camping, hiking, traveling or on a long commute, it’s helpful and very much appreciated to have the option of snapping that thing and double the juice on your device.
Then we have the insta-share projector. It’s handy. I don’t use it much, but my sister doesn’t even own a TV thanks to this snappy little thing. Of course, the resolution is not going to be as good as a 4k screen, so movie junkies beware, but it does get the job done.
Now for the music lover in me, we have the moto stereo speaker. I’m used to enjoying music while playing card games or dominoes with my friends. I used to have to use a Bluetooth speaker, which I had 3 of because the battery ran out after a couple of hours, but now I just snap this mod, and we’re good. The audio quality is way better than the Bluetooth speakers, and the battery life is insane.
The moto 360 camera is great. I don’t own it, but my brother recently used it for his wedding and it looked amazing… during the testing. Sadly it poured during the ceremony, but I was impressed with the small tests we were able to do with that little contraption. I’ll probably buy it with my next phone, which is going to be the z4.
I play mobile games a lot, and this phone can deliver. It runs your usual mobile games no issue, even on split-screen, but PubG and Sword Art Online Integral Factor too, which impressed me. Having the option of snapping a game controller made for the phone, the moto gamepad, is a huge plus for others like me. Unfortunately, I don’t own it… yet.
Talking about the phone itself, the moto z3 is great. I especially love the rear dual camera, takes great pictures even with dim lighting. Plus the Google Lens integration is super helpful to find anything. I recently found the name and author of a lithography a friend had in her living room for over ten years in just a few seconds. Needless to say, she was impressed, especially because I didn’t tell her how did it. I also use it to copy any text I want to save for future reference from a book or article I read. Yes, I can’t be bothered to type it. No, it’s not laziness, it’s Google Lens.
A feature I’ve always loved about Motorola phones is the turbopower chargers. When they told me the phone charged super-fast, I thought it was just faster than normal. They were not kidding. That was back when I bought my first MotoX. This time, with the moto z3, it’s even better. Turbopower 30 with USB-c delivers almost twice as much power as the original did, combined with a much bigger capacity battery, they still deliver on that 15-minute charging promise and I love them for it.
Regarding the phone’s size, I’d say it feels average. I’ve seen phones with larger screens and smaller screens priced above what mine cost. That’s also something I really admire about the Motorola Z line. They are considered by the industry to be midrange phones, yet they deliver as much and even more than the top tier phones by being modular with the moto mods. I must admit that having separate gadgets for your phone is tricky at first, but you get used to it. It’s not that big of a hassle once you get in the habit of considering what you will most likely need to choose which moto mods you take with you.
As much as I love this phone, I do have some complaints about it. For starters, the power button is on the wrong side of the phone. You get used to it, but… why? Not appreciated.
Second, the fingerprint sensor is too handy. I constantly unlock my phone when moving it around.
Third, the front-facing camera is only 8MP. Momma needs better selfie cam.
The lack of 3.5mm jack is not appreciated. I don’t use it much, I prefer Bluetooth headphones anyway, but I like to have the option. I recently traveled internationally, and I was in the middle of a podcast when I had to turn my phone on airplane mode. I had some old in-ear headphones in my travel bag, but I forgot to pack the type-c to 3.5mm adapter.
Moto z4 fixes
Thankfully, Motorola fixed these things for the moto z4. We’re getting the power button back on the right side, the 3.5mm jack, the fingerprint sensor on the screen and a 25MP selfie camera! I can’t wait to have it, honestly. What I’m not excited about is the retail price for this new model, which is twice as much as the one I have.
I fell in love with the first MotoX. After 2 years of having changed android for iPhone, I wanted to come back from the dark side. I’ve bought almost every top of the line Motorola phone since and I’m probably not going to stop for a long time. They haven’t disappointed me.
You can say I’m biased, that being a Motorola fangirl it’s obvious I’ll rate this phone 10/10. And I almost am, so you’d not be wrong in saying it, but believe me when I say that every time I’m about to change phones I do consider every other phone the salesman offers me. The practicality, modularity and sophisticated simplicity that Motorola injects into every new phone is what has kept me loyal to the brand and a believer in what they are going for. Now, considering the flaws I described, I cannot give a perfect score to this phone, as much as I love it, but I do expect a perfect rating from the new model.
I give the Motorola z3 Play a 9.5/10 rating.