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Review: Moto X Play

It was time for me to buy a new phone for my dad, He had been using his old Grand Quattro for ages now… I had to give him a phone with a complete package of great specs and longlasting battery life topped with an Awesome Camera….
The first phone I thought about was the Nexus 5X/6P. Both are considered great in all aspects, but they were a long way before it launched in India. So my only choice was the Moto X Play/Style.
And for sure my choice was the MOTO X PLAY! Why? Let’s check it out…

“The Moto X Play is the balancing act between the Moto G and Moto X Style with a tendency to aim high instead of settle for less.”  As said by GSMArena in its review.

The Moto X Play appears to have all the things that a modern smartphone requires and none of the surplus extras. The Android software on board is barely distinguishable from Google’s stock version.

The processor, memory, and display specs are all a step down from the X Style, but the X Play actually has a larger battery and promises to last for two days on a single charge.
And then there’s the price, which at Rs. 18,499 which is more than half the cost of a new iPhone 6s.Even if you buy all the extra accessories like the screen protectors and covers(To make it look much better!) , you’ll still be paying roughly half the price of an iPhone 6 or an Samsung S6 Edge.

In the Box

Inside the box, I got everything one needs. The headsets, USB-to-micro USB cable and an AC adapter, SIM eject tool and…. Well that’s it! What more do you need? Oh yes, it does have the Smartphone! 😛

Look and Feel

The first thing I noticed upon extracting the Moto X Play from its box was its weight. This 5.5-inch handset wasn’t any heavier than similarly sized competitors like the Samsung A8 or Lenovo A7000, but it’s more compact than both and thus packs its weight more densely.
The big 3,630 mAh battery has a lot to do with that. Encased in a chunky, metallic (it isn’t metal) frame, this is an unmistakably masculine device, and even the wavy texture on the back panel is more reminiscent of a wire fence than anything warm and cozy.

There’s a roughness to the patterned back which I loved, and it certainly boosts the grip of the phone, though I’d have liked to see that treatment extended to the sides of the X Play as well. The smooth sides can be a little too slick to handle with assurance, making it easier to drop the handset Though there’s little to worry if you actually drop it cause its build to withstand any impulse and it feels incredibly rigid and tough.

Its camera lens is also recessed slightly, rather than protruding as it is on many recent phones. The only real physical annoyance about the X Play is its loose volume rocker, which rattles when I move the phone around and feels nowhere near as nice and tactile as the ridged power button.
The Moto X Play weighs 169g, and At 10.9mm the Moto X Play is one of the thickest smartphones of late. Sure, that’s the maximum number and it gets slimmer towards the edges, but it’s still a pretty chunky device.


You don’t expect a smartphone at this price to struggle with everyday tasks, and, luckily, the Moto X Play didn’t prove to be an anomaly. The smartphone comes with the quad octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 SoC along with 2GB of RAM, and I didn’t experience any lags with it. Games like Asphalt 8 ran smoothly without any problems.

I bought the 16GB variant of the Moto X Play, which had 10.89GB of user-accessible storage. There’s a higher priced 32GB variant as well, but given the minimal price difference between the two, you’d be better off opting for the one with more built-in storage. If you can’t, worry not as the Moto X Play supports both microSD (up to 128GB) and USB OTG storage expansion options.

I didn’t experience any heating issues during a 10-minute session playing Asphalt 8 or while shooting multiple 5-minute videos in quick succession. However, the Moto X Play does tend to get a little warm during everyday use – not enough to be uncomfortable, but it’s something you are likely to notice.

As I mentioned before, the Moto X Play comes with a massive 3630mAh battery, one of the standout specifications of the smartphone in addition to its 21-megapixel rear camera. In real-world usage, our Moto X Play managed to last a day of use, but I was down to the last of the battery’s capacity by the end-of-day, like most other smartphones. This was a bit of surprise given the size of the battery and the real world experience of other users.

Indeed, the Moto X Play performed admirably in our video loop battery test, clocking nearly 12 hours of playback time. I would put my experience with the battery life down to the fact I spend most of my time at places with poor network connectivity (Like college, classes or at home), which means the cell radio is working harder than it should.
Indeed ‘Mobile Standby’ was always one of the highest consumers of battery life in Android’s battery usage reports on the Moto X Play. Call quality in poor network areas also seemed worse than what I experience with other phones, though given the pathetic state of telecom networks in my country, it’s always difficult to ascertain whether one should blame the network or the phone.


Moto X 2013: great phone, bad camera. 
Moto X 2014: great phone, bad camera. 

What was it that George W. Bush said about not being fooled a third time? After two years of fatally flawed Moto X phones, Motorola has a new X series to sell us in 2015, but this time it’s paying due attention to the camera.

The Moto X Play and its premium-tier sibling, the Moto X Style, both have a 21-megapixel camera that Motorola guarantees will make its phones “best in class.” 

If — and that’s a huge “if” — Motorola can rectify its biggest weakness while retaining the things that make its hardware attractive, it would indeed deserve to be part of that conversation.

Motorola has looked to address this by putting a monster 21-megapixel rear camera sensor inside the Moto X Play as well as the Moto X Style, the latter being the true spiritual successor to the original Moto X smartphones. But how does the new sensor perform in the real world? Rather well.

Image: The Verge

Outdoors and when there’s plenty of light, the camera on the Moto X Play captures good-looking images with more detail than most phones in this price range. However, if you use autofocus with tap-to-click (the default mode on the camera app), images tend to be just a little bit underexposed, which also skews accuracy of the colours reproduced a little bit.

The autofocus woes are worse in low light, with the camera taking longer – and at times even failing – to find focus properly. If you switch to the tap-to-focus mode, the results are much better, though images still tend to have some amount of noise. Overall, the rear camera performance is satisfactory for a non-flagship smartphone.

The front camera performance is satisfactory, as are the videos taken by the rear camera. The Moto X Play does a good job of refocusing as you pan in video mode, though it isn’t always able to focus on distant objects. You can tap to take still photos while shooting a video.

Didn’t read the review? Don’t worry here’s the verdict…

So who, if anyone, who should buy the Moto X Play? Battery life enthusiasts, first and foremost. Motorola has focused on marketing its new camera, but the thing that really makes this handset stand out is its big battery. Two days of real-world use on a single charge are valuable to anyone and everyone. Plus that massively upgraded camera helps to distinguish the X Play from Motorola’s own Moto G, which could otherwise tempt the more frugal buyer away.

As things stand today, Motorola is setting up to have a very good, clearly delineated 2015 lineup: all of its smartphones aim to be cheaper (and better) than their most direct competition, but each has something a little bit unique to justify its price tier and existence. That makes buying advice pretty easy: if you like Motorola’s approach of rugged design and pristine Android software, just grab the Moto model that best fits your budget. You’re unlikely to be disappointed.

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Bhavish Shah
The Gud1» Photographer» Graphics Designer» Influencer» Student» Traveler» Professional Dreamer✩ When he's done being so many people he heads out to the nearest coffee house and plans a trip to some place unknown!