Moto X Play evaluation: an unexciting telephone with an enormous battery

Moto X Play review: an unexciting phone with a huge battery

The Moto X Play occupies a wierd area within the firm’s 2015 lineup. It is an reasonably priced, mid-vary handset that does an honest job of holding tempo with the flagships. However at £249 ($382 together with the UK’s 20 % gross sales tax), it isn’t that rather more reasonably priced than the corporate’s prime-tier X Type, and it is lots pricier than our favourite finances smartphone, the Moto G. That is to not say there aren’t advantages to forking out on the X Play. You will get a bigger, larger-res show than on the G, an all-new 21-megapixel digital camera, a capacious three,630mAh battery and an entire lot extra. For those who’ve received your coronary heart set on a Moto, might these additions be value the additional money? It actually is dependent upon what you need from a smartphone.

seventy nine

Moto X Play


  • Really all-day battery life
  • The perfect Motorola digital camera but
  • Strong efficiency


  • Questionable worth when in comparison with different Moto telephones
  • Digital camera continues to be poor in low mild
  • Not waterproof just like the Moto G


The Moto X Play appears constructed for one factor. It could actually’t compete with different units on specs, however it should final you two days on a single cost. For those who prioritize battery life over every thing, it is undoubtedly value contemplating.


Moto X Play review: an unexciting phone with a huge battery

The OnePlus 2 has already confirmed that you would be able to get a whole lot of telephone for a number of hundred dollars. Within the case of the X Play, nevertheless, you are not getting chopping-edge specs. Inside, there’s an octa-core Snapdragon 615 processor paired with 2GB of RAM, and a selection of 16GB or 32GB of constructed-in storage, expandable by microSD. In fact, there are plus sides to those mid-vary specs, particularly when you think about the battery measurement. However extra on that later.

Design sensible, Motorola clearly is aware of it was onto an excellent factor with the unique Moto X, because it’s continued to play with that putting profile ever since. Sadly, the X Play is definitely the least engaging iteration of this theme. Up entrance, every part’s just about as you’d anticipate: an expansive, 5.5-inch 1080p show with pretty skinny bezels. However there is a lack of consideration to element right here.

That is the least engaging iteration on the Moto X theme.

Take the cutouts for the audio system which might be above and under the display, respectively, for instance. Vertically, they’re poorly aligned, with the decrease slot centered, however the higher one positioned excessive above the show. It makes the telephone look oddly imbalanced, particularly as they’re the identical measurement and neatly horizontally aligned. That is exacerbated by the haphazardly positioned entrance-dealing with digital camera and lightweight sensor, which once more simply appear to have been positioned and not using a care on the planet. Whereas I am conscious that most individuals will not know why it seems to be odd, a straw ballot of family and friends confirmed that the majority thought “one thing was off.”

The X Play is wrapped in an affordable-however-sturdy metallic plastic that curves round from its sides to the rounded again casing, accented by Moto’s acquainted digital camera unit, full with dimpled “M” emblem. On the proper aspect of the telephone are the one two buttons you are getting: an influence and quantity rocker — as on all of Motorola’s telephones, you will not discover a devoted digital camera key. In contrast to the cheaper Moto G, there is no waterproofing right here. As an alternative, the X Play is “water-proof,” which suggests it is going to survive a splash, however not a fall into your rest room.

The again of the telephone is a pleasing mushy-contact plastic with a grippy sample. I strongly dislike the ergonomics of huge telephones, nevertheless it needs to be stated that this feels prefer it’d be very onerous to drop. Though you possibly can take off the backing, the battery is non-detachable, and the mixed SIM/microSD slot is definitely atop the gadget subsequent to the headphone port. So, slightly than being useful, the swappable backs are for aesthetic causes. Helpful when you get uninterested in no matter garish colour scheme you’ve got invented for your self within the firm’s Moto Maker customization software, I suppose.

I do know I am harping on concerning the design a bit, however the low cost plastic wrapping across the sides actually does not scream premium, and appears at odds with the system’s curved again. As on the entrance of the gadget, Motorola does not seem to have put a lot thought into the finer particulars, the strains and the way they circulate into each other. It is bizarre as a result of Motorola did a superb job with the Moto G of making a premium-feeling gadget on a budget. Positive, the extra-costly X Type has its personal fascinating design thrives, however maybe due to price range constraints, the X Fashion pulls it off, and the X Play doesn’t.

Show and sound

Moto X Play review: an unexciting phone with a huge battery

With smartphone shows quick-approaching 4K resolutions, the X Play’s 5.5-inch 1080p display won’t appear something particular. It is greater than as much as the duty, although.

Motorola has switched to IPS show tech this yr, which might often imply that colours do not have that AMOLED punch that final yr’s X does, however the firm has carried out a software program trick to fight that. By default, the show is about to “vivid,” which does an honest job of boosting saturation, if that is your factor. I shortly switched to “pure,” which makes issues look far much less gaudy.

Unsurprisingly for an IPS show, viewing angles are prime-notch, and the display can also be tremendous brilliant and readable even in direct daylight. For some cause adaptive brightness was switched off out of the field, and I needed to dig via the settings to show it on. All advised there’s nothing spectacular concerning the X Play’s show, however there’s additionally little or no to complain about.

The identical cannot be stated for audio high quality. Regardless of their look, these misaligned slots do not truly home matching twin audio system. Up prime there’s a regular speaker for calls, whereas down under is a loudspeaker. It is on no account the worst I’ve heard, however it’s just a little on the tinny aspect, particularly in case you’re coming from one among HTC’s or Samsung’s telephones. Not having stereo sound seems like an pointless nook to chop and one thing that may’ve set aside the X Play from the cheaper G. Give it some thought: For those who’re watching films or enjoying video games, would you like all of the sounds coming from one aspect of the show?

Software program

Moto X Play review: an unexciting phone with a huge battery

As we have come to anticipate from Motorola, the X Play provides an uncluttered tackle Android 5.1.1, with little in the best way of additives. The few modifications it brings are pretty helpful.

Moto Show might be my favourite. Each time a notification is available in, a small icon seems on an in any other case black show. Holding your finger on that icon provides you extra info, and you may swipe up from there to leap straight in to the related software. That is cool, however what’s cooler is you’ll be able to deliver up this performance simply by shifting the telephone barely. I’ve gotten fairly used to giving the telephone a bit nudge because it sits on my desk to see what’s ready for me inside. The draw back to that’s there is no notification LED. For me, the extra context Moto Show presents is well worth the commerce-off, nevertheless it won’t be for you.

Subsequent up is Moto Help, which mechanically adjusts settings in change for somewhat info. Inform it if you sleep, for instance, or give it entry to your calendar, and it will flip off notifications on the applicable occasions. Additionally included is Moto Voice, which listens out for a key phrase always (mine was, “What’s up Moto X?”) to activate somewhat voice assistant that’ll allow you to place calls or ask numerous questions. I spend my life making an attempt to talk as little as potential, so it is actually not the perfect function for me, however in case you take pleasure in speaking to inanimate objects, it is correct sufficient.

Motorola’s additions are reasonably helpful, however straightforward to disregard.

Means down on the backside of the usefulness listing is Motorola’s “Actions” gesture. It’s going to allow you to do issues like bounce straight into the digital camera app by contorting your wrists twice in fast succession. Fairly why you’d do this when swiping left on the lock display or clicking on an icon achieves the identical factor, I am unsure.

I am pretty cynical about new issues, and there is each probability you will discover Motorola’s extras helpful, particularly should you’ve grown accustomed to waving your telephone round to do issues with a earlier-gen Moto X. One wonderful thing about the additions, although, is how straightforward they’re to disregard. Each bell and whistle might be deactivated within the “Moto” app, after which you are simply left with, properly, Android. On a extra constructive notice, Motorola has a fantastic monitor report on the subject of updating its telephones, so for those who’re anxiously ready for Android M, that is more likely to be one of many first non-Nexus units to make the leap.

Digital camera

Moto X Play review: an unexciting phone with a huge battery

If there’s one factor that Motorola has struggled with in its renaissance, it has been cameras: From the unique Moto X all the best way as much as the Nexus 6, house owners have needed to make do with subpar picture high quality. This time round, the corporate has fitted the X Play with a 21-megapixel shooter, and issues are a lot improved.

The software program expertise is just like any inventory Android telephone, which is to say you simply faucet on the display to take a photograph. Meaning it is tremendous fast in addition up, even from the lock display, and takes pictures within the blink of an eye fixed. The spartan format is nice for freshmen, and there is an HDR setting and a spotlight and publicity software for these trying to get a bit extra artistic with their photographs.

Offered you’ve got acquired a properly-lit topic, you are going to get nice pictures. Colours are correct with out being uninteresting or gaudy; publicity is spot-on; and the software program does a very good job at white balancing. I am the kind of one that shoots guide on common cameras, so I assumed I might miss the superior settings discovered on different producers’ telephones, nevertheless it actually wasn’t a problem.

Satisfactory, however nowhere close to the most effective.

Though it has the identical-sized sensor because the Moto X Type, there are two get together-tips that the X Play is lacking. The primary is part-detection autofocus. In follow, I did not discover the X Play’s focusing sluggish or inaccurate, however from testing them aspect by aspect at Motorola’s launch occasion I can say the X Type is just a little faster to refocus than its stablemate. The second is 4K video. The 2 telephones have totally different picture-processing chips inside, which signifies that the X Play tops out at 1080p.

One space that just about no smartphone excels in is low-mild images, and sadly that is the case once more right here. It is nonetheless a marked enchancment over earlier Motos, however that is not saying quite a bit. Until you’ve an excellent-regular hand and a nonetheless topic, you are not going to be profitable any night time images prizes with the X Play. The truth is, it is worse in low mild than all the competitors’s mid-to-excessive-finish telephones. The issue appears to be a mixture of poor ISO efficiency and lengthy, lengthy shutter speeds. That signifies that not solely are your photographs going to be filled with noise, but in addition something that is not nonetheless will probably be blurry.

Efficiency and battery life

Moto X Play review: an unexciting phone with a huge battery

Qualcomm’s octa-core (4 cores at 1.7Ghz, 4 at 1GHz) Snapdragon 615 processor won’t be the quickest chip on the block, and loads of telephones supply greater than 2GB of RAM, however fact be advised, the Moto X Play by no means struggled to maintain tempo with my every day routine. We have reached some extent the place inexpensive telephones do not decelerate or stutter in common use. Positive, the Galaxy S6 or HTC One M9 will load up your apps slightly quicker and play graphically intensive video games at a smoother body price, however that is actually the distinction we’re right down to now. It is nice.

My unit got here with 16GB of storage, of which 10.9GB was addressable. (There’s additionally a 32GB mannequin obtainable.) In contrast to sure different Android producers, Motorola continues to be giving customers the choice to increase that storage. The corporate saved area by having only a single tray home the SIM and microSD, so you will not be capable of swap playing cards with out dropping cell sign, however it’s nonetheless a helpful addition.

Within the US, the X Play seems set to be referred to as the Droid Maxx 2. If you understand your telephones, you will know that nomenclature implies this telephone is constructed to final all day. It is received a colossal three,630mAh battery, which, when paired with these middling specs, meant the X Play reached 14 hours and 50 minutes in our video playback check. Motorola says in the actual world the X Play provides you “as much as forty eight hours” of “combined use,” and it did simply that. The truth is, you may get even longer.

Twice now the X Play has seen me via two full days’ use with greater than 20 % left within the tank. A “full day’s use,” to me, means syncing emails; streaming a couple of songs on Spotify; watching some YouTube movies; and incessantly checking Engadget, Twitter and the varied messaging apps I exploit.

I am neither the heaviest nor lightest smartphone consumer, then, however I did attempt to put the X Play by way of its paces. Someday I synced all three of my e-mail accounts, streamed music over LTE for over 4 hours, spent three hours utilizing the hotspot perform for my MacBook, performed video games for 2 hours, watched Netflix over WiFi for an hour and positioned a 30-minute Skype name. That is all along with my common routine. I completed the day, sixteen hours later, with 31 % battery left. I check a variety of telephones, and I’ve to tip my hat to the X Play’s endurance.

The competitors

It might appear just a little overpriced and underneath-specced in comparison with low cost Chinese language telephones just like the OnePlus 2 and ZTE Axon, however with the ability to use the X Play all day with out worrying about it dying is kinda priceless. That stated, if, like me, you are not an excellent-heavy consumer, the OnePlus 2 will simply see you thru the day with no charger. Sony’s additionally achieved an excellent job with battery life in recent times, and its mid-vary handsets are value a glance.

The actual competitors lies inside Motorola’s personal ranks, although. The Moto G is such a great telephone, and for my part a extra engaging one as well. It ought to final you roughly a day’s use — extra when you’re frugal — and you will save a ton of cash (it is over $one hundred cheaper within the UK). The primary compromise is the digital camera, which struggles to maintain tempo with the X Play’s.

After which there’s the Moto X Fashion. It is received an excellent-quick processor, extra RAM, a very beautiful 2K show and the identical digital camera, however with part-detection autofocus. It prices £one hundred greater than the X Play within the UK, or $399 unlocked within the US, and also you’re getting numerous additional telephone for that. In fact, we have but to place it via its paces for battery life, however likelihood is you will not be getting two full days’ use out of it.


Moto X Play review: an unexciting phone with a huge battery

As soon as you’re taking the epic battery life into consideration, the X Play begins to make a bit of extra sense. You get lots of the advantages of Motorola’s flagship; you save somewhat cash; and also you by no means want to hold your charger with you once more. Even so, I can not assist however really feel that most individuals can be proud of the price range Moto G. And people on the lookout for one thing higher than that may in all probability gravitate towards the Moto X Type or any of the newest wave of “low cost” flagships. However though the X Play continues to be not probably the most thrilling telephone, it is a very succesful one, and I can not knock Motorola for giving Android customers extra choices.

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