Motorola Moto X Play review: Crowd pleaser

Hristo Zlatanov, 16 October, 2015.

Introduction

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. At 5.5 inches in diagonal its display still puts it in phablet territory, leaving the Moto G (3rd gen) to cater to compact phone lovers. It's a FullHD panel too, striking the obvious reasonable compromise between sharpness and battery life.

And battery life is one area, where the Moto X Play should excel - it has a huge 3,630mAh cell, with support for fast charging too, though a TurboCharger has sadly been omitted from the bundle.

Motorola Moto X Play

The Moto X Play comes with the much-hyped new 21MP camera from the flagship, complete with phase detection autofocus and a dual-LED flash too. What it lacks is 4K video capture - the Snapdragon 615 that powers the Play caps recording at 1080p. Qualcomm's ubiquitous midrange chip is coupled with 2GB of RAM and 16GB or 32GB of built-in storage - run-of-the-mill specs in the segment.

One of the coolest features of the Moto X Play is customizability. You can choose from close to 200 color combinations between the front panel, back cover, frame and camera accent, and sport the look that best fits your style. That is, if you're in one of the few lucky countries where the Motomaker is available.

Motorola Moto X Play key features

  • Dual SIM model also available

  • 5.5" IPS display with FullHD (1920 x 1080 pixels) resolution, 403 ppi density, Gorilla Glass 3
  • 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 chipset; quad-core 1.7 GHz Cortex-A53 & quad-core 1.1 GHz Cortex-A53 CPU; Adreno 405 GPU; 2GB of LPDDR3 RAM
  • 16/32GB of built-in memory; microSD card slot (up to 128GB)
  • Stock Android 5.1.1 Lollipop with no bloatware, planned upgrade to v6.0 Marshmallow
  • 21 MP main camera with f/2.0 aperture; phase detect autofocus; dual-tone LED flesh; gesture controls
  • 1080p video capture @ 30fps; slow-motion video capture
  • 5MP front-facing camera with f/2.0 aperture
  • Cat. 4 LTE support; dual-band 802.11a/g/b/n Wi-Fi; Bluetooth 4.0 LE; NFC; GPS
  • FM radio with RDS, front-facing speaker
  • 3,630 mAh battery; TurboPower quick charging
  • Customizable polycarbonate body
  • Internals with water repellent nano-coating
  • Attractive price with no contract

Main disadvantages

  • Non-removable battery
  • No stereo speakers

It's an odd decision by Motorola not to bundle a fast charger with the Moto X Play. With such battery capacity, support for fast charging and advertised 48-hour battery endurance, the lack of a proper charger leaves you feeling a little cheated.

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Motorola Moto X Play press images

That said, it's hard not to like the Moto X Play. Motorola has struck all the right notes with the Moto X Play and is offering a comprehensive package at an affordable price. There's plenty of capable competition in the midrange though, and while customizability plays a major role here, the phone also needs to perform. The Moto X Play takes on esteemed rivals on the following pages, but we'll kick off with the usual unboxing and hardware overview.