What is the Motorola Moto Z2 Play?
The Motorola Moto Z2 Play is a mid-range phone, featuring a modular design that lets you add and swap out different functions for the phone.
Different mods available include one which provides extra battery life, another which acts as a speaker, and a couple of different camera based mods – including one built by Hasselblad, and another which you can use to create 360 degree photos and video.
It has an inbuilt 12 megapixel camera on the rear, plus a front-facing 5 megapixel camera. In terms of other interesting camera specifications, it’s got an HDR mode and a “Professional” mode which allows you to adjust key settings.
The Motorola Moto Z2 Play was loaned to us by Vodafone for the purposes of this review.
Build Quality and Handling
Without any “mods” attached to the Z2 Play, the phone is extremely slim, but the inbuilt camera lens juts out from the back.
To start up the camera from the lock screen, you can swipe up from the bottom right of the screen. If you’ve got a camera “mod” attached, then the native camera app will work with that by default – but you can switch back to using the inbuilt camera if you need to.
You can use either of the volume keys to release the shutter, which are found on the right hand side of the phone. If you’re holding it in landscape orientation, these buttons are placed in the top left – not the usual place for a camera shutter release and therefore a little awkward to use in practice.
Alternatively, you can use the virtual shutter button displayed on the screen.
The native camera app has a few different features you can work with, but it’s certainly not the most diverse camera available in the Android market.
Still, enthusiasts will be pleased to note that there is a “Professional” mode which allows you to alter certain key settings, such as metering, white balance, shutter speed and ISO.
As is usual with phone cameras, you can’t alter the lens aperture. There’s no raw format shooting available here, which is disappointing for anyone who wants to splash out on the Hasselblad camera mod.
In terms of camera mods, we’ve been supplied with the 360 mod to take a look at. As the name suggests, this enables the capture of 360 degree photos and videos, and you can also use it to capture ultra-wide 150 degree shots.
The mod itself simply snaps onto the back of the phone, and you can pull it off whenever you don’t want to use it anymore – or if you want to swap it for a different mod.
- pleasing colours and detail, but struggles at high ISOs
Overall, images taken in good light with the Z2’s inbuilt camera show pleasing colours and a decent level of detail – especially if you’re mainly looking at them on a standard phone screen.
We can see there is some loss of detail when examining at 100%, even at lower ISOs, but for a mid-range smartphone, the results are still pretty nice. Having access to the “professional” controls gives you the power to tweak some key settings to get the most from it, too.
In low light, at high ISOs, such as 2500, the camera struggles to produce crisp images, with a fair degree of smudginess creeping in. Again, if you’re only sharing at very small sizes, it should be just about acceptable.
The automatic HDR effect can produce some strange halo type effects at times, so it’s probably best to switch it off – certainly in high contrast situations.
As for images from the 360 degree mod, images taken using the “ultra wide angle” setting are certainly wide, but the quality is poor – being smudgy and lacking any kind of detail.
Videos taken using the full 360 degree are much better, being good fun for those who are interested in creating VR videos.
If you upload the videos directly to services such as Facebook or Youtube, you don’t need to do anything to view them, while video players such as Quicktime will attempt to play them as one flat video.
One of the big draws of the Moto Z2 Play is that it comes at a relatively cheap price for the base unit, allowing you to spend extra cash only on the “mods” that you want (if any).
The inbuilt camera of the Z2 Play produces pleasing images in good light, but is certainly nothing particularly special in the current market. It also struggles in low light, and doesn’t offer the raw format that most enthusiasts crave.
For those who are particularly interested in creating VR, the 360 degree mod is great addition that is very simple to add and remove as and when you need to use it – so we’d recommend it as an affordable entry into that kind of video.