Motorola Moto X Play: Review

The Motorola Moto X Play is the newest in the lineup of smart phones from Motorola. This phone will cost you just around $400, depending on where you’re located.

The water-repellant handset has exquisite design lines with crisp, clean detail. The screen is 5.5” and is a stunning LCD display with great colour, minimal reflection, and it’s easily readable.

The softly curved back has a plastic cover that snaps in flush with a fine gunmetal finish plastic frame (which looks and feels just like metal). In the centre of this panel are the camera lens, flash, and an attractive concave detail featuring the Motorola symbol. I love this plastic cover on the back; it has a wavy diamond pattern knurled into it and you can swap it out for other coloured panels that suit your style.

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I hear too often people commenting on the fact that units “don’t feel as premium.” Please, people; I don’t know about you, but a phone to me has to not only look good but also feel good and withstand day-to-day use without showing the wear and tear. This plastic backing makes the phone easy to handle, provides customisability, and it’s also a surface that wears extremely well. Delicate materials don’t wear well on handsets and often drive the costs up.

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The speakers and microphone are symmetrically located at the top and bottom, creating a simple and elegant aesthetic and delivering very respectable output. There is a power button located directly above the volume toggle on the right side and frankly that’s all you’ll ever need.

The battery is one of the great attributes of this phone and lasts me all day, which is impressive, because I consider myself a heavy business user. There’s also a turbo charge feature that can provide eight hours of regular usage with only twenty minutes of charging – brilliant for heavy use days. There is a SIM tray that houses one SIM card in the The same tray will hold a Micro SD card that can take the standard 16GB internal memory and expand it by up to 125GB.

The pure Android system is clean and simple with a few Moto enhancements and plenty of processing power. Moto Assist simply adds convenience to your day. It silences the phone during meetings or at bed time, reads texts out loud in the car, and will even wake up and perform commands when you speak a predetermined phrase like “wake up Moto X”.

My favorite feature is my Google Maps app. Although it’s not a Moto app, it rounds off the built-in features nicely. A right swipe of the home screen displays a direction map to your next appointment, your office, or home, and will even notify you of when you should hit the road in order to arrive in time considering existing traffic conditions. These are features that make a work-day so much more efficient.

For capturing the moments in your day, there’s a 21 MP rear-facing camera with colour-corrected dual LED flash and a 5MP front-facing camera. The quick launch feature is nice and will open the app with a flick of your wrist – fast and no fumbling. That camera app is clean and simple; a swipe to the left opens the gallery and a swipe to the right opens the settings reel, which offers controls for HDR, flash settings, ‘tap anywhere’ capture, night shot, SloMo video, screen settings, timer, panorama, storage settings, geo tagging, and more. The camera does a great job of capturing well-balanced photos with great detail in regular conditions and captures very fair photos in low light conditions. I did find the operation of the digital zoom to be a little clunky. You can always expect more;, however, from a Smartphone at this price point, I’m more than impressed.

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Even though you currently have the ability to move your apps onto the SD card with the Moto X Play, the release of Android M will allow adopting an SD card inserted into a device and treat it like internal storage for more seamless operation.

The verdict:

This is one spectacular phone for the price, with plenty of power and tremendous reception; it held on to calls where my iPhone or HTC One M9 regularly dropped off. With either the Moto X Play or the new Moto 360, and you have all you need to go through your work-day with efficiency and style.

Ramsin Khachi
Ramsin Khachi is a designer, writer, and media personality.

In the media, Ramsin shares his wisdom on various platforms such as the Marilyn Denis Show on CTV, the Toronto Star, the National Post, and various lifestyle magazines as well as his own online luxury magazine. Known for his vivacious personality and distinctive style, he educates on topics such as design trends, innovative products, and the latest in techie gadgets.

From real estate sales, commercial design, and construction to building custom homes, Ramsin’s experience has turned his once small, one-man construction company into a full service Design/Build firm. A leader in his field, Ramsin’s unparalleled integrity for quality and his knowledge of construction and innovation integration has made him a prominent member of the design community and a trusted influencer in design and lifestyle trends. In addition to his media appearances, Ramsin frequently lectures at public forums and to professional organizations and is a brand advocate to select partners.