Review – Moto X Play



Moto x play – Review


  • Good camera
  • Very good display
  • Sturdy and well built


  • Weak processor performance
  • Moto display isn’t as efficient as other Motorola phones

Our Verdict

The Moto X Play is not a power user’s smartphone, given the lacklustre processor performance, but it’s a well balanced smartphone that not many make today and Motorola has for long been known for. The company’s service support, though not the best, is improving by the day, and in the sub-20k segment, this phone may be the best for anyone but a power user.

Motorola’s latest, and perhaps its greatest, has the one thing the company hasn’t been able to provide till now — a good camera. But that’s not all there is to like about the Moto X Play. The X series has largely been overlooked by consumers for a while now and the Moto X Play continues that tradition. While the camera isn’t a weakness anymore, like all Moto X phones before this, the Play also has an achilles heel. What’s that you ask? Read on for the Moto X Play review.


Each time I used a Motorola phone I’m reminded that fancy metal bodies are not necessary to make a phone look good. The Moto X Play has a plastic back cover, with a rubbery finish that feels really good and grippy. While it’s not a flashy design, it’s different from all those others in the crowded smartphone market right now. The company’s trademark curved back still adds to the overall ergonomics and the design just works.

It’s a 5.5 inch phone done right, much like the LG G3 once upon a time. It doesn’t feel all that big, and while it of course can’t achieve the compact form factor of a Moto X (1st Gen), it’s not unwieldy at all.

At 169 grams, it may feel a tad heavy, but like the OnePlus 2, it doesn’t hinder usage. In fact, the weight adds a heft to the device, which makes it feel all that better.

Display and UI

At 5.5 inch, FHD is more or less the only choice that a company like Motorola has, for a sub-20k smartphone. That said, 403 ppi is enough to make this display good. For those who don’t like the warmth of AMOLED panels, this is an IPS panel, which again is a change from the Moto X (1st Gen) and Moto X (2nd Gen).

It would be a good time to mention that I’ve owned and used both the Moto X phones before this, and minus the AMOLED warmth, this display is just as good. Colours are nice and viewing angles are as good as you can hope for. In addition, Corning Gorilla 3 adds the necessary strength and smooth touch experience to boot.

The phone runs on stock Android, like all Motorola phones, but it’s evident that the company has made some changes to boost the overall performance. More on that later. What you must know though is that the phone already has some of the Marshmallow features (like Now on Tap and the vertical scrolling App Drawer) that Google passed through updates to Lollipop-powered devices, and the overall usage has improved a little bit since the update.


While the camera has till now been the downside to Moto X phones, the performance has always been top notch. With the Moto X Play it’s the opposite. Snapdragon 615, like in many other phones, is stuttery and laggy. If you’re a gamer, you’ll not like this phone. It heats up over extended usage, even without gaming. Using apps like Facebook for some time, along with one 1080p video on YouTube for exactly three minutes, was enough to get the processor to heat up.

Moto X Play Performance | Create infographics

Even in regular usage, multitasking on the phone leads to lags and while it is evident that Motorola has tried its best to make the performance as good as possible, it’s just not the kind that a power user will like. Apps like Rdio, Facebook, Twitter, Evernote and many others are laggy on the phone.

Further, the sensors on this phone don’t seem to work as well as Moto X devices before it. The Moto Display feature doesn’t work as well. In the Moto X (2nd Gen), you could simply reach for the phone and the display would come on in a hurry, but the Moto X Play doesn’t seem to respond to gestures as well.


Getting to the good part again, the camera. While a 21MP shooter in itself is unheard of in the sub-20k segment, Motorola’s camera on this phone is more than just numbers. In a camera test that we did earlier, we realised that the phone can actually surpass the OnePlus One and except the warmer images in the Xiaomi Mi 4, the Moto X Play is every bit its equal. You can learn all about the camera in this Moto X Play camera test. I’ve also attached a gallery of images taken by the Moto X Play below.


What it lacks in processor performance, the Moto X Play makes up for in battery capacity. The 3630 mAh battery on this phone breezes through a full day and you can get a little more out of it, using the power saver modes and being more careful. While two days is what most of us would want from our smartphones, this is as good as it gets at the moment.


A friend of mine recently asked me for a phone that comes from a renowned brand, has a good camera and can last through the day. That’s exactly who I would recommend the Moto X Play to. It’s not a power user’s smartphone, given the lacklustre processor performance, but it’s a well balanced smartphone that not many make today and Motorola has for long been known for. The company’s service support, though not the best, is improving by the day, and in the sub-20k segment, this phone may be the best for anyone but a power user.

Moto X Play – First Impression

At the recently concluded IFA 2015 show in Berlin, we got some hands-on time on the soon-to-launch in India Moto X Play.

Design & Form factor — The new Moto X Play isn’t a tiny phone, as its screen measures 5.5-inch. One-handed operation was largely possible, and we didn’t face any real problems during the short time we spent with the device. The phone’s back has a rubberized pattern that helps conveniently while gripping it. The rubber finish feels nice on touch, too, and the curved back helps your grip while you’re holding the new Moto X Play. If anything its volume rocker and screen lock button along the right edge felt a bit too thin to be honest.

The black version of the Moto X Play (with the piano finish) is glossy along its minimal edges, top and bottom screen bezel, attracting fingerprint smudges easily. The phone comes with a water repellent coating for added protection against liquid spills on the handset.

Screen – The Moto X Play sports a Full HD 1080p display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 coating and 403ppi. Whether we played games on it, watched video clips or photos, the screen looked quite bright and managed to reproduce vibrant colors well. 

Battery – One of the biggest highlights of the upcoming Moto X Play is its 3630 mAh battery capacity, offering the promise of not just all-day use off a single charge but up to a whopping two-day of battery backup despite uninhibited usage – while you play games, stay connected to cellular 3G / 4G data, etc. Tall claim indeed, something we will be testing for sure when we get the Moto X Play for review next week.

We didn’t get to experience this at IFA 2015, but the Moto X Play comes bundl
ed with a tiny charger with Motorola’s Turbo Charge technology, allowing the Moto X Play to last for up to 8 hours with merely 15 minutes of charging!

Camera – The camera on the Moto X Play seemed snappy enough, as we clicked some shots on the IFA 2015 show floor. The 21MP rear camera has f/2.0 aperture accompanied by dual-LED flash. The autofocus on the Moto X Play’s camera didn’t feel slow. Burst mode photos seemed a bit out-of-focus, maybe because we tried shooting a crowded show floor that’s constantly in flow. The rear cam can shoot jitter-free 1080p HD videos at 30 fps. The front 5MP camera is okay for selfies at best.

Performance – With a phone titled Play, the upcoming Moto X variant didn’t disappoint while we tried our hand at gaming on it. Packed with a 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 Octa-core SoC, Adreno 405 GPU and 2GB of RAM, we tried a couple of racing games that were pre-installed on the handset and didn’t observe any obvious glitches or slow execution. However, until we’ve tested the Moto X Play ourselves, we will withhold our opinion about its overall performance.

After walking away from the Moto X Play demo booth at IFA 2015, we certainly felt that it was a good overall addition to the Moto family of handsets.