Motorola’s Moto X Play: First impressions review

Having created quite a decent space for itself in the low-cost and budget smartphone markets with the Moto E and Moto G respectively, Motorola now appears to be targeting consumers in the mid-range market. The recent launch of the Moto X at what is seen as an impressive pricing has already tempted many users, but does its performance outweigh its price?

We used the phone for a while and attempt to give you some quick answers.

The first thing that got our attention in the phone was its rear that has a beautiful wavy pattern and features a rubberised finish. This soft-touch pattern gives the rear portion a matte finish that further helps in offering a good grip. Nevertheless, the rubberised coating is prone to damage.

As the rear panel is removable I tried to take it out to see what was underneath, and the cover got scratched and a bit of the coating peeled off.

While the back cover is removable, there is nothing that you can do underneath. Neither you can take out the battery, nor the slots for SIM cards and the memory card are positioned there. It seems that the only purpose of having a removable panel is to replace it with other swappable covers.

The phone, interestingly, has only one slot located at the top to rest all the three cards. The tray inside the slot has frames to house two SIM cards (4G) on one side and the microSD card on the other.

The silver strip running along the camera lens and flash at the back reminds us of the Moto G (3rd generation) as it carries a similar design element at the back.

Adding to the phone’s design is a plastic band with a metallic finish running along the phone. While the band doesn’t look premium, it does manage to add a dash of additional style to the otherwise handsome phone.

Quite like other Motorola phones, the Moto X Play has a curved back that makes it easy to hold the phone and comfortable to operate. The phone is a tad bulky but not unmanageably so. However, it would have been much better had it been a little on the lighter side.

The phone though has a little different design from other Motos, it looks more or less like its siblings as you switch it on.

The 5.5-inch 1080p display is vibrant and produces true to life colours. The company claims the display to have Corning Gorilla Glass atop to protect the screen from scratches. While we are yet to subject the phone to our daily grind to better ascertain these claims.

One of the key highlights of the new Moto X Play is said to be its 21 megapixel camera at the rear. While the camera performs excellent in bright light conditions, it falls a little short – in terms of details – in low light environments. I have never been a fan of the Moto phones’ camera performance in low light – including the one on the Moto-made Nexus 6. The rear camera lets you shoot videos in both 540p (SloMo) and 1080p. The 5 megapixel front camera is not an ideal camera for selfies that you would like to flaunt. Nevertheless, it’s okay for video calling.

The options in the camera app are also very limited. You are forced to shoot images only at the highest resolutions, similarly in video there are only two quality settings.

Running Android 5.1.1, the phone has only a couple of Motorola-centric apps installed and therefore, offers almost a stock Android experience. It comes in two storage options – 16 GB (at Rs 18,499) and 32 GB (at Rs 19,999), which an option for dditional storage. The microSD card slot supports a card of up to 128 GB. We got the 32 GB model for review and it has user-accessible memory of around 25.5 GB. Given the little difference in the prices of two models, a 32 GB variant would anyday would be a better choice.

The speaker at the front is impressive – both in terms of loudness and audio results. But we are yet to test it in noisy areas. (I wrote this piece with music playing on this phone in the background. I didn’t feel the need to attach external speakers. The loudness was pretty good.)

The phone has not shown any signs of lag during the little time we have spent with it, but it’s too early to comment anything about its performance including the battery life delivered by its large 3,630 mAh battery.

Motorola claims the phone to have a water-repellent coating to protect it from accidental water spills, splashes and little rain. Inside the box is a phone, charger with support for two USB cables, and a pair of earphones. At its price the specs and the initial performance appears promising. For the final verdict, stay tuned for our extended review.


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