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Posts tagged ‘Lenovo’

13
Sep

It takes two: A visual history of dual-camera mobile phones


With the recent launches of the iPhone 7 Plus and the LG V20, the dual-lens smartphone camera is once again a hot topic. Of course, many other companies will want to remind you that they were there first, except some have long since given up on the technology. So what happened? And why isn’t this yet a standard feature on all flagship smartphones? For those intrigued, it’s worth taking a trip seven years back in time.

7
Sep

The £499 Moto Z and Moto Mod accessories come to the UK


This week may well be dominated by the launch of the new iPhone, but that doesn’t mean Apple’s smartphone rivals are holding things back. After a few months of US exclusivity, Lenovo has finally brought its super-customisable all-metal Moto Z to the UK.

The 5.5-inch quad HD smartphone is now available on the Motorola store for £499, offering a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, a 2600mAh battery with TurboPower charging and a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera. Oh, and it’s ditched the headphone jack in favour of a USB-C connector.

Like its predecessors, the Moto Z can be run through Lenovo’s Moto Maker service. However, if you’re looking to create a truly bespoke masterpiece, you’re going to be disappointed. Colour options are limited to White & Fine Gold or Black & Lunar Grey and there’s no scope to increase the onboard storage. The company does have an ace up its sleeve, though, and that’s Moto Mods.

Moto Mods are Lenovo’s answer to the LG G5’s swap-out modules. There are four magnetised modules — the Incipio offGRID Power Pack, JBL SoundBoost Speaker, Hasselblad True Zoom and Moto Insta-Share Projector — that attach to the back of the Moto Z and give it more battery, better sound or clearer optics. The accessories start at £60 and range up to £250.

It was only announced last week, but the mid-range Moto Z Play is also live on the Motorola store, although it is currently out of stock. The 5.2-inch £370 Android device houses an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625, 3GB of RAM, 16-megapixel camera and a 3,510mAh battery. More importantly, it does have a headphone jack.

If you put your order in today, your Moto Z should be with you by September 14th, just before the iPhone 7 hits stores. The Moto Z Play, on the other hand, should be widely available later this week.

Source: Moto Z

6
Sep

AMD ships its extra-efficient 7th-generation processors in PCs


While Intel is busy revamping its laptop processors, AMD is focused on the desktop side of personal computing. The chip designer has started shipping its 7th-generation A-series processors in desktop PCs, starting with machines from HP and Lenovo. The CPUs are based around as many as four Excavator cores, rather than the coveted Zen cores you’ve heard about lately, but that should still get you a lot of performance per watt. If you believe AMD, its 35- and 65-watt processors deliver the kind of speed that previously took over 90 watts — the A12-9800 is about as fast in a general computing benchmark (PCMark) as Intel’s Core i5-6500, and roughly twice as fast in graphics (3DMark) if you’re relying on integrated video.

As you might guess from the testing, visual performance plays a big role. On top of a newer DirectX 12-friendly graphics architecture, the new processors tout native video decoding for 4K video in both H.264 and H.265 formats, taking a large load off of your system while you’re watching Ultra HD movies.

The efficiency angle is a familiar one for AMD, and not surprising given that it’s the company’s main advantage. You’re still looking at higher-end Intel Core i5 and i7 chips if you’re focused on raw performance in a desktop. With that said, this may be worthwhile if you want a glimpse at AMD’s future. The 7th-gen A-series is the first processor line based on AMD’s new AM4 platform and the interfaces that come with it, including support for USB 3.1 and NVMe solid-state drives. At least some of the technology you see here will carry on for multiple hardware generations.

Via: VentureBeat

Source: AMD (1), (2)

6
Sep

The best of the rest at IFA 2016


Now that we’ve said goodbye to IFA 2016, it’s time to bring you highlights of the most interesting devices at the event. In this particular edition, you’ll find some that aren’t smartphones or wearables. We’re talking virtual reality massage chairs, fridges with built-in tablets, as well as adorable robots and drones. Acer’s ridiculous 21-inch gaming laptop is there too, along with its new convertible Chromebook. But that’s just part of it, so check out the slideshow and think about which items you want the most.

We’re live all week from Berlin, Germany, for IFA 2016. Click here to catch up on all the news from the show.

3
Sep

Hasselblad True Zoom Review


IMThe cameras in our smartphones are extremely versatile, to the point that many have ditched point and shoot cameras altogether, just because the performance and robust features set in smartphone cameras have exceeded their dedicated counterparts. Ironically, camera makers have been fighting back and have attempted on many occasions to encroach on the smartphone’s territory by coming out with eccentric accessories that try to deliver those DSLR-like qualities to smartphone cameras – like wide angle lens attachments, and even those dedicated lens modules that connect via Wi-Fi Direct. The problem with many of them is that they don’t necessarily attach seamlessly, often requiring unsightly tethers of some sort.

And then came the modular phone, which we’re inclined to say that Lenovo has perfected with its latest line of Moto Z smartphones.

The concept is brilliant with Moto Mods, as these accessories provide expanded functionality to smartphones. In fact, the latest one is a prime of example of how a renowned camera maker is once again fighting back for recognition by fashioning on a feature that’s not widely available to smartphone cameras – the optical zoom, for added range to get closer to shots.

The Hasselblad True Zoom is an attachment that adds a 10x optical zoom range for any of Lenovo’s Moto Z line of smartphones that are Moto Mods compatible, so think the Moto Z, Moto Z Force, and Moto Z Play.

Camera ergonomics in a smartphone

Attaching the Hasselblad True Zoom is a cinch, seeing that all that’s needed is to align the corresponding pins on the Moto Mod to those that are on the phone. Once that’s done, the magnetic connection ensures a tight grip, so that it can’t be easily removed by accident. When it’s attached to a phone, a Moto Z Play Droid in this instance, there’s no hiding the girth that’s tacked onto the phone in the process. It’s a beastly looking thing, making the phone’s overall thickness triple in size!

The beauty in Moto Mods, though, is that they don’t always need to be attached – only when a particular situation arises. Aesthetically, the Hasselblad True Zoom follows the styling of a traditional camera with its rubbery textured grip, Xenon flash, zoom controls, dedicated shutter key, and focus light assist. When it’s attached, it can be mistaken for a camera – not a smartphone with an accessory connected to it. The hefty size makes it impractical to discretely hide away in our pockets, but again we can’t stress enough about how Moto Mods are here for the convenience of the situation.

Our only qualms with the design is that it still lacks some controls and other conveniences we find in traditional cameras – like a tripod mount, a spot for a lanyard or something, and a ring control of sorts for manual focusing. These omissions indicate that the Hasselblad True Zoom isn’t necessarily targeting enthusiasts. Don’t get us wrong, the design is solid and super sturdy, but we would’ve liked to see more from a photo-centric accessory.

Hasselblad True Zoom Review 5

The specs are camera-phone caliber

Okay, we know what’s most outstanding about the Hasselblad True Zoom – its 10x optical zoom, which is something that few phones can attest to offer. Beyond that, and as we uncover its specs, it becomes more evident that we’re still dealing with specifications that are camera-phone caliber. Sorry folks, don’t think that it comes with a large sensor to match those found in today’s mirrorless or DSLR cameras.

Specifically, it features a 12MP 1/2.3″ BSI CMOS sensor with 1.55um sized pixels, f/3.5-6.5 aperture lens, OIS for still shots, EIS for video, 2 microphones, Xenon flash, and up to 1080p video recording. The sensor size alone isn’t something worth bragging about, since there are phones out there, like the Panasonic CM1, that have even larger ones. And another glaring thing about the specs is how it tops out at 1080p resolution for video, which is a shame given that 4K is increasingly being adopted into mid-range phones, not just high-end or flagship ones.

Needless to say, the star of the show for the Hasselblad True Zoom is its 10x optical zoom. That’s better than some recent zoom-centric phones like the Asus Zenfone Zoom (3x zoom), so in that respect, there’s a level of versatility in being able to get close to the action – without having to be up close like that, of course.

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The shooting experience

Activating the Hasselblad True Zoom is done by pressing on the dedicated button on its chassis, wherein it proceeds to launch the camera app. Our anticipation about using the Moto Mod is somewhat dashed when we realize that there’s not a whole lot to the camera app that we don’t already have in most phones. Yes, you can snap standard photos, adjust some controls using the manual setting, and even compose a panoramic, but we were expecting more. Instead, it’s lacking on some much-needed “fun” modes.

For photos, it’s nice to see that the OIS kicks in when the shutter key is pressed halfway, ensuring that the scene is as steady as possible to snap the shot. OIS really shows its worth the most when the zoom is at its maximum, mainly because even the slightest of movement can cause other cameras to become jittery. With this, however, there’s no concern because the OIS helps to compensate things for a steadier shot.

When it comes to videos, the EIS system in place desperately tries to adjust for the shake and jitter, but we find its approach to be delayed. You can easily see how it’s slower to react to the movements of us panning while walking with some of the footage. Now, this can possibly be attributed to the phone we’re using, a Moto Z Play Droid, since it doesn’t have what many would agree to be the most cutting-edge processor, but we’d be curious to see how it works with the Moto Z or Moto Z Force. That, of course, will depend on whether or not the processing is done by the phone, or locally by the Hasselblad True Zoom.

Zooming, that’s the one most defining perk of the Hasselblad True Zoom. This is useful if you’re trying to capture something in the distance, but not so much if you’re trying for a macro shot. The closest that the Hasselblad True Zoom can focus properely is about 1 meter in our experience, anythig less than that it won’t do.

Hasselblad True Zoom Review 3

How about the quality?

As we’ve mentioned already, there’s a 12MP camera in the Hasselblad True Zoom – while the Moto Z Play Droid we’re using it with has a 16MP one. Honestly, when it comes to standard shots when the zoom isn’t required, we find the quality of the Moto Z Play Droid’s camera to be superior. You can see for yourself in many instances how there’s more detail in its shots, while the Hasselblad True Zoom has a tendancy to be softer with washed out colors.

This is concerning right from the get-go, given that you’d expect better results from a photo-centric accessory like this. But then again, we’re not too shocked by this revelation because the specs of the Hasselblad True Zoom are very much on par to what we get in smartphone cameras. Obviously, its distinct advantage is its 10x optical zoom, which by itself is the only meaningful difference.

10x optical zoom with a hefty price

At the end of the day, we can say that the Hasselblad True Zoom is there for the convenience of zooming. Beyond that, however, we really can’t recommend it to replace the cameras in the Moto Z line – just because for standard shots, you get superior ones from the phones. And on top of that, it’s mind-boggling for us to believe that the Hasselblad True Zoom tops out at 1080p video recording.

Given the steep cost of the accessory, $250 if you’re buying through Verizon or a crazier $300 from Motorola directly, it faces an uphill battle in validating a purchase for it. Again, its only meaningful advantage is its 10x optical zoom, which few phones offer. The expense is really steep, making it hard for the average Joe to even fathom buying just to achieve such a lengthy zoom, but even worse is that it lacks the necessary tools and enhancements that could potentially entice enthusiasts to buy at that price.

2
Sep

The Engadget Podcast Ep 4: All Eyez On Me


Editors Cherlynn Low and Devindra Hardawar join host Terrence O’Brien to talk about Intel’s latest CPUs, Dead or Alive’s controversial VR feature and Lenovo’s “innovative” take on the keyboard. Then the panel takes a look at Chris Brown’s standoff and how Instagram videos and Facebook Live fit into our modern media landscape.

Here are your Flame Wars leaderboards:

Wins

Loses

Winning %

Chris Velazco
3
1
.750
Devindra Hardawar
6
4
.600
Nathan Ingraham
3
4
.429
Cherlynn Low
3
4
.429

Relevant links:

  • Lenovo’s Yoga Book is part tablet, part sketch pad
  • Intel’s 7th generation Core CPUs will devour 4K video
  • ‘Dead or Alive’ VR is basically sexual assault, the game
  • Chris Brown turns to Instagram amid police standoff
  • Kim Dotcom hopes to livestream his extradition appeal
  • Kim Dotcom will be allowed to stream his extradition appeal

You can check out every episode on The Engadget Podcast page in audio, video and text form for the hearing impaired.

Watch on YouTube

Subscribe on Google Play Music

Subscribe on iTunes

Subscribe on Stitcher

Subscribe on Pocket Casts

2
Sep

IFA 2016 warm-up: Pet treats, smartwatches and more


The IFA 2016 show floor doesn’t officially open until tomorrow, but companies didn’t wait to show off their new products in Berlin. Yesterday, ASUS, Acer, Lenovo and Samsung announced a myriad of devices, including phones, smartwatches and hybrid laptops. There will be a lot more to see in the coming days, we’re sure of that. For now, here are some highlights from the event’s kick-off keynotes — and yes, of course we talked about the “Pawbo” pet accessories. Because why wouldn’t we?

We’re live all week from Berlin, Germany, for IFA 2016. Click here to catch up on all the news from the show.

1
Sep

We’re live from IFA 2016 in Berlin!


Like every year, we are back in Berlin for Europe’s biggest tech trade show, IFA. This year, as we previewed recently, expect to see many new devices from some of the usual suspects: Acer, ASUS, Lenovo, LG, Samsung, Sony and more. We’ve already checked out a number of fresh laptops, smartphones and wearables at the event, but that’s only the beginning since the show floor doesn’t open until Friday. Stay tuned, because there will be plenty of announcements to digest over the next few days. And you never know what kind of weird gadget we might find.

We’re live all week from Berlin, Germany, for IFA 2016. Click here to catch up on all the news from the show.

1
Sep

HP’s Elite Slice is a modular PC that actually looks good


I think HP’s completely sick of making traditional-looking desktops and is out to make them look like anything but. In addition to a PC that looks like it was shoved inside a Bang & Olufsen speaker, the computer maker also released the Elite Slice modular desktop. And it looks like a cross between Discman, a router, and a set top box. Despite that weird combination, I actually really like the Elite Slice — not just for its looks, but also for what it does.

HP’s not the first to make modular components for a PC. Lenovo actually brought that idea to life with its Thinkpad Stack last year. But the Stack was a set of magnetic accessories for your laptop, whereas the Slice is a standalone PC with modules that you can snap on to add capabilities. Plus, HP’s device just looks so much slicker.

The Elite Slice is designed for business and office use, and its base model’s specs (and $700 price) reflect that. The 2.31-pound device houses an up to sixth-generation Intel Core i7 and runs Windows 10 Pro. It also offers enterprise-level security software, including HP BIOSphere and HP Sure Start to detect and manage threats. You can hook up displays, keyboards and mice to the system through the two USB 3.1 Type-C, two USB 2.0, DisplayPort and HDMI ports. The base unit also comes with ethernet and headphone/microphone jacks, as well as onboard dual mics and an optional fingerprint sensor.

But the modularity is where it gets interesting. Each module, including the PC piece, has a USB C-like port, called the HP Slice Connector, on its bottom. These let you connect more components to the PC. At launch, you can pick add-ons such as an audio module (with Bang & Olufsen enhancements), an optical disk drive and what HP calls a Collaboration Cover.

We saw this accessory in action at a demo. Place it on top of the Slice, and it turns the desktop into a Skype for Business phone (if you have a subscription). With the cover on, you can initiate a preset Skype call just by touching a capacitive button on the shell. Each Slice with the Collaboration module can have its own Skype number, effectively setting up a phone network without actual phone lines.

During our preview, HP guided us through making a call by tapping the green phone button. After the call connected, we spoke to an HP rep who demonstrated the onboard mic’s ability to pick up his voice even as he walked to the other end of a small room. He explained that he didn’t need to raise his voice, and indeed, he didn’t appear to do so. And regardless of his distance from his own Slice, his voice didn’t get dramatically softer.

In 2017, HP will also offer a wireless charging cover that will let you recharge your compatible devices by dropping them on top of the Slice.

Although the add-on selection is limited for now, the Elite Slice is definitely an attractive, intriguing option for crowded offices that need portable desktops and want to do away with traditional phones. In the meantime, I’m holding out for a consumer-friendlier version for my tiny apartment.

We’re live all week from Berlin, Germany, for IFA 2016. Click here to catch up on all the news from the show.

1
Sep

Moto Z Play Droid review


Check it out at Verizon

LG was the first out of the gate this year to introduce us to the concept of a modular smartphone. The company’s implementation with the G5 was what many agreed to be underwhelming, subsequently evident by the poor sales of the phone. Many believed that the modular idea was a dead end, barely able to mold and blossom into something tangible, but that was until Lenovo introduced a better implementation with its Moto Z and Moto Z Force – and boy did it change all of our perception!

One of the delightful surprises about the new phones were the various Moto Mod accessories that brought versatility to the phones, dishing up this new concept of “expanded functionality.” Given that many companies are on board with their own unique Moto Mods, which range from battery packs, to projectors, and much more, it means that future devices in this new line will probably harness them as well. Why make another variant of the same accessory to accommodate a new phone, right?

  • Moto Z and Moto Z Force (Droid Edition) review
  • Moto Mods review
  • Moto Z Force vs LG G5

The benefits from this strategy become more prevalent with Lenovo’s latest smartphone, the Moto Z Play Droid. We know that the two aforementioned phones are high-end, cutting-edge devices meant to compete with other flagships, but the Moto Z Play Droid favors the mid-range segment of the market based on what it’s packing. From its 1080p screen, to the Snapdragon 625 chip that’s inside, it’s very indicative of a mid-ranger. Nonetheless, it’ll leverage the benefits provided by the existing line of Moto Mod accessories that are out now.

We’ve seen plenty of great mid-range smartphones released so far this year. But while the Moto Mods add a certain level of intrigue, will they be enough to propel the Moto Z Play Droid over competing devices fighting for notoriety in this sector of the market? Let’s find out in our full Moto Z Play Droid review!

See also: The best Android phones464

Design

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The Moto Z Play Droid looks very similar to its bigger brothers

A cursory glance at the Moto Z Play Droid will make most people mistake it for its previously released siblings; the Moto Z and Moto Z Force. There’s the uncanny resemblance with its design language, one that recycles the same metal and glass construction we’ve seen already, but it’s all packaged in a slightly taller, wider, and thicker chassis. Everything about the design is similar, like the hump produced by its camera lens, the USB Type-C port at the bottom, the responsive fingerprint sensor, and those pin connectors on the back for the Moto Mod accessories.

moto z force review aa (11 of 16)Don’t miss: Moto Z and Moto Z Force (DROID) review51

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The latter is especially integral, mainly because it means that the Moto Z Play Droid can leverage all the existing Moto Mods that have been released thus far – further solidifying Lenovo’s strategy and implementation for a modular phone. Our review unit, in fact, came along with a dark wooden cover that covered and protected the glass finish of the phone’s rear. All of this reaffirms the validity of Lenovo’s vision of a modular phone, which we have to mention is undeniably one of the most satisfying things about the Moto Z Play Droid. For a mid-ranger, it has a host of accessories at its disposal.

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USB Type C audio jackAlso read: 3.5mm audio vs USB Type-C: the good, bad and the future81

Even though it fails to match the thinness of its siblings, we’re not disappointed by its failure to follow suit because there’s a standard 3.5mm headphone jack here. Yes people, there’s a headphone jack incorporated here, which should appease those who are staunchly opposed to the idea of eliminating it entirely. And to top it off, the Moto Z Play Droid features the same nano-coating technology that gives it the water repellent quality to stave off damage from minor incursions with water (think light rain and splashes).

You heard right – the Moto Z Play Droid has a headphone jack!

Appearing very similar to Lenovo’s previous phones, the Moto Z Play Droid’s design indicates that future phones that want to leverage the Moto Mods, whether they’re high, mid, or low-end things, will have to keep within the same design language and dimensions. We wouldn’t say it’s the most beautiful thing we’ve seen, but we’ll sacrifice that for compatibility with Moto Mods.

Display

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Due to how it adopts the same design language we’re familiar with, while also accommodating those Moto Mods, it should be no surprise that the Moto Z Play Droid comes with a 5.5-inch AMOLED display. However, the resolution of the panel drops down to 1080p, which of course places it squarely in that mid-range category. Naturally, it’s an expected outcome for a phone of its caliber, but it’s still more than detailed for the eye to see – and for others, they’d be hard pressed to realize it’s lower in resolution from a normal viewing distance.

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The AMOLED display isn’t the best on the market, but it’s still above average

As we look at some of the AMOLED screen’s benchmark performance, it becomes evident that it’s not performing to the same tune as Samsung’s panels in its flagships, but it’s still nevertheless an above average one. It’s bright with a maximum luminance of 517 nits, ensuring it’s plenty visible even on those sunny days outside. While the 7333K color temperature is a tad bit on the colder side, it’s not colder than some other AMOELD panels we’ve come across, which is a common attribute of the technology as a whole. And lastly, we do notice a hint of saturation with its color reproduction in the sRGB gamut chart – where it tends to be slightly overblown with colors such as green, yellow, and magenta.

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Like we mentioned already, the screen isn’t the best from the AMOLED camp, but despite that, the Moto Z Play Droid sees one with some above average qualities. Throw in a familiar feature, Moto Display, it means notifications, the time, and date are all accessible by taking the phone out of your pocket or nudging it.

Performance

Moto Z Play Droid-2

Stepping down to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor, coupled with 3GB of LPDDR3 RAM and the Adreno 506 GPU, means that the Moto Z Play Droid is most affected when it comes to graphics processing. Superficially, it moves with the same finesse and zippiness as its siblings, as basic tasks are accompanied with tight responses. Unfortunately, it’s not the kind of phone for gamers, since it does exhibit some choppiness with its performance – albeit, its performance is in line with other phones in its category with the same hardware.

best android gamesSee also: The best Android games181

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Placing phone calls under Verizon’s coverage, we’re happy to inform you that its call quality is pretty good. Voices coming out of the earpiece are distinct and audible, so we’re lucky that it barely exhibits any sort of distortion with its quality. Under noisy conditions, though, the volume output could’ve been better, just because it can easily be drowned out by the ambient sounds that are around.

Hardware

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As it currently stands, there’s only a single storage option for the Moto Z Play Droid – 32GB of internal capacity. That should suffice for most users, but for those that require more, there’s a microSD slot that’s ready to provide adequate expansion.

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The fingerprint sensor below the display, much like the ones found on the Moto Z and Moto Z Force, is square shaped and has a slightly raised outline. Unlocking the phone is a breeze thanks to its responsiveness when the phone is in its locked position, but when it’s pressed while it’s on, it acts to turn off the phone. So yeah, it doubles as another power button of sorts if you happen to feel lazy pressing the actual power key on its side.

Moto Z Play Droid-11

Watching videos on the Moto Z Play Droid is a pleasant experience, mainly thanks to how its 5.5-inch AMOLED screen is just perfect for the occasion with its wide viewing angles, punchy colors, and sheer size. The accompanying audio coming from its single speaker, whereby the earpiece doubles as audio for media playback, lacks any sort of substance with its output. Don’t get us wrong, audio produced by the speaker is clean and crisp, but there’s no thump or punchiness with its quality to make us feel like it’s something that won’t get drowned out in noisy conditions.

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And lastly, we’ll quickly graze over Moto Mods with this one, seeing that there’s nothing different here from what we’ve seen already. Of course, Moto Mods snap onto the back of the phone by lining up the corresponding pin connectors – where the prominent magnetic connection establishes a tight bond between the two. When it comes to expanding the functionality beyond what a traditional smartphone is capable of doing, no other system or implementation does it better than Moto Mods.

moto mods review projector aa (8 of 8)Continue reading: Moto Mods review: Blast, Power and Project in a snap9

Battery

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Justifying the need to be thinner and lighter is a prospect we all appreciate with smartphones, but in the case of the Moto Z Play Droid, it’s thicker than its two siblings. That’s not a bad thing per se, due to the fact that it features a larger 3510mAh battery cell. And when you have a 1080p screen instead of one with Quad HD resolution, the phone has the recipe for some serious battery life.

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Boy does it impress! It’s one of the better performing phones we’ve come by, better than the Honor 8 too! When it comes to longevity, the Moto Z Play Droid doesn’t disappoint – you’ll be astounded by its resistance to deplete. In our Wi-Fi browsing test, it managed to put up an outstanding mark of 16 hours and 13 minutes, while its recharge time of 109 minutes using the included Turbo Charger is also respectable. Best of all, you can always expand its battery life by even more with one of those battery pack Moto Mods. Do you want a wireless solution too? There’s a Moto Mod for that.

honor-8-reviewRelated: Honor 8 Review

Camera

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Stumped is one way of describing our reaction to realizing what camera has been fashioned into the Moto Z Play Droid. In terms of megapixel count, it’s in between the 13MP and 21MP cameras of the Moto Z and Moto Z Force respectively – so it’s a 16MP in the Moto Z Play Droid. The other notable differences here are the f/2.0 aperture lens and the lack of OIS, but besides that, everything else is the same. Meaning, it comes with laser & phase detection auto-focus, dual-LED flash, and up to 4K video recording.

Moto Z Play Droid-12

The camera app, too, is the same as its siblings. For the masses, it suffices in quickly focusing and snapping the shot, but for enthusiasts, they’ll be yearning for more to play around with. Indeed, there’s a manual mode to compose a shot to your liking, so you can capture a scene with the utmost precision and control. However, it lacks additional modes beyond the staple ones we get in every phone. For example, you won’t find those cool light painting modes we expect on most Huawei smartphones. Despite our desire for more modes, we still find the Quick Capture super useful in launching the camera app by twisting the phone in our hand a few times.

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Under ideal lighting conditions, the Moto Z Play Droid can take a great picture

Given its mid-ranger attachment, we’re actually impressed by the results produced by the 16MP camera here. When the conditions are ideal, such as those outdoor shots taken under sunny conditions, the Moto Z Play Droid snaps some crisp and detailed images. It seems to favor a warmer tone, but colors in general have some degree of saturation. The 5MP front-facing camera does nicely with selfies, by producing a pleasant level of sharpness to accompany its solid details capture.

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Under low light conditions, it can take awhile to snap a photo

Our only qualm with the camera is its longer snapshot time under low light settings. In this case, we’re told to keep the phone steady to gain enough exposure, but the downside is that blurring becomes more likely to happen in the process. At the same, its quality becomes a bit more grainy looking – while the general tone of the shots are softer, more speckled in the details. We will thankfully say, however, that the camera does an excellent job of minimizing noise in the scene.

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Moving on to video recording, the same qualities found with its still-shot performance persist here as well. Therefore, that all means that the Moto Z Play Droid handles nicely when there’s an abundance of lighting during the recording, but tends to be a bit noisy under low light. Due to the lack of OIS here, videos are far more shaky in appearance, causing for more jitter in the process – so a steady hand will be necessary in combating that.

Moto Z Play Droid camera samples

At the end of the day, even though the camera doesn’t excel in all areas, our general consensus of it is a favorable one. Knowing that this is a mid-ranger we’re dealing with, we’ll take it! There’s still the matter of the new Hasselblad True Zoom Moto Mod, which delivers an impressive 10x optical zoom. We haven’t spent a lot of time using this new accessory, but we’ll be putting it through the paces to see if it has any benefits besides the zoom.

Software

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Honestly, the software is the same here with the Moto Z Play Droid. Running a mostly stock Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow experience, with a few of the usual enhancements we’ve seen from previous Motorola smartphones (Moto Display, Moto Actions, and Moto Voice), the experience as a whole will appease hardcore purists. Yes, there’s the matter of bloatware from Verizon that we all will have to contend with, but at this point, it’s a moot point in complaining about. At the very least, the experience here feels almost like it’s vanilla Android, so those purists will like that.

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Considering that Nougat has been revealed, and became available to some Nexus-branded devices very recently, the only question surrounding the Moto Z Play Droid’s experience is the obvious: how long will we wait before it too receives the new software? We’re confident that it’s only a matter of time at this point.

Specifications

Display 5.5-inch AMOLED display with 1920 x 1080 resolution
401ppi
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 625
GPU Adreno 506
RAM 3GB
LPDDR3
Storage 32GB
MicroSD Yes
Cameras 16MP rear camera with an f/2.0 aperture, dual-LED flash, laser and phase detection auto-focus
5MP front camera with a wide-angle lens and flash
Battery Non-removable 3,510mAh
Software Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow

Gallery

Pricing and final thoughts

The Moto Z Play Droid will be available for pre-order in the U.S. through Motorola and Verizon from Thursday, September 8 for $17 per month for 24 months, or for $408 full retail. You’ll be able to pre-order the unlocked, non-Droid Edition Moto Z Play in the U.S. starting September 15 with availability beginning in October. The unlocked Moto Z Play will be available for $449.99 or for €499. The new Hasselblad True Zoom will be available for pre-order starting September 8 and available for purchase from Verizon on September 15 for $249.99, or for $299.99 through Motorola.

Check it out at Verizon

Don’t be fooled by its looks, the Moto Z Play Droid looks and feels like its modular siblings. It’s about the same size and weight, features the same fingerprint sensor, and it also leverages the same set of Moto Mods. The tradeoffs for this mid-ranger are mostly related to its screen resolution and processor, and that’s about it. If you don’t consider yourself to be a power user, you’ll be pleasantly impressed by how the Moto Z Play Droid manages to deliver nearly the same experience and performance as its superiorly spec’d siblings.

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Still, there are a few noteworthy things at stake here that makes a play at the handset’s strength. First and foremost, there’s a standard headphone jack here! We know, it might not be at the top of the list for everyone, but it’s satisfying that Lenovo opted to bring it back – so there’s no need to carry an adapter if you just want to use your standard pair of headphones. And secondly, it has a battery life that requires some serious usage to deplete! In all fairness, we found it incredibly tough to drain its battery.

Bringing back some much needed money to your pockets, the Moto Z Play Droid’s cost places it below its more expensive modular relatives. The savings there is appreciated given how it can leverage all of the existing Moto Mods, so at launch, the phone already has a healthy selection of accessories to choose from. Buy the phone because you want the Moto Mods, but don’t want to spend the usual fortune in buying the better spec’d modular phones that are currently available.

What are your thoughts? Like what you see here? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!

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