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Moto X Play review




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  • turbopower


Our Score:



  • Fantastic display
  • Durable build
  • Detailed camera
  • No ugly skins


  • Poor low-light photos
  • Minor performance issues
  • Turbo charger not included

Key Features

  • 5.5-inch 1080p display
  • 21-megapixel camera with dual-LED flash, 5MP front-facing sensor
  • 16/32GB storage
  • micro SD up to 128GB
  • 2GB RAM
  • Snapdragon 615 processor
  • Adreno 405 GPU
  • 3,630 mAh battery
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n
  • FM radio
  • 169 g
  • Manufacturer: Motorola
  • Review Price: £279.00

What is the Moto X Play?

The Moto X Play is the Motorola's latest mid-range device, offering up more power and a better display than the cheaper Moto G – a phone we love – but at a price that is lighter on the wallet than the incoming Moto X Style.

At £279 for the 16GB version, or £319 for the 32GB Moto X, there's certainly a lot to like here. It continues Motorola's stripped back approach to Android, ditching ugly skins for a clean, stock version of Android Lollipop with a flurry of tweaks that actually make it better.

But, it really has two main selling points – the huge battery that Moto claims should last you through two days, and a 21-megapixel camera. Having these two killer features on a mid-range smartphone could really help the Moto X Play stand out against an ever-increasing budget smartphone crowd that includes the hard to buy OnePlus X and Wileyfox Storm.

Related: 10 Best Android Phones

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Moto X Play: Design and Build

If you've laid eyes on any of Motorola's devices from the past two years, then you'll instantly recognise the Moto X Play. The front is as simple and clean as you can get, a near edge-to-edge 5.5-inch display is flanked by a front facing speaker (on the bottom) and a speakerphone (on the top) plus a camera. There are no ugly brand logos, which is always a bonus.

While the high-end Motorola phones, notably last year's Moto X and the upcoming Moto X Style, have a metal rim and a multitude of leather and wood backs, the Moto X Play keeps things simple. The trim is plastic, it's pretty much the same as the Moto G, as are the volume rocker and sleep/wake button. It's the little touches that have always made me like the Moto line, the slightly bevelled standby button for instance ensures you don't accidentally hit the volume button. Something I did, and still do, whenever I pick up the HTC One M9.

On the top you'll find the headphone jack bang in the centre with the sim tray and microSD slot next to it. While I'd rather the jack was on the bottom of the Moto X Play, like it is on the iPhone 6 and Samsung Galaxy S6, this is only a minor quibble,

Related: Everything you need to know about the Moto Z

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Motorola hasn't completely ditched its Moto Maker customisation tools for the Moto X Play, but the options are limited to choosing between a black and white front, a variety of brightly coloured back-panels and eight different accent trims. My review unit is all black, with a silver accent rounding the camera and the trademark Motorola dimple. The dimple itself isn't quite as pronounced as on previous models, but it's still a nice place to rest your finger.

The back-panels are replaceable, so if you pick up a vivid pink one and instantly feel slightly self-conscious about flashing it in public you can always pair it with something slightly more conservative, a dark blue or slate, for instance. They pop off easily and feel sturdy, much more so than similar panels from LG and Samsung. While the rubberised, plastic back lacks the premium finish, it certainly is durable. I doubt it will easily pick up any scratches or dings, and I must admit that I have dropped the phone on a couple of occasions already with absolutely no lasting damage.

For the Moto G, Motorola tightened everything up and gave it an IPX7 rating so you could drop it in depths of up to one meter of water for 30-minutes without seeing any lasting damage. This feature hasn't been carried over the Moto X Play, but the IP57 rating does mean taking it out in the pouring rain or accidentally spilling a glass of water over it won't cause it to break down and need replacing.

Related: 6 best cheap mobile phones and budget smartphones

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If you've followed the Moto X line for the past two years, you'll know one of their key selling points is their compact size. The original 4.7-inch display toting device was down right miniature for an Android phone at the time and even last year's 5.2-inch version was easily used with one hand. The same can't really be said for the Moto X Play, but I guess it just follows the trend of ever increasing phone sizes.

Dimensions wise, the Moto X Play is certainly not compact, coming in at 148 x 75 x .10.9mm. It's slightly thicker, though marginally smaller overall, than the OnePlus 2, which measures in at 151.1 x 75 x 9.9mm. Motorola's effort also tips the scales at 6g lighter (169g v 175g) than the Chinese start-up's effort.

But, measurements only really tell one side of the story. I can easily hold the Moto X Play in one hand, though stretching my thumb from one corner of the screen to another is just out of reach. It's also quite a dense device, there's not the hollow feeling you often get with cheaper phones and there it doesn't creak or bend when you push it hard.

Related: 13 best smartphones and mobile phones in 2015

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Motorola's clean, simple design wins out again here and even though it's not the thinnest phone around, I'd take that extra bulk any day for the big battery tucked inside.

Moto X Play: Display

While quad-HD (QHD) panels with copious amounts of pixels are becoming more and more common at the high-end of the market, those glorious displays are yet to filter down to the mid-range. Instead, Motorola has kitted the Moto X Play out with a 5.5-inch, 1080p LCD panel with a 403 ppi (pixels-per-inch). To be honest, after using the Moto X Play I am not pining for a QHD screen at all, and if sticking with a FHD display helps keep the price low then I'm all for it.

The display is sharp, gets super bright when you need it too and nice and dark when you don't. Motorola has tended to use AMOLED panels for the previous entries in the series, and while the LCD display on the Moto X Play isn't quite as vibrant and saturated, it renders colours much more accurately and doesn't have that pinkish tinge when you turn the brightness all the way down.

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Motorola has also included two screen modes, letting you tailor the settings to your tastes. You can pick between 'Normal', which should display more realistic colours, and 'Vibrant' which enhances vibrancy and colour saturation. I've switched between the two on a number of occasions and while there is a minor visible difference, it doesn't completely change the experience. I've stuck with the 'Normal' mode, simply because it rids the display of any over-saturation and it makes colours a little more accurate.

Covering the display is Gorilla Glass 3, again adding to the durable nature of the device. While Gorilla Glass is by no means scratch-resistant, it certainly helps when you accidentally put the phone in the same pocket as your keys.

Dead Words

July 28, 2015, 8:20 pm

I really like Motorola phones, but there's just something off about this year's releases. For example, it just doesn't make sense for the Moto G to have waterproofing but not the two Moto X's. And why is the Moto X Play only .2 inches smaller, with a far larger battery, and actually thinner? Just strange.


July 29, 2015, 7:41 am

So would you have been happier overall if the MotoG was not waterproof, and the Play was fatter with a smaller battery? That would chime better with your sense of order and fair play?
Alternatively, you could judge each phone on its own merits.

Dead Words

July 29, 2015, 12:59 pm

Haha, what was that venom about? That's not what I said at all, my friend. You make assumptions where there's none to be made.


July 29, 2015, 9:21 pm

Sometimes I get like that, sorry.

Dead Words

July 30, 2015, 2:57 am

I didn't mean that it was flat out wrong, just that it was strange, sir. There's definite hardware crossover and places where some decisions don't make any sense. Yeah, it's great that the Moto G is waterproof, but why not the Moto X's? Do you understand what I mean?


August 6, 2015, 3:49 am

Yu Yureka Plus in India costs just 90£ with same the same S610 processor and 2GB of RAM.


August 26, 2015, 3:23 pm

Something's gone wrong with that video - it's the Moto X review and not the Moto X Play.


August 26, 2015, 4:18 pm

IPx7 (Moto G) and IP57 (Moto X) are both rated 7 for water ingress protection, so why do you say that the Moto X is not as good as the Moto G for this feature?


August 26, 2015, 4:31 pm

It seems from the updated article that they in fact are both rated 7 on the IP scale for water ingress, so after all that we can both be happy!

Dead Words

August 26, 2015, 9:01 pm

They're still different ratings.

Dead Words

August 26, 2015, 9:01 pm

I like it, it's a good combination of features. I'd like to see how the Moto X Style turns out.

Dead Words

August 26, 2015, 9:05 pm

Haha strange that they didn't mention it in the preview. Perhaps they didn't know about it?
How does IPx7 differ from IP57? They must be different as they are, in fact, different ratings, but how do they differ?


August 27, 2015, 7:55 pm

"On the top you'll find the headphone bang in the center".

The word is spelt "centre".

PS. Stop it!


August 28, 2015, 7:12 pm

iFrank sez:

" 'On the top you'll find the headphone bang in the center'.
The word is spelt 'centre' ".

And pronounced "SON-treh", of course (roll the R). Any French-speaking person knows that.
But, if you want a reader to know, for sure, that your word is pronounced "SEN-ter", well, you'll probably have to go with "center".

Seriously, though, he probably had the USian dictionary selected in his spell-check. SUCH a faux-pas for a Brit writer. :-)


September 1, 2015, 7:05 pm

7 = 7, obviously, so they ought to be the same. Although I guess one might just meet the requirements whilst the other could exceed them comfortably?
(The 'x' just means that phone makes no dust protection claims, the other phone is rated 5 for dust protection.)


September 1, 2015, 7:06 pm

For water resistance they are both 7, no difference there.


September 3, 2015, 2:25 pm

Go on google its explained what those rating mean.

IP = ingress protection.

First number or letter comming after is for solid particle.

X mean its was not tested for this.

Second number is water ingress and the test done.

So IPX7 = no protection to dust ( or not tested ) and Ingress of water in harmful quantity shall not be possible when the enclosure is immersed in water under defined conditions of pressure and time (up to 1 m of submersion for 30 min).

IP57 = Ingress of dust is not entirely prevented, but it must not enter in sufficient quantity to interfere with the satisfactory operation of the equipment and Ingress of water in harmful quantity shall not be possible when the enclosure is immersed in water under defined conditions of pressure and time (up to 1 m of submersion for 30 min).

So the moto X play has a better rating.


September 15, 2015, 11:45 am

This one is 615.


September 15, 2015, 8:07 pm

I disagree with your rating and cons list.
1) My phone came with the turbo charger when I purchased it from Koodo, if yours didn't, you should speak with your provider to ensure they provide you one.
2) There is a night time mode and controlled brightness setting available for the camera included. (Which sadly confirms you haven't experienced the phone sufficiently to give a proper review since the camera is one of the greatest features of this phone.)
3) Minor performance issues? Such as??
This phone has an octo-core CPU, are you nuts? O.o

I would add the following to your pros list:
Amazing megapixel camera, clear HD resolution, fast, long battery endurance, fast turbo charging, water resistant, amazing clear sound from front speakers, large screen, micro SD card slot.

John Dave

September 17, 2015, 9:56 am

It is a brilliant
mobile and what I loved about it is its 5MP selfie camera. Fully loaded with up
to date Android features. It works smoothly and is fully responsive too. The
2200 mAH battery do also provide 13 hours of talk time. Amazing, really

Sanjay Madhava

September 22, 2015, 11:08 am

Yes but it's a horrible phone. I bought it on a flash sale in Flipkart. The make is horrible, the battery life is even worse and don't even talk about the call quality


September 23, 2015, 3:07 pm

Losing 5-7% overnight is too much. With my Nexus 5, which is almost 2 years old, I lose between 1-3%. Also you mentioned that you don't feel the absence of laser focus. Well you comment for the low light photos shows just the opposite. Perhaps you should first get familiar with the laser focus technology and then talk about it.

Pro-Shunt™ FagSupreme

September 28, 2015, 7:12 pm

Reason: Fast Charging. Fast charging causes fast and unnecessary battery drain after unplugging. Normal, slow charging is the best. Fast charging also degrades battery capacity overtime...

Pro-Shunt™ FagSupreme

September 28, 2015, 7:13 pm

Shit phone of course...

Martin Boulger

October 1, 2015, 10:11 pm

It's still a very mid range processor. The 615 is a staple now for mid range phones and while it's no slouch it's no speed freak either. Multi-cores don't necessarily equal performance.

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