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Motorola Moto X Play Smartphone Review

Florian Wimmer, Stefanie Voigt (translated by Liala Stieglitz), 09/14/2015

Mingling in the mid-range. Motorola has pitched its mid-range Moto X Play phone to compete against price-performance whoppers such as OnePlus' One. The buyer gets a gigantic battery, plenty of performance and a high-resolution camera for under 400 Euros (~$454). Find out whether this is the new mid-range champion.

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For the original German review, see here.

The quality in the mid-range smartphone has clearly increased in the past months: Full HD screens are now standard, the performance of some SoCs is high-end, the battery life is continually increasing, and the manufacturers are vying with each other in terms of camera quality. Consequently, the buyer finds many features for under 400 Euros (~$454) that were previously exclusively reserved for considerably more expensive smartphones.

OnePlus' One paved the way in this trend. Its clever marketing that only allowed purchasing upon invitation, and above all its outstanding price-performance ratio prompted a downright hype. Of course, established manufacturers now respond, and offer smartphones within this price range with premium features. Today, we are having a closer look at Motorola's Moto X Play, which represents Motorola's new mid-range.

Primarily, the smartphone is aiming to impress with its battery that is to last up to two days of mixed usage. Motorola has also installed a 21-megapixel camera, which puts it on par with modern top-range smartphones - at least regarding the megapixel count.

Whether or not Motorola's Moto X Play will successfully establish itself in the new mid-range depends on the features of equally expensive devices. The OnePlus 2 is the successor of the aforementioned OnePlus One that is still a smartphone with a superb price-performance ratio. The Honor 6 Plus, the Honor 7, the Asus ZenFone 2 and the HTC Desire 820 are in the same league as the Moto X Play. Google's Nexus 6 and Apple's iPhone 6 Plus are considerably higher priced, but perhaps the Moto X Play can take it up with these leaders. We will find out more in the following detailed report.

Motorola Moto X Play (Moto Series)
Graphics adapter
Memory
2048 MB 
Display
5.5 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel, capacitive touchscreen, IPS, 16 M colors, Gorilla Glass 3, glossy: yes
Storage
16 GB eMMC Flash, 16 GB 
, 11 GB free
Connections
1 USB 2.0, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm combo audio jack, Card Reader: micro-SD max. 128GB, NFC, Brightness Sensor, Sensors: motion sensor, light sensor, proximity sensor, compass
Networking
802.11a/b/g/n (a/b/g/n), Bluetooth 4.0 LE, GSM (850/900/1800/1900), UMTS (850/900/1800/1900/2100), LTE (B1/B3/B5/B7/B8/B19/B20/B28/B38/B41); bandwidth LTE (download/upload): 150Mbps/50Mbps; SAR-rate: 0.494W (head), 0.682W/kg (body), LTE, GPS
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 10.9 x 148 x 75 ( = 0.43 x 5.83 x 2.95 in)
Battery
14 Wh Lithium-Ion, 3630 mAh, non-removable, Battery runtime (according to manufacturer): 48 h
Operating System
Android 5.1 Lollipop
Camera
Webcam: 5.0MP (front); 21.0MP, AF, dual LED flash, videos @1080p/30fps (rear)
Additional features
Speakers: front-facing stereo speaker, Keyboard: virtual keyboard, USB cable, power supply, SIM tool, Motorola Connect, Migrate, Motorola Moto, 24 Months Warranty, NFC, GPS, Glonass, BeiDou, splash-waterproof, SIM size: nano-SIM, fanless
Weight
169 g ( = 5.96 oz / 0.37 pounds), Power Supply: 59 g ( = 2.08 oz / 0.13 pounds)
Price
379 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Case

MotoMaker allows customizing the smartphone,
MotoMaker allows customizing the smartphone,
making unusual color combinations possible. (Picture: Motorola)
making unusual color combinations possible. (Picture: Motorola)
The back cover is removable to change the cover. The battery behind is screwed into the body.
The back cover is removable to change the cover. The battery behind is screwed into the body.

The casing of the Moto X Play is made entirely of plastic. Unlike OnePlus' 2 or Honor's 6 Plus, there is no sign of aluminum or fiberglass. However, it is better to accept a high-quality plastic casing with pleasant surfaces than a superimposed aluminum bezel at any cost, and thus we very much like the casing of the Moto X Play. The curved back gives the device a nice feel, and the lightly rubber-coated texture provides a good grip. Gorilla Glass covers the entire front, and wide speaker openings are situated at the top and bottom.

A certain degree of resemblance to Google's Nexus 6, which also comes from Motorola, is undeniable. The smartphones are very similar, especially on the front. As in that review, the design cannot quite compete with that of an iPhone 6 Plus, and overall, we also liked the more basic design of OnePlus' 2 better - but that is of course a matter of taste.

The material impression is also good, and the Moto Maker will certainly please individualists: The device can be personalized via many colors on Motorola's website, and the back is also available in either black or white. The colors actually highlight the speaker openings, camera module and the back. It is also possible to engrave something personal on the back. The options are not unlimited, but there are fourteen colors available for the back and seven for accents, making it possible to try different combinations.

Motorola has coated the casing with a nano finish, which makes it splash-water resistant. However, the smartphone should not be immersed in water because the ports are not protected against water, and the casing is not completely waterproof.

The back can be removed, but the relatively large battery cannot be replaced. To-date, there are no Teardown videos or repair guides so that we cannot say much about repair options. The related Nexus 6 is quite easy to repair thanks to its many screws and little use of glue, and the latest Moto X also seems comparatively easy for savvy users to repair, and thus chances are also good for the Moto X Play.

The curved back and large battery, measuring 10.9 millimeters (~0.43 in) at the  thickest point, do not make it exactly slim. However, Asus' ZenFone 2 is just as bulky. The iPhone 6 Plus and Honor 6 Plus are considerably slimmer. On the other hand, Motorola's Moto X Play does not need to be ashamed of its weight: With a weight of 169 grams (~6 oz), it is lighter than many other phablets, and only HTC's Desire 820 significantly undercuts this weight.

Connectivity

The Moto X Play is normally shipped with only 16 GB of storage; the 32 GB version is exclusively available on Motorola's website. The storage can be expanded by up to 128 GB, which is a clear advantage over the OnePlus 2 that is also sold with 64 GB, but does not feature a micro SD slot even in models with less storage.

However, OnePlus 2 is equipped with an innovative USB Type C port that only supports USB 2.0 speeds. The buyer has to be content with a not as future-proof, but still currently more commonly installed Type B port in the Moto X Play. Then again, this has the advantage that existing charging cables can be used. USB on the go, i.e. connecting external storage devices to the smartphone, is not supported.

Miracast for transmitting videos to external monitors, for example, smart TVs, is supported. However, a Sony smart TV was not identified in our test, although the Windows computer could still transmit video signals.

Another advantage over OnePlus 2: The NFC chip that allows the Moto X Play to communicate with nearby devices.

Left: No interfaces
Left: No interfaces
Right: Standby button, volume rocker
Right: Standby button, volume rocker
Upper edge: SIM slot, 3.5 mm combo audio port
Upper edge: SIM slot, 3.5 mm combo audio port
Lower edge: Micro-USB 2.0 port
Lower edge: Micro-USB 2.0 port
Motorola Moto expands the operating system's functionality
Motorola Moto expands the operating system's functionality

Software

Motorola, a former Google subsidiary, uses a largely unchanged Android version that is only extended with some apps. The latest Android 5.1.1 version is used. Updating to future versions should be easily possible thanks to the small modifications and Motorola even guarantees that.

Additional apps include Motorola Moto that expands the smartphone by a personal assistant. On the one hand, it is a voice control that can even wake up the phone, and on the other, extended gesture control and notifications, as well as the time in standby can be activated and adapted here. Profiles that are linked to specific places or actions are also possible.

Data can be easily adopted from other smartphones via Migrate, and an expansive support app is available for newbies.

The settings have only been modified subtly, but it is at least possible to personalize the screen with some modes.

Communication & GPS 

The Moto X Play supports four GSM, five UMTS and ten LTE bands. This results in a very impressive diversity of network options, even in foreign countries. We like the reception: We always had a decent LTE or at least HSPA+ reception even indoors in an urban area in the German O2 / EPlus network. The maximum speed of our plan is limited to 21.6 MB per second in the LTE network, and we achieved approximately 8 MB per second in a random test in a building.

Wi-Fi standard 802.11 a/b/g/n is possible, and thus the 5 GHz range can also be used. The full signal was displayed in the router's vicinity. The signal strength fluctuated between 50 and 70% at a distance of ten meters (~33 ft) and through three walls. However, websites still opened very fast.

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GPS indoors
GPS indoors
GPS outdoors
GPS outdoors

We could not measure a GPS signal on the smartphone indoors. However, the Moto X Play also had problems finding a strong enough signal for localization on a cloudy day outdoors.

The Moto X Play had to restore its honor on a mountain bike trip, and competes against the Garmin Edge 500 navigation system. In fact, the GPS fares quite well in everyday use. The measured routes exhibit a difference of only 30 meters (~98 ft), which is negligible over a total route of more than 12 kilometers (~7.5 mi). The navigation system proved more accurate after all: For example, according to the Moto X Play we "flew" over a rooftop in an intersection area, unlike the Edge 500 that correctly placed us on the street. Nevertheless, the Moto X Play is quite suitable for navigating.

GPS Moto X Play total
GPS Moto X Play total
GPS Moto X Play intersection
GPS Moto X Play intersection
GPS Moto X Play bridge
GPS Moto X Play bridge
GPS Garmin Edge 500 total
GPS Garmin Edge 500 total
GPS Garmin Edge 500 intersection
GPS Garmin Edge 500 intersection
GPS Garmin Edge 500 bridge
GPS Garmin Edge 500 bridge

Telephone & Call Quality

Anyone who has ever used the phone app of Android Lollipop will find a familiar interface in the Moto X Play. Motorola has not changed anything about the default app, which primarily focuses on frequently called contacts. However, the keypad is always accessible via the round button in the lower center. A search box is in the upper area, and the contact list can be opened quickly by swiping left twice.

The call quality leaves us with a mixed impression. On the one hand, the integrated front-facing speaker is used as the earpiece, which allows a very high maximum volume. On the other hand, the speaker soon starts to hum at high volumes. The best results were achieved at a volume of approximately 70%, but we found the rendered voice quality not quite as clear as in higher quality smartphones. The microphone also hums when speaking loudly, which was confirmed by our contact. However, the background noises are filtered quite well.

Front-facing camera
Front-facing camera

Cameras & Multimedia

Motorola uses 21 megapixels for its rear-facing camera. Just considering the figures, the camera should be superior to all comparison devices. However, naturally we look closer to find out whether the color reproduction and sharpness of the pictures is impressive. In fact, we were quite pleased with the results of the rear-facing camera: Even small details can still be recognized clearly and are sharp in blowups, such as the individual bolts of the bridge in the first screenshot. Although there are overexposure effects and color fringing, they are only seen on closer inspection. Leaves on trees in the distance are not depicted as detailed and  look rather like a homogeneous area, which is evident on the opposite riverside in the second photo. However, we very much like the pictures in view of the compact lens; the color reproduction is especially compelling.

Videos can be recorded in 1080p and at 30 frames per second. Oddly enough, the colors no longer look quite as natural, but the pictures are sharp. The auto focus adjusts quite quickly, and movements look smooth.

The front-facing camera has a resolution of 5 megapixels, and we were pleased with the colors. Minor color fringing and blurriness can be observed at the edges when zooming in more closely. However, this should be quite acceptable in selfies for social networks.

Image Comparison

Choose a scene and navigate within the first image. One click changes the position on touchscreens. One click on the zoomed-in image opens the original in a new window. The first image shows the scaled photograph of the test device.

Scene 1Scene 2Scene 3
click to load images

Accessories

In addition to the Moto X Play, a USB cable and charger with two USB ports for recharging more than one device are included in the box. The charging device has an output of 1.15 ampere, which is equivalent to a charge time of approximately 2 hours. A "TurboPower" charger with a higher output of 1.67 ampere that reduces charging time significantly is available on Motorola's website. However, it is not exactly cheap at almost 30 Euros (~$34).

A Wallet Shell, i.e. a protective cover with a microfiber card slot is also available for 35 Euros (~$40). The other accessories are not specifically tailored for the Moto X Play, but the micro power pack with key chain might be useful when the smartphone needs more power on the move. It costs almost 50 Euros (~$57) on Motorola's website.

Warranty

Motorola includes a 24-month warranty on its smartphone.

Input Devices & Handling

The virtual keyboard also will look familiar to Android veterans. Motorola uses Google's standard app, which is a nice thing. The keyboard is clearly arranged, handling is accurate, and several looks allow adapting it to personal preferences. There are also many settings, and voice dictation is possible as well as inputting by swiping over the keyboard. Users who need additional or other features can find several alternative keyboards in Google's Play Store.

The touchscreen is very accurate, up into the corners. The keys on the casing's right look slightly unstable. We would have hoped for a higher quality here. However, they have a clear pressure point and are convenient to use.

Motorola Moto personal assistant expands the controls by gestures, or more precisely by one gesture: Twisting the wrist twice opens the camera. Will this be of great help in everyday use? An assistant like Cortana or Siri is also installed. However, since Google Now is also preloaded on Android smartphones, this feature does not add much novelty in terms of use. The only advantage is that Motorola's solution can be activated in standby.

Keyboard portrait mode
Keyboard portrait mode
Keyboard landscape mode
Keyboard landscape mode

Display

The Moto X Play has a 5.5-inch screen with 1920x1080 pixels, i.e. Full HD resolution. Most comparison devices also offer this resolution. Two exceptions are HTC's Desire 820 with a considerably lower resolution of 1280x720 pixels, while Google's Nexus 6 has a higher resolution of 2560x1440 pixels. Overall, the Full HD resolution is enough for a sharp image; individual pixels are not visible even when looking closely.

The Moto X Play outperforms all the rivals in one aspect: screen brightness. The image shines with up to 641 cd/m². Not even Apple's iPhone 6 Plus can compete with this. Its illumination of 93% is also quite homogeneous, and differences in brightness in large colored surfaces are not visible.

599
cd/m²
619
cd/m²
634
cd/m²
605
cd/m²
641
cd/m²
623
cd/m²
606
cd/m²
622
cd/m²
633
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 641 cd/m² Average: 620.2 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 93 %
Center on Battery: 641 cd/m²
Contrast: 1603:1 (Black: 0.4 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 5.37 | 0.4-29.43 Ø6.2
ΔE Greyscale 6.01 | 0.64-98 Ø6.5
Gamma: 2.44
Motorola Moto X Play
Adreno 405, 615 MSM8939, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Honor 6 Plus
Mali-T628 MP4, Kirin 925, 32 GB eMMC Flash
OnePlus 2
Adreno 430, 810 MSM8994, 64 GB eMMC Flash
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551ML
PowerVR G6430, Z3560, 32 GB eMMC Flash
HTC Desire 820
Adreno 405, 615 MSM8939, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Google Nexus 6
Adreno 420, 805 APQ8084, 32 GB eMMC Flash
Apple iPhone 6 Plus
PowerVR GX6450, A8, 64 GB eMMC Flash
Honor 7
Mali-T628 MP4, Kirin 935, 64 GB eMMC Flash
Screen
-8%
3%
-12%
-11%
-23%
-11%
4%
Brightness middle
641
472
-26%
451
-30%
329.4
-49%
541
-16%
274
-57%
519
-19%
442
-31%
Brightness
620
471
-24%
446
-28%
315
-49%
531
-14%
264
-57%
496
-20%
440
-29%
Brightness Distribution
93
93
0%
90
-3%
89
-4%
91
-2%
89
-4%
90
-3%
92
-1%
Black Level *
0.4
0.28
30%
0.3
25%
0.298
25%
0.5
-25%
0.62
-55%
0.23
42%
Contrast
1603
1686
5%
1503
-6%
1105
-31%
1082
-33%
837
-48%
1922
20%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
5.37
6.33
-18%
3.84
28%
5.24
2%
5.85
-9%
6.99
-30%
3.67
32%
4.52
16%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
6.01
7.39
-23%
3.97
34%
4.8
20%
4.71
22%
4.01
33%
3.78
37%
5.47
9%
Gamma
2.44 90%
2.34 94%
2.46 89%
2.43 91%
2.42 91%
2.03 108%
2.42 91%
2.27 97%
CCT
7806 83%
8227 79%
7283 89%
7419 88%
7591 86%
6329 103%
7327 89%
7874 83%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
58.07
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
90.14
99.7

* ... smaller is better

A very bright screen might also mean that black areas shine too brightly. We can give the all clear here: Although the black level of 0.4 cd/m² is not the top rate among the comparison devices, it is still midfield. This, combined with the extremely high brightness result in a superb contrast ratio of 1603:1, which is only surpassed by Honor's 6 Plus and the AMOLED screen in Google's Nexus 6 with a theoretically infinitely high contrast.

The screen's color reproduction also appealed to us; the colors are vivid, but not overemphasized and dark areas look rich and do not have a visible grayish tint.

We use a spectrophotometer and the CalMAN software for a more detailed color reproduction analysis. A light bluish tint is visible to the naked eye primarily in the light grayscale levels. Overall, the colors are slightly oversaturated. The average shift from the ideal rate of the sRGB color space is mainly in the midfield. The screen of the Moto X Play will not offer high enough color space coverage for professionals. Everyone else should be very satisfied with the crisp color reproduction, especially since it can be adapted to meet personal preferences via some profiles.

ColorChecker: sRGB
ColorChecker: sRGB
Colorspace: sRGB
Colorspace: sRGB
Grayscale: sRGB
Grayscale: sRGB
Saturation Sweeps: sRGB
Saturation Sweeps: sRGB
Colorspace: AdobeRGB
Colorspace: AdobeRGB
ColorChecker: AdobeRGB
ColorChecker: AdobeRGB

Thanks to its extremely bright screen, the Moto X Play shines in the outdoors. Even the relatively high glossy surface cannot lessen the good outcome. Buyers looking for a smartphone suitable for outdoor use will definitely be well advised with the Moto X Play.

Minor brightness shifts are visible on the screen when tilting the smartphone sideways or up and down. However, these are not dramatic and are more evident in the camera photos than in everyday use. Overall, the screen's content is still  quite legible even from very flat angles.

Outdoors
Outdoors
Viewing angles
Viewing angles

Performance

Unlike OnePlus that relies on a top-range SoC, Motorola sticks to a mid-range model: Qualcomm's Snapdragon 615 MSM8939 clocking at 1.7 GHz and a total of eight processor cores. The SoC supports 64-bit and should have enough power for everyday smartphone use.

It quickly becomes obvious that the performance of the Moto X Play cannot compete with the comparison devices. The OnePlus 2 achieves approximately 100 percent more performance in many benchmarks. The advantages of Asus' ZenFone 2Apple's iPhone 6 Plus and Google's Nexus 6 are sometimes just as high.

However, the performance difference will probably be noticed in everyday use only when the smartphone is used for very sophisticated calculations. All apps used on the Moto X Play in our tests ran smoothly, and there were no lags in navigation.

Geekbench 3
64 Bit Multi-Core Score (sort by value)
Motorola Moto X Play
2558 Points ∼7%
OnePlus 2
4804 Points ∼13% +88%
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551ML
2373 Points ∼6% -7%
Honor 7
3888 Points ∼10% +52%
64 Bit Single-Core Score (sort by value)
Motorola Moto X Play
717 Points ∼15%
OnePlus 2
1140 Points ∼23% +59%
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551ML
757 Points ∼15% +6%
Honor 7
957 Points ∼19% +33%
Smartbench 2012
Gaming Index (sort by value)
Motorola Moto X Play
2523 points ∼55%
Honor 6 Plus
4363 points ∼95% +73%
Google Nexus 6
2108 points ∼46% -16%
HTC Desire 820
3943 points ∼86% +56%
OnePlus 2
4325 points ∼94% +71%
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551ML
4300 points ∼93% +70%
Honor 7
4217 points ∼92% +67%
Productivity Index (sort by value)
Motorola Moto X Play
3820 points ∼20%
Honor 6 Plus
6469 points ∼34% +69%
Google Nexus 6
7468 points ∼40% +95%
HTC Desire 820
6234 points ∼33% +63%
OnePlus 2
10472 points ∼56% +174%
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551ML
3263 points ∼17% -15%
Honor 7
6586 points ∼35% +72%
Linpack Android / IOS
Multi Thread (sort by value)
Motorola Moto X Play
275 MFLOPS ∼9%
Honor 6 Plus
420.615 MFLOPS ∼14% +53%
Apple iPhone 6 Plus
1440.81 MFLOPS ∼49% +424%
HTC Desire 820
317.64 MFLOPS ∼11% +16%
OnePlus 2
818.77 MFLOPS ∼28% +198%
Honor 7
270.13 MFLOPS ∼9% -2%
Single Thread (sort by value)
Motorola Moto X Play
134 MFLOPS ∼13%
Honor 6 Plus
191.4 MFLOPS ∼19% +43%
Apple iPhone 6 Plus
766.2 MFLOPS ∼75% +472%
HTC Desire 820
136.759 MFLOPS ∼13% +2%
OnePlus 2
630.326 MFLOPS ∼62% +370%
Honor 7
127.15 MFLOPS ∼12% -5%
AnTuTu v5 - Total Score (sort by value)
Motorola Moto X Play
29699 Points ∼37%
Honor 6 Plus
44523 Points ∼55% +50%
Google Nexus 6
51812 Points ∼64% +74%
Apple iPhone 6 Plus
50360 Points ∼62% +70%
HTC Desire 820
27825 Points ∼35% -6%
OnePlus 2
58535 Points ∼73% +97%
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551ML
42247 Points ∼52% +42%
Honor 7
47515 Points ∼59% +60%
Quadrant Standard Edition 2.0 - --- (sort by value)
Motorola Moto X Play
17712 points ∼41%
HTC Desire 820
19790 points ∼46% +12%
OnePlus 2
31148 points ∼72% +76%
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551ML
18158 points ∼42% +3%
PassMark PerformanceTest Mobile V1 - System (sort by value)
Motorola Moto X Play
3050 Points ∼14%
Google Nexus 6
3602 Points ∼17% +18%
Apple iPhone 6 Plus
5622 Points ∼26% +84%
HTC Desire 820
3298 Points ∼16% +8%
OnePlus 2
6462 Points ∼30% +112%
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551ML
5108 Points ∼24% +67%
AndEBench
Java (sort by value)
Motorola Moto X Play
683 Iter./s ∼21%
HTC Desire 820
260 Iter./s ∼8% -62%
OnePlus 2
1486 Iter./s ∼46% +118%
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551ML
1096 Iter./s ∼34% +60%
Native (sort by value)
Motorola Moto X Play
6830 Iter./s ∼22%
HTC Desire 820
12017 Iter./s ∼39% +76%
OnePlus 2
19441 Iter./s ∼64% +185%
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551ML
16601 Iter./s ∼54% +143%
ANDEBench PRO
3D (sort by value)
Motorola Moto X Play
11.89 fps ∼9%
OnePlus 2
31.64 fps ∼24% +166%
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551ML
18.22 fps ∼14% +53%
Storage (sort by value)
Motorola Moto X Play
7883 KB/s ∼8%
OnePlus 2
8658 KB/s ∼8% +10%
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551ML
5939 KB/s ∼6% -25%
Memory Latency (sort by value)
Motorola Moto X Play
2781 KOps/s ∼34%
OnePlus 2
2152 KOps/s ∼27% -23%
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551ML
5649 KOps/s ∼70% +103%
Memory Bandwidth (sort by value)
Motorola Moto X Play
3731 MB/s ∼18%
OnePlus 2
8520 MB/s ∼41% +128%
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551ML
4074 MB/s ∼19% +9%
Device Score (sort by value)
Motorola Moto X Play
4329 Points ∼17%
OnePlus 2
9260 Points ∼36% +114%
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551ML
6911 Points ∼27% +60%
PCMark for Android - Work performance score (sort by value)
Motorola Moto X Play
3589 Points ∼27%
Honor 6 Plus
2859 Points ∼21% -20%
HTC Desire 820
3353 Points ∼25% -7%
OnePlus 2
4282 Points ∼32% +19%
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551ML
5083 Points ∼38% +42%
Honor 7
4625 Points ∼34% +29%
BaseMark OS II
Web (sort by value)
Motorola Moto X Play
710 Points ∼35%
Honor 6 Plus
797 Points ∼39% +12%
Google Nexus 6
682 Points ∼34% -4%
Apple iPhone 6 Plus
1092 Points ∼54% +54%
HTC Desire 820
705 Points ∼35% -1%
OnePlus 2
923 Points ∼45% +30%
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551ML
688 Points ∼34% -3%
Honor 7
717 Points ∼35% +1%
Graphics (sort by value)
Motorola Moto X Play
785 Points ∼3%
Honor 6 Plus
776 Points ∼3% -1%
Google Nexus 6
2130 Points ∼7% +171%
Apple iPhone 6 Plus
2389 Points ∼8% +204%
HTC Desire 820
803 Points ∼3% +2%
OnePlus 2
2631 Points ∼9% +235%
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551ML
1432 Points ∼5% +82%
Honor 7
881 Points ∼3% +12%
Memory (sort by value)
Motorola Moto X Play
595 Points ∼9%
Honor 6 Plus
532 Points ∼8% -11%
Google Nexus 6
421 Points ∼7% -29%
Apple iPhone 6 Plus
536 Points ∼9% -10%
HTC Desire 820
416 Points ∼7% -30%
OnePlus 2
1297 Points ∼21% +118%
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551ML
954 Points ∼15% +60%
Honor 7
1324 Points ∼21% +123%
System (sort by value)
Motorola Moto X Play
1177 Points ∼7%
Honor 6 Plus
2141 Points ∼13% +82%
Google Nexus 6
1604 Points ∼10% +36%
Apple iPhone 6 Plus
2038 Points ∼12% +73%
HTC Desire 820
1125 Points ∼7% -4%
OnePlus 2
2536 Points ∼15% +115%
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551ML
1622 Points ∼10% +38%
Honor 7
2351 Points ∼14% +100%
Overall (sort by value)
Motorola Moto X Play
701 Points ∼8%
Honor 6 Plus
916 Points ∼11% +31%
Google Nexus 6
995 Points ∼12% +42%
Apple iPhone 6 Plus
1299 Points ∼15% +85%
HTC Desire 820
717 Points ∼8% +2%
OnePlus 2
1681 Points ∼20% +140%
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551ML
1111 Points ∼13% +58%
Honor 7
1184 Points ∼14% +69%

Legend

 
Motorola Moto X Play Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 MSM8939, Qualcomm Adreno 405, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Honor 6 Plus HiSilicon Kirin 925, ARM Mali-T628 MP4, 32 GB eMMC Flash
 
Google Nexus 6 Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 APQ8084, Qualcomm Adreno 420, 32 GB eMMC Flash
 
Apple iPhone 6 Plus Apple A8, PowerVR GX6450, 64 GB eMMC Flash
 
HTC Desire 820 Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 MSM8939, Qualcomm Adreno 405, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
OnePlus 2 Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 MSM8994, Qualcomm Adreno 430, 64 GB eMMC Flash
 
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551ML Intel Atom Z3560, PowerVR G6430, 32 GB eMMC Flash
 
Honor 7 HiSilicon Kirin 935, ARM Mali-T628 MP4, 64 GB eMMC Flash

The rivals also place the Moto X Play in the last place in browser performance using innovative technologies like HTML 5. The question arises as to whether differences will be noticed in everyday use. There were no evident performance issues on HTML 5 pages, or in videos in the test.

Vellamo 3.x
Metal (sort by value)
Motorola Moto X Play
1291 Points ∼35%
Google Nexus 6
1579 Points ∼42% +22%
HTC Desire 820
1078 Points ∼29% -16%
OnePlus 2
2526 Points ∼68% +96%
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551ML
1200 Points ∼32% -7%
Multicore Beta (sort by value)
Motorola Moto X Play
1025 Points ∼23%
Google Nexus 6
1701 Points ∼38% +66%
HTC Desire 820
1452 Points ∼32% +42%
OnePlus 2
2272 Points ∼51% +122%
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551ML
1251 Points ∼28% +22%
Browser (sort by value)
Motorola Moto X Play
1849 Points ∼24%
Google Nexus 6
3740 Points ∼49% +102%
HTC Desire 820
2493 Points ∼33% +35%
OnePlus 2
4526 Points ∼60% +145%
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551ML
3005 Points ∼40% +63%
Sunspider - 1.0 Total Score (sort by value)
Motorola Moto X Play
1235 ms * ∼14%
Honor 6 Plus
742.8 ms * ∼8% +40%
Google Nexus 6
784 ms * ∼9% +37%
Apple iPhone 6 Plus
347.4 ms * ∼4% +72%
HTC Desire 820
1127.6 ms * ∼12% +9%
OnePlus 2
739.6 ms * ∼8% +40%
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551ML
817.7 ms * ∼9% +34%
Honor 7
942 ms * ∼10% +24%
Octane V2 - Total Score (sort by value)
Motorola Moto X Play
3764 Points ∼8%
Honor 6 Plus
6370 Points ∼13% +69%
Google Nexus 6
5271 Points ∼11% +40%
Apple iPhone 6 Plus
7276 Points ∼15% +93%
HTC Desire 820
3417 Points ∼7% -9%
OnePlus 2
6955 Points ∼14% +85%
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551ML
6507 Points ∼13% +73%
Honor 7
4646 Points ∼9% +23%
Google V8 Ver. 7 - Google V8 Ver. 7 Score (sort by value)
Motorola Moto X Play
3917 Points ∼20%
Honor 6 Plus
6680 Points ∼34% +71%
Google Nexus 6
6559 Points ∼34% +67%
Apple iPhone 6 Plus
8604 Points ∼44% +120%
HTC Desire 820
3716 Points ∼19% -5%
OnePlus 2
7650 Points ∼39% +95%
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551ML
6198 Points ∼32% +58%
Honor 7
4736 Points ∼24% +21%
Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score (sort by value)
Motorola Moto X Play
11694 ms * ∼20%
Honor 6 Plus
5500.9 ms * ∼9% +53%
Google Nexus 6
6124 ms * ∼10% +48%
Apple iPhone 6 Plus
4469.8 ms * ∼8% +62%
HTC Desire 820
11610 ms * ∼20% +1%
OnePlus 2
6585.3 ms * ∼11% +44%
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551ML
5845.9 ms * ∼10% +50%
Honor 7
16876 ms * ∼28% -44%
WebXPRT 2015 - Overall Score (sort by value)
Motorola Moto X Play
56 Points ∼7%
Honor 6 Plus
94 Points ∼12% +68%
OnePlus 2
80 Points ∼10% +43%
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551ML
109 Points ∼14% +95%
Honor 7
67 Points ∼8% +20%
JetStream 1.1 - 1.1 Total Score (sort by value)
Motorola Moto X Play
24.51 Points ∼7%
Honor 6 Plus
37.402 Points ∼11% +53%
OnePlus 2
44.286 Points ∼13% +81%
Honor 7
32.121 Points ∼10% +31%
Browsermark - 2.1 (sort by value)
Motorola Moto X Play
1471 points ∼5%
HTC Desire 820
1472 points ∼5% 0%
OnePlus 2
2111 points ∼7% +44%

* ... smaller is better

Transfer rates micro-SD
Transfer rates micro-SD

Then again, the internal storage of Motorola's Moto X Play places the comparison devices behind: Only the OnePlus 2 offers even faster transfer rates. Motorola's Moto X even shines in the demanding random write test where most storage devices exhibit clear performance drops.

The transfer rates to and from the external micro-SD card (Toshiba Exceria SD-CX32UHS1) are lower, but still within a good range. However, the aforementioned drops in random write and random read are very obvious in the Moto X Play. By the way, Apps can be moved to the micro-SD card.

AndroBench 3-5
Random Write 4KB (sort by value)
Motorola Moto X Play
16 MB/s ∼10%
Honor 6 Plus
6.12 MB/s ∼4% -62%
Google Nexus 6
1.49 MB/s ∼1% -91%
HTC Desire 820
0.75 MB/s ∼0% -95%
OnePlus 2
13.94 MB/s ∼8% -13%
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551ML
5.91 MB/s ∼4% -63%
Honor 7
11.3 MB/s ∼7% -29%
Random Read 4KB (sort by value)
Motorola Moto X Play
16 MB/s ∼9%
Honor 6 Plus
20.8 MB/s ∼12% +30%
Google Nexus 6
7.85 MB/s ∼5% -51%
HTC Desire 820
10.89 MB/s ∼6% -32%
OnePlus 2
21.87 MB/s ∼13% +37%
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551ML
22.69 MB/s ∼13% +42%
Honor 7
24.92 MB/s ∼14% +56%
Sequential Write 256KB (sort by value)
Motorola Moto X Play
75 MB/s ∼31%
Honor 6 Plus
54.29 MB/s ∼22% -28%
Google Nexus 6
18.46 MB/s ∼8% -75%
HTC Desire 820
13.76 MB/s ∼6% -82%
OnePlus 2
125.51 MB/s ∼51% +67%
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551ML
54.6 MB/s ∼22% -27%
Honor 7
86.99 MB/s ∼35% +16%
Sequential Read 256KB (sort by value)
Motorola Moto X Play
139 MB/s ∼16%
Honor 6 Plus
109.83 MB/s ∼12% -21%
Google Nexus 6
25.78 MB/s ∼3% -81%
HTC Desire 820
82.8 MB/s ∼9% -40%
OnePlus 2
234.21 MB/s ∼26% +68%
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551ML
147.56 MB/s ∼16% +6%
Honor 7
140.64 MB/s ∼16% +1%

The graphics performance of the SoC in the Moto X Play is also inferior to that of the comparison devices. Although Qualcomm's Adreno 405, clocking at 550 MHz has enough power for most games, the graphics solution in the OnePlus 2 accomplishes considerably more. The difference compared to Honor's 6 Plus is not quite as great, but the deficit of the Moto X Play is clearly visible in the benchmarks. The Adreno 405 even delivers scores in the 3DMark Ice Storm and Ice Storm Extreme, which indicates that the performance is not very high - the user normally gets a "maxed out" here in modern graphics chips.

3DMark
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Physics (sort by value)
Motorola Moto X Play
974 Points ∼23%
OnePlus 2
1414 Points ∼34% +45%
Honor 7
804 Points ∼19% -17%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Graphics (sort by value)
Motorola Moto X Play
178 Points ∼2%
OnePlus 2
1854 Points ∼22% +942%
Honor 7
269 Points ∼3% +51%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 (sort by value)
Motorola Moto X Play
218 Points ∼3%
OnePlus 2
1734 Points ∼27% +695%
Honor 7
315 Points ∼5% +44%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
Motorola Moto X Play
6839 Points ∼9%
Honor 6 Plus
13420 Points ∼17% +96%
Google Nexus 6
18113 Points ∼23% +165%
Apple iPhone 6 Plus
9473 Points ∼12% +39%
HTC Desire 820
8973 Points ∼11% +31%
OnePlus 2
10985 Points ∼14% +61%
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551ML
16550 Points ∼21% +142%
Honor 7
10360 Points ∼13% +51%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics Score (sort by value)
Motorola Moto X Play
7796 Points ∼1%
Honor 6 Plus
14441 Points ∼3% +85%
Google Nexus 6
25480 Points ∼5% +227%
Apple iPhone 6 Plus
23937 Points ∼5% +207%
HTC Desire 820
9204 Points ∼2% +18%
OnePlus 2
31858 Points ∼6% +309%
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551ML
14270 Points ∼3% +83%
Honor 7
10579 Points ∼2% +36%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Score (sort by value)
Motorola Moto X Play
7561 Points ∼4%
Honor 6 Plus
14201 Points ∼7% +88%
Google Nexus 6
23368 Points ∼11% +209%
Apple iPhone 6 Plus
17873 Points ∼8% +136%
HTC Desire 820
9152 Points ∼4% +21%
OnePlus 2
22400 Points ∼11% +196%
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551ML
14721 Points ∼7% +95%
Honor 7
10528 Points ∼5% +39%
GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7
1920x1080 T-Rex HD Offscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Motorola Moto X Play
15 fps ∼0%
Honor 6 Plus
12 fps ∼0% -20%
Google Nexus 6
39 fps ∼0% +160%
Apple iPhone 6 Plus
44.8 fps ∼0% +199%
HTC Desire 820
14.9 fps ∼0% -1%
OnePlus 2
48 fps ∼0% +220%
Honor 7
10 fps ∼0% -33%
T-Rex HD Onscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Motorola Moto X Play
15 fps ∼0%
Honor 6 Plus
13 fps ∼0% -13%
Google Nexus 6
28 fps ∼1% +87%
Apple iPhone 6 Plus
52.4 fps ∼2% +249%
HTC Desire 820
25.9 fps ∼1% +73%
OnePlus 2
47 fps ∼1% +213%
Honor 7
11 fps ∼0% -27%
GFXBench 3.0
off screen Manhattan Offscreen OGL (sort by value)
Motorola Moto X Play
5.8 fps ∼0%
Honor 6 Plus
6.6 fps ∼0% +14%
Google Nexus 6
19 fps ∼0% +228%
Apple iPhone 6 Plus
18.8 fps ∼0% +224%
HTC Desire 820
5.6 fps ∼0% -3%
OnePlus 2
23 fps ∼0% +297%
Honor 7
5.6 fps ∼0% -3%
on screen Manhattan Onscreen OGL (sort by value)
Motorola Moto X Play
6.2 fps ∼0%
Honor 6 Plus
7.5 fps ∼0% +21%
Google Nexus 6
12 fps ∼0% +94%
Apple iPhone 6 Plus
30.6 fps ∼1% +394%
HTC Desire 820
11.7 fps ∼0% +89%
OnePlus 2
23 fps ∼1% +271%
Honor 7
6.5 fps ∼0% +5%
Basemark X 1.1
High Quality (sort by value)
Motorola Moto X Play
5084 Points ∼12%
HTC Desire 820
4803 Points ∼11% -6%
OnePlus 2
21533 Points ∼49% +324%
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551ML
13059 Points ∼30% +157%
Medium Quality (sort by value)
Motorola Moto X Play
10637 Points ∼24%
HTC Desire 820
10201 Points ∼23% -4%
OnePlus 2
33287 Points ∼74% +213%
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551ML
18918 Points ∼42% +78%
Lightmark - 1920x1080 1080p (sort by value)
Motorola Moto X Play
5.8 fps ∼15%
Honor 6 Plus
4.38 fps ∼11% -24%
OnePlus 2
15.68 fps ∼41% +170%
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551ML
7.61 fps ∼20% +31%

Games

After testing games from Google's Play Store, we can say that Motorola's Moto X Play does justice to its name. Lag-free gaming is possible, even in sophisticated 3D games, such as "Asphalt 8: Airborne" using the screen's high resolution. Less demanding games like "Angry Birds 2" run just as smoothly, and benefit from the highly sensitive touchscreen. Control via position sensor also functioned very well in our test.

"Asphalt 8: Airborne" runs smoothly, ...
"Asphalt 8: Airborne" runs smoothly, ...
...just like less demanding games such as "Angry Birds 2".
...just like less demanding games such as "Angry Birds 2".

Emissions

Stress test (frames)
Stress test (frames)
Stress test (temperature)
Stress test (temperature)

Temperature

The casing heats up significantly even in prolonged idle use. As much as 39.6 degrees Celsius (~103 degrees Fahrenheit) were reached in the area of the earpiece. This is unpleasant, especially when holding the phone to the ear. Asus' ZenFone 2, as a counterexample, does not show any signs of temperature increase in idle mode. However, it has to be considered that the Moto X Play was tested at a very warm ambient temperature of 24.1 degrees Celsius (~75 degrees Fahrenheit). Therefore, although it is unlikely that the temperature increase will be quite as dramatic in everyday use, it will still be noticeable.

The temperature of around 43 degrees Celsius (~109 degrees Fahrenheit) is reached over large areas during load, which is higher than most comparison devices. However, the temperature increase is relatively localized. It will be possible to use the Moto X Play without major restrictions in everyday use, but the ear might be warmed while making calls, which could be particularly unpleasant especially in the summer.

Fortunately, the graphics card does not throttle even during prolonged load, as our stress test with the battery benchmark of GFXBench shows. The components' temperatures reach a maximum of 36 degrees Celsius (~97 degrees Fahrenheit), which is uncritical. A performance fluctuation of only about 1.5% is still quite tolerable. Moreover, the performance is even higher at the end than at the initiation, making throttling unlikely.

Max. Load
 43.8 °C
111 F
44 °C
111 F
42.8 °C
109 F
 
 44.3 °C
112 F
44.1 °C
111 F
42.1 °C
108 F
 
 43.8 °C
111 F
43.5 °C
110 F
42.4 °C
108 F
 
Maximum: 44.3 °C = 112 F
Average: 43.4 °C = 110 F
43.7 °C
111 F
43.6 °C
110 F
44.1 °C
111 F
43.7 °C
111 F
43.3 °C
110 F
42.6 °C
109 F
42.7 °C
109 F
43.5 °C
110 F
43.6 °C
110 F
Maximum: 44.1 °C = 111 F
Average: 43.4 °C = 110 F
Power Supply (max.)  37.3 °C = 99 F | Room Temperature 24.1 °C = 75 F | Voltcraft IR-260
(-) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 43.4 °C / 110 F, compared to the average of 33.2 °C / 92 F for the devices in the class Smartphone.
(±) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 44.3 °C / 112 F, compared to the average of 35.7 °C / 96 F, ranging from 22.4 to 51.7 °C for the class Smartphone.
(±) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 44.1 °C / 111 F, compared to the average of 34.2 °C / 94 F
(±) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 37 °C / 99 F, compared to the device average of 33.2 °C / 92 F.

Speakers

Two front-facing speakers are always a good start for the sound in a smartphone. The Moto X Play also has a relatively high volume, but in our opinion, the sound could be slightly clearer. Furthermore, trebles are much emphasized, which is sometimes unpleasant to the ears at high volumes. Humming is very rare, and at maximum volume. There is a very faint hint of basses.

Overall, a slightly muffled sound is produced that is more suitable for speech than for music due to the overemphasized trebles. The speakers are a makeshift solution for replacing headphones, and could fill a small room with sound. However, the sound quality could be better. The 3.5 mm combo jack delivers a good sound to headphones or external speakers.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

HTC's Desire 820 is based on the same SoC as our review sample, and thus it makes sense to measure the power consumption of both devices. Motorola has clearly made a better job here: The Moto X Play only requires about half the energy in idle mode that HTC's Desire 820 consumes. The difference is also very evident during load. The Moto X Play is roughly on par with the OnePlus 2. However, the maximum consumption of our review sample is higher, presumably due to its brighter screen. Overall, the power consumption of our review sample is moderate, which is a good omen for battery life.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0 / 0.1 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 0.9 / 1.6 / 1.8 Watt
Load midlight 4.9 / 7.2 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Voltcraft VC 870
Motorola Moto X Play
Adreno 405, 615 MSM8939, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Honor 6 Plus
Mali-T628 MP4, Kirin 925, 32 GB eMMC Flash
OnePlus 2
Adreno 430, 810 MSM8994, 64 GB eMMC Flash
HTC Desire 820
Adreno 405, 615 MSM8939, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Google Nexus 6
Adreno 420, 805 APQ8084, 32 GB eMMC Flash
Apple iPhone 6 Plus
PowerVR GX6450, A8, 64 GB eMMC Flash
Honor 7
Mali-T628 MP4, Kirin 935, 64 GB eMMC Flash
Power Consumption
-53%
6%
-25%
-14%
4%
-53%
Idle Minimum *
0.9
1.6
-78%
0.6
33%
0.4
56%
1.2
-33%
0.5
44%
1.7
-89%
Idle Average *
1.6
3
-88%
1.7
-6%
2.8
-75%
1.5
6%
2.1
-31%
2.9
-81%
Idle Maximum *
1.8
3.2
-78%
1.8
-0%
3.5
-94%
1.7
6%
2.5
-39%
3.3
-83%
Load Average *
4.9
5.6
-14%
5.7
-16%
5.9
-20%
4.8
2%
3.5
29%
4.9
-0%
Load Maximum *
7.2
7.6
-6%
6
17%
6.5
10%
10.9
-51%
5.8
19%
8.2
-14%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Runtime

One significant selling point of the Moto X Play is its high-capacity battery that can supply 13.8 Wh. This means that the smartphone should theoretically last 13.8 hours when it consumes 1 watt of power. The consumption is apparently somewhat higher during browsing via Wi-Fi since our review sample shut down after 11:14 hours. However, this is still a very good rate that is at best surpassed by the iPhone 6 Plus .

The load runtime is shorter than that of the comparison models, which is probably due to the screen's maximum brightness that we used for this test. It should be on par with that of other smartphones when the brightness is reduced slightly.

Overall, Moto X Play presents good performance in battery life. Although there will always be devices that come close to the runtimes of our review sample in individual categories, the consistently good performance, particularly in everyday tests strongly advocate the Moto X Play.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
19h 05min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
11h 14min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
12h 22min
Load (maximum brightness)
2h 54min
Motorola Moto X Play
Adreno 405, 615 MSM8939, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Honor 6 Plus
Mali-T628 MP4, Kirin 925, 32 GB eMMC Flash
OnePlus 2
Adreno 430, 810 MSM8994, 64 GB eMMC Flash
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551ML
PowerVR G6430, Z3560, 32 GB eMMC Flash
HTC Desire 820
Adreno 405, 615 MSM8939, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Google Nexus 6
Adreno 420, 805 APQ8084, 32 GB eMMC Flash
Apple iPhone 6 Plus
PowerVR GX6450, A8, 64 GB eMMC Flash
Honor 7
Mali-T628 MP4, Kirin 935, 64 GB eMMC Flash
Battery Runtime
14%
-4%
-3%
-15%
-11%
10%
-9%
Reader / Idle
1145
1645
44%
1393
22%
1019
-11%
1034
-10%
1153
1%
1436
25%
888
-22%
H.264
742
710
-4%
580
-22%
493
-34%
652
-12%
675
-9%
553
-25%
WiFi v1.3
674
535
-21%
356
-47%
375
-44%
484
-28%
Load
174
238
37%
229
32%
255
47%
171
-2%
135
-22%
199
14%
241
39%
WiFi
490
601
777

Pros

+ Rigid casing
+ Customizable
+ Pleasant surfaces
+ Splash-water proof
+ Relatively light
+ NFC
+ Many network frequencies
+ Relatively reliable GPS outdoors
+ Very high-resolution front-facing camera
+ Good camera and video pictures
+ Accurate touchscreen
+ Extremely bright screen
+ High contrast
+ Impeccable viewing angles
+ Sufficient performance
+ Low power consumption
+ Very good battery life
+ Decent price-performance ratio

Cons

- Miracast doesn't always function
- No USB OTG
- Expansion via Moto sometimes senseless
- GPS needs long for signal
- Middling call quality
- Light bluish cast in display
- Less power than equally priced devices
- Relatively high waste heat
- Poor speaker sound
- High maximum consumption

Verdict

In review: Motorola Moto X Play. Review sample courtesy of Motorola Germany.
In review: Motorola Moto X Play. Review sample courtesy of Motorola Germany.

Motorola proves that it is not only OnePlus that can build affordable smartphones that rock the mid-range. The Moto X Play convinces even more particularly in terms of camera and screen.

Apparently, the manufacturer has considered everyone: Multiple color combinations are possible via the Moto Maker for playful natures, but simple black or white is also an option for dignified tastes. The casing is perhaps not quite as stylish as other brands, but it is pleasant to hold, stable and slip proof. The screen is extremely bright, and offers high contrast and good viewing angles. The camera shoots very good photos and videos that can compete with the lenses in premium-range phones.

Then there is of course the battery that might not last the promised two days of mixed use, but will very likely have to be recharged after 1.5 days. Even the considerably more expensive iPhone 6 Plus can only outrun the battery life very marginally.

Motorola will certainly be up front in the mid-range with its Moto X Play. The superb screen, the durable battery, and the high-resolution camera will ensure that.

The shortcoming is found in the sound, which is not really outstanding in both calls and music playback when using the internal speakers. In addition, it does not offer the superior computing power of a OnePlus 2 or premium-range phones. The difference is unlikely to be noticed in everyday use. The high waste heat is another drawback of the Moto X Play.

Overall, the Moto X Play proves that a smartphone that can easily cope with 99% of all everyday situations, apps and games can be found for less than 400 Euros (~$454). The buyer will naturally have to search in the premium range and the latest innovations for the one remaining percent. Anyone who feels comfortable in the mid-range will find a great and, when desired, also colorful companion in the Moto X Play.

Motorola Moto X Play - 02/16/2016 v5
Florian Wimmer

Chassis
82%
Keyboard
67 / 75 → 89%
Pointing Device
95%
Connectivity
42 / 60 → 70%
Weight
91%
Battery
93%
Display
87%
Games Performance
15 / 63 → 24%
Application Performance
30 / 70 → 43%
Temperature
80%
Noise
100%
Audio
60 / 91 → 66%
Camera
82%
Average
71%
84%
Smartphone - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Motorola Moto X Play Smartphone Review
Florian Wimmer, 2015-09-14 (Update: 2018-05-15)