Not a bad phone, but still a step backward

Not a bad phone, but still a step backward

Motorola began pushing its Moto Mod accessories last year with the Moto Z and Z Force. Those phones were underwhelming, but the Moto Z Play won some fans thanks to the incredible battery life, solid performance, and the lower price. It also worked with all the same Mods, if you were so inclined. Not even a year later, Motorola has kicked off the Z2 era with the Moto Z2 Play. It’s available now on Verizon and (soon) unlocked from Moto, priced at $400.

This phone has some things in common with last year’s Z Play, like a mid-range spec sheet and support for Moto Mods. Something is different, though. The previously giant battery has shrunken to a mere 3,000mAh. You’re already making some sacrifices with Motorola’s phones thanks to the continued existence of Moto Mods, but at least the Moto Z Play had a selling point. It feels like Motorola totally misread why people liked the Moto Z Play by shrinking the battery. Without the insane battery life, it’s not much better than the recently upgraded Moto G5 Plus. It’s a lot more expensive, though.

Design and display

Motorola’s ecosystem of Mods forces a number of design quirks, which makes the Moto Z2 Play look and feel a lot like last year’s phone. The overall shape is a flat slab of metal and glass that clocks in at 6mm thick. That’s just a bit more svelte than the previous phone at 7mm thick and 20g lighter. That’s all thanks to the smaller battery, but I think most users would prefer the bigger cell and a slightly bulkier phone.

On the rear of the phone, we see all the design hallmarks of the Moto Z family. There’s the round, protruding camera module at the top, which…

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