Motorola revamps the Moto Z3 Play with better cameras and a bigger screen

Motorola has taken the wraps off of the Moto Z3 Play after many, many leaks, so we’re finally getting an official look at the mid-range device in the Moto Z line.

If you’ve been keeping up with the rumors about the device you probably know most of what to expect, but the Moto Z3 Play still looks like a pretty solid, Moto Mods compatible smartphone.

Bigger screen, smaller bezels

The first thing you’ll likely notice about the Moto Z3 Play is the slightly redesigned front of the phone that ditches the pill-shaped home button for much smaller bezels. There’s no notch, so don’t freak out.

However, that bigger screen and lack of a button means the fingerprint scanner had to go somewhere else, and slapping it on the back wouldn’t play nicely with Moto Mods. The solution? Stick it on the side of the phone, like some of Sony’s older phones. It doesn’t double as a power button but it does sit right where your thumb typically rests on a phone, at least if you’re holding it with your right hand. It’s a good compromise, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Motorola was trying to make an in-display scanner work ASAP.

Hardware improvements

There are still some improvements to talk about with the Z3 Play, including an improved Snapdragon 636 CPU, 4GB of RAM with either 32 or 64GB of storage, and a 3,000mAh battery. You’ll probably notice that the battery continues to shrink from the original Moto Z Play, which may or may result in worse battery life. The Snapdragon 636 is 30% faster than the last generation CPU so the efficiency should even out, but you may want to wait for reviews if battery life is a concern.

The Moto Z3 Play is picking up an improved camera, and, more specifically, a dual-camera system. There’s a 12-megapixel main shooter with a 5-megapixel secondary sensor that’s used for depth in photos. That also enables a cool Cinemagraph mode that allows you to freeze objects in a video while keeping other sections of the clip animated. Nothing revolutionary, but a nice touch and cool selling point.

Other standards include USB-C charging, an AMOLED display, and expandable storage, but not waterproofing or wireless charging. Moto Mods are still all compatible with the Moto Z3 Play, so you can pick up extended batteries, bigger speakers, wireless charging pads, and more, and you won’t need to replace any of your older Mods.


The Moto Z3 Play is launching first in Brazil starting today, and it’ll come to other markets later this year. The US can expect a universally unlocked model for $499 through popular retailers (Best Buy, Amazon, Target, Walmart, and more) and Sprint and US Cellular will get their own models, too.

Who’s buying?

Read more: Motorola Blog

About the Author: Jared Peters

Born in southern Alabama, Jared spends his working time selling phones and his spare time writing about them. The Android enthusiasm started with the original Motorola Droid, but the tech enthusiasm currently covers just about everything. He likes PC gaming, Lenovo's Moto Z line, and a good productivity app.