Spec showdown: Moto Z3 Play vs the competition


Moto Z3 Play

The Moto Z3 Play has arrived, and now it’s time to see how it stacks up against similarly priced handsets in the specs department. We compare the smartphone with the OnePlus 6, Samsung Galaxy A8 Plus, and Honor View 10 to figure out which one offers more.

For reference, the Moto Z3 Play will go for $500 when released this summer. The Galaxy A8 Plus wasn’t officially launched in the U.S., but you can get the international model (with warranty) from B&H for $490. The Honor View 10 retails for $500, while the entry-level OnePlus 6 can be yours for $530.

The Moto Z3 Play is a mid-range handset offering more than enough power for the average user. It comes with the Snapdragon 636 chipset, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage under the hood in the U.S. — other markets get the 6GB/128GB variant. The smartphone features a 6-inch Super AMOLED display with Full HD+ resolution and an aspect ratio of 18:9.

Moto Z3 Play

Moto Z3 Play

Its biggest selling point is support for Moto Mods. These attach to the back of the Moto Z3 Play via magnets and either add new features to the device or improve existing ones. There are currently 12 Moto Mods available including a battery, projector, and speaker — see full list here.

The handset has a dual-camera setup on the back sporting a main 12MP sensor with an f/1.7 aperture and a secondary 5MP sensor to help with those fancy bokeh shots. It comes with a cool new feature called Cinemagraphs that lets you capture up to a 10-second long video and then create a GIF by choosing which part of the video should be in motion and which should be still. For example, you can capture a plant and its shadow swaying in the wind and then freeze the motion of the plant while the shadow continues moving. The selfie snapper comes in at 8MP and also lets you add the bokeh effect to images (software enabled), but the end result isn’t as good as with the main cameras.

The Moto Z3 Play runs a near-stock version of Android 8.1 Oreo.

Motorola’s latest smartphone features a 3,000mAh battery with Turbo Charging, is splash resistant, and runs a near-stock version of Android 8.1 Oreo. The fingerprint scanner is located on the right side, like with a few Sony devices, which can either be a good or a bad thing depending on who you ask — I like it, as it’s easy to unlock the device with a thumb. There’s no headphone jack on board, which is a deal breaker for some.

So, how does that compare with the competition? In terms of specs, the Galaxy A8 Plus is closest to the Moto Z3 Play. It’s also a mid-ranger featuring a 6-inch Super AMOLED Full HD+ display with an 18.5:9 aspect ratio, the Exynos 7885 chipset, and 4GB of RAM. You’ll find a single 16MP camera on the back with an f/1.7 aperture, which means it can’t capture bokeh images like the Moto Z3 Play. But you can add the bokeh effect to your selfies, as there’s a dual-camera setup (16MP + 8MP) on the front — a first for Samsung.

Moto Z3 Play

Samsung Galaxy A8 Plus

The device comes with a larger battery than the Moto Z3 Play at 3,500mAh, has a headphone jack on board, and is fully waterproof with its IP68 rating. It also has 32GB of expandable storage, a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner, and an Always On Display. It ships with Android 7.1 Nougat on board with Samsung’s UI on top (Bixby included), but will be upgraded to Oreo soon.

Overall, the device isn’t better or worse than Motorola’s offering — it’s just different. Which one is a better fit for you comes down to personal preference. If a bigger battery, water resistant, and a headphone jack are important to you, the Galaxy is more up your alley, while the Moto is a great choice if you want a rear dual-cameras, need more on-board storage, and see yourself using Moto Mods. They cost pretty much the same, with the Z3 Play setting you back $10 more.

  Moto Z3 Play Samsung Galaxy A8 Plus
Display 6.0-inch Super AMOLED panel
2,160 x 1,080 resolution
18:9 aspect ratio
6.0-inch Super AMOLED panel
2,220 x 1,080 resolution
18.5:9 aspect ratio
Processor Snapdragon 636 Exynos 7885
RAM 4GB 4GB
Storage 64GB 32GB
MicroSD Yes Yes
Camera Rear: 12MP with 1.4 micron pixels and f/1.7 aperture + 5MP

Front: 8MP

Rear: 16 MP with 1.12 micron pixels and f/1.7 aperture

Front: 16MP + 8MP

Battery 3,000mAh 3,500mAh
Headphone jack No Yes
Software Android 8.1 Oreo Android 7.1.1 Nougat
Price $500 $490

The OnePlus 6 and Honor View 10 aren’t as similar to the Moto Z3 Play as the Galaxy A8 Plus. Although they cost about the same, both offer a lot more in the specs department.

The View 10 comes with the AI-focused Kirin 970 under the hood, the same chipset that powers the Huawei P20 Pro. There’s 6GB of RAM available, which is 2GB more than what the Moto Z3 Play offers. The handset features a 5.99-inch Full HD+ display with an 18:9 aspect ratio — putting it on par with the Moto Z3 Play — but uses an IPS LCD panel instead of AMOLED. AMOLED is generally the preferred option because of its deeper blacks, excellent contrast ratio, and better power efficiency.

Moto Z3 Play

Honor View 10

There’s a dual-camera setup on the back with a 16MP f/1.8 aperture shooter and a monochrome 20MP f/1.8 secondary sensor for adding detail to color photos or taking crisp B&W shots. The setup supports scene recognition, so it recognizes what’s in its frame (animals, greenery, food…) and adjusts the setting to produce a better photo. A 13MP selfie snapper is also on board, which isn’t superb but gets the job done.

Unlike the Moto Z3 Play, the View 10 has a headphone jack on board. However, the phone isn’t water resistant, while the Z3 Play is at least splash proof. Other specs include expandable storage, a much larger 3,750mAh battery, and Android 8.0 Oreo. Software may be the weakest part of the phone because of Huawei’s EMUi skin, which has gotten better over the years but is arguably not as good as the near-stock experience of Motorola device.

  Moto Z3 Play Honor View 10
Display 6.0-inch Super AMOLED panel
2,160 x 1,080 resolution
18:9 aspect ratio
5.99-inch IPS LCD panel
2,160 x 1,080 resolution
18:9 aspect ratio
Processor Snapdragon 636 Kirin 970
RAM 4GB 6GB
Storage 64GB 128GB
MicroSD Yes Yes
Camera Rear: 12MP with 1.4 micron pixels and f/1.7 aperture + 5MP

Front: 8MP

Rear: 16 MP RGB sensor with f/1.8 aperture + 20 MP monochrome sensor with f/1.8 aperture

Front: 16MP

Battery 3,000mAh 3,750mAh
Headphone jack No Yes
Software Android 8.1 Oreo Android 8.0 Oreo with EMUI
Price $500 $500

The OnePlus 6 also features a Full HD+ AMOLED display, but it’s the largest of the bunch at 6.28 inches. It also has a notch, but you can hide it with a black bar that spans across the top of the screen if you hate that thing.

The entry-level model only costs $30 more than the Moto Z3 Play but packs a lot more power under the hood. Along with the Honor View 10, it has one of the best price-performance ratios on the market. The device is powered by the latest and greatest Snapdragon 845 chipset, which is also found in the Galaxy S9, LG G7 ThinQ, and HTC U12 Plus. It sports 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, although an 8GB/128GB variant is also available for $580.

Moto Z3 Play

OnePlus 6

The 3,300mAh battery size is larger than that of the Moto Z3 Play and also supports OnePlus’ Dash Charge (or whatever it’s called), which is one of the fastest charging technologies available. The phone also sports a dual-camera setup on the back with 16 and 20MP sensors, a 16MP selfie snapper, and a headphone jack. But there’s no expandable storage or IP rating for water resistance.

OnePlus’ flagship runs Android 8.1 Oreo with OxygenOS on top, which is the best Android skin out there in my opinion. It’s close to stock Android but has loads of useful customization options and features. There’s the ability to open an app of choice by drawing an O, V, S, M, or W on the display. Then there’s Reading Mode that filters out blue light for a better reading experience, App Locker which secures your data-sensitive apps from prying eyes, and more.

  Moto Z3 Play OnePlus 6
Display 6.0-inch Super AMOLED panel
2,160 x 1,080 resolution
18:9 aspect ratio
6.28-inch Optic AMOLED panel
2,280 x 1,080 resolution
19:9 aspect ratio
Processor Snapdragon 636 Snapdragon 845
RAM 4GB 6/8GB
Storage 64GB 64/128GB
MicroSD Yes No
Camera Rear: 12MP with 1.4 micron pixels and f/1.7 aperture + 5MP

Front: 8MP

Rear: 16MP sensor with 1.22 micron pixels and f/1.7 + 20MP sensor with 1.0 micron pixels and f/1.7 aperture

Front: 16MP

Battery 3,000mAh 3,300mAh
Headphone jack No Yes
Software Android 8.1 Oreo Android 8.1 Oreo with OxygenOS
Price $500 $530/$580

And the winner is…

The Moto Z3 Play is a great smartphone, but it’s expensive for a mid-ranger. If you’re not a power user but see yourself using the Moto Mods accessories, it might be a good option for you. Whether it’s a better option than the Galaxy A8 Plus comes down to personal preference, as it’s impossible to say one is better than the other because of their differences. I’d rather get the Galaxy A8 Plus because of the headphone jack and larger battery, but that’s just me.

If you’re looking for the best bang for the buck, you should definitely get the Honor View 10 or OnePlus 6 over the Moto Z3 Play. Both trump the Z3 Play in almost every category, offering faster chipsets, more RAM, and better cameras.

I’d go with the OnePlus 6 because of a better software experience and a slightly larger display, even though it costs $30 more than the View 10. But honestly, you can’t go wrong with the Honor View 10 either, which has a larger battery than the OnePlus 6, offers expandable storage, and sports an IR blaster. It also doesn’t have a notch.

Which smartphone would you choose? Let us know in the comments.



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