Lenovo’s Moto Z2 Play is slimmer, lighter, more powerful than its predecessor

Lenovo announces Moto Z2 Play U.K. pricing, now taking pre-orders

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Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Lenovo’s Moto Z Play was one of the most popular midrange smartphones of last year, and for good reason — it stuffed reasonably high-end hardware into a compact, affordable package. But it’s getting a little long in the tooth. Luckily, Motorola has taken the wraps off a new model — the Moto Z2 Play — that from all appearances appears to be a worthy successor.

Here’s everything you need to know about the Moto Z2 Play.

Pricing and Availability

If the Moto Z2 Play strikes your fancy, good news: You won’t have to wait long for one. In the United States, it’ll be available for $500 from Verizon in early July and from Motorola later this summer. The Moto Z2 Play is available in gray, blue, and gold.

For customers in the United Kingdom, Lenovo has just announced pricing information. The device will start at 380 pounds, and can now be pre-ordered direct from the Motorola website. A specific release date is still not known at this time, but we’ll update this article as we hear more.

Specs

The Moto Z2 Play won’t blow anyone away with its specs, just like last year’s Moto Z Play. But it’s harder to do much better for its $500 asking price.

The Moto Z2 Play packs a 5.5-inch Full HD (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) LCD screen in a water-repellent body that’s thinner (5.99mm) and lighter (145g) than last year’s model. Under the hood is an octo-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 626 system-on-chip running at 2.21GHz paired with 3GB or 4GB of RAM, and up to 64GB of storage expandable via a MicroSD card.

It’s no slouch. According to GeekBench, the Moto Z2 Play scored 4,538 in multi-core testing. To put that in perspective, the Moto Z Play, which packs Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 processor, scored 3,769.

The Moto Z2 Play’s 5MP, f/2.2 lens and dual front camera handles selfie duties, and a rear 12MP, f/1.7 sensor delivers brighter pics with dual pixel and laser focus.

Those aren’t the only improvements. The Moto Z2 Play packs a redesigned fingerprint scanner, a Night Display mode that reduces blue light emissions in the evening, and new voice controls that provide information instantly without the need to touch or unlock the phone.

Not everything about the Moto Z2 Play is improved. Its 3,000mAh battery is about 15 percent smaller than the Moto Z Play’s — Motorola says it should last about 30 hours between charges, compared to 50 hours. But a small consolation is Turbo Charge support, which juices the Moto Z2 Play’s up to 8 hours in 15 minutes.

Design

In terms of design, the Moto Z2 Play it looks a lot like last year’s model.

Perhaps the most obvious holdover is the 16-prong connector for Lenovo’s Moto Mods, the hardware add-ons that extend the phone’s functionality. Among the growing library of peripherals are high-end cameras, external batteries, speakers, projectors, and even physical keyboards.

The front-facing flash on last year’s Moto Z Play has remained in place, as has the prominent circle-shaped rear camera hump.

But the Moto Z2 Play isn’t without tweaks here and there. The home button now doubles as a fingerprint sensor and supports swiping gestures that can replace on-screen navigation keys (much like the Moto G5 and G5 Plus), and the overall frame is slightly thinner.

Update: Added U.K. pricing and pre-order availability information.