Skip to main content

Moto Z3 Play vs. OnePlus 6: Can Motorola’s latest beat our midrange pick?

moto z3 play home hero
Moto Z3 Play Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Smartphone giants like Apple and Samsung continue to churn out massively popular (and expensive) phones each year, but there are plenty of affordable phones that offer a similar, high-end experience. The Moto Z3 Play and OnePlus 6 are two excellent examples of relatively inexpensive phones that pack a big punch.

But they each have their own strengths and weaknesses. So which phone should you pick? We put the Moto Z3 Play and OnePlus 6 head-to-head to find out in a specs comparison.


Moto Z3 Play OnePlus 6 
156.5 x 76.5 x 6.75 mm (6.16 x 3.01 x 0.27 inches)
155.7 x 75.4 x 7.8 mm (6.13 x 2.97 x 0.31 inches)
Weight 156 grams (5.50 ounces) 177 grams (6.24 ounces)
Screen size 6.01-inch Super AMOLED display 6.28-inch AMOLED display
Screen resolution 2,160 x 1,080 pixels (402 pixels per inch) 2,280 x 1,080 pixels (402 pixels per inch)
Operating system Android 8.1 Oreo Android 8.1 Oreo
Storage space 32GB, 64GB 64GB (with 6GB of RAM), 128GB, 256GB (both with 8GB of RAM)
MicroSD card slot Yes, up to 2TB No
Tap-to-pay services Google Pay Google Pay
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
Camera Dual 12MP and 5MP rear, 8MP front Dual 16MP (OIS) and 20MP rear, 16MP front
Video Up to 4K @ 30 frames per second, 720p @ 120 fps Up to 4K at 60 frames per second, 1080p at 240 fps, 720p at 480 fps super slow motion, HDR
Bluetooth version Bluetooth 5.0 Bluetooth 5.0
Ports USB-C 3.5mm headphone jack, USB-C
Fingerprint sensor Yes Yes
Water resistance Splash-resistant coating No
Battery 3,000mAh

TurboPower charging



App marketplace Google Play Store Google Play Store
Network support Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile AT&T and T-Mobile
Colors Deep Indigo Midnight Black, Mirror Black, Silk White
Price $500  $530
Buy from Motorola, Sprint, U.S. Cellular, Amazon Prime Exclusive Phones, Best Buy OnePlus
Review score Hands-on review 4.5 out of 5 stars

Performance, battery life and charging

Motorola’s latest phone, the Moto Z3 Play, packs some pretty decent specs for a midrange phone. You will find a Snapdragon 636 processor along with 4GB of RAM.

But while the OnePlus 6 is comparatively priced to the Moto Z3 Play, it’s in a class all its own. The base model packs a Snapdragon 845 processor and a whopping 6GB of RAM, specs that rival flagship phones that cost hundreds of dollars more. The Z3 Play simply doesn’t stand a chance when it comes to performance, which doesn’t mean you won’t find snappy speeds — it just won’t be as fast as the OnePlus 6.

Things are a bit more on a level playing field when it comes to battery capacity and charging. Although the Moto Z3 Play features a slightly smaller 3,000mAh battery compared to the 3,300mAh battery you will find on the OnePlus 6, it has a smaller display and will likely last a longer period of time. That is based on our experience with the Moto Z2 Play, as Motorola said the Z3 Play should have similar battery life. Neither phone offers wireless charging, but both have their own proprietary fast-charging systems to add some juice quickly; OnePlus’ Dash Charge technique should charge your phone faster, but not by much over Motorola’s TurboPower technology.

Overall, we are giving the win to the OnePlus 6 for this category. While the Moto Z3 Play has awesome battery life and TurboPower charging, performance won’t be as strong as the OnePlus 6.

Winner: OnePlus 6

Design and durability

Andy Boxall/

The Moto Z3 Play looks a lot like it’s predecessor, the Moto Z2 Play. Both phones are thin, feature a pronounced camera bump, but the newer model has much slimmer bezels around the screen. On the back, both have ugly pogo pins, which is where you connect Moto Mods. The all-glass Z3 Play looks good for a mid-range phone but put it next to the OnePlus 6 and there’s no competition.

The OnePlus 6 could easily be mistaken for a flagship phone. It has a gorgeous glass body with a discreet camera bump on its back. On the front, you will find a nearly bezel-less display, save for the tiny top notch (which you can hide through software).

As for durability, the Moto Z3 Play’s body is constructed of Gorilla Glass 3, while the OnePlus 6 features stronger Gorilla Glass 5. And although the Moto Z3 Play has a splash-resistant coating, neither phone has an IP-rating to protect against water damage.

We’re calling this round for the OnePlus 6. It offers a much more refined design, and should be able to take a tumble better than the Moto Z3 Play.

Winner: OnePlus 6 


moto z3 play home bottom
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

If you’re a fan of big displays, you’re in luck: Both the Moto Z3 Play and OnePlus 6 have 6-inch screens. On the Z3 Play, you’ll find a gorgeous 6.01-inch AMOLED display with a 2,160 x 1,080 pixel resolution. With a 402 pixels-per-inch (PPI) measurement, the display is pretty sharp.

The display on the OnePlus 6 is quite similar. The AMOLED screen is slightly larger at 6.28-inches, and so is the 2,280 x 1,080-pixel resolution. It has the same 402 ppi, though.

For this round, we have to call a tie. Both the Moto Z3 Play and the OnePlus 6 feature gorgeous AMOLED screens. And while the OnePlus 6 may have a slightly larger display, the resolution differences are barely noticeable.

Winner: Tie


moto z3 play lens top half
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Smartphone shutterbugs rejoice: Both the Moto Z3 Play and OnePlus 6 feature a dual-camera setup on the rear. On the Moto Z3 Play you will find a 12-megapixel primarily lens alongside a 5-megapixel, depth-sensing, secondary lens. The main lens has an f/1.7 aperture.

On the OnePlus 6, you will find two 16-megapixel lenses with an f/1.7 aperture as well optical image stabilization on the main lens. We have typically seen better camera performance on the OnePlus 6 over the Moto Z Play series, but we haven’t fully had a chance to test the Z3 Play’s camera yet. Both phones have Portrait mode features and can shoot slow-motion video.

For now, we’re going to call this round a tie. We need to do more camera testing on the Moto Z3 Play before we can call a definitive winner for this category.

Winner: Tie 

Software and updates

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Both the Moto Z3 Play and OnePlus 6 run Android 8.1 Oreo, without many flourishes — it’s similar to stock Android. OnePlus does offer way more customization options, but the Motorola software also adds in handy gestures such as double twisting the phone to launch the camera.

If you’re looking to keep the latest version of Android on your phone, however, you may have better luck with the OnePlus 6. Historically, OnePlus has been quick to push OS updates out to its handsets, while Motorola tends to take a bit longer.

We are giving this category to the OnePlus 6 simply because OnePlus has a much better track record of quickly updating its devices compared to Motorola.

Winner: OnePlus 6

Special features

moto z3 play moto mod pins
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

OnePlus does offer a quite a number of software features, but there is nothing groundbreaking that stands apart. The Moto Z3 Play has Moto Mods, which you can easily snap onto the back of the phone to add extra capabilities. There are about 14 mods you can attach, ranging from a camera, a battery, a wireless charging module, and a photo printer.

The Moto Z3 Play is the clear winner.

Winner: Moto Z3 Play 


moto z3 play front against blue
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The Moto Z3 Play is available from Motorola, Sprint, Best Buy, and U.S. Cellular, and it works on all U.S. networks. We anticipate the phone will sell for around $400 or $450 for the 32GB model, although we have yet to receive final pricing. We do know the phone will cost $500 with a battery mod bundled in. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you will also be able to purchase the Moto Z3 Play at a discount through the Prime Exclusive Phones program.

The OnePlus 6, on the other hand, is only available through the OnePlus website. It comes in at $530 for the 64GB base model. The 128GB variant is available for $580, and you can pick up the 256GB model for an additional $50. The phone ships unlocked but will not work on CDMA carriers like Sprint or Verizon, just on GSM networks like AT&T and T-Mobile.

Overall winner: OnePlus 6

OnePlus 6 Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

While the Moto Z3 Play is a good midrange smartphone, you simply get a lot more bang for your buck with the OnePlus 6. The OnePlus comes with a better processor, more RAM, and a larger display. Unless you’re a true Moto enthusiast with lots of Moto mods, picking the Moto Z3 Play over the OnePlus 6 is a hard sell.

Editors' Recommendations