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Motorola Moto Z2 Play review – CNET

The Motorola Moto Z2 Play is the most interesting midrange phone you can buy. With magnetic Moto Mods and a ton of software features and shortcuts, it goes beyond what most $500 phones can do. It does so with the most recent Android version, 7.1.1 Nougat, and a pretty great knot of hardware guts.

(Motorola says a final version of the phone’s software will be pushed out before the phone ships to consumers in July.)

I like this phone, and I’m eager to see how it compares to the upcoming OnePlus 5, which is also arriving in the coming months. The 3T earned CNET’s Editors’ Choice award for its midrange prowess. Since the Z2 Play will go on sale in early July, it makes sense to wait for the OnePlus 5 to see how it stacks up to the Z2.

In the US, eager buyers can get it from Verizon in early July, or buy it unlocked from

Amazing battery life, promising voice trick

I have good news and bad news. The good news is that the best thing about the Z2 Play is its battery life. In our looping video drain tests, the Z2 Play ran an average of 17 hours, which is pretty great for a phone that costs a fistful less cash than tier-toppers like the Galaxy S8
($750.00 at T-Mobile USA) and LG G6. Those guys ran for 16 hours and almost 13.5 hours, respectively, in the exact same test.

In real life, you should be able to easily go a day and a half or even two days with some heavy use. I streamed 45 minutes of YouTube video without making much of a dent. (Motorola claims the battery will last up to 30 hours total.)

Are you ready for the bad news? It’s that last year’s Z Play ran for 23 hours in our video playback test, so this year’s attempt isn’t as much a marathoner. If you’re looking for a new phone though, this is still very good.

So that was the Z2 Play’s best feature. Its most clever feature — and its most promising — is actually a voice command that opens apps when you simply say “show me.” That’s right: no wake word like “Siri,” “Alexa” or “OK, Google” to call out before telling the phone what you want it to do. Just “Show me YouTube,” “Show me Maps” — you get the idea.

You just slide the shade that pops up and you’re in. Or, in the case of the calendar and weather, the information floats on screen before fading off. Best yet, you can configure “show me” to work from the lock screen when it recognizes your voice.

It’s an elegant setup, and something that I’d love to see other ecosystems develop, although Google’s Home speaker is working toward this with personalized recommendations. I’d even love to see Moto go a step further and open the app directly, rather than present another thing you have to tap and slide.

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