The surprise smartphone hit of 2016 wasn’t the Galaxy S7 or the Google Pixel. Rather, it was a mid-range phone from Motorola with a big gimmick: magnetic mods. LG’s modular phone concept spectacularly failed with the G5, but the $450 Moto Z Play hit the sweet spot, with a nice cross-section of add-ons and a much easier swappability than LG’s removable chin.
Now Motorola is back with the Z2 Play, a thinner, lighter, faster, and more expensive sequel to the Z.
The design is quite reminiscent of the original Z Play, with a 5.5-inch screen and a physical home button, but there are some notable changes under the hood. You’ll get a Snapdragon 626 processor (up from the 625 in the Z Play), 4 GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage. The camera actually has a lower-resolution lens (12MP compared to 16MP) but Motorola has upped the pixel size, autofocus speed, and aperture to compensate.
One area where the Z2 Play has been downgraded is perhaps most important, though: the battery. Where the original Z Play had a 3,510mAh battery, the new model only has a 3,000mAh one, so it will probably sell a bunch of Moto TurboPower Pack, one of the new mods available for the Z2 Play.
The new phone is compatible with all of the Z Play mods that came before, as well as upcoming ones like the Moto GamePad, which adds a D-pad and button control to your phone; JBL SoundBoost 2, an upgraded version of the original water-repellant speaker; and the Moto Style Shell with Wireless Charging.
The Moto Z2 Play will be available exclusively thought Verizon in the U.S. later this summer for $499, with the new mods ranging from $40 to $80. An unlocked version will also be available on Mototola.com.
Let’s Play two: The Motorola Z Play was one of the coolest phones of 2016, proving that the dream of a modular phone wasn’t dead. But with a higher price and competition from Andy Rubin’s new Essential Phone, Motorola might have a harder time replicating its success.