If you’re in the market for a new mid-range phone, then you may want to consider the Moto X Play, a phone I’ve using for the last couple of weeks. Here are five things to know about the latest Motorola phone to make its way to Canada.
It may not be beautiful, but the Moto X Play is one well-built phone
After an adjustment period where I initially found the Moto X Play a bit too wide, I realized there are other strengths to its design. Primarily, the Moto X Play is one of the most rugged phones I’ve owned. In the short time I’ve spent with the device, it has already survived one significant tumble without a scratch.
Additionally, while Motorola doesn’t heavily advertise this next feature, the Moto X Play has a water repellant nano coating that is well worth noting.
Last week I was on vacation in Japan, and if you’ve ever been to the island nation, you’ll know that there are periods where it rains non-stop for several days at a time. During one such period my friend and I and all our stuff got absolutely soaked, but my Moto X Play came out of the ordeal no worse than had entered my pocket.
It may not be the most handsome consumer phones on the market, but the Moto X Play is certainly one of the most rugged.
Motorola is the king of thoughtful software additions
My last Android phone was the Galaxy Nexus. Like a lot of people, I gravitated to the GNex, despite shortcomings like a weak camera and poor display, because it offered an unaltered take on Android.
Unfortunately, when it came time for me to upgrade my smartphone, Google’s latest Nexus offering was the Nexus 6, a phone I found less than compelling for a variety of reasons. So I switched to the iPhone 5s.
Flash forward just a year later, and a lot of Android OEMs have scaled back the excesses that marked the operating system’s earlier years. Still, after Google’s version, I am liking the small but thoughtful inclusions that typify Motorola’s take on Android.
In my mind, those additions are best exemplified by Moto Display, a feature that allows the user to read notifications and access functionality like the phone’s music player without fully waking it.
Coming from something like the iPhone, it took a bit of time to suss out how to best use this feature — initially I often accidentally woke my phone when I meant to turn off its screen — but once I got used to it I found that I settled into a comfortable groove where I found my Moto X Play was a lot less distracting than other phones I’ve used in the past.
While I could certainly live without features like Moto Display, I find they add a lot to the overall Android experience.
Call quality is exceptional
Leave it to Motorola, one of the world’s most storied mobile phone makers, to create a phone that is in a class of its when it comes to call quality.
Granted, in 2015 most people avoid making a phone call on their smartphone like their life depends on it, but there are times where it’s necessary to call someone, and when one of those times does come around, the Moto X Play makes the process a joy with exceptionally clear sound quality.
Now, if only the default ring tone wasn’t so jarring. Thankfully, that’s something you can change with relative ease.
The battery lasts days and days
With an absolutely massive 3630mAh battery hidden behind its rubberized exterior, one of the greatest joys of using the Moto X Play is simply the fact that it seems to possess near endless stores of energy. Obviously, you’ll need to plug in to charge eventually, but I often found my Moto X able to go two and sometimes three days between visits to the power jack.
In addition, the Moto X Play supports both Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 2.0 spec as well as Motorola’s own Turbo Power standard, meaning it often takes less than two hours to fully charge the device’s battery from a near empty state.
Taken together, these two factors mean you’ll almost never be in a situation where your smartphone is not there to help you with a task, and that is a powerful thing.
The price is right
With an outright price tag of about $420 depending the source, and about $50 on contract, perhaps the Moto X Play’s main selling point is that it represents an excellent entry into the Android ecosystem at a price that is affordable to most Canadians.
It doesn’t have the camera, display or performance of more expensive competitors like the Samsung Galaxy S6, but it also costs about half of that well-known device, and for the most part the experience of using the two phones is not vastly different.
Additional Reading: Moto X Play review