Moto Z3 Play Review


Coming from a Moto X1 with $25 plan.
Chose the 1gb plan (total 20+ taxes).
Been with R.W. since the beginning!
I have had the LG Optimus S, Moto Defy XT, and Moto X1.

Moto Z3 Play PROS:
Big clear beautiful screen and lightweight.
With the camera bulge on the back, you have to use a mod or case to protect it (Moto mod battery works good for this purpose)!
The Mods are a pro and con. The Pro is the wide range of mod selections. The Con is for case designers. I really wanted another Otterbox defender case (full protection of phone and screen).
All you can get for the Z3 Play is an Otterbox commuter case.
The transfer from my X1 to the Z3 Play using R.W. Instructions was painless (great job)!
Security updates loaded quickly, and apps loaded fine.
Android Oreo 8.1 (X1 had 5.1 with 2016 security updates, so it was a leap)!
Moto Mods are great!
Phone reboots QUICKLY!
Battery life is GREAT especially with the Incipio Moto mod (my X1 had gotten really bad).
The rubber bumper I ordered off Amazon works great, and was relatively inexpensive.

The metal versions were said to block reception, so I stayed away from the metal bumpers.

The Supershieldz screen shield from Amazon works great too (difficult to install, but worth it).

The belt case I ordered off Amazon is pretty nice too, not as good as the Otterbox Defender was for the X1!

Nice to be able to offload pictures and video to a 128gb super-fast micro sd card from Amazon.

The phone connects quickly to my truck’s infotainment system (have not tried Android Auto yet).
Wireless charging is great while traveling (The Incipio Moto Mod makes this possible)!
The new version of the Republic app, keeps you apprised of your data usage pretty well.
1 month usage was about 100mb.

I tried to adopt the MOTO “One Button Nav” navigation key replacement bar to mitigate the OLED screen burn-in that is inevitable with OLED, but I just could not get used to it.

Good concise user manual in PDF format from Sprint:


Ordered 12/11/2018, label printed 12/12/2018, received/activated 12/17/2018.
Selected 3 day select shipping, so it took longer than it should have (no big deal my X1 was still working).
The phone is slippery. The purchased bumper and the Incipio Moto mod battery help with that.
Had to lose my original $25 Moto X1 plan I loved for the new plan which is $20/month.
I find myself worrying about running out of data, but I have to re-assure myself it is only $5/gig.
OLED screen will eventually burn-in unless I can get a full screen immersion app installed and configured.
Why did they move the power button to left side?
Fingerprint reader on right below volume keys is kind of a weird place (I don’t use it anyway).
No 3.5mm jack for headphones.
Built-in speaker not as good as I had envisioned (JBL Moto mod fixes this).
The phone ear speaker is loud, probably great for people that are hard of hearing.
GSM coverage in my area is not as good as CDMA was on the X1 (waiting on Band 71)
Security /Android system updates lag for the Z3 Play (one of the main reasons I wanted to update).
Case in point I am on November 2018 updates for 8.1.0 Android, and Android 9 has been released for the X4 already!

Great phone for people that are used to Motorola phones. The price is a little high in my opinion.
Thanks R.W. for all your help over the years!



Great review!



Hi @muerte,

Thanks for taking the time to write up such a thorough review!

I’d like to address a few of the things you listed as cons.

This is not really a “con” of the phone itself, right?
We did experience a serious order fulfillment issue from Thanksgiving through the first couple of weeks of the new year. We have added a new fulfillment partner and are exploring the possibility of increasing the network so that when an issue arises at one fulfillment center, we have the flexibility to redirect orders to another. Even so, we’re a small company and we do not have anything like Amazon’s complex and robust network of massive regional fulfillment centers to work from. (Amazon is building a fulfillment center just a couple of miles from my house and the sheer size of the structure is astounding.) Amazon has the volume and money to set a tremendously high bar and make order fulfillment look easy. We’re not going to be able to achieve that bar, but our goal is to have 100% of orders placed before our fulfillment cut-off time, that are in stock, be fulfilled the same day, a goal we have in fact met since the new fulfillment center came on board. We have posted a 2-3 day fulfillment window in our online store to try to set the proper expectations.
Fulfillment is the amount of time it takes the fulfillment center to package the order, create the shipping label, and hand the package over to the shipping partner.
Shipping time, however, begins once that package is handed over. It is a common misconception, and something we’ve tried hard to clear up, that the shipping time you select in the cart starts ticking the moment you place the order, and includes actual calendar days. Neither is true. When you purchase three-day shipping, that three-day clock starts ticking when the fulfillment center hands the order over to the shipper, and it does not include weekends and holidays. So the three-day shipping you paid for began on 12/12 when the package was received by the shipper and counted the three days of Thursday, 12/13, Friday, 12/14 and Monday 12/17 when it was delivered.

But we agree that this is not ideal, and to improve this experience, we have recently changed shippers and our new shipping options will include Saturday delivery in some regions when 2nd day or overnight shipping is selected, and with improved pricing on the 2nd day delivery option.

I mention all this, not to argue with your experience, but to demonstrate that we agree that your experience was not ideal and we have already taken significant action toward improving that experience for future orders.

Again, this part of your review is not really about the phone itself, but about our service. I will be very interested to see if, over the course of a year, even with adding an extra GB when you need it, your new plan ends up costing you more or less than the old plan.

This may be a “pro” of the phone rather than a “con” because the phone you’re reviewing is not restricted to GSM coverage. As @jben pointed out, we could always move you to a CDMA SIM card. Doing so is not a permanent adjustment. If you want to try out GSM coverage after band 71 reaches your area, you could easily switch back for a trial.



What prompted me to do this review was an Email I received from R.W. about the Moto Z3 Play today. They sent me a link in an email that I clicked on. It turned out to be a short questionnaire about the Moto Z3 Play.
That email reminded me to go ahead and post a more comprehensive review in the “Reviews” forum.
Since I bought this phone directly from R.W., I wanted the review to be for my whole upgrade experience (not just the Moto Z3 Play, but what R.W. did for me too)!
I did not mean to seem to come down so hard about the shipping, it was just a small problem I noted.
I tried to write down Pros and Cons as I went throughout the first month of use.
The way R.W. handled the transition to the new phone (from the old X1) was ULTRA-SMOOTH and quick!
If after band 71 arrives, and I still have poor coverage, I may have to do the swap to CDMA.
If I had it to do over again, I would DEFINITELY not hesitate to buy the Moto Z3 Play from R.W. again!
Thanks for helping me get to a better phone, and keep up the GREAT work!



I am on the Moto Z Play 1. Thanks for the extensive review and yes, the case options remain the weak link. I love the Moto Mod, but I can’t protect the phone like the Otterbox Defender does without the mod…


Message an
Expert customer