As a traveler I am looking first and foremost for a phone that is robust (looking at all those cracked iPhone screens…), has a long battery life and a powerful camera to take photos when I can’t/won’t use my main camera.

Following these broad reasearch guidelines I bought the Motorola Moto X Play about a month ago. The specs were impressive, especially given the €349 price tag which is compared to similar devices by competitors Samsung and Apple extremely modest:

  • Operating System: Android 5.1.1, Lollipop
  • System Architecture/Processor: Motorola Mobile Computing System including 1.7GHz Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 615 Octa-core CPU, Adreno 405 @ 550 MHz GPU, Natural Language Processor, Contextual Computing Processor
  • Memory (RAM): 2GB
  • Storage (ROM): 16GB (or 32GB — see below)
  • Display: 5.5” 1080p Full HD, 403 ppi, Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3
  • Battery: 3630 mAh — Mixed usage up to 48 hours
  • Water Repellent: Yes
  • Networks: GSM/GPRS/EDGE, UMTS/HSPA+, 4G LTE
  • Rear Camera: 21 MP / Front Camera: 5 MP
  • Video Capture: 1080p HD, 30fps (MPEG4, H.264)

Handling

This Moto X Play is a bit heavier (169g) and thicker (curved up to 10.9mm) than other devices with a similar screen size. However, Gorilla glass and dust/water proofing make the extra bulk negligible. At the moment I don’t have a protective cover for the phone and it lives in different pockets in my backpack. Knowing, it won’t randomly crack is reassuring… (though I am actively looking for a suitable sleeve).

The rubber back panel and the mentioned curve make it sit safely in your hand.

Slightly raised speakers allow the phone to lie on the screen without sitting right on the surface which in turn makes for better audio quality when listening to radio/music.

Battery

48h battery life is impressive. However, as expected, it is also not realistic. Still, after a 15h day of normal (heavy) usage that includes downloading/updating apps, surfing the web via browser and the usual social media apps, photography, uploading photos, playing games, using GPS, playing radio/Spotify for hours,… I am still left with at least 20% power.

Photography

I am still adjusting to the Moto X Play’s camera app options, but am already finding the selective focus/exposure extremely useful for taking photos against a bright background.

Extras

There are two basic models of the Moto X Play available on Amazon or from your electronics dealer of choice: black or white with 16GB internal storage. Storage can be expanded with a micro-SD.

In some markets you can make the Moto X your own own: the MotoMaker lets you choose from a number of color options, expand internal storage to 32GB and add a personal message when starting the phone. Unfortunately, delivery via the MotoMaker is not available to all countries, so I stuck to a basic black one.

However, any Moto X has a changeable back panel. So if you want to match your phone to your outfit, just get a bunch of different back panels, some as fancy as wood options…

Finally, Motorola is smart and kind enough to deliver the Moto X with a wall plug which supports two USB devices at a time, so you can charge two phones at the same time (or one phone and a USB powered camera, tablet,…).

Summary

The Moto X Play is not the perfect phone, but it comes pretty close to being the perfect travel phone with a robust exterior, far beyond average battery life and a quality camera.

 

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