Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Moto Z2 Play - Revisited

With my (beloved) Moto Z3 Play out of action while someone on this planet finds me a replacement SIM Card Tray (sigh) I've reverted to using the Moto Z2 Play and thought I'd take a moment to revisit the reasons why, when I first 'upgraded', the newer experience was 'better' and if that's still so.

The blog post I made (https://goo.gl/ZWRAHu) when I executed the change was split down into 11 points, so I'll just quickly review where I'm at with them...

1. The Audio-Out Socket being 3.5mm on the Z2 Play I haven't used since I switched back, so conclude, as I did at the change, that this omission is meaningless for me personally. I haven't even, beyond testing, used the Z3 Play's USB-C Audio-Out either.

2. No Dolby Audio I thought was going to be a bad thing, but actually, I think that the built-in speaker in both of these units is good enough for casual use anyway - and when the JBL SoundBoost is clacked on the back, there are loads of audio-control options via the device and also the dedicated JBL App. So yes, better to have than not, but no real issue.

3. The 18:9 6.1" Screen on the newer model is certainly better than the old - but only simply because, with the units being the same physical size, you get more screen on the front! Who'd want less screen (for the same size device) than more?! There's no stupid 'notch' (well done again Moto) and just the right amount of chin and forehead for gripping/resting thumb etc. Going back to the 16:9 on the older model is no deal-breaker, just feels like a bit of wasted space - though that does bring us to the next point...

4. The side-mounted fingerprint scanner was my biggest challenge switching to the Z3 Play, I said back then. I thought Moto had got it right with the unique FPS chin placement with long-press for screen-off and touch for on - particularly useful on the table/desk - and yes, less so with the side-mounted. Agreed, taking the device out of the pocket is fine, the Z3 Play's FPS is right under the thumb and ready to go, but not so on the test. It's manageable - but not as good. Still, that extra screen had to come from somewhere for those who were crying out for it. The 'always on' arrangements also help that situation - waving a hand over the screen of both brings up battery, clock, day, date and quick-access to any Notifications including slide to delete. So I get away with it. Going back to the Z2 Play makes me realise that I would probably prefer it on the front, somehow.

5. Snapdragon Chipset increment - don't notice a thing. They both work perfectly fast enough and the benefits of the 636 over the 626, if mostly power efficiency, are lost on me as I always have a battery on the back (unless using another Mod.) and notice no difference.

6. Android 8.1 on the newer model does give a nice squishy feeling inside shallow people like me, but actually, the 8.0.0. on the older model makes very little difference indeed. In actual fact, as I write, the Z2 Play has October Google Security Update whilst the Z3 Play 'only' has September! So the rollout of updates is a bit hit and miss, though it's great to see phone makers at last taking it seriously. So that's no deal-breaker.

7. The navigation slider is genius and worth the upgrade money to the newer phone alone! As I was saying, it's better than anyone else's implementation including various options on various devices including Google's own Pixel. The difference is that the swipe-left is Back. With other variations, the swipe-left for Back seems to be gone in lieu of either on-screen buttons, often right up the top, full-screen swipes or context based appearance of a Back button 'when needed'. Of course, if you don't like it (and I defy anyone to not!) you can switch back to the usual 3 buttons. I do wish though that the long-press was screen-off and the extra-long press was for the Assistant. That could have been done, but wasn't. The Z2 Play fails here as the Home button (capacitive) when swipe-gestures are switched on, gets confused and is difficult to use. A huge point here for the Z3 Play - and would now be a deal-breaker!

8. I've made use of the camera, but most here will know that I'm not a big user so anything will do within reason! The camera of the old would have done me fine instead of the few extra bells, whistles and speed of the new.

9. Glass instead of metal being on the back is totally insignificant for me, as I said before. I use Mods!

10. The supplied Battery Mod with the Z3 Play has hardly been used. Waste of money in the box. Should have given me a cash discount - as I said before. It is in the kit bag, but so also are the other four that I already had!

11. Fat/thin device, 1mm or less, don't notice!

So the long and the sort of it is that yes, there are a couple of fabulous benefits with the Z3 Play but actually, whether a person would consider it worth upgrading for is questionable. If a user experiences that navigation slider control, they might be convinced. I was. And it's probably the only reason why I'd find it difficult to go back. When you've used it for a while, you really don't want any other navigation arrangement. IMHO :-)

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