Before we covered the news of the Motorola announcement, all I thought I wanted was the equivalent of a 2014 Moto X with a better battery and camera. Then the Moto X Play came along. I thought I’d hit the jackpot. I didn’t need to go up to the bigger screen (my current phone is the Oneplus One, so 5.5 inches is a screen size I’m already used to) of the Moto X Style, which starts to make me think I’m going into Nexus 6/iPhone 6+ territory.
I got what I wanted! And then I did a little digging around in the specs. I shouldn’t have. I should have been happy to listen to the advertising, but noooo…
There will be compromises. I know that. I just wasn’t expecting so many compromises with the Play against the Style. It felt like they too everything a step lower, and bearing in mind that Motorola hasn’t been on the bleeding edge of the specs race for a long while, it makes me wonder.
Individually, none of these are showstoppers. Put them together, and I’m hesitating. Maybe I should just wait a little while for the next Nexus and see what’s been compromised on that account?
Before you think I’m crazy, and I should just give Motorola my money for an unlocked phone, bear with me.
Right out the gate is the processor. The Style has a Snapdragon 808 chip, which is already a step below both current versions of the Snapdragon 810 chip (a second revision is rumoured to be in the Oneplus 2). The Moto Play is using the Snapdragon 615 processor. Is this a thing? Maybe not, but the Snapdragon 615 is a bit like a 410 with more cores. Even the GPU is relatively close to that on the 410. Most of the time, I’ll bet I’ll never get to sweating the processor in any meaningful way, so it probably isn’t that important… except for one thing. The LTE radio. But I’ll get to that later.
As mentioned, that extra battery power was a thing going well for the Moto X Play – 3630 mAh? As Motorola said at the time, that could be a 2 day battery life for someone who doesn’t abuse their phone (like I’m guessing readers of CoolSmartPhone are wont to do). The Style has an increase compared to the old Moto X, but 3000mAh on a 5.7 inch, 1440p screen will only get you so far.
The next thing on my list was the camera, and I thought there wouldn’t be an issue there – they both have a 21MP camera module, right? Right. But there’s a chance they may not have the same module, or at least the same internals – There’s no mention on the Play’s spec sheet that the module has Phase Detect Auto-Focus (PDAF), like the one on the Style. It can’t take 60 fps video at 1080p like the Style can (30fps).
There’s no mention of 4k video, for those who have the equipment and storage space to take advantage of that particular resolution. Now, it may be that a lot of this is due to the processor (I did say I was going to bring it up again… still not done), so at this point, as long as the camera is better, then it will be plenty good enough.
Then I checked out the storage space. The max available on the Play is 32GB. But wait, I checked my OnePlus One. 64GB. Last years phone has 64GB. Then I remember that the Play has a MicroSD slot. I can pop a card in there. Heck, if I put a 64GB card in there, everything will be fine… Except the Style has a 32 and a 64GB option. Whatever.
At least it has the same amount of RAM as last year’s OnePlus. Oh, wait. Silly me. The Style has 3GB. the Play comes with 2GB, and the type of RAM is slower. Well, most phones only have 2GB and they work just fine. It’s the same story for Wi-Fi as there’s no wireless AC in the Play. Where is it? Yep, you’ve guessed.
Surely Bluetooth, lowly Bluetooth is using the same module? Henh. Not even. the Style has 4.1 for the Low Energy stuff, and the Play is 4.0.
I won’t belabour the point any more than I have. There’s no stereo speaker on the Play, and it doesn’t have all the available bands if you work or play abroad relatively often. The GPS doesn’t have GLONASS. Seriously, what doesn’t include GLONASS support these days? Neither phone are using Gorilla Glass 4, but neither was my OnePlus One, so I’m not going to get annoyed with that. The front camera is missing a flash on the Play, because sometimes the youngsters have needs to selfie. I get that.
They’re both water resistant/repellent, and have quick charging, so I’m over the moon about that. I don’t care about the 1440p screen, because I think 1080p does me just fine. But the kicker, the straw that made me pause was that the Style supports class 6 LTE, which will give faster speeds once the networks roll that option out. Guess why that is? Too right. That Snapdragon 808 processor. It won’t be important now, but it’s the one thing that will start to be important a little way down the line.
All in all, there isn’t any one thing that’s annoying or irritating enough for me to say ‘no way, Jose’ to the Moto X Play. If that had been the only one offered, I’m fairly sure I’d have been over the moon at having the bigger battery, and a better camera. It’s what I’d asked for. I got what I asked for.
So why am I seriously giving thought to the Moto X Style? Because it isn’t just a bit better. It’s a bit better in every way.
Now the choice between the two is how much we’re willing to sacrifice for that extra all-day+ usage. After all, it doesn’t matter how good your phone is if it’s run out of juice, or you’re being extra-careful with the phone because you’re at that low battery mark.
Choices. Good choices, but unexpected. Either way, the Moto Maker experience, stock-Android-with extra-Moto-functionality-via-app, the smart notifications technology and all the other goodies that made the previous Moto’s so interesting are available on both the Moto X Play and the Moto X Style. When you combine that with a killer competitive price, it does make one want to sit back and not be too eager to dismiss either of these two out of hand.