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Moto Z2 Play :: A modular smartphone
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Volker Weber    

IMG 0084

Yesterday, I had total gadget overload. Moto sent a big box with the brand new Moto Z2 play and alll these Moto Mods. And here is the good news. This is a 2017 smartphone and mostly 2016 Moto Mods. I like backwards compatibility.

I was very sceptical when Moto announced the Moto Z series last year. They had three models: the high end Z, the midrange Z Play and the Verizon exclusive Z Force. They were the top line Moto phones and shared the Moto Mod design. Moto Mods snap to the back of the phone via magnets, held in place by the camera hump and a protruding pin between the two rows of pogo pins which connect phone and Mod. The top row shows the Hasselblad 4116 zoom camera, a JBL speaker, and a Moto pico projector. Bottom row is an Incipio external battery, a Moto wireless charging plate and a simple plastic backplate that came with the Z2 Play. In Germany Moto is bundling a second generation JBL speaker with the Z2 Play for an initial 499 €.

The initial Z Play earned its place as a long distance runner. 3500 mAh battery which held up for two days. Add a battery pack to the back and you have an ultra runner. The new Z2 Play has an all metal body and improved components. It is thinner and the battery is slightly smaller with 3000 mAh. Since it runs on Android Nougat, which is more aggressive putting background apps to sleep, it is probably going to last as long as the original.

Since the Moto Mods concept has survived the initial year and is being expanded on, I have become less sceptical about them. Adding a battery pack to the back maybe more expensive than a power bank, but you don't have a dangling power cord, the phone charger will top off the phone first and then battery without needing two wires. A wireless charging plate can add inductive Xi charging for daily use. The pico projector and the speaker show the limits of the concept. You can't use both of them at the same time but they would compliment each other. Those are the only two you need to charge via USB C.

The Hasselblad camera is the odd one out. I provides a 10x optical zoom and turns your Z phone into a point&shoot camera. Frankly, a separate p&s camera is cheaper than this Mod and with a f/3.5-6.5 lens the Hasselblad needs lots of bright light. Since it does not have it's own battery, you can just leave it in your backpack and whip it out when you need it. It will always be ready. I am including a few samples zoomed out and zoomed in below the fold.

This post is more about the modular concept than the phone itself. My initial experience has been great. Almost stock Android with some great additions from Moto. No bloatware at all. Moto wants to publish monthly security upates for the Z series but they aren't quite there yet. This phone runs on 7.1.1 Nougat with a May patch.

The Z2 Play will most likely not be the only model in this range. Leaks have shown there will be higher end version later this year, probably with the shatter proof display technology of the original Z Force, a model that was never sold here. If I had to pick three of the mods, those would be the charging plate, the external battery and of course the Hasselblad.

Jul 15, 2017
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Recent Blog Posts
Casey just started using the Note 8 Samsung is paying him to showcase
Fri, Nov 17th 2017 11:37a   Volker Weber
Samsung had a disaster last year with the Gallery Note 7 battery last year. To turn the tide the company is now dumping big money on Youtubers, or as Casey calls them "Creators". Casey's problem is that he does not know much about technology. I bet he did not know that we could see all along he was using Twitter on iPhone (and the web) when he was pretending to have "always been the Android guy". When iOS had this terrible autocorrect bug that turned a simple "I" into "A (illegible)" it
What's a computer
Fri, Nov 17th 2017 9:19a   Volker Weber
I love this video. Need to practive folding down the Smart Keyboard. ;-)
Das ist das BlackBerry Motion
Fri, Nov 17th 2017 9:12a   Volker Weber
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Fri, Nov 17th 2017 8:54a   Volker Weber
I believe my perfect TV does not exist. But maybe you know better. Here is what I want (and don't want): A large 4k flat display, up to 100". Large is good. No 3D or curved glass. A TV satellite tuner for those moments I need to see live TV. Digital audio out via TOSlink. I don't need speakers. IR control for my Sonos. HDMI-CEC, USB Type A, several of each. All connectors in separate hide-away box. As little software as possible. No branding on the frame, or as little as possible.
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Thu, Nov 16th 2017 10:06p   Volker Weber
People have asked me how I find the time for a more active livestyle, and I have two answers: no Facebook, no TV. This isn't the whole truth. I do browse Facebook occasionally, but I don't engage. And I do watch some TV shows and movies, but I only do this on my terms. No schedule, on demand only. Since the software on my 2012 Samsung TV is horrible, all the contents comes in through an Apple TV. When I got the chance to try the 4K model, I took it. This TV won't display in 4K, HDR or Dolb
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Thu, Nov 16th 2017 8:36p   Volker Weber
In September 2015, more than two years and two months ago, I was proud to have completed 100 days tracking on the Apple Watch. Now it's just another 100 days to complete the last achievement of 1.000 Move goals.
Control Sonos from Tidal app
Thu, Nov 16th 2017 6:56p   Volker Weber
Music lovers can now enjoy the 51 million songs, 195,000 videos and more via TIDAL direct control with @Sonos. Learn more on https://t.co/4B5472I4tw pic.twitter.com/cfO4vZ1ODI— TIDAL (@TIDAL) November 16, 2017 More >
BlackBerry Motion: Da ist noch Leben in der Bude
Wed, Nov 15th 2017 3:38p   Volker Weber
Irgendwie war BlackBerry schon abgeschrieben. Zweimal mit BB OS und BB10 gescheitert, ein Neuanfang mit Android misslang. Aber nun fruchtet die Zusammenarbeit mit TCL. Nach dem KEYone stellt BlackBerry Mobile ein elegantes Touch-Gerät vor. More >
Polaroid Insta-Share Printer moto mod
Wed, Nov 15th 2017 3:19p   Volker Weber
Soon, a dishwasher?
Sonos 8.2 with proper iPhone X support
Wed, Nov 15th 2017 7:00a   Volker Weber
This was a quick update. Color me impressed. Sonos has tweaked the UI to support the iPhone X. They also made the app more discoverable. If you look at the top, there is now a hint that the Now Playing panel sits on top of the tabbed interface. US customers also get the ability to play directly from their Pandora app. We already have this with Spotify. This is a great direction.

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