OnePlus 3 vs Moto Z Play: spec-heavy or future-ready?

“We pit the similarly priced offerings from OnePlus and Motorola against one another to see which phone comes out on top”

The days when cheap phones didn’t offer compelling specs are long gone, with players like Motorola, Xiaomi, and OnePlus dominating the smartphone market with their flagship-level phones at affordable prices. While the Moto Z is big on specs and design, it is also heavy on the wallet, which is why we decided to compare its affordable sibling – the Moto Z Play – against the comparatively more powerful OnePlus 3 (review) which falls in the same price bracket. Curious to know which smartphone is more up your street? Read on to find out.

Display and Design


While the Moto Z Play is made up of a metal-glass composite, the OnePlus 3 features a unibody metal design with each design language coming with its own set of pros and cons. The glass-metal blend ensures that the Moto Z Play will come with a better grip as compared to the metal-clad OnePlus 3. However, the glass on the back also makes the Moto Z Play a fingerprint magnet. Besides the components used to make the smartphones, the OnePlus 3 comes with a curved back which chamfers around the edges whereas the Moto Z Play has a flat back panel. Having said that, the USP of the the Moto Z Play isn’t its build quality or the incredibly thin waistline of around 5.2mm but the device’s support for Moto Mods.  These Mods allow users to snap on an accessory via the 16-pin magnetised connector present at the back of the smartphone. Moto Mods can be used either as a styling accessory by clipping a different textured back panel to change the look of the device or as an functional one by enhancing the capabilities of the Moto Z Play by using something like the JBL speaker mod.

Both the smartphones come furnished with 5.5-inch full HD displays putting the pixel densities at 401ppi. The display technology powering their respective screens is also similar with both brands opting for a Super AMOLED display, which leads to brighter, more vivid colours with great contrast ratio.

Performance, Storage and Software


The OnePlus 3 and the Moto Z Play utilise vastly different chipsets for processing with the former opting for a high-end Snapdragon 820 SoC while the latter is powered by a mid-tier Snapdragon 625 chip. The Moto Z Play takes a hit in the RAM department as well featuring just 3GB of RAM compared to the 6GB present on the OnePlus 3. However, specs on paper aren’t a full measure of a smartphone’s capabilities which is why, we’ll have to test out the Moto Z Play to see how it fares in real time performance before sending out our final verdict.

For storage, both the devices offer 64GB of onboard memory. However, the OnePlus 3 doesn’t come with support for microSD cards whereas the Moto Z Play does. Software wise, both the smartphones offer near-stock Android experience with the OnePlus 3’s Oxygen OS bringing more customisation tools to the table.

Camera, Battery and Connectivity


The Moto Z Play offers a pair of 16MP and 5MP cameras on the back and the front, respectively. The rear facing camera of the smartphone is assisted with a dual-tone LED flash for low light photography as well as a laser autofocus. Shedding some light on the competition, the OnePlus 3 offers users a 16MP camera with an LED flash at the back and an 8MP selfie shooter up front. The absence of laser autofocus on the OnePlus 3 is the only differentiating factor between the primary cameras of the two devices. Both the devices come with 4K video recording abilities as well. Motorola has been doing wonders in the camera department for its budget smartphones like the Moto G4 Plus, which is why we expect the Moto Z Play to perform well too. The camera on the OnePlus 3 isn’t any slouch either with the smartphone capable of producing some great stills.

On the battery front, the OnePlus 3 is backed by a 3,000mAh battery whereas the Moto Z Play comes equipped with a bigger 3,510mAh unit. Both the smartphone manufacturers offer turbo charging as well. On the connectivity front, users will find the standard connectivity options along with support for dual-SIMs as well as 4G LTE.

On a purely spec-basis, the OnePlus 3 obliterates the Moto Z Play with its superior processor-RAM combo. However, the talking point here is the addition of Moto Mods which opens a host of possibilities to enhance the Moto Z Play in the future. The good news for buyers waiting for the Moto Z Play is that the toned down specs shouldn’t account for a huge performance difference between the two devices. However, the addition of Moto Mods means an additional expense for the user thereby adding to the cost. The decision falls ultimately in your hands whether you want to go for a spec-beast, which is the OnePlus 3, or the future forward Moto Z Play.


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