From Play to Z: An increasingly comprehensive, yet decidedly non-authoritative Moto Z Play review

Discussion in 'General Smartphone/Handheld/Wearable Discussion' started by Mi An, Jan 24, 2017.

  1. EdmundDantes

    EdmundDantes Mobile Deity

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    I don't really get what the huge problem is. I know people with experience in getting stuff produced in Asia, and they can usually get something like this done easily. It's predicting the demand and marketing it that's usually the problem. The 'sourcing parts' excuse doesn't seem right to me unless I'm missing a huge issue I don't see.
     
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  2. Mi An

    Mi An Nexus Refugee

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    I have great confidence that they've acted in good faith. Certainly, experience helps, as do good partners. One way to gain experience and learn which partners are good (and for what) is to try and fail. As to the parties who already had the most experience building quality landscape qwertys, such as htc nokia and.... motorola, well, they wouldn't take my phone calls. :vboops:

    I can't think of any other character who had such an unwatchable debut that developed so delightfully. TNG had a pilot that aspired to daytime soap quality (in all metrics save production quality) and a finale that bested every star trek movie. Both starring Q.
     
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  3. Mi An

    Mi An Nexus Refugee

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    I received some tracking information from overseas today. For what? I dare not speak its name lest it evaporates as a result of my impudence. You can try to inuit from context if so inclined, but I remain superstitious until I'm hands on. Even making this post seems to tempt the fates and customs bureaucrats from multiple countries that still stand between me and whatever it is I'm waiting for. Will it arrive? Intact? Fully functional? When? These and other questions linger.

    I ordered my HTC Touch Pro2, the objective and unquestionable :vbwink: zenith of mobile technology around 2009. And in the nearly 10 years since, my primary joy in shopping for mobile tech has been finding a bargain, while actually reviewing specs/form factors and choosing a device, a part of me always sighs. Don't get me wrong, I have much bigger problems than a mobile tech market not catering to my eccentricities, but big problems are often unsolvable, weight that simply must be borne as gracefully as one can manage, whereas solving a small problem can bring a rare and needed smile. It which must not be named isn't even here and I already have a goofy grin on my face. :vbgrin:
     
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  4. RickAgresta

    RickAgresta Peanut, leader of the Peanutty Forces

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    <in an attempt to divert Fate, RA says> gee, Mi An I hope that case of ultrasonic whoopee cushions gets there soon --- brilliant idea, for keeping furry-critters off the furniture!
     
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  5. raspabalsa

    raspabalsa Brain stuck BogoMipping

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    < raspy offers another diversionary post while we all wait for Mi An's unboxing event> Last night I replaced the battery on Mrs R's Z Play. It's one month shy of two years old, but the battery's endurance had been decreasing so much that last week it would only last 4 hours between charges. I couldn't find an OEM, so I ordered a 3rd-party replacement. While waiting for it, I inspected the phone and noticed that the screen was detached from the body along one side, meaning the battery was badly swollen. Opening the phone was not easy, because although the battery swelling had detached the adhesive strips holding it together, there was a lot of adhesive elsewhere. The battery itself was strongly glued to the back of the phone. Took me almost 2 hours to open the phone and remove the battery. The new one was a perfect fit, and I hope it will last at least another year. We'll have to see how much endurance it has, if it can hold at least one full day between charges I'll count it a victory. Mrs. R has a battery mod in case it's needed.

    This qualifies as the hardest to open phone I've had so far. Not even my Sony Xperia Z (glass and metal, waterproof, sealed) was so hard as this one, and the Z Play isn't even waterproof. I'm guessing my LG G6 may be even harder to open. It's still too soon to think about changing it's battery (it passed the one year mark some weeks ago) but I bet I'll have to do it sometime on 2019. Hopefully around the 3rd quarter, so I can ponder getting a newer one instead of going through the hassle of replacing battery and losing waterproofing.
     
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  6. Mi An

    Mi An Nexus Refugee

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    Diversion appreciated. :newpalm: One of the first things I check when buying is how hard it is to replace a battery. With both my (moto) Nexus 6 and this, after looking it up, I just kind of crossed my fingers and hoped it never came to that. Very sorry it happened to you :vbfrown: hope the new battery works out.

    I wish moto mod batteries worked like thinkpad secondary batteries. Lenovo has the most swappable battery discharge directly to power the device and then starts on the internal. That minimizes wear on the hardest to replace battery, which seems sane. Moto uses the external to charge the internal like some pedestrian usb battery pack and the waste is stupid. Power loss from charging, use from the device not sleeping as well during charging, and unnecessary charge cycles on the internal. You expect a usb pack to be a hack, but when someone creates their own interface for a seamless experience, it's annoying when they leave the job half-finished. :vbmad:

    I am still kind of considering a turbopower mod if a nice sale comes along. It has a usb c port, IIRC, so it can be charged without the phone. Either that or one of the wireless charging batteries for the same reason. It won't save my internal battery any stress, but I like to imagine that tethering my phone to the wall less (or never) could be a nice perk.
     
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  7. raspabalsa

    raspabalsa Brain stuck BogoMipping

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    Before last night, I've never given much thought about how hard is it to replace a battery. I've always managed to do so without much effort. After opening the Z Play I think I'll have to re-think about this. The Z Play has not only a strip of adhesive around the perimeter, but also intertwined in the top and bottom bezels, making it much harder to heat and remove them. Also, to remove the battery you have to remove several tiny Torx screws holding a cover on the bottom bezel, and these screws are much smaller than my Torx driver set. I couldn't remove them, or the cover. I cheated :D I cut and removed the part of the plastic cover that was on top of the battery connector, so I could unplug it without removing the Torx screws.

    I just checked tutorials on ifixit.com, and the G6 has regular Phillips screws holding the internals. One less thing to worry about for next year :)

    Yes, would have been great if the battery mod worked that way. But what surprised me most is that the Z Play battery would have such a short lifespan, especially since it was charged every 2 to 3 days, meaning it's had not too many charge cycles. After removing it I cut the pouch open, and it's all but dry, almost no electrolyte inside. Seems it all evaporated and escaped through the pouch. I don't remember my wife complaining about her phone getting too hot. Maybe it was just a lemon.
     
  8. Hook

    Hook Professional Daydreamer

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    Unfortunately, I think Zerolemon uses the same scheme. The phone runs down and the button on the back of the battery case recharges. I think recharging also works that way-- charges internal first if needed, then the battery pack.

    The Nexus 6p, which I have, has a horrible reputation in terms of ease of opening it up. If I have to do a battery replacement I will probably use the local verteran owned fixit shop. I hope it doesn't come to this anytime soon.
     
  9. Mi An

    Mi An Nexus Refugee

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    My mystery package made it to Chicago from London on Monday. It hasn't moved since. :vbfrown: I like to imagine a bunch of young customs agents standing around it looking perplexed and possibly poking it uncertainly until some old koot with a walker with the tennis balls shuffles up. [oldmanvoice] Why... it can't be. :vbeek: I haven't seen anything like that in an age. So many buttons... [/oldmanvoice]

    Fascinating age we live in. Crossing an ocean is a light weekend. Crossing a bureaucrat's desk is an epic journey.
     
  10. Mi An

    Mi An Nexus Refugee

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    I received a rare prototype keyboard mod in recognition of some of my efforts on behalf of the campaign. The poorly organized tome below is my feedback from my first evening's experiences with it. Mostly I just typed it to warm up my thumbboarding skills, so here's a 'too long; don't wanna read' that sums it up for the casual observer with better things to read.

    TL;DWR
    : I love it.

    The Good:
    • Fantastic key feedback
    • Nice backlight
    • SwiftKey is very compatible
    • Well constructed
    • Versatile (media mode, book mode)
    • Makes me want to use onenote mobile again

    The Bad:
    • Weight distribution
    • Learning curve
    • Not completely compatible with the bumper case

    The Ugly:
    • Blinding power & caps lock leds
    • Bad 7 key/backlight toggle

    So the key feel is better than what I expected. As is the rest of the construction, specifically the hinge and slider. Unfortunately, physics won't be denied, so the weight of the phone still produces some give and flex, just less than you'd expect, and tilting helps some. This, and really everything under the Bad list was long expected. Keyboard phones don't really have slide-out keyboards, they really have slide-out displays. The light weight screen sticks out while the keyboard and battery and mass of the phone are down in the most stable space where you grip it.

    Us keyboard fans knew we'd have to tolerate top-heaviness, and it's worth it. This is a dream years in the making, mocked any time I brought it up elsewhere (if you guys mocked me you were kind enough to do it behind my back or sarcastically so I could choose to interpret it as supportive ;) ). But it's really here, a quality built 5 line, tilting landscape slider, back-lit with shaped and spaced keys. OK, so I had wanted offset keys too, but I got almost everything I wanted.

    Media mode (my nickname for: keyboard as a stand) technically works, but this is where the bumper case issue arises. In order to tilt enough to offset the top-heaviness of the phone, the bumper has to go. :( else it tips back when you set it on a surface. With the case off, mere millimeters of extra give, it stands surprising firmly. All things considered, the it's impressive it can be a stand at all. I might be able to shave a little bit off the bumper in one spot where it inhibits full tilt. Shouldn't really affect protection because of where the problem is, but it requires precision handiwork that isn't my forte.

    I knew SwiftKey would work, but I didn't know how well. It detects the hardware keyboard and instead of showing the pop up keyboard, merely shows the top line of 3 word/phrase predictions. You can use ctrl+1/2/3 to select these from the keyboard, or tap the touch screen or select the middle prediction w/ space bar as per usual. This solution was probably engineered for hardware like hook's galaxy tab with the keyboard folio and similar keyboard cases for istuff, but SwiftKey can't tell the difference and treats me the same.

    This review of a product no one can ever buy is being written on my keyboard mod in onenote. Partly I'm doing this so I can re-acclimate to a thumb board. I've already sensed an improvement as if my brain dusted off some long dormant pathways, but also I'm getting used to using SwiftKey and hardware together, where before it was one or the other. SwiftKey was a way to reduce the annoyances of screen typing. But it can still save me keystrokes and I'll take any help I can get.

    I'm probably over-sensitive to leds, but I hate the always-on power /connected led and caps lock leds. I tape opaque material over leds like this everywhere. In this case tape would gum up the slider. The leds are inset a little, but the holes are super tiny, so I put some candlewax in one. It doesn't block all the light but does greatly diffuse it so it is less harsh. Might try sugru to replace the wax later.

    My '7' key is a bum. To type it, it is I have to place one finger almost directly beneath the key underneath and then squeeze for dear life. Thankfully no other key is affected, and 7 isn't something I type often. Unfortunately the combo key that toggles the backlight is there, and that is something I would prefer be easier to switch. But this is a prototype, so it could be much worse. Could be a bad vowel instead.

    Book mode is where I turn the open and tilted device into portrait and hold it like a book, turning ebook pages with arrow keys. Am a little bit surprised that this still works, especially on Libby, overdrive's newish ereading app, as virtually no phone has had arrow keys for many generations. But apparently no one ever got around to removing the code, and I guess Libby was probably built on top of preexisting readerware that still had that control scheme. Maybe it was intentional for fringe devices or Bluetooth keyboards, but I doubt it.

    For the Future; Not the Past: why mobile keyboards are 1000x more useful today than when they were ubiquitous.

    I'm only attaching two pictures for now, screenshots both. So far, I haven't found multiwindow multitasking very useful on a phone, though when I had an android tablet I used to drool for it. It's not actually the screen size itself, it's the on screen keyboard that kills the feature for me. Multiwindow multitasking for me is about having one window to consume content in, and another to produce it is, usually using content from the other window. Here's what that looks like with an onscreen keyboard:
    Screenshot_20181022-224336.png

    I look at the above and feel blind. It's useless. With a hardware keyboard, the mobile phone doesn't become a perfect replacement for a laptop/desktop, but it does offer the possibility of doing a little light multitasking on the go. For me, having a keyboard on my phone isn't just about nostalgia, or love of buttons or a desire to have people stop me in random public places and ask me what this contraption is that I'm carrying around and whether I'm a time traveler from a forgotten age. It's legit useful. Here's the user experience using the slide-out keyboard (and I didn't even bother zooming out for even more info density):
    Screenshot_20181022-224320.png
     

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