In a somewhat interesting twist, Motorola has announced a new version of the Moto X designed to slot in between the Moto X’s traditional flagship position and the Moto G’s mid-range position. As a result, this is probably the closest thing to a competitor to the OnePlus Two and similar phones in the 300-400 USD price range. To figure out what you gain or lose in the move from the high-end Moto X Style to the Moto X Play, I’ve placed the specs below to provide some perspective.

  Moto X Play Moto X Style
SoC Snapdragon 615 1.7 GHz A53 Snapdragon 808
1.8/1.44 GHz
Cortex A57/A53
NAND 16GB NAND + microSD 16/32/64GB NAND + microSD
Display 5.5” 1080p
5.7” 1440p
Network 2G / 3G / 4G LTE (Category 4 LTE) 2G / 3G / 4G LTE (Category 6 LTE)
Dimensions 148 x 75 x 8.9-10.9mm, 169g 153.9 x 76.2 x 6.1-11.06mm, 179g
Camera 21MP Rear Facing Camera
21MP Rear Facing w/ PDAF
f/2.0, 1.1 micron 1/2.4" sensor
5MP Front Facing 5MP Front Facing w/ LED Flash
Battery 3630 mAh (13.79 Whr) 3000 mAh (11.4 Whr)
OS Android 5.1 (At Launch) Android 5.1 (At Launch)
Connectivity 2.4/5 GHz 802.11a/b/g/n +
BT 4.0,
2x2 802.11a/b/g/n/ac +
BT 4.1,

As one can see, the Moto X Play seems to fit somewhat squarely between the Moto G and Moto X Style. Rather than a Snapdragon 808 SoC or Snapdragon 410 SoC, the Moto X Play has a Snapdragon 615 SoC. However, due to the octa-core Cortex A53 CPU and Adreno 405 GPU the Snapdragon 615 SoC is arguably closer to an upgraded Snapdragon 410 rather than a detuned Snapdragon 808. There’s also less RAM at 2GB, but this shouldn’t have an enormous effect on the experience. The display is also smaller and lower in resolution at 5.5” and 1080p, respectively. However, the Moto X Play retains the 21MP camera with dual color temperature flash, but this seems to have a different module as there’s no mention of PDAF although the aperture is the same f/2.0. It is nice to see that the NLP and sensor hubs are shared across the two versions, although it isn’t clear whether there are using the same SoC. One major advantage of the Moto X Play over the Moto X Style is likely to be battery life, as the 3630 mAh battery is 21% larger. There’s also no dual stereo speaker system like the Moto X Style, which makes it a bit more like the Moto X (2nd gen) with its single front-ported speaker.

Overall, the Moto X Play seems to a reasonably cut down version of the Moto X Style, but the cuts are relatively even all around rather than any critical loss in a single area. Of course, it will take a review to see just exactly what was lost. The Moto X Play will go on sale in August, but it doesn’t seem like there are plans to bring this device to the US. Given the fierce competition in this segment with companies like OnePlus, it remains to be seen if this device will be a success.

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  • hans_ober - Tuesday, July 28, 2015 - link

    1.5 to 3 times faster.
    On average, 2x faster.
  • icrf - Tuesday, July 28, 2015 - link

    What is the price difference between an 808 and a 615? I'm expecting a substantial performance difference, and I feel like the cost difference between mobile SoCs is minuscule.
  • tipoo - Tuesday, July 28, 2015 - link

    With 8 A53s, the 615 is more like a 410 with more cores thrown into the mix (and a bit higher clocks). Usually the last four cores are very bandwidth starved too, so it doesn't do much better than the 410.

    I'm not as sure how the Adreno 405 and 306 compare though, interested in an answer to that.
  • FwFred - Tuesday, July 28, 2015 - link

    The difference between 4 and 8 cores in a phone workload is negligible. The fast clocks help of course, but I don't think I'd be happy with a A53 as the strongest core in my phone.
  • tipoo - Wednesday, July 29, 2015 - link

    Yeah, big.LITTLE made sense when it was actual big cores and little cores, like the name itself implies. Having two clusters of the same core types is a bit silly, and I think to do with "8" marketing in China more than anything.
  • hans_ober - Tuesday, July 28, 2015 - link

    Even S618 would have been fine.
  • phoenix_rizzen - Tuesday, July 28, 2015 - link

    "As one can see, the Moto X Play seems to fit somewhat squarely between the Moto G and Moto X Play. "

    That last Play should be Style.
  • hans_ober - Tuesday, July 28, 2015 - link

    They need to release a refresh of the original Moto X (2013).
    Same form factor, upgraded internals, bigger battery.

    To many big phones coming out.
  • Impulses - Tuesday, July 28, 2015 - link

  • nekoken - Tuesday, July 28, 2015 - link

    I completely concur with this statement. I consider the original Moto X to have the best ergonomics in terms of size and shape of any smart phone I've owned. For day to day use as an actual phone it is top notch.

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