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Moto X Play Release Frustrates Buyers



Back in July Motorola took the stage at an event in New York City and announced three awesome new smartphones for 2015. The Moto G, and two new Moto X smartphones. The 5.5-inch Moto X Play, and a bigger 5.7-inch Moto X Style, which will be sold as the Moto X Pure Edition in the United States.

All three smartphones look pretty impressive, have tons to offer in terms of customization, and are running stock Android. However, users quickly received bad news when Motorola confirmed the Moto X Play won’t be available in the United States. Arguably Motorola’s best phone for 2015 isn’t available to one of the biggest markets for the company.

Read: Moto X Style vs Moto X Play: What You Need to Know

The two new Moto X phones are somewhat similar, but have a lot of differences to make each available at an excellent price point. Something that Motorola has continued to do well over the past few years. Below are more details about the Moto X Play, and why the release is frustrating US buyers.


There is a lot to like about the new Moto X Play. It has a perfect middle ground 5.5-inch 1080p HD display, stock Android 5.1.1 Lollipop, it’s water resistant, and has all of the Motorola customization users love. It’s very durable, and has what the company claims to be an extremely impressive 21 megapixel camera. It’s easy to see why buyers were so excited about the phone.


The original Moto X had a 4.7-inch display, and last year Motorola increased this to 5.2-inches and made it a 1080p full HD screen. This was perfect for many, and one of the better options available in 2014. We heard a lot of rumors it would stay the same, or be 5.5-inches, but instead, the US Moto X “Pure Edition” has a massive 5.7-inch Quad-HD display. It’s a great phone priced at $399 and coming in September, but many want the Play instead.

The Moto X Play comes in just slightly bigger than the 2nd Gen Moto X with a 5.5-inch 1080p screen, but much smaller bezels so it’s nearly the same size but has a much bigger screen. Motorola also confirmed it would cost less than the Moto X Pure Edition, and that was another reason we were all extremely excited.

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 4.16.13 PM

However, this year Moto X fans have one option. That is to jump to a huge 5.7-inch Moto X Pure Edition, or keep last years model. The Moto X Play would be a small and barely noticeable increase, something many would have considered, but now the only option is the big phablet instead.


The Moto X Play might not have the latest 8-core processor and 4GB of RAM like the Galaxy Note 5, but that’s almost overkill these days. Instead is has an extremely capable 8-core Snapdragon 615 processor, 16 or 32GB of storage, and a huge 3,630 mAh battery. Here’s the full list.

Moto X Play Specs

  • 5.5-inch 1920 x 1080p Full HD Display
  • 8-core Snapdragon 615 processor with 2GB of RAM
  • 16 or 32GB of storage with micro-SD support (up to 128GB)
  • 21 Megapixel Rear and 5 Megapixel Front Camera (Rear LED flash only)
  • Android 5.1.1 Lollipop
  • Huge 3,630 mAh battery with the world’s fastest TurboPower charging
  • Dual Stereo Sound front speakers
  • Aluminum Design
  • Water-repellent coating
  • Moto Maker customization with replaceable colored backs and flip shells (no wood, leather, or rubber)
  • Not available in the United States

These specs are very close to the LG G4, similar to what we’re hearing will be the new 2015 Nexus 5, and are still very impressive. It isn’t a “flagship” device in the sense of the word, but still more than capable enough to run any and all Android apps and games. It sounds like the perfect replacement for the Moto X. All users wanted was a better camera and improved battery life. That arrived with this. It’s the perfect Motorola phone that isn’t coming to the United States.

Battery Life

As we mentioned above, the Moto X Play has a huge 3,630 mAh battery inside. Compare this to the 2,300 mAh battery in the 2014 Moto X, users can expect at least 1/3 better battery life, if not more. Add in Turbo Charging, and this phone will last for days, and recharge quick.

Basically what this entire post comes down to, is that the Moto X Play is exactly what most Moto X owners wanted, but only a few outside of the US will be able to buy. For whatever reason Motorola chose to launch it in Europe, Latin America, and Canada, and it will not be available in the United States.

Doesn’t Work in the US

No big deal, just buy one from a Europe online retailer, or and import it to the United States. That won’t work either.

As far as connectivity the Moto X Play uses these radios

  • GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
  • UMTS/HSPA+ (850, 900, 1800, 1900, 2100 MHz)
  • 4G LTE (1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 19, 20, 28, 38, 41)

All those crazy numbers might be confusing to most, but what that all means is it won’t work with 4G LTE on AT&T, T-Mobile, Metro, or almost any other US carrier. The 4G LTE bands are the important part. T-Mobile uses 2, 4, and 12, and AT&T uses 2, 4, and 17. None of which are supported by the chipset inside of the Moto X Play.

Update: After further investigation (thanks Trogdan) the Canadian Moto X Play will support all the bands needed in the United States. (4G LTE (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 17, 28) Which means the Canada Moto X Play can be imported to the US and get 4G LTE on AT&T and T-Mobile.

So you can pay to get one when it’s released in August (rumored for the 25th) for around $348, which sounds extremely tempting as it’s an excellent sounding phone, but it will barely work in the United States. It’s worth noting that from the pre-order listing we have seen, it will work with AT&T HSPA+, which is a faux 4G speed that is still decently fast, but users won’t have the best experience.

What looks to be arguably one of the best price to performance smartphones on the planet, and Motorola’s best smartphone in all of 2015 won’t work very well in the United States, and isn’t being released here. We do however, have the Moto X Pure Edition coming on September 3rd, and new Verizon DROID smartphones likely coming in late October. Who else wanted the Moto X Play, but now won’t be getting it?



  1. xjoaniex

    08/18/2015 at 5:35 am

    Word has it that the X Pure (or X Style if outside the US) won’t be coming to Canada.

  2. trogdan

    08/18/2015 at 8:10 am

    check yoru sources, the canada Moto X play supports all AT&T and T-mobile bands

    • Cory Gunther

      08/18/2015 at 11:07 am

      Oh for real.. if so, I’ll be grabbing one for sure. Thanks! I’ll check and edit as needed.

  3. omi

    08/18/2015 at 9:31 am

    will it be coming to india ( moto x play)?

  4. Cakefish

    08/18/2015 at 9:54 am

    Actually, as already mentioned by trogdan in the comments, the Canadian version of the Moto X Play supports different bands than the European version. Ones which should work with US carriers.

  5. Eric Hompe

    08/18/2015 at 10:09 am

    My understanding is that the Play has only one front-facing speaker, not two stereo speakers, unlike the Pure Edition.

    • Cory Gunther

      08/18/2015 at 11:08 am

      Yes this is technically right.. but the second speaker is “ported” to get sound. But yes. There’s only one dedicated speaker.

      • Eric Hompe

        08/18/2015 at 11:22 am

        The second speaker is “ported” to get sound? I’m not quite sure what that means. As a former audio engineer, I’m curious… got any details?

  6. Perry

    08/22/2015 at 8:50 am

    This whole conversation is pointless. If anyone actualyl looks at the specs, the important thing to note is the width of the phone, not the screen size. The Style/Pure is taller than last year’s model, but only .15 inches wider. That’s less than a quarter of an inch people. Use PhoneArena’s tool to get a visual:,Motorola-Moto-X-2014/phones/9553,8897

    • Memito

      10/06/2015 at 4:12 pm

      That tool is impressive, I have never heard of it. The X Style is way too big for my taste, the Moto X (2nd Gen) is perfect.

  7. Trent Larson

    09/05/2015 at 9:00 am

    Perry I think the point is that the play uses a FHD display along with a larger battery. QHD is overkill on these small devices and suck up power. This essentially could have 2 day battery life for some. This is a big deal. And this is the main reason folks want it. Plus it has a 615 processor that works very fast being this is stock android. This phone is the energizer bunny.

  8. Alex

    10/03/2015 at 11:14 pm

    Why does the article says it will work with the Canadian variant then later says it will “barely” work in the US? If it has the band’s then it should work on that carriers network the same as a phone that carrier sells themselves. I’m confused. Help?

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