Motorola Moto X Play camera review: the best smartphone camera from the brand yet

“We took the Moto X Play on a trekking tour to capture mother nature with its cameras over a variety of conditions. Here’s a look at their performance”

With its re-entry in the Indian market last year, Motorola has tasted unprecedented success with its offerings. The brand is counted among the top 10 manufacturers (along with its parent company Lenovo, it ranks among the top 5 brands) which highlights the popularity of its devices. Its mobiles score well in terms of specs and pricing, but one thing which has always been a tender spot for its smartphones is their camera capabilities, which falls short against rivals.

Moto X Play photo 01

However, with the latest pair of flagships, the Moto X Play (unboxing | first impressions) and Moto X Style (first impressions), it seems that the manufacturer is aiming to ensure that this streak ends. The phablet flaunt a 21-megapixel snappers at the back featuring an aperture of f/2.0 along with a 5MP front-facing shooter. For low-light photography, the phones offer a dual-tone LED flash. However, let’s separate  the wheat from the chaff and see whether the results comply with company’s promise. We took the Moto X Play on a trekking tour to capture mother nature with its cameras over a variety of conditions. All the images embedded below have been captured in automatic settings with 4:3 aspect ratio. So, without further ado, let the pictures do all the talking. 

Long shot

Motorola Moto X Play camera review - long shot

The shot embedded above shows the capabilities of the 21MP snapper adorning the Moto X Play, as all the details have been captured well. The colours also appear to be natural. Even after viewing the image in its original resolution, the sharpness isn’t lost.

Close up

Motorola Moto X Play camera quality - close-up shot

Unlike our usual choice of subject for macro photography, this time we have chosen something ele for checking the prowess of Motorola’s offering. The device has done an impressive job as it has been able to reproduce the texture of tree’s trunk along with distinct shades of brown. Let’s see if our observations remain unchanged after magnifying this image.

Close up (zoomed in)

Motorola Moto X Play camera quality - close-up shot (zoomed in)

The device surely manages to capture details well, since zooming in on the same image doesn’t result in loss of sharpness.

HDR off

Motorola Moto X Play camera test - HDR off

This auto shot has been posted to check the HDR capabilities of the Moto X Play. However, even otherwise, the scene looks extremely pleasing with so many different elements, and their reflection on the water.

HDR on

Motorola Moto X Play camera test - HDR on

At first glance, both the shots look very similar. However, if you notice closely, then the image above is slightly brighter and hence it looks better than the normal mode. Motorola should also be commended for playing with the dynamic range safely, since if the shot had anymore brightness, that’d have killed its natural aspect.

Front shot

Motorola Moto X Play camera test - front camera

The Moto X Play sports a 5-megapixel snapper at the front to satiate your selfie needs. The minion above shows vivid colours, but the image is a little soft, and as soon as you magnify it to its 100 percent resolution, then you’d notice a lot of pixelation.

Low-light shot 

Motorola Moto X Play camera performance - low-light shot

In dim lighting, the Moto X Play struggles, like most other smartphone cameras. It’s only when you look upon the image closely, you’d be able to see traces of the object being captured.

Low-light shot with flash 

Motorola Moto X Play camera performance - low-light shot with flash

With the flash turned on, the same scene looks much better as you can easily make out the object and its various attributes along with their textures. The colours have also been reproduced correctly.

Night shot

Motorola Moto X Play camera review - night shot

While the previous images have been captured indoors in low-light conditions, this one gets help from the street lights around. However, even then the image is slightly grainy. At least a few colours can be made out easily. The device also features a Night mode, which improves the image quality slightly in terms of colour and contrast.

Judging from the images captured by the Moto X Play, we certainly have to agree with manufacturer’s claim of having improving its camera quality as compared to the predecessors. The shots offer a good amount of detail as well as show true-to-life colours. We didn’t have any complaints with respect to the landscape photographs or close-up images, although in poor-lighting conditions, it remains a notch below other flagship offerings. The front shooter also leaves a lot to be desired, as it lacks sharpness.

We’ve been playing with the Moto X Play (pun intended) over the last few days, so don’t forget to check what we think of Motorola’s mid ranger as a daily driver. A full review is coming your way soon.

One of the earliest members of the 91mobiles' editorial team, Nitansh is a walking encyclopaedia of product specs. Name a phone and he’ll tell you the specifics on screen resolution, processor and camera without blinking an eyelid. Ask him if he remembers the launch date of a noteworthy phone, and he'll tell you the dates when the device first leaked, its global unveil, its Indian launch, and when it got a significant update. He’s a lover of all things Android, and loves writing reviews and scouting for new apps. A Wordpress whiz, he’s always ready to help out a fellow writer. While he juggles between many things at 91mobiles, he always manages to find time to write. In his non-tech avatar, Nitansh is a philatelist, which is a fancy word for stamp-collector.
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