Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Moto Z3 Play hits a home run on band 41, swings big and misses on low band

The Moto Z3 Play (model variant XT1929-4, FCC ID IHDT56XE1) is sold directly by Motorola and via other third parties as an unlocked handset compatible with all North American cellular operators.  As such, it must support a wide swath of LTE bands.  And, indeed, the Moto Z3 Play is one of the first and only handsets thus far to support two nascent 600/700 MHz bands -- band 14, which AT&T is deploying for public-private FirstNet, and band 71, which T-Mobile and other smaller operators are deploying in more recently vacated UHF TV spectrum.  Somewhat unfortunately, though, that low band inclusion on the Moto Z3 Play seems largely nominal, since low band RF output across the board is rather meager.

Where the Moto Z3 Play shines is in its band 41 HPUE output.  Not only bumping up conducted power to better than 400 mW (26 dBm) as expected from HPUE Power Class 2 but also adding +2.0 dBi antenna gain makes a potent combination that peaks at over 700 mW EIRP on band 41.  This level of band 41 power and positive antenna gain is basically unprecedented and ostensibly should make the Moto Z3 Play a stellar performer on Sprint.  Almost all other antenna gain, however, is negative, even exceedingly negative -- all low band antenna gains run below -5.0 dBi.  High band antenna design, in this case, may have come at the cost of low band antenna optimization.  Questions arise how well the Moto Z3 Play will respond in low signal rural areas where low band or "Extended Range" LTE is supposed to be the coverage saving grace.

Before moving on to the graphs, let us run down the standard boilerplate.  RF power figures below represent best averaged and rounded estimates of maximum uplink EIRP test results provided to the FCC OET in individual device authorization filings.  Or in the case of ERP low band test measurements submitted in the filings, that ERP has been converted manually to EIRP for level comparison purposes.   Caveats about lab testing versus real world capability and uplink versus downlink always apply.   And for better visual comparison purposes, the vertical scale heightened to 800 mW needed to display Moto Z3 Play EIRP remains consistent across follow up EIRP graphs, too.


We would be remiss not to include at least a cursory juxtaposition with the VZW exclusive Moto Z3 (model variant XT1929-17, FCC ID IHDT56XJ1), which shares the very same external design with the unlocked Moto Z3 Play.  Note even the same basic model number between the two.  But, internally, the Moto Z3 carries a higher end Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 with X16 LTE modem chipset, and as the FCC OET lab testing figures show, it also offers more mundane yet consistent RF output across its disclosed bands.  Clearly, some internal RF hardware has been changed and/or radio software tweaked in the transition from the Moto Z3 Play to the Moto Z3.  This is corroborated by the many additional LTE bands that the Moto Z3 supports but are not similarly present in the Moto Z3 Play nor disclosed in the FCC OET documents -- because those bands are downlink (i.e. reception) only or software disabled for US operation on VZW.  Absent from the Moto Z3, though, is band 71 capability, and perhaps its inclusion in the Moto Z3 Play antenna design is at least partly responsible for that model's low band challenges.


For additional comparisons, look at two of my favorite Motorola handsets of the past year, both with which I have had ample user experience and both of which are compatible with MVNO Project Fi, the Moto X4 (model variant XT1900-1, FCC ID IHDT56WK1) and Moto G6 (model variant XT1925-6, FCC ID IHDT56XD1).  Neither has HPUE, yet each still manages to pump out some solid band 41 EIRP by way of positive antenna gain.  The Moto X4 provides superb +2.80 dBi antenna gain on band 7/38/41.  And my experience has been similarly positive -- the Moto X4 has an above average affinity for band 41.  Beyond that, the Moto X4 is about average.


On the flip side, the Moto G6 offers above average EIRP across most other bands, too.  And that is achieved not through conducted power inflated above 200 mW (23 dBm) but mostly good old fashioned positive antenna gain.  In particular, the low band antenna gain of +1.36 dBi for band 12/17 is impressive.


That covers the lab tested RF figures for the Moto Z3 Play along with several related or recent handsets from Motorola.  If you have requests for analysis of other devices, feel free to submit them in the comments.

Source: FCC OET

75 comments:

  1. Brand new to this field of information, and found you via source link in other articles discussing the iPhone XS issues.

    How about a Note 9 review? People might be interested in comparing flagship to flagship.

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  2. By the way, forgot to say thanks for your efforts at writing these blogs!

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. While I still own the Nexus 5 and Nexus 5X, I passed on the Nexus 6, which I found ridiculously oversized at the time. That impression has tempered over the years. And the Nexus 6 was a good RF performer, both on paper and per anecdote. The Nexus 6 also was around the time when Motorola really was hitting a stride with the 2014 Moto X, which was an RF star on some bands and variants.

      I did include some Nexus 6 lab tested figures in an FCC OET analysis article about what would become Pixel and Pixel XL.

      https://s4gru.com/entry/412-the-rf-evolutionrevolution-of-the-htc-2016-nexus/

      Some of the figures are not directly comparable to recently posted figures, as I was not normalizing ERP to EIRP several years ago. But the chart in the article will get you in the ballpark.

      AJ

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  4. Do the Moto G6 and G6 play have a similar antenna design? Just curious as I'm on AT&T and so the G6 play was the only way to get VoLTE/WiFI calling etc seeing as I needed a phone on the spot and none of the flagship phones at the time were quite what I wanted.

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    Replies
    1. I checked my FCC OET notes for Motorola, but sorry, I have no recorded data for the Moto G6 Play. Though I may have glanced at its FCC OET authorization docs, I did not do any analysis of its lab test results.

      For VoIP calling via LTE or Wi-Fi on any handset -- no wireless operator certification necessary -- Google Voice is a good option. VoLTE does come with a network QoS layer, but that is overkill in many instances.

      AJ

      Delete
    2. Thanks for the response. The main thing for me was the sound quality with HD voice over AT&T's LTE network which is good for my hearing. I don't really use WiFi calling much. As for signal it certainly seems to do better than my Galaxy Note 4 on Verizon did, but there's a lot else going on besides the device in that comparison--Verizon vs AT&T tower placement in my neighborhood, the Note 4 only supporting Verizon's first two LTE bands (13 and 4) while the G6 play supports all of AT&T's including FirstNet and bands 29 and 30, and so on.

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  5. Just stumbled onto your blog. Amazing work. Much thanks.

    Sadly, prior to seeing your work, I purchased a Z3 Play. Network performance has been terrible. My Moto Z runs circles around it in terms of connectivity. It's too late to return it, hopefully there is a class action lawsuit, because it's a beautifully crafted worthless sheet of glass.

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  24. Impressive performance! 📶⚾ The Moto Z3 Play excels on band 41, delivering strong connectivity and a seamless experience. However, it falls short on low band, missing out on optimal coverage. Understanding the device's strengths and limitations helps users make informed decisions based on their specific network requirements. Kudos to Moto for hitting a home run with band 41! 🏅👍 Best AC Repairman near me

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    The Moto Z3 Play's performance on various bands is reviewed concisely, highlighting its strengths and weaknesses. The analogy of hitting a home run on band 41 effectively conveys its success. A brief explanation of band 41 and low band could enhance reader understanding. The device's limitations on low band are acknowledged, and potential scenarios like rural areas could be beneficial. Further technical details on band 41's exceptional performance and factors contributing to its misses on low band could be beneficial. Real-world scenarios, such as streaming or online gaming, could benefit from strong performance on band 41.

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  27. The statement appears to be discussing the performance of the Moto Z3 Play smartphone on different cellular bands. "Band 41" typically refers to a specific frequency band used by some mobile carriers, while "low band" may refer to lower-frequency bands used for broader coverage but potentially slower speeds.

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  29. The Moto Z3 Play has achieved excellent coverage in Band 41, a specific frequency band in mobile networks. In the United States, Band 41 is the 2.5 GHz band used by some wireless carriers for 4G LTE and 5G networks. Achieving a "home run" in this context indicates that the Moto Z3 Play effectively connects to and utilizes this frequency band, potentially offering faster data speeds and improved network performance in areas where Band 41 is available. However, the performance of a smartphone on a specific network band can vary depending on factors such as network signal strength and device quality. It's important to consider other factors, such as compatibility with your specific carrier and network conditions, when evaluating a smartphone's network performance.motorcycle accident near me

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  37. The Moto Z3 Play has been thoroughly reviewed and analyzed for its performance on various LTE bands, focusing on its strengths in band 41 HPUE output and antenna design. The device excels in band 41 HPUE output, with conducted power exceeding 400 mW and a notable +2.0 dBi antenna gain. However, the low band performance, particularly in low-signal rural areas, raises concerns. The Moto Z3, with its higher-end Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 and X16 LTE modem chipset, provides more consistent RF output across disclosed bands but lacks the band 71 capability. The Moto X4 and Moto G6 also deliver solid band 41 EIRP through positive antenna gain, showcasing their above-average performance. The Moto Z3 Play's strong band 41 performance is acknowledged, but concerns about its low band capabilities and its performance in areas with weak signals are raised. Abogado de Accidente de Motocicleta Virginia Beach

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  39. The Moto Z3 Play is a Motorola device that supports emerging low-frequency bands like 600/700 MHz, but its performance in low-band frequencies may be suboptimal due to negative antenna gains. The Moto Z3 Play and the exclusive Verizon variant, the Moto Z3, show differences in internal hardware and radio software. The Z3 supports more LTE bands but lacks band 71, possibly due to design choices to optimize low band performance. The Moto X4 and Moto G6, despite lacking HPUE technology, deliver solid EIRP through positive antenna gains, especially on specific bands like 7/38/41 for the Moto X4 and 12/17 for the Moto G6. This analysis highlights the importance of antenna design in affecting performance across various LTE bands. The Moto Z3 Play's inclusion of the nascent 600/700 MHz bands, band 14 and band 71, is crucial for AT&T's FirstNet and T-Mobile's extended coverage plans. However, the low-band RF output appears lacking, raising concerns about its performance in rural areas. Comparing these models to the Moto X4 and Moto G6, despite lacking HPUE technology, shows the importance of positive antenna gains. accidente de camión

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    The Moto Z3 Play has demonstrated impressive performance on band 41, providing fast and reliable network connections. However, it falls short in low band connectivity, impacting its overall coverage. This limitation is a concern for users seeking a well-rounded connectivity experience. The Moto Z3 Play's success on band 41 is commendable, but the missed opportunity for a more comprehensive network experience is a significant drawback. The Moto Z3 Play's success on band 41 is a significant positive, but the drawback on low band signals a need for improvement.

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