The rumors are true: Motorola has no intention to release a "plain" Moto Z this year — or at least it isn't talking about it right now. What it is talking about is the follow-up to the successful and surprising performant battery leader, the Moto Z Play.

Aptly called the Moto Z2 Play, it will be available sometime in July once again as a Verizon carrier exclusive in the U.S., though this year it is wisely doing without the "Droid" addendum. It will also be sold unlocked through later this summer for $499, which amounts to a $50 premium over the Moto Z Play when it debuted last October.

More: Moto Z2 Play specs

The phone isn't particularly different than last year's Moto Z Play, and in one big way is a downgrade, but it's still an impressive and well-rounded handset that achieves the company's goal of consolidating two devices into one. We now have a smaller 3000mAh battery (compared to the original's 3510mAh), but it's also thinner, at 5.99 mm, and manages to maintain the beautiful aluminum back of the Moto Z and the popular headphone jack that phone went without.

The design is almost the same, but the new fingerprint sensor more than makes up for it.

While the design is largely unchanged from all of the other Moto Z products, the Z2 Play adopts the much-improved oblong front fingerprint sensor (and the useful One Button Nav feature that debuted on the Moto G5 earlier this year). It also features a slightly faster Snapdragon 626 processor, and a standard configuration of 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage — slight bumps over the 2016 version.

On the back, a 12MP sensor with Dual Autofocus abilities and 1.4-micron pixels, along with an f/1.7 lens, promises vast improvements in the optics department. But camera aside, the real story this year is actually in the software: Motorola has done a fair amount, along with its upgrade to Android 7.1.1, to make the Moto Display and general Android experience that much better for the average user.

More: Fresh set of Moto Mods announced alongside Moto Z2 Play

Along with the announcement of the Moto Z2 Play, Motorola is launching a bunch of new Moto Mods, including a $79.99 JBL SoundBoost 2, a $79.99 Moto TurboPower Pack charger, a $39.99 Wireless Charging Style Shell and, later this summer, a very exciting $79.99 GamePad, which adds physical gaming controls to any Moto Z device.

See at Motorola

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