Motorola Moto Z3, The First 5G-Upgradable Smartphone Announced: Everything You Need To Know

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After plenty of rumors and speculation, Motorola has taken the wraps off of the Moto Z3. Which is the third-generation of its modular smartphone lineup. Motorola is launching the Moto Z3 just a few months after the Moto Z3 Play, and it is also announcing a new 5G Moto Mod to go with it. Allowing customers to get 5G connectivity, without having to buy a new phone.

Moto Z3 Specs

The Motorola Moto Z3 sports a 6-inch Super AMOLED display with a Full HD+ resolution of 2160×1080, that's an 18:9 aspect ratio. It is powered by last year's flagship chipset from Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 835. There is also 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage under-the-hood here. Motorola has dual 12-megapixel cameras on the back with a 8-megapixel front-facing camera here. The main sensor on the back has a f/1.7 aperture, while the secondary camera is a black and white sensor. Which means Motorola is following Huawei's way of doing dual-cameras on the Moto Z3. There is a 3000mAh capacity battery inside that is going to keep the Moto Z3 running all day long and of course it supports Motorola's TurboPower or Qualcomm's Quick Charge 3.0. The Moto Z3 is not waterproof, but it is water repellent, which means that you can splash it or use it in the rain and it won't get water damaged. Finally, the Moto Z3 is available in one color – Deep Indigo.


Moto Z3 Hardware Design

On the design front, the Moto Z3 is very similar to the Moto Z3 Play and Moto Z2 Force. Part of that is because of the Moto Mod support that started with the Moto Z back in 2016. Because of the Moto Mods, Motorola has to stick with virtually the same design year after year. With the Moto Z3, you're getting a glass and metal sandwich, and Motorola has added a 18:9 aspect ratio. With the taller display here, you're getting smaller top and bottom bezels, but Motorola decided not to jump on the "notch" trend here, which is something that many users will be happy about. Much like the Moto Z3 Play, Motorola has moved the fingerprint sensor to the side, but it is not a power button (that got moved to the left-hand side) and instead is a separate button. Motorola needed to move it because of the taller display, which meant it had less space for a front-facing fingerprint sensor. And because of the Moto Mods, there's no room on the back for one.

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Speaking of the back, there are still the Moto Mod pins at the bottom on the back, to hold those Mods in place, and there is also a rather thick camera bump. Now that camera bump is there to help hold the Moto Mod in place. In addition to the pins, which are there more for transferring data and connectivity, then holding the Mods in place. Otherwise, the back is still fairly similar to the other Moto Z smartphones out there.

One feature of the design here that many are going to love is the fact that Motorola has decided to use Gorilla Glass 3. While that may sound old, it really isn't, as Gorilla Glass gets new versions for different features, not meaning one is better than another. And with Gorilla Glass 3, you're less likely to get scratches everywhere on the device, which is the case with Gorilla Glass 5. It isn't surprising that Motorola is not using Gorilla Glass 6 though, since it's brand new – and no one has it just yet.

Moto Z3 Camera


The Moto Z3 is sporting dual 12-megapixel cameras on the back of the device, with a 8-megapixel front-facing camera. The rear cameras have phase-detection autofocus as well as dual LED flash, so you should be able to get some great photos in great lighting as well as in low lit situations. With an aperture of f/1.7, you will also get some great shots with incredible Bokeh. However, it may have issues with edge detection, which is something that the Moto Z3 Play suffered from as well. The secondary camera is a black and white sensor, so you are able to get some nice monochrome images, without having to edit them, which is a really nice feature to have here.

Moto Z3 Software

This is a Motorola smartphone, which means it has stock Android, with very little in terms of changes. The Moto Z3 is running on Android 8.1 Oreo, which is currently the latest version of Android – at least for a couple more weeks. Motorola is keeping Moto Display, Moto Actions and a few other features here, so you will have the best always-on display in the game here on the Moto Z3. Additionally, with Moto Actions, you'll have plenty of gestures, like the double chop to turn on the flashlight, or double twist for the camera.


With Motorola sticking to stock Android, it means that the Moto Z3 is going to run smoother on its hardware than a bloated skinned version of Android would. And since Motorola is using an older processor here, in the Snapdragon 835, that is definitely a good thing. The Moto Z3 is running on Android 8.1 Oreo now, and will get updated to Android P, though it is currently unclear when that might actually happen. Since Motorola has gotten slower with updates, it may not happen until early 2019.

Moto Z3 Battery


There is a 3000mAh capacity battery inside the Moto Z3, which is a decent sized battery, but many may be worried that it won't get them through the entire day. Which is a reasonable thing, seeing as many other smartphones are launching with larger batteries. But it is important to remember here that the Moto Z3 is using an AMOLED display here, which is going to be kind to battery life. Additionally, it's running stock Android, so there's less tasks running in the background, which will also help with battery life. And most importantly, it does support TurboPower, which Motorola's term for Qualcomm's Quick Charge 3.0. This means you'll be able to fully charge your Moto Z3 in about an hour and a half. Which definitely makes up for the lack of wireless charging here.

Moto Z3 Security

The fingerprint sensor is moved over to the right-hand side on the Moto Z3 this time around, which is going to take some getting used too, coming from the Moto Z2 Force or Moto Z2 Play, but it won't take long. Of course, if you don't want to use the fingerprint sensor, Motorola also has Face Unlock. Allowing you to use your face to unlock the Moto Z3, making it super simple to unlock your phone while you're on the go.


Moto Z3 Accessories

Motorola announced a 5G Moto Mod with the Moto Z3, which is going to give customers the ability to connect to 5G when Verizon gets 5G up and running. This means that their phone is going to be future-proof, at least a little bit, for the foreseeable future. Now while Verizon hasn't actually gotten 5G up and running on its main network – just some testing areas like around its headquarters in Basking Ridge, NJ – the Moto Mod is a bit useless right now, but in 2019, it won't be. The 5G Moto Mod has the Qualcomm Snapdragon X50 modem inside, which is Qualcomm's 5G modem. And it also has a 2000mAh capacity battery built-in so that it can keep the Moto Z3 running, because 5G is definitely going to use more juice than 4G LTE at this point.

Of course, all of the existing Moto Mods will still work on the Moto Z3, that includes the JBL SoundBoost speakers, the Polaroid InstaShare Printer and many others. There are no Moto Mods included in the box – at least from what Motorola has said so far – unlike the Moto Z3 Play which had the PowerPack included in the box.


Moto Z3 Availability

The Moto Z3 is a Verizon exclusive, and will be available on August 16. It will be priced at $480 full retail, or you can pick it up for $20 per month for 24 months. Verizon is also offering up to $300 off of the Moto Z3 if you trade in your current device. As always, this is going to vary based on the device you trade in.

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