Motorola Moto Z4 Announced: The Sub-$500, 5G-Upgradable Smartphone

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Motorola has just announced the Moto Z4, just days after Amazon accidentally sold (and shipped) a few units to buyers.

The Moto Z4 is a decidedly mid-range smartphone from Motorola, following the footsteps of the Moto Z3 last year. That includes the Snapdragon 675 chipset inside, with 4GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage. It's pretty good to see Motorola stepping up in the storage department, even with the micro SD card slot being there.

Motorola has equipped the Moto Z4 with a large 6.39-inch OLED display, with a resolution of 2340×1080 (or Full HD+). There's a 3600mAh capacity battery inside, that should keep the Moto Z4 powered all day long. And if it doesn't, it does have a TurboPower charger included for some fast charging.

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On the camera front, there's a 48-megapixel main sensor on the back, and a 25-megapixel front-facing sensor.

Another 5G-Upgradable Motorola Smartphone

The big selling point for Motorola here is the price and the 5G Moto Mod that went on sale earlier this year. So while this is technically a 4G LTE smartphone, it will work on Verizon's 5G network with the 5G Moto Mod for an additional $199. That makes this a whole lot cheaper than the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G (less than half the price), and a good way to get more 5G smartphones into more hands.

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This is a good idea for Motorola. Doing a 5G Moto Mod is better than just including 5G into its smartphone. Because it allows Motorola to sell one phone. If the customer wants to use 5G, they can do so by purchasing the Moto Mod. It's better for Motorola and the customer, as they don't need to buy a new phone, and Motorola has one SKU for the Moto Z4.

Promising Low-Light Cameras

Motorola's camera game has been pretty poor for many years now. While other smartphone makers like Google, Huawei and even LG have really made strides to make their cameras much better (some might even say they are replacing their DSLR), Motorola has lagged behind. But with the Moto Z4, it's looking to make up for lost time. With the 48-megapixel sensor on the backside, Motorola is promising some great pictures and impressive low-light performance.

Thanks to that f/1.7 aperture, the lens is going to let in more light. Now this is also the same Sony IMX586 lens that we've seen on many other smartphones lately. Including the OnePlus 7 Pro, HONOR 20 Pro and more. From what we've seen with those smartphones, is that it really depends on the software. For instance, the HONOR 20 Pro's camera is much better than the OnePlus 7 Pro's. So we'll have to wait til we get a Moto Z4 in hand to see how well it performs. But things are looking good for Motorola on this front.

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It is a bit odd that Motorola is sticking with a single camera on the back of this smartphone. When every other smartphone has two and many have three cameras now. But then again, this is also a sub-$500 smartphone, so it's not really a flagship device.

The front-facing sensor is said to be really good in low-light as well, thanks to the Quad Pixel technology that Motorola is using. At 25-megapixels, there's going to be plenty of data that the sensor can grab, so it should be pretty good. Again, this all depends on the post-processing software.

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Great Performance + Impressive Battery Life

While everyone would much rather see Motorola stick with the latest and greatest silicon from Qualcomm, it's actually going with the Snapdragon 675. The reason for this is two-fold. One is going to be the price, the Snapdragon 675 is cheaper to source from Qualcomm than the Snapdragon 855. But it also will provide better battery life, while still providing great performance.

The Snapdragon 675 is an octa-core processor, clocked at 2GHz. So it's by no means a slow processor. And with the Moto Z4 using a near-stock version of Android 9 Pie, it doesn't need a ton of power to still be pretty fast. For many, having the better battery life is going to be a much bigger deal than having the fastest processor out there. And the Snapdragon 675 fits that bill pretty nicely.

Verizon or Unlocked?

In the US, the Moto Z4 is going to be available at Verizon starting on June 13. It'll be priced at $499.99. Or $20.83/month for 24 months. For a limited time, Verizon customers that add a line or those that switch to Verizon, can get the Moto Z4 for just $240 ($10/month for 24 months, with the rest being paid off in bill credits). Verizon customers can also purchase the 5G Moto Mod through the carrier for $199.99. That is $150 off of its regular price. These customers can also get Verizon 5G Ultra-Wideband at no additional cost on the Above Unlimited and Beyond Unlimited plans.

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For the rest of the US, customers can purchase an unlocked Moto Z4 from Best Buy, B&H Photo and Amazon starting on June 6. The pre-orders will start later today. These retailers will be bundling it with a Moto 360 Camera Moto Mod, for the same $499 price.

Finally, to our neighbors to the North, the Moto Z4 will launch in Canada "later this summer". Motorola doesn't have any specific dates for Canada just yet.