Motorola held a press event at its Chicago HQ on August 2 and out came the Moto Z3, the company’s 2018 flagship phone but with 2017-era specs. And no, this time there’s no Force variant, just like there was no standard variant in 2017.
As you may have guessed, the Motorola Moto Z3 is superior to the Moto Z3 Play that came out earlier and just like the Moto Z handsets before it, you can only get the Z3 in the U.S. via Verizon Wireless, the exclusive carrier.
Moto Z3 specs
- 6.01-inch 18:9 FHD+ AMOLED display
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor
- 4GB RAM
- 64GB expandable storage
- Dual 12 + 12MP main camera
- 8MP front camera
- 3000mAh battery
- Android 8.1 Oreo
- Extras: Bluetooth 5.0, USB-C, NFC, Face unlock, side-mounted scanner, fast charging, water-repellant coating, Moto Display, Voice, Actions, etc.
A closer look at the Moto Z3 reveals quite some resemblance with the Moto Z3 Play. The design language is largely the same because, Moto Mods. Speaking of which, the Z3 was accompanied by a Moto Mod that adds 5G support to the device, which is pretty cool to have.
The two also share some specs such as the display screen, side-mounted fingerprint scanner, face unlock, missing 3.5mm audio jack in favor of a USB-C port, and dual-lens cameras on the back, although the Moto Z3’s setup is obviously superior. However, under the hood, this is easily a 2017 smartphone.
2017 specs in a 2018 body
The Motorola Moto Z3 is an imitation of what LG has been doing in the recent past. The phone packs 2017 specs in a 2018 body and even though not necessarily a good thing, it has been reflected in the modest asking price for the device.
What this means is that you are not getting a Snapdragon 845, instead, the Moto Z3 has a Snapdragon 835 chipset. Unlike most 2018 flagship phones that have 6GB/8GB RAM modules and 128GB or more storage, the Z3 only gets 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, but it can be expanded up to 2TB. Note that the Moto Z2 Force got a 6GB RAM variant with 128GB of internal storage, things you won’t find on the Moto Z3. As noted earlier, you get the same display screen properties as the Moto Z3 Play, but the battery is a little bigger than the mediocre 2730mAh unit found in the Moto Z2 Force.
Like most phones in 2018, the Moto Z3 has a dual-lens camera on the back. Of course, the setup is better than the Play variant, especially the secondary lens that offers black and white shots and is expected to improve performance in low-light conditions. If anything, the dual 12MP setup on the Z3 is identical to the one used on the Moto Z2 Force and for the selfies, you get an 8MP unit.
In 2018, display screens on flagship phones are protected by the latest from Corning – Gorilla Glass 5, but on the Moto Z3 you’ll come across Gorilla Glass 3. Like the Moto Z3 Play and pre-2018 Sony Xperia flagship phones, the fingerprint scanner is side-mounted. The phone also supports facial recognition technology.
Moto Z3 price and availability
The Moto Z3 was unveiled on the second day of August 2018 and starts shipping on August 16th. As pointed out earlier, the phone will be sold through one U.S. carrier – Verizon Wireless. Given the fact that the Z3 has 2017 specs in a 2018 body, the price tag much reflects the former than the latter.
Related: The best Verizon phones to buy today
Verizon says you only need $20 per month for 24 months to grab the Moto Z3 off their shelves. If paying it outright, you only need $480. This is even cheaper than the Moto Z3 Play, which has a price tag of $500, making the Z3 one of the best deals you can get right now.
Motorola’s 5G Mod makes the Z3 future-proof, with the accessory expected to start shipping in early 2019. At the moment, there are no price details, but Motorola says it will be ready at the same time Verizon’s 5G network fully goes mainstream.