Motorola Moto Z3 review

7.5/10 AVG.
RATING



7.5/10
Informr score
The Motorola Moto Z3 currently has an Informr score of 7.5 out of 10. This score is based on our evaluation of 20 sources including reviews from users and the web's most trusted critics.

The "1-Minute" Review

Verdict

The Moto Z3 is a decent phone for the price with its good display and smooth performance but it falls short of being great due to its poor camera performance and limited carrier availability.

What's good

  • Bright, vibrant display
  • Good value
  • Snappy performance
  • All-day battery life

What's bad

  • Awkward ergonomics
  • Poor low-light camera performance
  • Only available to Verizon customers

Motorola has always offered a decent smartphone experience at an affordable price. The Moto Z3 is no exception. Although it might not offer the performance and features of other premium smartphones, it will be the first 5G upgradeable smartphone thanks to its mods. But, as you might expect at the price point, Motorola had to make compromises. Did they make the right ones?

If you’ve seen the Moto Z3 Play , then you’ve seen the Moto Z3. The design is almost identical. While thin, many found it awkward and uncomfortable in the hand due to its poorly placed side fingerprint scanner, high volume button, and slippery glass back. 

If you’re looking for a waterproof phone, you’ll be disappointed. The phone is splash resistant, but it likely won’t survive a drop in a puddle.

It comes equipped with the same 6-inch, full HD+ (2160-by-1080 pixel) display from the Z3 Play. While not as sharp as Quad HD, it’s crisp and offers the same pixel density as the OnePlus 6

Reviewers were happy with the viewing angles and overall sunlight legibility. They found the colors vibrant but a bit on the saturated side. You can adjust screen saturation and color temperature to suit your taste if you agree.

On paper, the Z3’s hardware doesn’t sound great. It comes with the Snapdragon 835 processor and 4GB of RAM. Compared to other phones at this price, the processor is dated. Yet, in real life tests, critics could handle multi-task and play high-end games without significant issues.

Interestingly, Motorola opted for a processor that cannot handle 5G. Instead, it uses a Motorola mod to add 5G access. The Mod itself comes equipped with a Snapdragon X50 5G modem, an X24 4G modem, and its own 2,000mAh battery. Including an additional battery in the mod makes up for the extra power needed for the 5G and 4G mode.

The phone itself comes with a 3,000mAh battery. Experts could get around a full day of juice with moderate usage. Heavier use without mods drained the battery in about 7.5 hours.

Like other smartphones, the Z3 has a dual-lens 12MP main camera. One lens captures color while the other captures black-and-white images. Unfortunately, while the specs look good, results didn’t impress reviewers. 

Reviewers captured detailed pictures with good color reproduction in outdoor lighting situations. However, once they ventured indoors, the camera’s autofocus often missed the mark leading to blurry pictures. 

Once in low lighting, their pictures were even worse due to camera shake and grain.

While not a bad phone, reviewers are rather tepid in their recommendation. The Verge states, “... The Moto Z3 is an extremely decent phone for its price… but… it’s a 2017 flagship phone in 2018.” Tom’s Guide adds, “Motorola has put together a solid budget flagship in the Moto Z3, even in spite of its modest specs and familiar design… Still, the Moto Z3 feels like a half measure in too many respects…”


Operating system
Android
Processor
2.35 GHz
Screen Size
6"
Camera
12+ MP


What the Critics Are Saying...


Hothardware

The Moto Z3 is somewhat of an enigma. It has one foot in the past with its 2017-era hardware specs, but it tries to be forward-looking by dipping its toe in the 5G wireless future that is coming in 2019. Are there enthusiasts/early adopters that would traditionally be drawn to 5G that want to ride t...

- Brandon Hill, Hothardware
Techaeris

The moto Z3 Verizon is another very solid mid-tier phone from Motorola that is really challenging the idea that everyone needs a flagship phone. The power button placement is irritating and the camera could be a bit better but for the price you get good value here.

- Alex Hernandez, Techaeris
GSMArena

We'll start by saying that the Moto Z3 is not worthy of the number 3 in its name. At this point, the phone solely exists for Verizon to promote its 5G network and market it as the first 5G-upgradable phone with the 5G Moto Mod.

- GSMArena
PhoneArena

The Moto Z3 is a solid device – and one worth considering, but not because of its potential to be your first 5G phone at some point in the future. This is a handset that performs well across most areas, even with last year's Snapdragon 835 in it.

- Corey Gaskin, PhoneArena
Android Headlines

The Moto Z3 is still an interesting phone. It seems like Motorola only made this phone for the 5G Moto Mod – that won’t even be available until next year. That’s the entire selling point of this phone, that it’s 5G-upgradeable. But it does offer a pretty good device for under $500.

- Alexander Maxham, Android Headlines


Prices (Where to Buy)




Common Questions


Motorola released the Moto Z3 on August 16, 2018.


The Moto Z3 price will vary depending on retailer, age, special offers and whether or not it's purchased with a service plan. If purchased with a 2 year service contract for example, you would likely pay much less for the phone itself up front. You can compare Motorola Moto Z3 prices from around the web here on The Informr.


We've got you covered! Download a free PDF copy of the Motorola Moto Z3 user manual here.


Motorola backs up the Moto Z3 with a 1 Year parts & labour warranty.


If your Moto Z3 has problems and is still within its warranty period, you could contact Motorola support or the retailer you purchased the phone from. You'll find Motorola's contact information here. If your phone is off warranty and needs repair for a physical problem such as a broken screen or bad battery, you should visit an authorized service centre or a local phone repair shop. You can also connect with others in The Informr Community Forum to find and share answers to questions.



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Quick view

Screen Size
6"

The Motorola Moto Z3's screen size is 6 inches with 1080 x 2160 pixels resolution.

Processor
2.35 GHz

There is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Octa core 2.35 GHz processor (CPU).

OS

The phone runs on the Android 8.1 Oreo operating system (OS).

Camera
12+ MP

You can take photos or capture video with the phone's onboard 12+ megapixel camera.

There is also a secondary front facing camera with 8+ megapixels resolution.

Storage
64 GB

Internal memory is 64 GB. An external, MicroSD, MicroSDHC, microSDXC (up to 2000 GB) expansion slot is available for increased storage capacity.

Battery
3000mAh

The phone is powered by a Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion), 3000 mAh battery. Motorola's performance ratings are 1262 minutes, 649 minutes Wi-Fi surfing.

Moto Z3 Specs

Overview
Release date August 16, 2018
Regions available USA
Networks
GSM:
850/900/1800/1900 MHz
UMTS:
850/900/1700/1900 /2100 MHz
LTE:
1700/700/2100/800 /850/900/1800/2600/2300/2500 MHz
Data:
GPRS, EDGE, HSUPA, HSPA+, LTE
SIM card Nano-SIM
Dual SIM Yes
Operating System Android 8.1 Oreo

Compare Android Smartphones

Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Octa core 2.35 GHz
Internal Flash Memory 64 GB
RAM 4 GB
ROM No
GPS Type A-GPS
Digital compass Yes
Flightmode Yes
Hearing Aid Compatible Yes
TTY/TDD Yes
Noise Cancellation Yes
SAR Head: 1.11 W/kg
Body: 1.18 W/kg
Languages English
Manufacturer Warranty 1 Year
Accessories Included USB Power Adapter, Manual, Data Cable
Power & battery
Type Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion)
Battery Capacity 3000 mAh
Removable Battery No
Wireless Charging Yes
Fast Charging Yes
Video Playback Time Up to: 908 minutes
Internet Use (Wi-Fi) Up to: 649 minutes
Internet Use (Celluar) Up to: 562 minutes
Talk Time Up to: 1262 minutes
Standby Time Up to: 10 days
Physical Characteristics
Design type Bar
Multi-Use Smart Phone / PDA Yes
Material Aluminium
Colors Ceramic Black
Dimensions [H x W x D] 15.65 x 7.65 x 0.675 cm (6.2 x 3 x 0.3 in)
Weight 156 grams
Water Resistant / Waterproof Water Resistant
Rugged design No
IP Rating No
Antenna Type Internal
Changeable Faceplates No
Display / Screen
Type Color
Technology Super AMOLED
Colors 16.7 million
Resolution 1080 x 2160 pixels
Pixel density 402 pixels
Size 6 inches
3D No
Secondary Display No
Sensors Ambient Light, Proximity, Motion / Accelerometer, Gyroscope
Graphics Yes
Themes No
Backlit Illumination Yes
Zoom / Magnification Yes
Screen Orientation Lock Yes
Multi-Touch Yes
Fingerprint-Resistant Coating No
Additional Display Features Capacitive touch screen, Corning Gorilla Glass, 2.5D glass
Input / Navigation
Sleep / Wake Key Yes
Home Key No
Mute Key No
Input Type Touchscreen
Navigation Type Touchscreen
Predictive Text Entry Yes
Physical keyboard No
Voicemail Key No
Any Key Answer No
Voice Commands Yes
Keypad/Screen Lock Yes
External Volume Control Yes
External Media Playback Controls No
Fingerprint Sensor Yes
Call Management
Wi-Fi Calling Yes
Voice over LTE (VoLTE) Yes
Contact List Capacity Depends on system memory
Multiple Numbers Per Contact Email address, Other fields
Contact Groups Yes
Auto Answer No
Voice Activated Dialing Yes
Photo Caller ID Yes
Web / Email / Messaging
Web Browser Yes
Email Client Yes
Email Protocols POP3, IMAP, Microsoft Exchange
Additional Email Features Gmail
Messaging SMS, MMS, IM
Push-to-talk (PTT) No
Connectivity
USB USB Type-C
USB OTG Support Yes
Infrared No
Bluetooth 5.0
Bluetooth Profiles A2DP, AVRCP, OPP/FTP, HID, HFP, HSP, PAN
Bluetooth Audio Codecs SBC, aptX
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n
WiFi Encryption WPA/WPA2
Mobile Hotspot Yes
WiMAX No
Memory Expansion Slot Yes
Expansion Slot Info MicroSD, MicroSDHC, microSDXC (up to 2000 GB)
PC Synchronization Yes
TV Out No
DLNA Support No
NFC Yes
UMA Support No
Data Tethering Compatibility Yes
Java Applications No
Brew Applications No
ECML / Digital Wallet No
PictBridge No
Camera
Main Camera
Aperture
ƒ/ 2.0
Resolution
12+ megapixels
Dual lens
Yes
Zoom
Yes
Flash
Yes (Dual LED)
Additional Rear Camera Info
Auto focus, Effects, Face detection, Geotagging, Multi-shot, Panorama, Self-timer, Dual camera feature (12 MP 2nd camera), Slow motion recording, Zero shutter lag, Time lapse mode, HDR
Video Recording Formats
MPEG-4
Video Recording Parameters
Ultra HD (3840 x 2160 pixels), 30 fps
Front Camera
Resolution
8+ megapixels
Zoom
Yes
Additional Front Camera Info
Aperture f/2.0
Video Recording Parameters
Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels), 30 fps
Audio / Video
Audio Playback Yes
Audio Formats AAC, AAC+, AMR-NB, AMR-WB, eAAC+, MIDI, MP3, MP4, OGG, WAV
Radio No
Video Playback Yes
Video Playback Formats 3GP / 3GPP, FLV, H.264 / AVC, MPEG-4, WMV
Mobile TV No
Streaming Video Yes
External Speakers Yes
Headset Jack No
Custom Ringtones Yes
Vibration Alert Yes
Downloadable Ringtones Yes
Ringtone Composer No
Ringer ID Yes
Haptic Feedback Vibration Yes
Speakerphone Yes
Apps
To-Do / Task List No
Calendar Yes
World Clock Yes
Alarm Yes
Stop Watch Yes
Timer Yes
Calculator Yes
Currency Converter No
Weather Yes
Stocks No
Maps Yes
NotePad No
Voice Memos / Recorder Yes
Games Downloadable
Apps Downloadable
Included Software / Apps
More
Additional comments
Related Links Manual (PDF)
Motorola Moto Z3 Reviews
Where to buy Motorola Moto Z3
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Critic Reviews


Hothardware

Proven hardware chasing a 5G future

from Hothardware

The Moto Z3 is somewhat of an enigma. It has one foot in the past with its 2017-era hardware specs, but it tries to be forward-looking by dipping its toe in the 5G wireless future that is coming in 2019. Are there enthusiasts/early adopters that would traditionally be drawn to 5G that want to rid...More

The Moto Z3 is somewhat of an enigma. It has one foot in the past with its 2017-era hardware specs, but it tries to be forward-looking by dipping its toe in the 5G wireless future that is coming in 2019. Are there enthusiasts/early adopters that would traditionally be drawn to 5G that want to ride that next-generation wave with the Moto Z3? Only time will tell.

Read full review

Less

Techaeris

A slightly better Z3 Play for Big Red

from Techaeris

The moto Z3 Verizon is another very solid mid-tier phone from Motorola that is really challenging the idea that everyone needs a flagship phone. The power button placement is irritating and the camera could be a bit better but for the price you get good value here.

Read full review

The moto Z3 Verizon is another very solid mid-tier phone from Motorola that is really challenging the idea that everyone needs a flagship phone. The power button placement is irritating and the camera could be a bit better but for the price you get good value here.

Read full review

Less

GSMArena

Feels like the device was rushed

We'll start by saying that the Moto Z3 is not worthy of the number 3 in its name. At this point, the phone solely exists for Verizon to promote its 5G network and market it as the first 5G-upgradable phone with the 5G Moto Mod.

Read full review

We'll start by saying that the Moto Z3 is not worthy of the number 3 in its name. At this point, the phone solely exists for Verizon to promote its 5G network and market it as the first 5G-upgradable phone with the 5G Moto Mod.

Read full review

Less

PhoneArena

A device you’ll be very happy to own

from PhoneArena

The Moto Z3 is a solid device – and one worth considering, but not because of its potential to be your first 5G phone at some point in the future. This is a handset that performs well across most areas, even with last year's Snapdragon 835 in it.

Read full review

The Moto Z3 is a solid device – and one worth considering, but not because of its potential to be your first 5G phone at some point in the future. This is a handset that performs well across most areas, even with last year's Snapdragon 835 in it.

Read full review

Less

Android Headlines

A solid sub-$500 smartphone

from Android Headlines

The Moto Z3 is still an interesting phone. It seems like Motorola only made this phone for the 5G Moto Mod – that won’t even be available until next year. That’s the entire selling point of this phone, that it’s 5G-upgradeable. But it does offer a pretty good device for under $500.

Read full review

The Moto Z3 is still an interesting phone. It seems like Motorola only made this phone for the 5G Moto Mod – that won’t even be available until next year. That’s the entire selling point of this phone, that it’s 5G-upgradeable. But it does offer a pretty good device for under $500.

Read full review

Less

Tom's Guide

A 5G-ready phone with a foot in the past

from Tom's Guide

The Moto Z3 feels like a half measure in too many respects — like a product pushed out as a vehicle to market 5G, rather than one that can stand on its own merits.

Read full review

The Moto Z3 feels like a half measure in too many respects — like a product pushed out as a vehicle to market 5G, rather than one that can stand on its own merits.

Read full review

Less

Android Authority

Will only get better with time

from Android Authority

The Moto Z3 is the first 5G upgradeable smartphone to hit the market, but that's all it has going for it. Take away the 5G and it becomes the most unexciting smartphone of 2018. Unless you're willing to wait for the 5G Moto Mod in 2019 there are better alternatives.

Read full review

The Moto Z3 is the first 5G upgradeable smartphone to hit the market, but that's all it has going for it. Take away the 5G and it becomes the most unexciting smartphone of 2018. Unless you're willing to wait for the 5G Moto Mod in 2019 there are better alternatives.

Read full review

Less

Cnet

Solid, midprice phone with a bright 5G tomorrow

from Cnet

Buy Motorola's Moto Z3 if you're looking for a well-priced Android phone on Verizon today, not for the promised 5G upgrade module.

Read full review

Buy Motorola's Moto Z3 if you're looking for a well-priced Android phone on Verizon today, not for the promised 5G upgrade module.

Read full review

Less

Venture Beat

Motorola’s half-priced iPhone X awaits its 5G backpack

from Venture Beat

If you want a good phone now that could become a 5G portable hotspot for work, consider the Moto Z3 — but I would strongly suggest waiting on the purchase until both Verizon and Motorola become transparent on their 5G pricing.

Read full review

If you want a good phone now that could become a 5G portable hotspot for work, consider the Moto Z3 — but I would strongly suggest waiting on the purchase until both Verizon and Motorola become transparent on their 5G pricing.

Read full review

Less

Android Guys

Totally worth it in select instances, we're not buying into 5g yet

from Android Guys

Fortunately, the Z3 doesn’t command a hefty price tag. There’s just enough new here to qualify as an update to an existing phone, and the cost is commensurate. This is a great “every man” phone. Period. It will definitely fit the needs of most of the people you know. Sure, you might know...More

Fortunately, the Z3 doesn’t command a hefty price tag. There’s just enough new here to qualify as an update to an existing phone, and the cost is commensurate. This is a great “every man” phone. Period. It will definitely fit the needs of most of the people you know. Sure, you might know a few guys who want more, but this largely handles the duties for all.

Read full review

Less



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