The "1-Minute" Review
VerdictThe 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.
- Bright, vibrant display
- Good value
- Snappy performance
- All-day battery life
- 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…”
What the Critics Are Saying...
- Julian Chokkattu, Digital Trends
The Moto Z3 brings strong performance, an all-day battery, and an affordable price tag. The potential of 5G aside, it’s the best option for Verizon subscribers looking for a sub-$500 phone.
- Brandon Hill, 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...
- Alex Hernandez, 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.
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.
- Corey Gaskin, 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.
Prices (Where to Buy)
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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Manuals / User Guides
- Motorola Moto Z3 Manual (PDF)
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