5G – the 5th generation of cell phone communications technology – may be the most anticipated development in phones since, uh, 4G. It will, as its predecessor, be faster with higher data capacity, etc. than the generation before. And Motorola’s Moto Z3 may be one of the first phones to take advantage of 5G when it first becomes available in early 2019.
However – you knew that was coming – a couple of caveats. First, the Moto Z3 is currently only being sold by Verizon for use on its network. And second, the phone will not natively support 5G, so when Verizon 5G becomes available in your area, you’ll have to purchase the Moto Mod that will make such connections possible.
Moto Mods – and there are some 15 of them – are add-on modules that easily attach to the back of most Moto Z phones, to add extra battery life, a projector, high-quality speakers, or even a Hasselblad brand camera. And there’ll be one soon – they’re not yet saying when or at what cost – that will make the Moto Z3 a 5G phone.
So are there reasons to buy the Moto Z3 now? Why yes, because it is a moderately priced and well-featured Android phone even if you don’t ever buy the 5G Mod. It has a bright 6-inch AMOLED screen, a Snapdragon 835 processor, 4 GB of RAM, 64 GB of storage space plus a slot for 512 GB more on a micro-SD card. It weighs about 5.5 ounces. The Z3 has dual 12 megapixel rear cameras – one is black & white only – plus an 8 MP selfie camera. It’s covered in Gorilla Glass front and back, but unfortunately is not water-resistant nor as shatter-proof as other phones.
The Moto Z3 has some other interesting features, such as Face Unlock, which is exactly what it sounds like, the ability to unlock your phone by recognizing your face (or that of your doppelgänger). The fingerprint sensor, which on some phones is on the front, on some phones is on the back, on the Z3 is on the right edge. So if you hold it in your right hand, you can unlock it with your thumb; with your left, use your forefinger.
There are all sorts of built-in-camera tricks including the aforementioned black & white camera, plus something called “cutout mode” in which you take the foreground image and put a different background behind it. Picture quality is good, but not extraordinary, then again this isn’t a $1,000 phone.
The Moto Z3 has a USB-C port, but, alas, no headphone jack. They do include a dongle for USB-C to 3.5mm plus what looks like a “safety” thing to keep from losing it. No earphones in the box.
The main thing I didn’t like about the Moto Z3 is what I don’t like about all front & back glass phones – too slippery in your hand, so get a case, and in this case there are Moto Mods from a plain shell for 20 bucks, to a Moto Folio that folds over and holds a credit card or ID, to a Mod that adds wireless charging (charging pad not included).
The Moto Z3 from Verizon retails for $480 – although as this is written they have deals that can cut the price in half with a new service plan.
Here’s a short promo video: