Moto Z3 release date, price, news and features

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Motorola launched the rest of its Moto Z3 lineup of phones today. Last year’s Moto Z2 Play and Moto Z2 Force launched around this time last year, and the Moto Z3 Play recently made its debut. But, with the Moto Z3, the family is rounded out, though it's surprising not to see a Moto Z3 Force variant.

The launch of the Moto Z3 Play, as well as updates to the Moto G line, had given us a pretty good idea for what Motorola had in store this time around. The new Moto Z3 Play fits into the mid-range smartphone market, and the new Moto Z3 fits at the higher end, though isn't quite on the spec footing of other new flagship phones. 

It’s not clear whether Motorola will still aunch any other variants in the Moto Z3 family, as last year there were only two Moto Z2 models. By comparison, the first series of Moto Z phones had three distinct models.

Cut to the chase

  • What is Moto Z3? The latest flagship and mid-range modular smartphones from Motorola
  • When is Moto Z3 out? The Moto Z3 Play is out now, and the Moto Z3 launched today
  • What will Moto Z3 cost? $499 (about £380, AU$630) for Moto Z3 Play and the Moto Z3 comes in at a surprisingly low $480 (about £370, AU$650) for the Moto Z3 

Moto Z3 release date and price

There was no dramatic shift in release schedule from Motorola for the new Moto Z3, since Motorola didn’t shift up with the Moto Z3 Play. As with past launches, the Play variant came first, but this time it's just being followed by a Moto Z3 with no Force variant.

The Moto Z2 Play went on sale in June of last year, three months after the Moto G5. And, the Moto Z3 Play launched this June for pre-orders. The Moto Z3 got announced today. 

For prices, we don’t expect much to change from previous years. The Moto Z2 Play sold for $499 (£379.99, about AU$630), and the Moto Z3 Play replacing it hits the same US price point. The Moto Z3 comes in surprisingly below the Z3 Play in price despite packing better hardware. The Moto Z3 price is $480 (about £350, AU$650). 

The Z3 is a Verizon exclusive on sale August 16. Verizon will offer a $20/month payment plan, and customers switching to Verizon can trade in their old phone for up to $300 off. A major aspect of the Moto Z3 is that it will support Motorola's upcoming 5G Moto Mod, which could give Verizon users theoretical speeds of 5Gbps when the 5G network begins operating in early 2019.

An early leak had suggested one twist in the release. That comes in the form of special bundles for the Moto Z3 family that would pair the phone with a select Moto Mod. The rumored bundles are a Power edition, Style edition, Gamepad edition, and Projection edition. We saw the Moto Z3 Play launch bundled with a battery mod. For the Moto Z3 and any fancier bundles, we expect the prices to be the base price of the phone plus a discounted Moto Mod.

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Moto Z3 design and display

Not much about the Moto Z3’s chassis has changed. Since the Moto Z3 will continue to support existing Moto Mods, much of the phone has to remain the same, namely the length, width, camera position, and Moto Mods connector.

The Moto Z3 Play moved to a slightly thicker chassis than its predecessor, and got a side-mounted fingerprint scanner. At the same time, it dropped the 3.5mm headphone jack. 

The Moto Z3 appears all too similar to the Moto Z3 Play, boasting a 6-inch display with an aspect ratio of 18:9. The all-screen look has been trending among flagships, and showed up on the Moto G6 as well. The resolution of the mid-range Moto Z3 Play and the Moto Z3 display is Full HD+.

Since both the Moto Z2 Play and Moto Z2 Force use AMOLED displays, as does the new Moto Z3 Play, it's no surprise that the standard Moto Z3 also uses a Super AMOLED screen.

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Moto Z3 specs, camera and battery life

With dual-sensor camera setups gracing the Moto G6, it's no surprise the Moto Z3 family also includes dual cameras across the line. The Moto Z3 Play landed with a camera setup featuring a 12MP primary sensor and a 5MP secondary sensor for depth. The Moto Z2 Force already featured dual 12MP sensors with one sensor that was monocrhome, and the Moto Z3 matches that but includes Google Lens integration.

The internals are where the Moto Z3 Play and Moto Z3 differ most. The Moto Z3 Play has a Snapdragon 636 chipset - a natural upgrade from the Moto Z2 Play’s Snapdragon 626 chipset. It also packs 4GB of RAM and 32GB or 64GB of storage. 

The Moto Z3, despite being a flagship, only packs in the older Snapdragon 835 chipset that powered many of last year's Android flagships, such as the Samsung Galaxy S8. Given that older chipset, it's not too surprising that the Moto Z3 also will still come with the same 4GB of RAM found in the Moto Z2 Force, with the same true of the 64GB of storage.

One aspect of the Moto Z3 lineup that’s not looking so favorable is the battery. The Moto Z3 Play kept its 3,000mAh battery, which may struggle to power its larger display. The Moto Z3 also runs a 3,000mAh battery, which should struggle similarly with its large display.

Just like the Moto Z3 Play, the Moto Z3 runs Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box, with timely updates to Android P highly probable.

We’ll continue to update this page as we confirm all the details on the launch of the Moto Z3 lineup, so check back in regularly for the latest Moto Z3 specs and features.