Moto Z3 5G review

The solid budget – and so far only – 5G option

Moto Z3
Image credit: TechRadar
(Image: © TechRadar)

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Image credit: TechRadar

Image credit: TechRadar (Image credit: TechRadar)

Final verdict

Not counting the Moto Mods, the Moto Z3 keeps abreast of the pack of other midrange phones while coming in cheap at $349 – and even inches ahead with its old but still sturdy Snapdragon 835 chip. For a bit more, the $549 / £499 (around AU$771) OnePlus 6T packs better specs across the board, but that’s another price tier entirely.

If you’re considering the Moto Z3, you’re either looking around for a less pricey option within Verizon...or you want 5G network speeds at a discount. 

And that discount is nothing to ignore – for a fraction of the price of leading 5G-compatible phones, you’ll get a phone that works fine, shoots okay photos and runs your favorite apps in a slim body with a 6-inch screen. You could do far worse at this price point -- including, curiously, the less-powerful Moto Z3 Play released shortly before it that costs about the same.

If you’re intending to buy it for 5G, be forewarned: in these early days, we don’t know much about how these networks will unfold nor whether lower-powered devices will have lower network performance than the highly-priced flagships coming out later in 2019 that are specialized to work on 5G, like the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G or the LG V50 ThinQ 5G. 

In other words, the Z3 could be a blessing for Verizon to undercut pricey competition and lure people over to its 5G network with a far cheaper entry-level phone...or just a decent phone option should its 5G network get outclassed by other carriers. 

David Lumb

David is now a mobile reporter at Cnet. Formerly Mobile Editor, US for TechRadar, he covered phones, tablets, and wearables. He still thinks the iPhone 4 is the best-looking smartphone ever made. He's most interested in technology, gaming and culture – and where they overlap and change our lives. His current beat explores how our on-the-go existence is affected by new gadgets, carrier coverage expansions, and corporate strategy shifts.