What you need to know
- Available June 6 unlocked for $499 and June 13 from Verizon for $439 or $10/month (with new activation).
- Single Moto Z4 model this year, bringing some of the Motorola One Vision features to the US.
- Compatible with all Moto Mods, including the Verizon 5G Moto Mod.
A short 10 months after the launch of the Moto Z3, Motorola has released its successor and with it, the second 5G-compatible Motorola smartphone. The Moto Z4 brings upgrades across the board, while retaining a palatable price, especially when you consider its compatible with the Verizon 5G Moto Mod. Unlike previous years, there's no Play or Force versions of the Moto Z4 planned for this year so this will be the one Moto Z4 device launching this year.
The Moto Z4 offers a solid hardware and software, at an excellent price compared to other flagships.
Although it'll be available unlocked through Best Buy, B&H and Amazon, the Moto Z4 has clearly been influenced by its carrier partner Verizon. The two companies have been relatively successful in developing smartphones with enough features, that slot in above the budget market and below the affordable flagship market. The Moto Z4 delivers exactly this, and is designed to offer 5G at less than half the price to other 5G compatible devices.
Talking of 5G, this is likely to be a key device for Verizon's 5G aims. Compatible with the existing 5G Moto Mod – and being bundled at launch with it – it's the only sub-$500 smartphone that's compatible with Verizon's nancscent 5G network, but six months from now, this may be another story. If you don't get the Moto Z4 with the bundle, the 5G Moto Mod will cost you an additional $200.
Beyond 5G, the Moto Z4 has a fair bit to offer, although it has one key competitor that makes things a little interesting.
Design-wise, it looks exactly like previous Moto Z smartphones with a thin aluminum body and glass back. It's compatible with all Moto Mods, although the switch to 2.5D glass all around the phone means it's not quite as snug a fit as on previous devices. One big change this year however, is the addition of the headphone jack with Motorola telling us they follow online conversations closely and have clearly seen that there are plenty of users who still want a headphone jack.
The display is somewhat reminiscent of the Motorola One Vision, as it uses a very similar CinemaVision display. The Full HD+ OLED display measures 6.4-inches with 19:9 aspect ratio and 2280x1080 pixels resolution. The Moto Z4 is also the first Motorola smartphone to come with a new in-display fingerprint sensor, which can unlock your phone in 500ms, and Motorola says the optical sensor is better than capacitive sensors when you're trying to use it with a wet finger.
Moving inside, the Moto Z4 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 675 processor with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. The battery has been bumped considerably to 3,600 mAh – which Motorola says can power average users for two days and heavy users for at least a full day – while 15W TurboPower charging means it should charge pretty rapidly.
The cameras are a unique pair, with Motorola going for a single camera front and rear. The front camera is a 25MP selfie shooter while the rear sensor is a 48MP shooter. Both use Quad Pixel technology, which is Motorola's marketing speak for pixel binning, aka the feature that lets you combine 4 pixels to create one larger pixel and take photos with much better overall light.
The front sensor lets you either capture photos at the full resolution, or at 6.25MP with 1.8µm pixel size for incredible low light photos. The rear camera doesn't let you capture at the full 48MP, and instead outputs 12MP images with 1.6µm pixel size. The super large sensor size (1 over 2 and a quarter which is much larger than other phones) and large pixel size mean this should be able to take great low light photos.
There's also OIS which should improve all-round photography and videography, while the secondary Time-of-Flight sensor is used for fast focusing in low light. Lastly, there's also the Night Vision from the One Vision, which uses 8 frames stacked together at different exposure values for better low-light photos without loss of quality.
The Moto Z4 is easy to recommend at $499, especially if you want 5G, but the Pixel 3a XL means it has some competition.
Like most Motorola devices, software is pretty much a stock affair. The Moto Z4 runs Android 9 Pie with its usual suite of Moto Actions on top. These include Motorola's one button Nav alternative to Pie as well as flicks of the wrist to quickly take a photo and turn on the flashlight. It comes with an always-on display and three finger screenshot which lets you screenshot the screen by swiping down with three fingers.
The Moto Z4 comes in two color choices – Flash Gray and Frost White – and is launching June 6 unlocked through Best Buy and B&H. It'll then go on sale at Verizon on June 13 with a special launch offer meaning it'll cost you just $10/month ($240 total), which is an outstanding price. Even at a full retail price of $499, the Moto Z4 is an easy choice for Verizon to recommend to customers who may not be sure which phone to buy. However, with devices like the Pixel 3a XL available for $480, it won't be as clear cut as in previous years. The promise of 5G with the compatible Moto Mod may end up helping Motorola and Verizon seal the deal for the new Moto Z4.
Mid-ranger with Moto Mods
A mid-range smartphone with good hardware and software, solid specs and Moto Mods compatibility.
The Moto Z4 isn't going to wow anyone, but it has everything you would be looking for in a $500 smartphone. There's a stylish design, great display and a solid suite of specs, while Motorola's software is stock-like and amongst the best. The option to expand the phone's capability via Moto Mods is interesting, while the 5G Moto Mod makes this one of the best value-for-money phones if 5G is a must-have for you.
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