Modular smartphone hardware may not have taken the world by storm, but we continue to see companies trying to make it work. While it's always nice to have newcomers like Essential taking a stab at it, the king of modular add-ons is still Motorola. Going back two years now, Moto Mods have offered owners of Z-series devices the chance to augment their phone experiences with everything from cameras with optical zoom to miniature video projectors. Back in June we were introduced to the mid-range Moto Z3 Play and today we get to meet its big brother, the new Moto Z3.

Compared to last year, though, this is a bit of a conservative “flagship,” sticking with the same Snapdragon 835 chip that powered the Z2 Force, rather than moving to a more modern 845. Screen resolution also takes a hit down to 1080p territory, though at least we've got a new 18:9 panel shape, helping to fill up more of the phone's face. The hardware will be equipped with 4GB of RAM and offer 64GB internal storage. Really, that processor and some camera upgrades aside, this isn't too far removed form the Z3 Play.

Specs

OS Android 8.1 Oreo
Display 6” Full HD Super AMOLED, 18:9
Processor Snapdragon 835
Memory 4GB
Storage 64GB
Dual Rear Cameras 12MP full-color, 12MP monochrome
Front Camera 8MP
Battery 3,000mAh
Dimensions 156.5 x 76.5 x 6.75mm
Weight 156g
Headphone Jack? No (adapter included)

The Moto Z3 also marks the return of Verizon's interest in the Moto Z lineup, after sitting out the release of the Z3 Play. If you were wondering why Verizon would ignore that release, it's because it was cooking up something big, and the Z3 debuts as a VZW exclusive alongside promise of a new Moto Mod that equips the phone to operate on Verizon's upcoming 5G network.

That network gets started later this year with fixed-location residential service, with full mobile support coming sometime in 2019. When it does land, though, the Moto Z3 with its 5G Moto Mod will be all set to take advantage of it.

That 5G hardware will be built around Qualcomm's X50 modem for millimeter wave connectivity, while also offering multiple antenna arrays and an upgraded Snapdragon X24 LTE Cat20 modem for better 4G performance than the phone alone. This all adds up to a package capable of theoretical 5Gbps transfer speeds. The Mod will also be equipped with its own 2,000mAh battery.

The Moto Z3 itself is surprisingly going to be a little more affordable than the $500 Z3 Play, with Verizon selling the Z3 for only $480. The hardware lands in just two weeks, on August 16. As for the 5G Moto Mod, full pricing and release details have yet to be made public, but we're told that info should be announced later this year, ahead of early 2019 availability.

Press Release

Verizon and Motorola unveil the world’s first 5G-upgradable smartphone – moto z3

CHICAGO – Today, Verizon and Motorola revealed the moto z3 and 5G moto mod, are coming exclusively to Verizon. The new moto z3 is the first 5G-upgradeable smartphone, which will let you tap into Verizon’s 5G network by simply snapping on the 5G moto mod*.

“5G will change the ways we live, work, learn and play,” said Nicola Palmer, Verizon’s chief network engineer and head of wireless networks. “It will touch nearly every industry sector, impact our economy in a profound way and dramatically improve our global society.”

Verizon: First to 5G.

Verizon will be first to launch 5G residential broadband service in four markets in the U.S. – including Houston, Los Angeles, Sacramento and one additional city, to be named – in the second half of 2018, followed by a mobile 5G solution in 2019. The moto z3 with 5G moto mod will take full advantage of Verizon’s mobile 5G service over millimeter wave spectrum for massive bandwidth, ultra-high speeds and single-digit millisecond latency. 5G will improve the experience for all types of gaming, virtual and augmented reality applications, and for anyone that needs real-time speeds for work and play.

“Verizon is the definitive leader in the development and deployment of 5G. Our consistent and relentless focus on always delivering the best 4G network is the perfect foundation to bring 5G to market,” continued Palmer. “As we like to say, we don’t wait for the future, we build it.”

Introducing moto z3.

The moto z3 also includes all the features you love about the Motorola z-series, including all-day battery life** with TurboPower™ charging**, dual 12-MP, depth-sensing smart cameras that work with Google Lens and a nearly borderless 6” Super AMOLED display, so you can see more and scroll less.

The moto z3 also works with all your existing family of moto mods, so you can transform your Motorola smartphone into the perfect mobile entertainment system. For a limited time, if you purchase a moto z3, you can get any moto mod over $100 for only $50. Make every night movie night with the Insta-Share Projector, shoot detailed 360° Ultra HD video with 3D audio with the Moto 360 Camera, instantly turn up the music with the Smart Speaker with Amazon Alexa moto mod, and more. Whatever your passion, there’s a moto mod for you***.

Pricing and availability

The moto z3 will be available in the U.S. exclusively through Verizon starting on August 16 at $20 a month for 24 months on Verizon’s device payment plan ($480 retail; 0% APR). To make it easier to move to 5G once the network becomes available next year, we’re offering up to $300 off a new moto z3 on our device payment plan when you switch to Verizon and trade-in your old phone****.

Pricing and availability for the 5G moto mod will be announced later this year. For more information, visit verizonwireless.com/smartphones/moto-z3/.

*5G connectivity available with 5G moto mod (sold separately, expected availability early 2019), and 5G network coverage (expected availability 2019 and expanding after that. Visit verizon.com/about/our-company/5g for details).

**All battery life claims are approximate and based on a mixed use profile (which includes both usage and standby time) under optimal network conditions. Actual battery performance will vary and depends on many factors including signal strength, network and device settings, temperature, battery condition, and usage patterns.

***moto mods sold separately.

****Up to $480.00 device payment purchase req’d. Up to $300 trade-in/promo credit applied to account over 24 mos.; promo credit ends when balance paid or line terminated; 0% APR. Eligible trade-in must be in good working & cosmetic condition.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ), headquartered in New York City, generated $126 billion in 2017 revenues. The company operates America’s most reliable wireless network and the nation’s premier all-fiber network, and delivers integrated solutions to businesses worldwide. Its Oath subsidiary reaches people around the world with a dynamic house of media and technology brands.

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