Single Z4 model strikes healthy balance between features and price, and keeps Moto Mods.
What you need to know
- Available starting June 13 from Verizon for $499, unlocked later in the summer.
- Will only be one Z4 model this year, with mid-range specs and the Motorola mainstay features.
- Compatible with all Moto Mods, including the Verizon 5G Mod.
Just 10 months after the Moto Z3 was announced, Motorola and has released its successor: the Moto Z4. Unlike previous generations, Motorola is ditching the multiple versions, like Play and Force, of the latest Moto Z and sticking with a single model for the Z4. That means a price point right in line with last year’s Z3 and Z3 Play, but also specs and capabilities to match, meaning this isn’t a flagship competitor.
The Z4 is a solid upgrade across the board, while keeping the price palatable compared to flagships.
Motorola’s reliance on Verizon as a partner for the Moto Z line has clearly influenced the development of the Z4, trying to strike a balance of features and capabilities with an enticing price that slots above budget phones and underneath the flagships. Verizon and Motorola have done (relatively) well with this segment in the past, and Motorola has generally struggled trying to compete at the $700+ price point.
Verizon and Motorola are once again pushing the fact that this is the cheapest way to get a 5G phone with the addition of the 5G Moto Mod, which can be added to a Z4 purchase for an extra $200. It’s easy to argue that the 5G Moto Mod isn’t worth that much considering the limited network availability and considerable size of the Mod, but the Z4 itself has plenty to stand on without the network conversation getting in the way.
The Moto Z4 looks right in line with what you’d expect for the money. Design-wise it’s tightly aligned with the previous generations because it retains Moto Mod compatibility, with a thin aluminum body and glass back — although the dimensions have shifted slightly, going a bit narrower and incorporating 2.5D curved glass on both sides. You’re also getting more screen for the size: a 6.4-inch 19:9 OLED display (2280×1080), thanks to an optical in-display fingerprint sensor.
Moto Z4 specs
Inside, things are equally basic and as expected. There’s a mid-range but capable Snapdragon 675 processor, just 4GB of RAM and a healthy 128GB of storage. Motorola has brought back the headphone jack, and upped the battery size to 3600mAh — along with 15W TurboPower charging. Motorola’s clean and useful take on Android 9 Pie runs the show.
There’s a lot of value here for $499, but the Pixel 3a XL is an interesting competitor.
Motorola is keeping the cameras simple: a single rear sensor, and a single front sensor. Though both are new for the line, and are the increasingly popular style of high-resolution sensors that shoot with 4-to-1 pixel binning for every shot to increase the effective pixel size. On the back, there’s a 48MP sensor (for 12MP photos) backed up by OIS and the typical array of basic night mode and scene optimization. On the front, you get a 25MP sensor.
Verizon is running a launch deal for new lines of service to get the Z4 for just $10 per month ($240 total), which is a wonderful discount. But even at the retil price of $499, the Z4 is going to be an easy sell from Verizon’s perspective whenever someone is undecided on a phone and is looking to hit a budget number. The Z4 isn’t alone here, though — with the Pixel 3a XL available for $480, Motorola is really going to have to lean on its more premium-feeling materials, its larger screen, and the draw of Moto Mods (and the promise of 5G they bring). The Z4 will come to major retailers at $499 unlocked later in the summer.
Mid-range with Mods
$500 at Verizon
A fresh mid-range offering with solid hardware, software and specs.
The Moto Z4 isn’t particularly flashy or enticing in one specific area, but it has everything you’re looking for from a phone at the $500 price. The hardware, specs and features are solid, and Motorola’s software is great. Plus, the option to expand its capabilities with Moto Mods can be interesting.