Moto Z4 Palms-on Overview: Underwhelming, However Succesful

The Moto Z4 isn’t an thrilling telephone. It doesn’t deliver something new to the desk, and at $500, you should buy similarly-priced telephones with extra compelling options, just like the Google Pixel 3a or the Asus ZenFone 6.

That doesn’t imply it’s a nasty telephone. The Moto Z4 presents stable efficiency, a big battery, a promising digital camera, and a pleasant software program expertise. You’ll be able to nonetheless use Moto Mods, and a few are genuinely helpful. However on the finish of the day, the Z4 is priced just a little excessive. Primarily based on my preliminary ideas, you must solely purchase this telephone in case you’re on Verizon’s community, because it’s accessible for $400 in case you’re an current buyer and also you’re upgrading.

Moto Mods, and a big show

The Moto Z4 appears lots like its predecessors. That’s as a result of it maintains the modular system so Motorola’s Moto Mods can magnetically connect to the again of the telephone. The telephone’s dimensions wanted to be related so Moto Mods that labored on the Moto Z3 or authentic Moto Z can work flawlessly on the Z4. That’s nice in case you already personal a couple of mods and are planning on upgrading from an older Moto Z telephone.

Motorola presents 16 Moto Mods for the time being, with the latest being the 5G Moto Mod. No new Moto Mods are launching with the Moto Z4, which is disappointing. Nonetheless, I’ve all the time favored Motorola’s implementation of mods. They’re straightforward to snap on and use. I can solely suggest a couple of mods, although, such because the battery mod for longer battery life, the JBL Soundboost 2 speaker mod for blasting music, the wi-fi charging mod, and the Polaroid Insta-Share Printer mod.

moto z4 Julian Chokkattu/Digital Tendencies

The telephone’s again boasts etched matte glass (Gorilla Glass three), and it feels good. The matte texture eliminates ugly smudges and fingerprints, and it’s tough to inform it’s a glass again. On the very backside are pogo pins which can be required for knowledge transmission between Moto Mods and the telephone. There’s additionally a big and ugly digital camera bump, however that disappears in case you slap on a Moto Mod case.

The show is protected by Gorilla Glass three as nicely, and Motorola has jumped on the bezel-less and notch bandwagon. The sides surrounding the display screen are slim, and that delivers a bigger 6.39-inch show whereas sustaining almost the identical physique measurement because the Moto Z3 (which has a 6-inch display screen).

It’s an OLED show with 2,340 x 1,080 decision, and it appears sharp, with sturdy colours and deep blacks. In my restricted testing, it was brilliant sufficient to see the display screen in direct daylight. The massive show with slim bezels helps apps and different content material look good, and whereas I like the texture of the telephone in my hand, it’s a bit tough to succeed in the highest of the display screen. It’s very a lot a two-handed telephone.

The Moto Z4 presents stable efficiency, a big battery, a promising digital camera, and a pleasant software program expertise.

Gone is the sensor that used to take a seat on the aspect of the telephone. It’s now beneath the show, a transfer we’ve seen from a number of handset-makers already, together with Samsung. It’s an optical in-display fingerprint sensor, and whereas Motorola informed me it has examined it extensively and it ought to carry out reliably, my exams say in any other case. The scanner requires a number of makes an attempt to acknowledge my print. I’ve rescanned my fingerprint many instances to no avail. Different in-display fingerprint readers have confirmed simply as troublesome, but it surely’s a disappointment all the identical.

Fortunately, there’s a face unlock possibility that works nicely, although it’s not safe and might’t be used to authenticate funds or entry delicate apps — not like Apple’s Face ID.

moto z4 Julian Chokkattu/Digital Tendencies

The appropriate aspect of the telephone has a textured energy button beneath a quantity rocker. You’ll be able to double faucet the facility button to set off Google Assistant by default, which is a pleasant contact. On the underside edge is a USB-C charging port, alongside — watch for it — a headphone jack! Sure, Motorola took out the headphone jack within the Moto Z, but it surely’s making a comeback within the Moto Z4. Why? Clients complained. It’s good to see Motorola listening to suggestions.

Sadly, the physique of the telephone isn’t IP-rated water-proof. It’s protected against splashes or rain, but it surely received’t survive a dip within the pool.

Good efficiency, uncluttered software program

Motorola has stuffed Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 675 processor contained in the Moto Z4 with 4GB of RAM. This provides me blended emotions. On the one hand, telephones just like the Pixel 3a (which has the Snapdragon 670) didn’t give me too many points, even when enjoying video games like PUBG: Cellular. This rings true with the Moto Z4. It performs admirably.

The Pixel 3a is $400, although. For across the similar $500 value because the Moto Z4, you should buy the Asus ZenFone 6, which packs the flagship Snapdragon 855 processor — the identical chip that’s contained in the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus and different high-end telephones. That chipset is far sooner and can maintain up higher because the years cross by.

Listed here are a couple of benchmark outcomes:

AnTuTu 3DBench: 162,475
Geekbench four CPU: 2,381 single-core; 6,411 multi-core
3DMark Sling Shot Excessive: 1,053 (Vulkan)

The OnePlus 7 Professional, which is $680, has a lot better scores, and the Asus ZenFone 6’s numbers additionally fly by the Moto Z4. The Z4 does beat out the Pixel 3a, nonetheless. You’ll be happy with the Moto Z4’s efficiency, however you will get extra to your cash.

On the software program aspect, Motorola presents a close-to-stock Android 9 Pie interface. It’s easy to make use of, and the unlocked mannequin doesn’t have any bloatware (the Verizon mannequin I checked out did).

Motorola has added a couple of of its traditional options. Moto Actions returns, so you need to use gestures like chopping the telephone twice to activate the flashlight or twisting the telephone twice to launch the digital camera app. There’s additionally Moto Show. Hover your hand near the display screen and also you get a fast look on the time and notifications.

moto z4 Julian Chokkattu/Digital Tendencies

I did discover an issue with the keyboard. Google’s Gboard is put in by default, and it gave me poor key phrase prediction whereas utilizing the swipe methodology to sort. I’ve by no means had an issue on different telephones utilizing Gboard.

Sadly, Motorola confirmed to Digital Tendencies that just one Android model replace is deliberate for the Moto Z4. It is going to get Android Q, however the jury is out on whether or not it’ll obtain subsequent yr’s Android R. On the plus aspect, you’ll obtain bi-monthly safety updates for 2 years.

Huge megapixels

The spotlight of the Moto Z4 is the digital camera, as a result of Motorola has packed in a large 48-megapixel sensor (f/1.7 with optical picture stabilization) on the rear in addition to a big 25-megapixel sensor (f/ on the entrance for the selfie digital camera. Nevertheless, that doesn’t imply you’ll see massive file sizes and ultra-detailed photos. The rear and entrance cameras use Quad Pixel know-how — one other phrase for pixel binning.

Pixel binning means the digital camera combines pixels so that they take extra mild. Extra mild means higher low-light images. This function is on completely for the rear digital camera, so the digital camera output will all the time be 12 megapixels. It’s the default possibility for the selfie digital camera, so the output is a 6-megapixel photograph, however you possibly can choose to make use of the total 25 megapixels as nicely (by which case it received’t use pixel binning).

There’s additionally a brand new Evening Imaginative and prescient mode. It stacks photos collectively and removes noise for clearer and extra colourful nighttime images. The photographs I took in that mode seemed passable but it surely’s hit and miss. Have a look at the examples beneath. Within the first set, the usual photograph is darker, but it surely’s a lot sharper. The Evening Imaginative and prescient photograph had bother focusing. The second set reveals the development Evening Imaginative and prescient is meant to deliver. It makes the photograph a lot brighter, and it’s nonetheless sharp. I’ll be evaluating Evening Imaginative and prescient to the $400 Pixel 3a’s Evening Sight to see how nicely it stacks up.

moto z4 review ho camera sample no night vision  standard

moto z4 review ho camera sample night vision

moto z4 review ho camera sample no night vision  standard 2

moto z4 review ho camera sample night vision 2

Evening Imaginative and prescient.
Evening Imaginative and prescient.

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Tendencies

Daytime pictures look detailed, although the digital camera appears to wrestle just a little with HDR and high-contrast eventualities. There’s no second digital camera for depth-sensing, however there’s nonetheless a Portrait Mode accessible. It’s respectable, although the blur accuracy round a topic isn’t constant.

Motorola has added a couple of AI options into the digital camera. Auto Smile Seize is again, so you possibly can simply smile on the selfie digital camera and it’ll snap a shot. There’s additionally Good Composition, which can suggest one of the best place to align your photograph. Portrait Lighting results can be found for added versatility in that mode, together with the same old Cinemagraph, Spot Colour, and Panorama modes.

moto z4 review ho camera sample portrait mode

If all of this sounds acquainted, that’s as a result of it’s virtually the very same digital camera setup because the lately introduced Motorola One Imaginative and prescient, which isn’t coming to the U.S.

Nice battery life to date

Motorola has outfitted the Moto Z4 with a big three,600mAh battery, and it claims the telephone ought to final for 2 days on a single cost. On my first day with the telephone, I hit 55 % by three p.m. with medium to heavy use. That’s nice, and it means the telephone will simply final a full day. I can see it making it to half of a second day with mild to medium use.

The Z4 additionally helps Motorola’s 15-watt Turbopower quick charging answer for speedy recharging. Regardless of a glass again, there’s no wi-fi charging, although there’s a Moto Mod you possibly can snap on to get assist.

Value and availability

The Moto Z4 will probably be accessible on June 13 from Verizon in Flash Gray, however the Frost White colour possibility will arrive later this summer season on the service. For a restricted time, you should buy the Moto Z4 for simply $240, or $10 per 30 days for 24 months, on Verizon — however that requires a brand new activation. When you’re already on Verizon and need to improve, you’ll save $100 whenever you buy the Moto Z4 by way of Verizon’s Machine Fee Plan.

I just like the Moto Z4, but it surely didn’t blow me away in my first day of utilizing it.

When you’re eyeing the 5G Moto Mod, Verizon is providing a deal on it additionally for a restricted time, bringing its value right down to $200. There’s often an extra price to entry 5G ($10 a month on high of your Limitless or Past Limitless plans), however the fee is waived for a restricted time. Verizon’s 5G community is barely accessible in Chicago and Minneapolis, and solely in small pockets in these two cities. You must wait till 2020 to purchase a correct 5G telephone, as costs will hopefully come down and protection will probably be higher.

For these wanting on the unlocked mannequin, the Moto Z4 prices $500, however a Moto 360 Digital camera mod comes bundled in. It really works on AT&T, T-Cellular, Verizon, and Dash. The unlocked mannequin doesn’t assist the 5G Moto Mod at launch however will assist it later (you’ll nonetheless have to be on Verizon). Pre-orders can be found now, and will probably be formally accessible beginning June 6 from Finest Purchase, B&H, and Amazon.

All variations will include 128GB of inner storage, and a MicroSD card slot is current in case you want more room.


I just like the Moto Z4, but it surely didn’t blow me away in my first day of utilizing it. The Google Pixel 3a and Asus Zenfone 6 provide stiff competitors. The Moto will wrestle to beat these options, however maybe time will go away me with a better opinion of the Z4. Verify again for my full overview subsequent week.

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