Moto Z3 handset can pair up with a 5G Moto Mod for next-gen speed

The pieces for 5G network connectivity are falling into place, but we haven't seen an actual production-ready 5G handset from a major manufacturer yet. Motorola, for its part, is taking the first steps down the road to 5G hardware by harnessing the Moto Mod accessory connector on the new Moto Z3 handset. A companion 5G Moto Mod exclusively for Verizon's network could make the Moto Z3 the first 5G-capable phone on the market.

The Z3 itself is a fairly straightforward Android device with high-end specs. It's got a Snapdragon 835 SoC inside with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage, and a microSD slot can address cards as large as 2 TB. Its 6″ display uses a 2160×1080 OLED panel covered with a sheet of Gorilla Glass 3, and it's all powered by a 3000-mAh non-removable battery. 

The handset's rear camera cluster includes a 12-MP main shooter with an f/2 lens, paired with another 12-MP monochrome array for depth-sensing duties and other computational photography tasks like bokeh effects. The rear array can record 4K videos at up to 30 FPS and capture slow-motion footage, although Motorola doesn't dive deep into just how slow the Z3 can go. The front-facing camera can capture 8-MP shots through an f/2 lens with an 84-degree field of view.

The Moto Z3 will be available in the USA exclusively on Verizon starting August 16 for $480. Upgraders can take as much as $300 off that figure with a trade-in on an older device if they sign up for Motorola's payment plan.

What's more interesting about the Z3 is that aforementioned Moto Mod. Verizon, Motorola, and Qualcomm have wrapped up the Snapdragon maker's X50 modem and recently-announced mmWave transceivers into a snap-on back panel for the Z3 with its own 2200-mAh battery inside. Moto says this Mod will be available “exclusively in the US” in early 2019, probably as soon as Verizon's first public 5G towers begin transmitting.

Even as a first-generation 5G device with its own power pack inside, this Mod looks like a fairly chunky and heavy apparatus to snap on to the razor-thin Z3. It'll be interesting to see whether first-generation 5G handsets themselves have to use beefed-up bodies like this to squeeze all of that hardware inside when they're not piggybacking on an entire other handset to function. It's also worth noting that buyers after peak 5G speeds will likely need to be in specific parts of major urban areas to get them. Still, this Mod could be an important step on the road to low-latency, high-bandwidth mobile communication.

Comments closed
    • Laykun
    • 1 year ago

    Kinda wish my Note 8 had this pogo pin expansion system. Would love to slap a bigger replaceable battery on it when the internal one starts to go.

    • willyolioleo
    • 1 year ago

    Shame it’s US, Verizon-only.

    This is basically the only phone that has a semi-removable battery, and potentially up to 6000mAh battery size without being ridiculously bulky.

    I’d buy it if it were available, but apparently Motorola doesn’t like making money.

    • strangerguy
    • 1 year ago

    5G is those things you will be happy if you got it for free but won’t spend an extra dime on.

      • Dposcorp
      • 1 year ago

      Depends on the price of the moto mod?
      A battery pack and speed upgrade should not be more then $40-$80.

    • Usacomp2k3
    • 1 year ago

    I wonder if the battery life will suffer in the initial 5G handsets. The 4G rollout was aweful at battery to the point that most people I knew had 3G turned off unless they specifically needed it. After a couple generations, it got down to 3G power consumption. I wonder if this is why it has to double the battery size.

      • DancinJack
      • 1 year ago

      Hooooooooooo boy was it bad. We were also on way, way less efficient process nodes back then though. I remember my Galaxy Nexus LTE on Verizon was just trash for battery life. Just awful. Hopefully 5G is a better experience.

    • hieu.noob
    • 1 year ago

    They should keep adding value points.

    “It’s also a lens hood!”
    “The heft feels more premium.”
    “Is that a Moto 5G mod in your pocket or do you need to see a doctor?”

    • Peldor
    • 1 year ago

    Moto’s website says it will also work (eventually) with the Z2 line, but no mention of the original Z.

    That differentiation sort of breaks the model of the Moto Mod if it only works on some phones. There’s even less point to that sort of design if future Mods aren’t going to be compatible.

    I wonder if the “Play” models will work with this. It doesn’t explicitly call them out anywhere, so it seems suspect.

      • Kretschmer
      • 1 year ago

      To be fair, I’d imagine that 5G is rather more difficult to implement than something like a larger external battery. I’m not sure if the SOC needs certain features.

    • Kretschmer
    • 1 year ago

    Tech definitely gets cooler after you move to a “major urban area.”

    Except home internet, because geographic monopolies. Yay!

      • chubbyhorse
      • 1 year ago

      Could be rural home internet monopolies. Some of us still pay $105/mo for 6Mbps DSL – and in some parts of the Earth, that’s probably still a steal too.

        • jdevers
        • 1 year ago

        I live in suburban Arkansas and have a gigabit synchronous fiber optic connection for $60/month. AT&T is in the progress of upgrading around me to also offer gigabit fiber and Cox has offered Docsis 3.1 at several hundred megabit/sec for several years.. Is it really better here?? In a metro area of just half a million people in ARKANSAS??

      • DreadCthulhu
      • 1 year ago

      Well 5G will purportedly make it easy for wireless carriers to offer home internet plans that are competitive with most landlines. So if that pans out then any major metro area will likely have Verizon, AT&T, and/or Sprint/T-Mobile offering home plans; that extra competition should massively help things. And then there is the LEO satellite internet, like Oneweb & Starlink, that will be launching soon. Starlink already has test satellites in orbit. That should be a massive boon to any ruralish areas that might get missed by other services, since they will work anywhere.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This