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Motorola Moto Z4 review: Treading water gets you nowhere (Latest version)

Motorola is once again turning its Mod compatible range with the Moto Z4. As the name clearly indicates, it is the fourth-generation Z device, and so Motorola goes back and changes gears a little. Rather than being a real flagship phone, Motorola is the Z4 as a affordable premium device. It costs hundreds of dollars less than Apple, LG, Samsung, and even OnePlus flagships.

Verizon is the only carrier that offers and sells the Moto Z4 in the US Motorola's 5G Mod. Is the 5G upgrade enough to prove Motorola is still in the right direction with its Moto Z line?

Find out in Android AuthorityIt's Motorola Moto Z4 review.

About our Moto Z4 review: We tested the Motorola Moto Z4 over a two-week period. We used the phone in New York, Chicago, Atlanta and Dallas. It was Android 9 Pie with the April 2019 security patch throughout the review. Motorola provided us with the review unit.

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Motorola Moto Z4 review: The big picture

Motorola Moto Z4 left corner rear

Motorola said via its Twitter feed that the Moto Z4 will be the only Z-phone of the company this year. Previous Z generations have seen a mix of listings, often with a strengthened "Force" expense and a watered-down "Play" expense. The Z4 carries Motorola's flagship tent in name only. Its specifications are barely a tick better than last year's Moto Z3 Play.

This leaves the future of the Z series in serious doubt.

The phone was priced to compete OnePluses of the world, not the LGs or Samsung's. Can this affordable price tag account for this dumbed-down smartphone? There is no easy answer.

What's in the box

  • Moto Z4
  • Moto Turbo Power Charger
  • USB-A to USB-C cable
  • 360 Moto Mod

Motorola Moto Z4 Review In the box

Motorola sells or packs the Moto Z4 5G Mod or the 360 camera mod. Our review unit is packed with the 360 ​​Camera Mod. In addition to the phone and the Mod, the Z4 box includes a Turbo Power connector and USB-A to USB-C for fast charging.

There are no headphones or secondary mods like the ones wireless charging case. We can only hope if a standalone Z4 is ever going on, it's packed with a basic back protection mode.


  • 158 x 75 x 7.35 mm
  • 165g
  • 3.5 mm headphone jack
  • MicroSD expandable storage
  • Aluminum frame
  • 2.5D Gorilla Glass 3
  • Single speaker
  • hydrophobic

Around the Moto Mods, the Moto Z4 is about the same size and shape of its predecessors, with only subtle differences between it and even the first generation Moto Z. In short: there is nothing here that we have not seen yet.

The Moto Z4 has an aluminum frame between two Gorilla Glass 3 panels. The glass curves along the edges where it comes to the frame. Motorola has only slightly increased the thickness of the Z4 to accommodate a larger battery. I'm not going to complain about it. You can get the Z4 in Flash Gray or Frost White.

I appreciate all the ports, buttons and controls. The volume and screen lock key is high on the right side of the phone. I found them easy to use and the action is perfect. A slide that is pushed into the top edge draws double compulsory and holds both the SIM card and microSD memory card. The USB-C port and (huzzah!) 3.5mm headphone jack fill the bottom edge.

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Moto's Z series devices all have perfectly flat rear panels and the Z4 is no different. The back glass feels very smooth due to the fine polish. A large, circular module near the top contains the single camera, flash and sensor array. Copper contact points are located near the lower edge.

The arrangement of these two components has since defined the Moto Z line. Mods rely on the camera module for basic positioning and the buyer contacts for communication between the Mod and the phone.

Motorola Moto Z4 camera module profile

Motorola made a change this year. I find it mysterious. The aluminum frame is inwardly facing, causing two effects: 1. It makes the Z4 the most comfortable Z-phone to hold and use sans Mod; and 2. That means Mods doesn't fit as seamlessly on the Z4 as older Z devices. Let's just talk it for a second.

The Moto Mods is the whole appeal of Z series devices. The phones are thin, light and look good. The Mods give them features such as a projector, 360 degree camera or set of speakers. Motorola has a fantastic work design and engineering of the Mods, which remains firmly in place thanks to magnets. Mods held to the back panel seamlessly – up to the Z4.

Motorola Moto Z4 review back panel

The Z4's slightly (and somewhat mean) smaller rear footprint allows a small edge between the phone and the Mod. This edge is easy to feel, and can easily be trapped on your palm, your pocket, or whatever. The danger here is that the Mods are no longer as tight as previously protected. I'm not saying the mods are going to fly, but the change in comfort alone is tricky for me.

Motorola Moto Z4 review Mod edge

Finally, Motorola once again served a water-resistant & nbsp; good-to-have feature, not a must-ha feature. The inside of the Moto Z4 is sprayed with a water-repellent material that is supposed to keep the silicon safe from small amounts of moisture (sweat or rain).

It is not waterproof and cannot be submerged.


  • 6.39-inch Full HD + AMOLED
  • 2,340 x 1,080
  • 19.5: 9 aspect ratio
  • 1,000,000: 1 contrast ratio

I don't think it's a good idea to call the Moto Z4's performance the best I've seen on a Motorola device. It's large, pixel-rich, and incredibly colorful. The great contrast ratio provided by the AMOLED panel ensures you get the blackest blacks and brightest whites. It's a fine show, and rivals that cost hundreds more.

Motorola Moto Z4 review hidden notch

The 19.5: 9 aspect ratio means that the screen almost fills the front. Although the Z4's footprint is virtually the same as the first Moto Z phone a few years ago, Motorola virtually eliminated the rings to create a seamless experience. The user-facing camera sits in & # 39; n traanhelling at the top. The notch is so small that it is almost imperceptible, and the forehead and chin straps are held in hand.

Biometrics are hidden behind the screen. Motorola selected for & # 39; n in-display fingerprint sensorrather than sticking one in the chin. Training the in-display sensor is the same as any other training, and it takes a moment. I found the reader reliable, but it took half a second to verify my print. The animation it displays when you read your print is straight from a science fiction movie.

Motorola Moto Z4 Fingerprint Authentication
Motorola Moto Z4 training fingerprint sensor
Motorola Moto Z4 fingerprint step 2
Motorola Moto Z4 fingerprint success

Motorola has done a good job of adapting its Moto Z platform for today's all-screen look.


  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 675
  • Octa-core 2.0GHz
  • Adreno 612 GPU
  • 4GB of RAM

Performance is a bit uneven, I'm sorry to say. Where the first Moto Z phone was a true flagship, the current Moto Z4 is more of a high-end midfielder. The Z4 has a Snapdragon 600 series processor rather than a Snapdragon 800 series processor, and I can tell the difference not only in benchmarks but in everyday use.

A sample exporter is the Moto Z4.

I took the Moto Z4 as my daily manager on a recent business trip. Things weren't 100 percent of the go. Sometimes programs crashed or failed to load completely. I experienced apps, and RAM-intensive programs like the camera were prone to bad behavior. Graphic-rich games like Asfalt brought the phone to its knees. The criteria set only a few statistics on these experiences.

Geekbench 4 scores showed 1,953 for single-core performance and 5,932 for multi-core performance. It placed the Z4 firmly behind the flagship of the 2017 era such as the Galaxy S8, Note 8 and Pixel 2. 3DMark scores were noticeably worse. The phone scored 1,044 on the OpenGL ES 3.1 test and 1,063 on the Vulkan test. That 1.044 the Z4 is behind 63 percent of the phones in the 3DMark database. The Vulkan rating was even worse, placing the Z4 behind about 75 percent of phones. AnTuTu scored a score of 170,807, which put the Z4 behind 58% of the field.

Motorola Moto Z4 Geekbench Total
Motorola Moto Z4 Geek Bench Some core results
Motorola Moto Z4 Geekbunch multi core results
Motorola Moto Z4 3D Market Total Results
Motorola Moto Z4 3DMark Vulcan results
Motorola Moto Z4 3D Mark Open GL results
Motorola Moto Z4 Antutu
Motorola Moto Z4 Antutu drill off

A sample exporter is the Moto Z4.


  • 3.600mAh Lithium ion
  • Motorola 15W TurboPower
  • No wireless charging

If one thing about the Moto Z4 impressed me from hell, it was battery life. I extended the phone very much on my recent business trip and it has gone the distance – literally. The first day of my trip was a long one. I disconnected the Z4 at 3:45 pm when I left for the airport. I used the phone throughout Newark, Chicago and Atlanta before plugging it in at 2:45 pm in my Dallas hotel room. Over the 24-hour period, the phone gave me more than seven hours of screen time and it still left 37 percent in the tank. You can't ask much more than that.

Motorola has made the battery a priority, and it shows.

On what most people would call a "regular" day, the Z4 pushed from breakfast to bedtime without sweating. In those days I used the Z4 to check email, get hurt on Twitter, appreciate Instagram, and manage my Slacks. The Z4 sowed easily without dropping below 50 percent. Motorola says the phone can last up to two days, and I think it's a fair claim.

Loading speed was excellent via the included charger. Plug the Moto Z4 for 15 minutes and you'll get seven to eight hours of battery life. It's perfect for when you get out of work on Friday afternoon and have a quick turn around before your evening plans start.

Motorola Moto Z4 bottom edge

Motorola has made the battery a priority, and it shows.

Lastly, wireless charging is not available on its own for the Z4. If you care about spending an extra $ 50 Motorola Wireless Load Mod, then you will be good to go. I hate you having to dump extra dough to get a function, so many other devices already built.


  • Back camera:
    • 48MP sensor with 12MP output
    • f/1.7 aperture, 1.6um pixel size
    • OIS, PDAF, laser autofocus
    • CCT dual-LED flash
  • Front Camera:
    • 25MP sensor with 6.25MP output
    • Quad Pixel technology
    • f/ 2.0 aperture
    • 0.9 µm pixel size

Motorola firmly adheres to the idea that one camera is good enough. While most of the competition moved to two-camera systems, the Moto Z4 has a single sensor behind it. It's a whopper at 48MP, but it drops to 12MP for better performance in low light settings.

Motorola Moto Z4 camera app
Motorola Moto Z4 recording mode
Motorola Moto Z4 camera app HDR settings
Motorola Moto Z4 camera app options

Unfortunately, the results are across the map. As you can see in some of the shots below, bright sunlight has caused much contrast despite the fact that the car HDR tools were on. The shadows in the first bridge photograph, for example, are completely lost. Detail and focus are right throughout, but exposure and white balance are inconsistent. I had a hard time avoiding the halo effect when there was a strong light source (as you know, the sun.) You can see it in the under-bridge shots.

I took a few shots of myself with the front camera and you can see the dramatically different results. The first batch is in normal mode. The phone's beauty filter has a mess of my face (I look like a mannequin!), But the exposure is good and the detail in the background is wonderful. When I tried the selfie portrait, it did a ridiculous job of cutting a perimeter around my head and pulling out the wallpaper. It's bad embarrassment.

The different shooting modes are fun. The Spot Color tool has not done a lot of work on the rose shoot, and features like Cinematography and Live Filter can produce good results. The video camera gives you access to slow motion and decay, which is about everything I need.

<img width = "840" height = "630" src = "×630 .jpg "class =" attachment-sized size-large” alt=”Motorola Moto Z4 Camera Sample color pop” />
<img width = "840" height = "630" src = "×630 .jpg "class =" attachment-sized size-large” alt=”Motorola Moto Z4 Camera Monster Beautician” />

The night is terrible. Check the samples below. The left picture is taken in the normal camera and taken second in Night mode. Night mode introduces incredible amounts of grain that essentially destroys the shot.

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Motorola Moto Z4 Camera Preview Trampoline
Motorola Moto Z4 Camera Example trampoline night site

<img class = "aa_compare_image" src = "” alt=”Motorola Moto Z4 Camera Preview Trampoline”>

You can record video up to 4K, but the Full HD results are the best option.

I was hoping for a little more of Motorola and the Z4's camera. It's not a terrible camera by any stretch, but it doesn't compensate well enough with today's class mid-rangers.

A full-resolution folder is samples available here.


  • 3.5 mm headphone jack
  • Bluetooth 5 with aptX HD

The jacket is back! Motorola has the standard 3.5 mm headphone jack of the Moto Z3 last year and fans were not happy. The company took the criticism to heart and returned the jack to the 2019 Z4. I plugged in best earbuds and was happy with the clarity and quality of sound reproduction. Shame is not sending the phone with even a few simple buttons.

<img class = "align none size-large wp-image-992344" src = "×473 .jpg” alt=”Motorola Moto Z4 notch close-up” width=”840″ height=”473″ />

The Z4 also supports the advanced aptX HD Bluetooth audio codec, which delivers clean sounds to your headphones. Whether you are quietly passing your shuttle or storming out at the gym, the Bluetooth radio has covered you for 30 feet.

I'm not happy with the speaker situation. Motorola has long chosen to rely on a single speaker for its devices. The loudspeaker speaker, pasted between the glass and the metal frame, handles calls and music and doesn't do very well either. It is clear to me that Motorola did not put much effort into the internal speaker, thanks to the availability of Detachable speaker mods.


  • Android 9 Piece

Motorola's software has led the pack for years. The company uses a predominantly Android build, with the slightest improvements that enhance the experience of day and day use.

It's the simple stuff. Cut the phone twice to turn on the flashlight. Turn your wrist twice to start the camera. Switch the phone on to switch on. Do not disturb. Motorola was one of the first with the unlimited performance, and it continues with a flexible tool that gives you just the right amount of information at the right time.

<img width = "840" height = "1820" src = "×1820.jpg" class = "attachment-size-size-large” alt=”Motorola Moto Z4 Moto App” />
<img width = "840" height = "1820" src = "×1820 .jpg "class =" attachment-sized size-large” alt=”Motorola Moto Z4 More Moto App Options” />
<img width = "840" height = "1820" src = "×1820.jpg "class =" attachment-sized size-large” alt=”Motorola Moto Z4 Moto App Options” />
<img width = "840" height = "1820" src = "×1820.jpg" class = "attachment-size-size-large” alt=”Motorola Moto Z4 Moto Display” />

Motorola's one-button navigation system is much better than Google's native Pie nav tool. Users can choose to use the traditional three-button arrangement or the single-bar. The latter requires people to learn just a few simple thumb-based gestures that allow you to move seamlessly from application to app. Every other phone manufacturer should just copy it.

Although the Z4 does not Android One device, Motorola is connected to system updates. Users can expect to see system updates for two years and security updates for three years. That's all you can ask.

<img width = "840" height = "1820" src = "×1820.jpg" class = "attachment-size-size-large” alt=”Motorola Moto Z4 home screen” />
<img width = "840" height = "1820" src = "×1820.jpg" class = "attachment-size-size-large” alt=”Motorola Moto Z4 app download” />
<img width = "840" height = "1820" src = "×1820.jpg" class = "attachment-size-size-large” alt=”Motorola Moto Z4 Quick Settings” />
<img width = "840" height = "1820" src = "×1820.jpg "class =" attachment-sized size-large” alt=”Motorola Moto Z4 home screen widgets” />


Motorola Moto Z4
performance 6.39-inch OLED
19: 9 Max Vision Aspect Ratio
Full HD + resolution at 2.340 x 1.080
1,000,000: 1 contrast ratio
85 percent screen-to-body ratio
processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 675
Octa core processor (up to 2.0GHz)
GPU Adreno 608
Save 128GB
Expandable with microSD slot (maximum 512GB)
power 3,600mAh
15W TurboPower Charger included
No wireless charging (without Moto Mod)
ports USB-C 3.1 port
microSD card slot
Single nano SIM card
3.5 mm headphone jack
cameras Back camera:
48MP sensor with 12MP output
Quad Pixel technology
f / 1.7 aperture
1.6um pixel size
OIS, PDAF, laser autofocus
CCT dual-LED flash

Front Camera:
25MP sensor with 6.25MP output
Quad Pixel technology
f / 2.0 aperture
0.9 µm pixel size

video Back camera:
Up to 4K Ultra HD (30fps) video recording

Front Camera:
Video recording up to 1080p (30fps)

audio Top port speaker
3.5 mm headphone jack
security In-display fingerprint sensor
Unlock face
compound LTE: B2 / B3 / B4 / B5 / B7 / B12 / B13 / B20 / B28 / B66
UMTS: B1 / B2 / B5 / B8
GSM: B2 / B3 / B5 / B8

Bluetooth 5.0
NFC support


software Android 9 Piece
Dimensions / weight 75 x 158 x 7.35 mm
Colours Flash Gray, Frost White
Moto Mod Support yes

Value for money

  • Moto Z4 + 5G Mod – $ 499
  • Moto Z4 + 360 Camera Mod – $ 499

Motorola has created the value comparison a little by forcing people to buy a phone and mod package. Right now you can't buy just the Moto Z4. Whether you choose Verizon's $ 200 5G Mod or the 360 ​​Camera Mod, you're looking at about $ 500 for the phone. I would prefer to sell the phone without a $ 400 or less, but Motorola is not there yet.

The 5G Mod allows for a tempting package. You can use the Z4 and Mod together to access Verizon's 5G network in a handful of markets. Speed ​​on Verizon's 5G network is incredible, but finding cover is at its best problematic. This makes the $ 200 issue a little dubious. As far as the 360 ​​camera is concerned, it's a decent alternative to dedicated 360 cams. It takes good 360 degree shots and is a slender addition.

See also

Motorola Moto Z4 review: The verdict

<img class = "alignnone size-large wp-image-992342" src = "×473. jpg” alt=”Motorola Moto Z4 in peace” width=”840″ height=”473″ />

After more than a week with the Motorola Moto Z4, I can't help but feel it's a placeholder, the lowest denominator's fulfillment of a commitment. It's as if Motorola has been retained to Verizon to create another generation of Mod-compatible Z-phones, which is what we have. Motorola streams water, holds its head above water, but does not necessarily make any progress to the beach.

The Z4 is not a flagship like its predecessors, despite the fact that they wear their brand. This is a more true successor to the Z3 Play than the Z3, and even then have several compromises that are difficult to meditate on.

My biggest concern is the uneven experience. A phone that starts life as a foxglove, seldom changes its voice. The camera was also a bit of a countdown.

What are the reasons to buy this phone? The big screen, the battery life lost, and the excellent Android experience.

If you've already invested in Motorola's Mods ecosystem and haven't yet 5G Mod or the 360 ​​Camera Mod, maybe one of these packages is for you.