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Moto Z4
Moto Z4 (Image credit: Android Central)

Ever since the first Moto Z handsets launched in 2016, this particular series hasn't changed all that much over the years. New models get less bezel around the display and better specs, but for the most part, the phones remain the same to accommodate Motorola's Moto Mod system.

That can make Moto Z phones appear boring to some people, but we need to give credit where it's due for Motorola continuing to stay committed to its modular accessories.

For 2019, the Moto Z series is getting a new addition in the form of the Moto Z4. It looks a lot like the Moto Z3 and Z3 Play from last year, and while it might have a hard time standing out thanks to phones like the Google Pixel 3a, it's still worth diving into in case you're interested in it.

Here's everything you need to know!

Read and watch our review

The Moto Z4 is an...interesting phone.

On its own, it's a pretty enticing package. The Z4 offers excellent battery life, very clean software, support for Verizon's 5G network, and has access to a unique accessory system with Motorola's Moto Mods.

Unfortunately, that's where our praise for the phone stops. The Moto Z4 suffers from laggy performance, an unreliable in-screen fingerprint sensor, and a dim display (not to mention that the Moto Mods don't even fit well on the phone).

Add that together with stiff competition from the likes of the Google Pixel 3a, and the Moto Z4 is a tough recommendation for anyone that can't use Verizon's 5G service or get it at a stupidly low price when it goes on sale.

Moto Z4 review: Here we go again

Here are the specs

Despite being the most expensive phone in Motorola's current U.S. lineup, the Moto Z4 is a mid-range device through and through.

The 6.39-inch OLED display with the in-screen fingerprint sensor is perhaps the highest-end feature being offered, but you're quickly reminded of its middle-of-the-road nature with things like a Snapdragon 675 CPU and 4GB of RAM.

Here's a quick snapshot of the most important details:

SpecMoto Z4 Specs
Operating systemAndroid 9 Pie
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 675 processor
Screen6.39-inch Full HD (2340x1080) OLED | 19:9 aspect ratio
RAM4GB
Storage128GB
ExpandabilitymicroSD up to 512GB
Rear camera48MP, quad pixel
phase-detect, laser autofocus
f/1.7 lens
dual-LED flash
ConnectivityUSB-C
(USB-C to 3.5mm adapter included)
Headphone jackYes
Water resistanceWater-repellent coating
SecurityIn-display fingerprint sensor, face unlock
NFCYes
Battery3600mAh
TurboPower charger (8 hrs battery in 15 min)

Moto Z4 Specifications: Snapdragon 675, 4GB RAM, 48MP camera, and Moto Mod support in 2019

Pitting the Moto Z4 against its competition

If you're thinking about picking up the Moto Z4, we'd first recommend taking a look at our comparisons between it and some of its closest competition.

While the Z4 is a decent option in a bubble, there are other handsets out there that we tend to recommend over it.

To see what we mean, check out the links below 👇.

All Moto Mods still work, including Verizon's 5G one

The Moto Z4 may not look very original on its own, but it does have something you won't find from any other company — Moto Mods.

Moto Mods are accessories you can snap onto the back of the Moto Z4 (or any Moto Z smartphone) for expanded functionality, with some of the most notable Mods being a battery pack, stereo speaker, Polaroid printer, and a 360-degree camera.

Furthermore, the Moto Z4 (at least the Verizon version) will work with the Moto 5G Mod that enables 5G connectivity on Verizon's network.

The OLED display has a built-in fingerprint sensor

As mentioned above, one of the standout specs for the Moto Z4 is its display.

On its own, this should be an excellent canvas for consuming content of any kind. The 6.4-inch size is plenty big for watching movies, the OLED panel allows for vibrant colors and deep blacks, and the resolution of 2280 x 1080 means all of your media will look plenty crisp.

Taking things a step further, Motorola embedded an optical fingerprint sensor underneath the screen. Optical in-screen sensors have proven to be a bit slower and less reliable than traditional fingerprint sensors, but there's certainly a cool factor that you're getting with this feature.

There's just one rear camera

We've seen a lot of improvements in phone cameras in recent years, even with more affordable phones like the Pixel 3a. That's why it's so disappointing that Motorola didn't think to make this a priority for the Moto Z4.

The Z4 comes equipped with just a single 48MP rear camera that captures 12MP photos with support for optical image stabilization and a special night mode.

We need more time to test the camera for ourselves to see how it performs, but if past Moto Z phones are anything to go by, it'll simply get the job done without doing anything special to really wow us.

You can buy the Moto Z4 now

If you're interested in buying the Moto Z4 for yourself, you can buy the phone right now.

For those of you that prefer to buy unlocked, Amazon's selling (opens in new tab) an Alexa Built-in version of it for $495 — allowing you to use the assistant hands-free by just saying "Alexa" at any time. Furthermore, it also comes with a free Moto 360 Camera Mod to help you get started with your Moto Mod collection,

If you're a Verizon customer (opens in new tab), you have a couple of options:

  • Spend $500 to buy the Z4 outright
  • Get it on a 24-month installment plan for $20.83/month

Verizon regularly runs sales on the Z4, so if you're interested in getting the phone through the carrier, be sure to check the listing often to see what kind of promotion is being offered.

Don't forget the accessories!

After picking up the Moto Z4, we'd recommend outfitting it with the right accessories — specifically, cases and screen protectors.

We always recommend protecting your phone to ensure it stays in good shape for years to come, and for the Z4, there are plenty of options out there. Here are a few of our top recommendations.

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.

4 Comments
  • Nice job Moto.
  • A heads up on this phone. It works with the surface pen. It's a great phone for Microsoft fans
  • Great Motorola Z4 review. I do take issue with people that say the Moto mod limits the design factor. That's just moronic. The bar of used soap we all hold in our hands from any manufacturer is all the same layout. The Motorola is sleek, slim and the cool gold dot pattern on the back is way more useful than a silk-screened fruit or company name. That pattern is like a secret handshake to the Moto mod initiated. It's an immediate kinship
  • What kind of nonsense review is this? "We need more time to test the camera for ourselves to see how it performs, but if past Moto Z phones are anything to go by, it'll simply get the job done without doing anything special to really wow us." You didn't have time to try out the camera but you are assuming it must be as mediocre as a completely different phone. If you don't have time to try the camera, maybe read some of the other reviews that said it was a marked improvement from the past model. I still haven't found any reviewers who bothered to read the specs that it is compatible with a Surface pen and at least gave it a shot. Lazy review