It’s getting close to time for Motorola to release the rest of Moto Z3 lineup of phones. Last year’s Moto Z2 Play and Moto Z2 Force launched around this time last year, and the Moto Z3 Play recently made its debut. But, we still expect at least one more variant of the Moto Z3, and this time there are likely to be special Moto Mod bundles added to the mix.
The launch of the Moto Z3 Play, as well as updates to the Moto G line, have given us a pretty good idea for what Motorola has in store this time around. The new Moto Z3 Play fits into the mid-range smartphone market, but the premium Moto Z3 Force should complete the family.
It’s not clear whether Motorola will launch any other variants in the Moto Z3 family, as last year there were only two Moto Z2 models. By comparison, the first series of Moto Z phones had three distinct models.
Cut to the chase
- What is Moto Z3? The latest flagship and mid-range modular smartphones from Motorola
- When is Moto Z3 out? The Moto Z3 Play is out now, and the Moto Z3 Force is launching in August
- What will Moto Z3 cost? $499 (about £380, AU$630) for Moto Z3 Play and likely $720 (about £550, AU$903) for the Moto Z3 Force
Moto Z3 release date and price
We don’t expect any dramatic shifts in release schedule from Motorola for the new Moto Z3 Force, since Motorola didn’t shift up with the Moto Z3 Play. As with past launches, the Play variant came first, and it will be followed by a Force edition.
The Moto Z2 Play went on sale in June of last year, three months after the Moto G5. And, the Moto Z3 Play launched this June for pre-orders. We expect a Z3 Force edition to launch in August.
For prices, we don’t expect much to change from previous years. The Moto Z2 Play sold for $499 (£379.99, about AU$630), and the Moto Z3 Play replacing it hits the same US price point. Similarly, we expect the Moto Z3 Force to replace its predecessor at the $720 (about £550, AU$903) price point.
An early leak had suggested one twist in the release. That comes in the form of special bundles for the Moto Z3 family that would pair the phone with a select Moto Mod. The rumored bundles are a Power edition, Style edition, Gamepad edition, and Projection edition. We saw the Moto Z3 Play launch bundled with a battery mod. For the Moto Z3 Force and any fancier bundles, we expect the prices to be the base price of the phone plus a discounted Moto Mod.
Moto Z3 design and display
Not much about the Moto Z3’s chassis is believed to be changing. Since the Moto Z3 will continue to support existing Moto Mods, much of the phone has to remain the same, namely the length, width, camera position, and Moto Mods connector.
The Moto Z3 Play moved to a slightly thicker chassis than its predecessor, and got a side-mounted fingerprint scanner. At the same time, it dropped the 3.5mm headphone jack.
Repositioning the fingerprint scanner also would makes sense on the Moto Z3 Force, as it’s all but guaranteed to feature an expanded, 6-inch display with an aspect ratio of 18:9. The all-screen look has been trending among flagships, and showed up on the Moto G6 and Moto Z3 Play. The resolution of the mid-range Moto Z3 Play display is Full HD+, so the more premium Moto Z3 Force will likely have a sharper Quad HD+ display.
Since both the Moto Z2 Play and Moto Z2 Force use AMOLED displays, as does the new Moto Z3 Play, it’s likely the rest of Z3 family will continue with this display technology. The Moto Z3 Force’s display should continue to feature Motorola’s ShatterShield protection as well.
Moto Z3 specs, camera and battery life
With dual-sensor camera setups gracing the Moto G6, we can expect the more premium Moto Z3 family to also include dual cameras across the line. The Moto Z3 Play landed with a camera setup featuring a 12MP primary sensor and a 5MP secondary sensor for depth. The Moto Z2 Force already featured dual 12MP sensors, so the Z3 Force will likely have a further upgraded dual-sensor arrangement.
The internals are where the Moto Z3 Play and Moto Z3 Force are expected to differ most. The Moto Z3 Play has a Snapdragon 636 chipset – a natural upgrade from the Moto Z2 Play’s Snapdragon 626 chipset. It also packs 4GB of RAM and 32GB or 64GB of storage.
The Moto Z3 Force, being a flagship, will most likely make the jump to the Snapdragon 845 chipset powering many other Android flagships, such as the Samsung Galaxy S9. It’s uncertain whether Motorola will offer more RAM or storage than it did previously. The Moto Z2 Force came with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage in the US, and 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage internationally. More wouldn’t be a surprise though, given the capacities of the Moto Z3 Play.
One aspect of the Moto Z3 lineup that’s not looking so favorable is the battery. The Moto Z3 Play kept its 3,000mAh battery, which may struggle to power its larger display. The Moto Z2 Force had a diminutive 2,730mAh battery, and if the Z3 Force doesn’t expand this, it will likely struggle with full-day battery life, too.
Just like the Moto Z3 Play, the Moto Z3 Force will almost surely run Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box, with timely updates to Android P highly probable.
We’ll continue to update this page as we confirm details on the launch of the Moto Z3 lineup, so check back in regularly for the latest Moto Z3 specs and features.