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Motorola unveils the Moto Z3, a Verizon-exclusive, alongside a 5G Moto Mod

Motorola unveils the Moto Z3, a Verizon-exclusive, alongside a 5G Moto Mod

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Photo by Natt Garun / The Verge

We’ve already got a handful of new Moto phones this year, including some Amazon exclusives, and today Motorola is adding yet another device to the list: the Moto Z3.

So first, the specs. It’s a six-inch device with Super AMOLED display, 4GB of RAM, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, a 12 MP dual rear camera, and 8 MP front camera. It costs $480 retail exclusively at Verizon, and will be available on August 16th. So here’s the difference: the Z3 will be the first Moto Z device that can be “upgradeable” to the 5G network via an upcoming 5G Moto Mod that contains a Snapdragon X50 modem. The Mod is expected to arrive in early 2019 that can also bring older Z devices up to speed.

The Z3 feels like it exists to help sell Verizon Mods

Since Verizon clearly isn’t offering 5G yet and is still testing in a handful of cities across the US, the idea is that once the network is live, Moto users could take advantage of it with the new Mod. Verizon promised that 5G network will be live in four cities later this year: Houston, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and a yet-to-be-named location. Motorola told us that technically it is possible for the Mod, which contains its own non-removable SIM inside, to be passed around and shared between other Z users, but it is unclear whether Verizon will allow customers to do so without tying the Mod to a specific phone number.

Photo: Natt Garun / The Verge

In my brief hands-on, the Z3 looks and feels a lot like the other iterations before it — it’s got the same glass back with an aluminum body that, yes, still gathers lots of finger smudges. The fingerprint sensor remains on the side just like the Z3 Play, to many left-handers’ dismay. Just as the Z3 Play appears to be built just to market Moto Mods, the regular Z3 feels like Motorola has recycled its phones just to help Verizon sell 5G Mods.

Motorola did not say how much the 5G Moto Mod will cost other than the availability timeline. To sell the new Z3 before then though, Verizon is offering up to $300 off if you trade in an old device.