Moto Z3 review

GSMArena team, 24 August 2018.

Display

The Moto Z3 has a brand new display: a 6.01-inch Super AMOLED screen with a taller 18:9 aspect ratio. Motorola is switching from its P-OLED displays to brighter Samsung displays. Although late to the party, Motorola finally managed to minimize the bezels in the Moto Z's chassis by replacing the aging 5.5-inch 16:9 display with this taller one.

We really enjoy how the Moto Z3 looks compared to its predecessors. The 5.5-inch display gave the Z and Z2 really large bezels that quickly became outdated when the trend fully shifted towards tall displays in 2017. As for resolution, Motorola decided to keep the resolution at Full HD+ (1080 x 2160 px).

Moto Z3 review

As a result, the pixel density of the Moto Z3 is 25% lower than the Moto Z2 Force, which had QHD resolution. That reduction in ppi is not a dealbreaker by any means. If anything, it would help bump performance and lengthen battery endurance.

We tested the display on the Z3 and found some great color reproduction and brightness. The Moto Z3 reached a max brightness of 464 nits with the adaptive mode turned off. The screen gets a boost of brightness when adaptive mode is enabled and it reached a very good brightness of 652 nits.

Display test 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Motorola Moto Z3 (Max Auto) 0 652
Apple iPhone 8 (Max Auto) 0.468 640 1368
Huawei Mate 10 Pro (max auto vivid) 0 623
Samsung Galaxy S8 Max auto 0 618
Apple iPhone 8 (Standard) 0.399 566 1419
Motorola Moto Z2 Force (Max Auto) 0 559
Apple iPhone 8 (True Tone) 0.397 554 1395
Huawei Honor View 10 (Max Auto) 0.311 507 1629
Motorola Moto Z3 0 464
OnePlus 6 0 456
Huawei Honor View 10 0.278 453 1629
Samsung Galaxy S8 0 440
Huawei Mate 10 Pro (vivid) 0 440
Huawei Mate 10 Pro (normal) 0 422
Motorola Moto Z2 Force 0 376
HTC U11+ 0.19 309 1626

Colors are generally pleasant on the Moto Z3. In the standard "Vibrant" mode, colors are slightly oversaturated for the most pleasing viewing effect. Even so, colors are just vibrant enough without being overbearing. In the default viewing mode, we saw an average deltaE of 5.7 with a max deltaE of 8 - greens and reds are slightly dark while whites were a little cool (blueish).

The most accurate color mode was the "Standard" after we moved the color temperature slider down to "Warm". In this mode, we saw a better average deltaE of 4.1 despite the much higher max deltaE of 10.6 due to reds looking a bit dark. We'd trust this display to edit photos with coloring in mind.

Moto Z3 review

There is no way to fine-tune color temperature, but there is a slider that lets you choose between Warm, Neutral, and Cool. Vibrant + Warm yielded the best-looking colors with mostly accurate whites while Standard + Warm yielded the most accurate color mode on the device.

Color mode adjustment - Moto Z3 review
Color mode adjustment

Considering the price point of the Z3, this is a great display with excellent color reproduction and ample brightness for viewing outside.

Battery endurance

The Moto Z3 has a 3,000 mAh battery. By contrast, the Moto Z2 Force had a smaller 2.750 mAh battery. Even though this display is lower-res, its still a larger display. So even if the display was more efficient, the greater surface area might outweigh any added efficiency.

The Moto Z3 did surprisingly better than the Z2. For starters, the call time of 21:02h was several hours improved over the Z2. Meanwhile, our browsing test endured about one hour longer than the Z2: it got 10:49h. Finally, video playback saw a drop but still came up strong at 15:08h. The overall score is 86h, which is quite good for a device with a 3,000 mAh battery.

Moto Z3 review

The Moto Z3 uses Motorola's TurboPower Charging - which Motorola's trademarked version of USB- Power Delivery. The included power brick supports 5V @ 3A/ 9V@ 1.6A/ and 12V @ 1.2A. We appreciate that the Moto Z3 supports both Qualcomm Quick Charge or USB-PD which makes the phone more accessible to quick top-ups with different kinds of power banks and power bricks.

Using the TurboPower OEM charger to recharge the Z3 from a depleted battery reached 53% in half an hour.

Our endurance rating denotes how long a single battery charge will last you if you use the Motorola Moto Z3 for an hour each of telephony, web browsing, and video playback daily. We've established this usage pattern, so our battery results are comparable across devices in the most common day-to-day tasks. The battery testing procedure is described in detail in case you're interested in the nitty-gritties. You can also check out our complete battery test table, where you can see how all of the smartphones we've tested will compare under your own typical use.

Loudspeaker

The Moto Z has always used a single loudspeaker - the earpiece. Even though the display now takes up more space in the same size body, the speaker is somehow even louder than the Z2 Force.

Speakerphone testVoice, dB Pink noise/ Music, dB Ringing phone, dB Overall score
OnePlus 6 70.2 74.7 70.0 Good
Lenovo Moto Z Force Droid 69.5 68.0 77.6 Good
Huawei Honor View 10 68.6 69.9 77.8 Good
Oppo R15 Pro 69.7 73.5 76.6 Very Good
Samsung Galaxy S9 68.5 74.3 81.1 Very Good
Lenovo Moto Z2 Force 68.2 70.2 86.1 Very Good
Google Pixel 2 70.0 77.0 81.1 Excellent
Apple iPhone 8 71.7 77.8 80.3 Excellent
LG G7 ThinQ 78.3 76.4 82.3 Excellent
HTC U12+ (Music) 76.0 73.6 88.5 Excellent
Motorola Moto Z3 80.1 73.2 85.0 Excellent
HTC U12+ (Theatre) 77.0 73.8 91.1 Excellent

Dynamic response is very good for a smartphone speaker. The sound this loudspeaker produces is clean and clear with zero distortion. Motorola has always made strong loudspeakers and the Moto Z3 is no exception.

Audio quality

The Motorola Moto Z3 delivered the faultlessly accurate output we've come to expect from smartphones these days when hooked to an active external amplifier. In fact it went a step further and garnished it with impressively high volume.

Headphones did damage to the stereo crosstalk and added a tiny dash ot intermodulation distortion. The slightly worse than average stereo takes a few points away from the Moto Z3, but the output is still pretty solid. And loudness was up there with the best too, so we can easily give this one the stamp of approval.

TestFrequency responseNoise levelDynamic rangeTHDIMD + NoiseStereo crosstalk
Motorola Moto Z3+0.03, -0.02-92.992.90.00270.0080-92.8
Motorola Moto Z3 (headphones)+0.21, -0.04-92.793.20.0810.142-50.0
Oppo Find X+0.03, -0.07-93.493.90.00120.0063-89.3
Oppo Find X (headphones)+0.01, -0.58-92.293.50.00880.330-55.7
HTC U12++0.02, -0.15-94.394.30.00210.0069-94.3
HTC U12+ (headphones)+0.18, -0.13-93.793.60.00240.104-52.7
Samsung Galaxy S9++0.01, -0.03-92.692.50.00120.0076-93.4
Samsung Galaxy S9+ (headphones)+0.03, -0.03-92.292.20.00170.042-76.3
LG V30+0.02, -0.01-93.293.10.00080.0069-94.2
LG V30 (headphones)+0.03, -0.02-92.992.90.00570.051-68.1

Motorola Moto Z3 frequency response
Motorola Moto Z3 frequency response

You can learn more about the tested parameters and the whole testing process here.

Reader comments

THIS.

  • T M

Another lazy and trash effort by Lenovo. When your only real must have feature is not only an add on which means more $$$, but there isn't even a firm date when it will come out. With OP6 and Zenfone 5z out at this price, this phone is laughable.

  • Xhxhyy

I like Motorola with its stock Android but this design is shamelessly ignore practical handling.