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The display here still looks really good and sharp. It's an AMOLED panel, which means that the colors are really going to pop, especially when you are watching movies and such.
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It does get pretty dim, making it great for using in bed or in the dark. But it can also get plenty bright. It is able to be used in direct sunlight, which is definitely important these days. The Adaptive Brightness here works decently, but it can be a bit too aggressive in terms of trying to save battery life. So you may want to turn that off, from time to time. While many are making a big deal out of Motorola using a year-old processor, it is still using one of Qualcomm's best chipsets in the Snapdragon Sure, over time, the Snapdragon will start to show its age.
The Moto Z3 was able to do everything we threw at it with ease, and no lag or slowdowns at all. That's how it should work, anyways, but still nice to see a slightly older chipset still pulling its own weight.
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But it's still plenty for Android. It's keeping everything lightweight here, so that less RAM and slower processors will work better on this phone versus something like the Galaxy Note 9. In recent years, Motorola has pioneered stereo speakers, by only adding one speaker. Motorola was one of the first to have a down-firing speaker and then use the earpiece as a second speaker, for stereo speakers.
But, since the Moto X4 was released last fall, it has moved towards just using the earpiece as its only speaker. This means that Motorola can save more space inside, and provide a cleaner look on the frame of the phone. But it also means that the speaker isn't going to be as loud. That earpiece doesn't get all that loud, and that is definitely seen here on the Moto Z3.
The single speaker here, can sometimes be hard to hear, and that's at full volume. The actual sound quality here is actually not too bad, it's just tough to hear it sometimes. And unfortunately, there is no headphone jack here, so you can't just plug in your headphones — unless you remembered to bring your dongle with you. There are two biometric options here for securing the Moto Z3. That includes the fingerprint sensor which is side-mounted now, as well as Face Unlock.
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The fingerprint sensor still works really well on the right-hand side of the device. It's right where your finger is likely already resting while you are holding the phone. It's quick and accurate to recognize your finger as well. Now Face Unlock is also pretty quick. And in dark situations, it will light up the screen to illuminate your face and unlock the device.
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Both of these options are pretty good for unlocking your phone. But it's a better idea to use the fingerprint sensor, since it is more secure. Not to mention the fact that it works with many apps for authentication. Which means that we used the Moto Z3 on Verizon during the review period. As expected, it worked quite well.
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Phone calls were also good, none were dropped and everyone sounded crystal clear. The Moto Z3 had three benchmarks run on it, during our review process. On AnTuTu, it picked up a score of , Over on GeekBench 4, it grabbed a single-core score of , and a multi-core score of Not the highest numbers, but still respectable.
You can see the full results in the gallery below.
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Battery life here is actually pretty decent. It's similar to the Moto Z3 Play, but it's just a tad worse. That is likely due to the processors in each smartphone, since they both have the same display and battery capacity. But you should be able to get through a full day on the Moto Z3. This will of course depend on your usage. We were able to get through a full day, with somewhat heavy use, and still have some juice left at the end of the day. Of course, if you do need some more juice for your Moto Z3, you can pick up one of the two battery Moto Mods that Motorola sells.
Moto Z3 does support Quick Charge 3. This is going to allow you to quickly charge up your smartphone and top it off. Quick Charge 3. Compared to conventional charging, that's pretty quick. It makes it a great way to top off your battery before you start heading out for the night. There's no wireless charging here, despite the glass back. However, if you purchase one of Motorola's Style Shells, you can get wireless charging, as Qi support is built-in there.
At the time of reviewing the Moto Z3, it was running on Android 8. We have not received any software updates during the review process. That is not particularly a surprise, considering Motorola usually sends out fewer but larger updates, instead of more frequent smaller updates. It is, unfortunately, not running on Android 9 Pie. This was announced before Pie became a stable version of Android, so it's not too surprising. However, there's no word on when just yet. Motorola is sticking to its approach of keeping software simple, on the Moto Z3. That includes running stock Android here, along with a few features that are included from Motorola via the Moto app.
Now with these features being included in the Moto app, Motorola is able to update them by pushing out app updates through the Play Store. This is easier for Motorola, as it doesn't need to compile an entire software update, and it doesn't need to get it certified by various partners including Google and Verizon. None of these are actually new on the Moto Z3, they've actually been around for quite some time. Moto Actions is a collection of gestures that you can enable or disable, depending on how you use your smartphone.
This includes the Lift To Unlock, which will unlock your phone when you pick it up and look at the screen. This is done in conjunction with Face Unlock. Now Moto Display is a form of always-on display. It will "breathe" to show you the time, battery percentage, and whatever notifications you might have. This will only appear when you have notifications, or when you wave your hand over the phone.
This is an easy way to check the time as well, without picking up your phone. Finally, Moto Voice, this is still in beta, but it's basically Google Assistant. It's an assistant that you can ask all sorts of questions to. Like the weather, what's on your calendar and much more. This feature isn't used all that much these days, since Google Assistant is already available here, and is much more feature-rich. There are also suggestions now in the Moto app, with suggestions for different things to do on your phone.