Motorola's Moto Z4 ups the hardware and delivers affordability

Jacob Krol, CNN Underscored
Updated Thu May 30, 2019

Budget and mid-range smartphones are gaining massive popularity. Just take a look at the $399 Pixel 3a that Google released earlier this month. However, Motorola doesn't want to be left out of the party and is introducing the Moto Z4 ($499.99; amazon.com) today.

The latest generation of the Moto Z series strives to deliver impressive features at an affordable price point. It's just $499.99 unlocked for the Moto Z4, which includes a 360-degree camera Moto Mod in the box. You can preorder it today from Amazon, with an official launch date of June 6. A Moto Mod is a unique accessory that attaches to the back of any Moto Z through magnets and a proprietary set of pins.

Like almost any other Android device release in 2019 and post-Apple's iPhone X, the Moto Z4 features a notch, or as Motorola calls it, a "micro notch." It doesn't take away from the 6.4-inch Max Vision OLED display, not to mention an 85% screen to body ratio. So, as far as first impressions go, for a mid-range handset, it's sharp and delivers vibrant colors. It also packs an in-display optical fingerprint sensor to unlock or lock your phone, and authenticate payments.

Motorola opted for a Qualcomm Snapdragon 675 octa-core processor and an Adreno 608 GPU to power the experience. It's paired with 4GB of RAM and a relatively simple customized version of Android 9.0 Pie. Even better, there are fun built-in actions, like giving the phone a quick twist to open the camera or making a "chop chop" motion to turn on the flashlight. These come in handy, and on a mid-range device, it's lovely to see these extra features. You're also getting 128GB of storage that can be expanded with a microSD card.

Inside, you'll also find a 3,600mAh battery that is non-removable. Motorola is saying that most users can expect around two days of battery life on the Moto Z4. You can turbocharge it out of the box with the 15-watt charger.

The Moto Z4 has a massive 48-megapixel sensor on the back that Motorola says can compete with other flagship smartphones, including Google's Pixel. Like NightSight on the Pixel, which uses AI to enhance low light photos, Motorola is introducing Night Vision to help capture special moments. The front features an equally impressive 25-megapixel lens that is also powered by Quad Pixel. Plus, both cameras can create the popular bokeh, or portrait mode, effect.

We will put all these features and the hardware to the test. However, on paper, the Moto Z4 seems to be another dependable mid-range handset that has impressive features. Additionally, this will be an Alexa hands-free device, and yes, you can set Amazon's virtual assistant to be the main one on the phone. Plus, as with the other 16 Moto Mods on the market, you can customize the experience, ranging from a projector to a Bluetooth speaker to an Alexa enabled speaker.

Motorola's Moto Z4, which includes a 360 Camera Moto Mod, is on Amazon for $499.99.

Note: The prices above reflect the retailers' listed prices at the time of publication.