Moto Z3 launch event reactions: 5G when and at what cost?

Motorola might have put its name on the Moto Z3 last week, but at its launch event in its headquarters, it seemed as though its exclusive carrier, Verizon, as well as Qualcomm had upstaged the phone with talk about how great 5G is and how the Moto Z3 would be the first “upgradeable” phone for the new-generation network thanks to a weird looking Moto Mod.

The 5G Moto Mod contains the 5G-capable Snapdragon X50 modem and antennas reaching all edges of the mod to allow for maximum connectivity opportunities — mainly because as 5G will be put in place on millimeter-wave (around 30GHz and above), signal propagation through even a hand becomes more difficult.

Given that we don’t have an idea as to how much the Mod will cost and that we only have a vague 2019 launch timeline to go with that Mod, the Moto Z3 ends up being a lightly retouched Moto Z2 Force at 40 percent off its original price.

This editor was part of the tech press corps that covered the event with Motorola, in our case, paying for our travel, itinerary and stay. We decided to ask two simple questions with our industry colleagues: What was your takeaway from the spin machine, and; what’s the one question you are most looking forward to answering in your review?

We’ve got their answers right here, in audio form and with our edited transcripts!

The original segment aired on our Weekly podcast: subscribe today!

Adam Doud

Android Authority

Q. What’s your takeaway from the Moto Z3 event?

A: There’s a lot of takeaways. The premiere takeaway is that 5G is gonna be great when it gets here. That being said- that was the message we were given. The other messages that weren’t necessarily stated, but reading between the lines, is that Motorola is not releasing a flagship phone this year and, for some reason, we’re going to need a Mod to get 5G on Motorola’s phone rather than just building it into the phone itself.

Now that in and of itself spawns a whole host of other questions, but I think right now that’s what I’m trying to unpack…

Q. What’s the one question you’d most like to see answered?

A: I wanna know where Motorola’s flagship is. Because all we have is the Moto Z3 which is basically a Z2 Force without ShatterShield. Everything about the specifications of this phone are 2017, which is bad for Q3 2018.

It’ll probably be a fine mid-range phone, but it’s not exactly future-proof except for the 5G capability.

David Cogen

The Unlockr

Q. What’s your takeaway from the Moto Z3 event?

So, I think it’s basically a Z3 Play for Verizon users. It’s the only choice they have, right? Because they can’t have the Z3 Play. The only difference really is that it has a [Snapdragon 835] and it has a slightly better camera and… that’s it, really. Oh, and it doesn’t include a Moto Mod in the box and it’s slightly cheaper than the Z3 Play. I don’t know. I think that’s what it is.

Q. What’s the one question you’d most like to see answered?

I want a realistic timeline of 5G. I wanna know when New York is gonna get it, that’s what I really want…

I think that this device- just saying that it’s the first to be “5G-upgradeable” feels marketing-ish to me. So, yeah, I like that [the phone industry] racing to say that, but I wanna know when’s it happening?

Joey Riz

His site

Q. What’s your takeaway from the Moto Z3 event?

I think it’s a mid-range device. They’re showing it off as being their top-of-the-line device, but with the 825, it is a mid-range device. It’s not the newest thing out right now. But at least they’re pricing it well — $480 — that’s all I can say about that.

For $480, it is the price for a last-year flagship. So at that price, I really consider it a last-year flagship instead of a this-year flagship.

Q. What’s the one question you’d most like to see answered?

When is the 5G thing actually going to come out? It’s 6 months. We’re going to have to wait 6 months for this one Moto Mod cause obviously, it’s not ready. But I really wanna know — I understand the idea — they didn’t give us any specifics. They didn’t tell us the price of that thing- that’s the big thing, the price of that new Moto Mod is the thing I wanna know about…

…it’s gonna be $200 (ed. note: a guess). My view is we should get it for free: if we bought the phone, they should send it to us once it’s ready.

Sameer Chhabra

MobileSyrup

Q. What’s your takeaway from the Moto Z3 event?

I have to start by saying that MobileSyrup itself is a Canadian publication and I’m a Canadian as well. So, I’m gonna approach that question from a Canadian perspective. So, it’s not unlocked, probably start with that. It is locked to Verizon, which means I’m gonna have a tough time just dealing with it.

But overall, I think it’s interesting… I think what Verizon’s trying to do is establishing its 5G network ahead of its competitors… I think it’s a good start and I think it’s gonna put 5G in people’s minds in a tangible way that maybe just regular marketing wouldn’t inform people about.

Q. What’s the one question you’d most like to see answered?

How exactly is this going to work in application? Verizon doesn’t have a 5G network right now. In fact, nobody has a functioning 5G network.

And when we saw Motorola’s R&D team working on 5G [at the event], we saw that even then, they haven’t worked out all of the kinks. One of the lead researchers just put his hand between a modem and the phone, and the downlink just dropped tremendously.

But at the same time, if they can spread this out, if they can get modems across the board, if they can get people interested and if they can get people on-board, then it’s going to work out well.

Michael Fisher

Mr. Mobile

Q. What’s your takeaway from the Moto Z3 event?

I have to be frank. You know, there’s a lot people from the media here — there’s, like, 20 people on the other side of the wall where we’re recording this from and that’s not even all the people Motorola brought into Chicago for this event. So, frankly, I expected a big splash. And their teasers said, “It’s a whole new way to communicate, it’s a whole new way to have video calls, it’s a whole new way to do everything.”

What we got was, of course, a phone that was rather unremarkable and a Moto Mod that was very remarkable, but won’t arrive for… I guess four months, at least. And we don’t know what the price is gonna be and we don’t even know what it’s actually going to look like since we saw mock-ups today.

It’s really hard to take all that together and say, “Wow, yeah, I’m really jazzed about what I saw today.” I’m not down on it, I’m just— I have to say, I expected a bit more.

Q. What’s the one question you’d most like to see answered?

The answer to your question about what my favorite question is going to be… it can’t be “should you buy this phone” because I think you probably shouldn’t. Unless, you know, that’s not entirely true, there’s use cases for it. But that’s not the most interesting question, the most interesting question is…

By the time this Moto Mod launches… is it already going to be irrelevant? Because fully integrated 5G competitors will be out there. And I’m not sure I’ll be able to answer that at review time, but it’s one I’m able to pose. I can’t definitively say because I can’t see the future, but… I can’t be really optimistic about a lot of this— despite how in love with the technology I am with regards to the Mod.

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About The Author
Jules Wang
Jules Wang is News Editor for Pocketnow and one of the hosts of the Pocketnow Weekly Podcast. He came onto the team in 2014 as an intern editing and producing videos and the podcast while he was studying journalism at Emerson College. He graduated the year after and entered into his current position at Pocketnow, full-time.