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Moto Z4 Review

For 2 years, I had a Moto Z Force Droid which I loved very much. Unfortunately, there were many complications with my Moto Z Force that started with internal damage from a bad drop that led to one repair after another. My Moto Z Force had a total of 6 repairs. I reached out to both Motorola US and Erv's Vac Shop (my local repair vacuum and cell phone repair shop) for help. Through the several months that my Moto Z Force had one repair after another, Motorola has been nothing but supportive and helpful.

Through all of this, I still loved Motorola and stayed loyal to them. My loyalty paid off, because I came home from running errands on July 8th, 2019, to a message from Motorola, asking if I would specify my wireless carrier. Then after specifying my wireless carrier and phone model, not even 10 minutes later, I received a message, saying that they were going to send me an unlocked Moto Z4. Many thanks to Motorola for sending me my Moto Z4. It was a very special gift indeed! I love my Moto Z4 so much that I am writing this review to show my love and appreciation for all things Motorola.

What is Moto Z4?

Moto Z4 is the latest smartphone in Motorola's Moto Z series. It has the latest features out of all Moto Z phones and is compatible with all Moto Mods. One thing that was a huge relief from going to one Moto Z to the next, I did not have to buy many new accessories for my Moto Z4, as all my Moto Mods work with it. I will go over many different features that are included in Moto Z4. This review will mostly feature the unlocked Moto Z4, as I own the unlocked model. I have added a few remarks about the Verizon exclusive Moto Z4 as well.

Front of Moto Z4

Back of Moto Z4
What is included in the box?
The unlocked model consists of: Moto Z4 phone, quick guide, safety/warranty booklet, and even the Moto 360 Camera Moto Mod. I plan to write a review for the Moto 360 Camera Mod in a later review after I have practiced more with it. There is also a Turbo Power USB adapter and Type-C USB cable included as well.

The Verizon model consists of: Moto Z4 phone, Turbo charger with Type - C USB cable, warranty booklet, and quick start guide. There is no Moto Mod included with the Verizon version of Moto Z4.

What are the features on Moto Z4?

Beautiful Display:

The Moto Z4 has a beautiful 6.4" OLED display. It also has an optical fingerprint scanner which means the fingerprint scanner is integrated into the screen, instead of being on the back, side or below the screen. In addition to unlocking the screen, the fingerprint scanner also allows you to log into certain apps, such as shopping. Some people have complained that the in-screen fingerprint scanner is not as responsive and is slower to process your fingerprint than a physical fingerprint scanner. On my Moto Z-Force Droid, the fingerprint scanner is more responsive than the one on my Moto Z4.

Water Protection:
Many phones are being made with a IP68 water resistance rating, which means they can be immersed accidentally to a certain depth for a limited amount of time. However, due to the unique design of Moto Z4 as well as all Moto Z phones, and their Moto Mod connectors, they cannot be made with an IP68 rating. They can only be made with a splash resistant nano-coating for occasional spills and light rain or snow. I have not spilled anything on my Moto Z4, but have had a few spills on my Moto Z Force Droid and it survived. If you do spill anything on your Moto Z series phone, it is recommended not to connect any Moto Mods for at least 12 hours or more to prevent the Moto Mod connector from shorting out.

Moto Mods:
As with every Moto Z series phone, Moto Z4 is also compatible with all Moto Mods, including Moto Gamepad. (However the unlocked version will not work with the 5G Moto Mod). I have had a few fellow Moto Z4 users complain that their Moto Z4 does not fit in the Moto Gamepad Mod. This however is not the case, as I have been using my Moto Gamepad quite often with my Moto Z4. I have used my Moto Z4 with many different Moto Mods, including Hasselblad True Zoom, Moto 360 Camera Moto Gamepad and multiple battery Mods. One common complaint about Moto Z4 and Moto Mods is due to the design of the Moto Z4, there is a small gap between the phone and the Mod. However, the Moto Mods stay attached and work without issue on this phone. I use Mods 24/7 and do not have any issues with them at all.

Moto Z4 has 2 cameras built into it. Motorola chose not to include a dual lens camera on the back of Moto Z4. The Moto Z4 has "Quad Pixel Technology", which means that the camera takes 4 adjacent pixels and combines into one large one. Quad Pixel Technology allows for advanced low-light photography. I will write a more in-depth review about the cameras in a later article. Moto Z4 has a 48MP rear camera and a 25MP front-facing camera. There are multiple features in the cameras. My favorite feature of the camera is "Spot Color", which allows the user to choose one color to keep and the rest of the photo is in Black & White.

Night Vision allows the user to take photos in low light settings such as dawn and dusk. Also dimly lit rooms and areas of low light can be photographed with Night Vision. Night Vision can also be used in weather that is Overcast as well.

Night Vision with Moto Z4 at sunset

Live Filters allows you to select a filter to use instead of the Normal setting. These filters are the same ones used in the photo editing feature in Google Photos. There are different color settings as well as Black & White.

Spot Color on Moto Z4. Covered Bridge in Indiana, USA

Moto Experiences:
On Moto Z4, there is an app, called "Moto", with an Emsignia icon. It allows for different gestures and settings to allow you to enhance your experience with your Moto Z4. Many of these allow you to use alternative settings to make it easier for some users to use their Moto Z4.

Quick Capture:
"Quick Capture" allows the user to hold the phone in one hand and twist their wrist twice to open the camera. This can work with other camera app and can even be used on a locked phone. You will have to unlock your Moto to access the Gallery. One of the best Moto Experiences I have used. It was created in 2013 with Moto X and DROID Ultra series.

Fast Flashlight:
Allows the user to move the phone in a karate chop-like motion to turn the flashlight on and off. The flashlight is in the phone's rear camera flash. No flashlight, no problem!

One Button Nav:
Allows the user to use certain gestures on one navigation bar instead of 3 navigation key. Has the HOME, BACK, AND RECENT APPS, all in one bar at the bottom of the screen. Tap once on it to access your HOME screen. Slide up to access RECENT APPS. Slide left to GO BACK. Tap and hold to access GOOGLE ASSISTANT. Slide to the right to go to your last used app.

Three Finger Screenshot:
Allows the user to take a screenshot with 3 fingers. On Moto Z4, screenshots can also be taken by pressing and holding the POWER button and selecting screenshot. Screenshots can also be taken by pressing and holding POWER and VOLUME DOWN simultaneously.

Screenshot Editor:
Allows the user to edit screenshots by writing or drawing on them, cropping and long screenshot. They can also be shared with others via SMS or other apps.

Flip For "Do Not Disturb":
Allows the user to place the phone face down when they do not want to be disturbed during important tasks or events.

Pick up to silence:
Allows the user to pick up their phone to silence the ringer

Media controls:
Allows the user to use the volume keys to change songs when the screen is off

Lift To Unlock:
Allows the user to pick up the phone and unlock the screen by looking at it with the phone's facial recognition software.

Swipe to shrink:
Allows the user to render the screen smaller to make it easier to use the phone one-handed.

Moto Mods:
As mentioned above, Moto Mods are magnetic accessories that allow your Moto Z4 phone to do many different things, depending on what Mod is attached.

5G Capability (Verizon Version only):
Moto Z4 can connect to Verizon's 5G network, which is still in the development stages. However, currently, 5G only works in 2 cities in the USA (Chicago, Illinois, and Minneapolis, Minnesota). It is not very reliable at the moment and some users have expressed that it only works outdoors. Moto Z4 can only connect to 5G with the use of the Verizon 5G Moto Mod. Only the Verizon variant of Moto Z4 can use 5G. The unlocked version is currently unable to run on 5G. If you attach the 5G Moto Mod to the unlocked Moto Z4, it will not recognize it. In time, 5G will be more reliable and we will see more phones developed in the future with 5G capability. The Moto Z3 (a verizon exclusive), was the first smartphone to run on 5G which was made possible with the 5G Moto Mod. The unlocked version of Moto Z3, Moto Z3 Play is also not 5G compatible, in addition to the unlocked Moto Z4.

Battery Life:
Moto Z4 comes with a 3600 mAh battery. It is said to get up to 2 days of battery life with mixed usage. The most my Moto Z4 has lasted is about 28 hours on a single charge. It lasts longer if you have battery Mods. I like to top off my Moto Z4's battery at various times throughout the day with my battery Mods and it can last me all day that way. I use different Mods throughout each day, depending on what I am doing. Studies have shown that its better to give your phone short charges throughout the day, instead of one or multiple long charges. I only do a long charge at night while I am sleeping, but only if its needed, since I keep my Moto Z4 charged throughout the day.

Moto Z4 has a Type-C USB port, just like all the previous Moto Z phones, which is reversible, so you do not have to worry about which way you plug your Moto in. It does not support wireless charging, but can be charged wirelessly with the correct Moto Mod.

Android Software:
Moto Z4 comes with Android 9.0 (Pie), installed. The unlocked version comes with almost no bloatware and many Google apps pre-loaded. It is the closest to stock Android that you can get on an Android phone, without buying a Pixel phone. It is not confirmed as to whether or not the Moto Z4 will receive Android 10. Google chose to end the dessert codenames for their different versions of Android, therefore, Android 10 is the only name it will have.

Android 9.0 is a very stable Android version, and has a beautiful user interface, and many apps can be used in "Dark Mode", which is easier on your eyes, especially if you use your phone in the evening. As someone with poor vision and the need to read on my phone before bed, Dark mode is easier on my eyes and doesn't keep me awake when I read on my Moto Z4 before bed, or when I am riding in the car at night, it doesn't distract anyone else in the car. Moto Z4 also has a blue light filter in quick settings. It is called "Night Light".

Digital Well-Being/Parental Controls/Accessibility:
A few years ago, Motorola introduced a new advertising campaign, called "Phone-Life Balance", which means not allowing your smartphone to take over your life. In today's digital age, its so easy to connect to the world with our smartphones, but just as easy to disconnect from the ones we love most and especially those we live with and interact with face-to-face. With Android 9.0, a feature called "Digital Well-Being, allows for you to monitor how you use your phone and set app timers and block notifications from apps that you feel would be too distracting. It can be used with Parental Controls which is through Google Family Link.

Digital Well-Being can give you details about how many notifications that you receive, how many times you unlock your phone in a day, and also has a "Wind-Down" setting, which can be great for your bedtime routine so you don't stay up too late on your phone. This is a great feature for children who need a little extra help to learn healthy smartphone habits. We have important habits for our health, such as brushing our teeth and keeping our health in check, so your smartphone needs the same for it. Our phones work so hard for us, that they need to rest to, so they can help us be our best in moments that matter. (Motorola Solutions tagline).

With Parental Controls, you have control over what your kids can do with their Moto Z4 and you can monitor their activity to make sure they are safe online and with texting. With the many reports of cyberbullying and the harmful psychological effects that go along with it, it's very important to keep your children safe online. You can also set restrictions regarding apps, monitor the amount of screen time and set time limits so they are not on their phone excessively. As a parent, you can teach and set good examples for healthy phone usage by doing the same.

Some people have disabilities, including myself and need their Moto to help with disability related challenges, such as executive dysfunction, ADHD, nonverbal communication, etc… For "Phone-Life Balance", it is done differently that accommodates the individual who has a disability. They can use their phone to help them remember important tasks, medications, appointments, and use certain apps for stimming. When I am in social situations , I limit my usage to apps that help me focus by coloring, drawing, or note taking. It actually helps improve my focus and lessens anxiety. Studies have shown that drawing and writing while listening helps people with short attention spans and anxiety. For people with disabilities and learning challenges, they cannot be 100% without their phone, as it helps them function. My Moto Z4 helps me in many areas and I make sure I take very good care of it, so it can continue to help me each and every day.

There are many Accessibility options for users with disabilities. For users who are hard of hearing or impaired, closed-captioning is an option. As someone who is hard of hearing, myself, this is a great feature to have and from my own experience, it works very well. There is also "Mono Audio" which allows users who can only hear with one ear to use the phone with their ear that is able to hear.

For users with poor vision or are visually impaired, you can use larger text and even have your Moto read what is on the screen through its voice. You can also have the phone vibrate with certain touches to help you "feel" your phone, with activities, such as typing, among many other tasks. There is also a feature called "Color Correction", which allows you to choose a color setting for users who are color-blind. People with different abilities can use Moto Z4 and adjust it to meet their needs.

Moto Z4 is a great phone to have and has many features that people of all ages and abilities will enjoy. Moto Z4 is very family friendly and can help you keep your family members safe. It is recommended to use a case if you do not use Moto Mods as well as tempered glass. While there are many similar options available for other phones in addition to Moto Z4, if you want a phone that will not cost too much but want Moto Mods and a close to stock, Android Experience, Moto Z4 is a great option. We hope you enjoyed reading this in-depth review of Moto Z4. If 5G is a reason that you want to buy this phone, it is important to understand that 5G is still in the development stages and will most likely not be reliable for a lengthy period of time. If you choose a Moto Z4 for your next phone, we at Motorola hope you enjoy it for many years to come!
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