Moto Z3 5G: Price, Release Date, and Coverage Areas for the 5G Smartphone

The "first 5G-capable" phone can finally use 5G, sort of.

Verizon recently announced that Chicago and Minneapolis would be the launch pads for its new mobile 5G network in a rollout that officially starts April 11. The company also announced that the first phone to be able to take advantage of the new browsing speeds would be the Moto Z3. This is thanks to its newly ready “5G Moto Mod,” a 5G-bestowing attachment that hooks to the back of the smartphone.

The Motorola smartphone is exclusively available through Verizon, and is already a little more than half a year old. It originally debuted in August 2018 and used its emphasis on modular attachments to self-fashion as the first 5G-ready phone. Now that the attachment is finally available, you’ll be able to enjoy the device as it was originally advertised though it won’t come cheap.

5G-supporting smartphones remain rare, and the 5G Moto Mod’s price tag won’t let you forget it. It rivals the cost of an entire phone, even though it’s literally a case that magnetically snaps to the back panel of the device. But, to try and make the price tag a little more defensible, Verizon is offering a handful of deals for the early adopters. Here’s how it all breaks down.

Wait, but what is 5G?

Moto Z3: Price and Release Date for 5G Moto Mod

The 5G Moto Mod will retail at $350, which is actually pretty close to the entire $480 price tag of the Z3 smartphone itself. Pre-orders for the mod begin March 14, and they’ll ship once Verizon’s mobile 5G network comes online starting April 11.

If $900 seems too pricey for the 5G Moto Z3, then you can also act fast and try to hop on one of the following details.

Moto Z3: Verizon’s Deals on the 5G Moto Mod and the Z3

Anyone that preorders a 5G Moto Mod will get it for just $50, a substantial discount that could make the purchase much more tempting, particularly for existing Z3 owners.

For everyone who doesn’t own a Z3, starting March 14 Verizon will give you the smartphone for free as long as you add a new line of service that day. If you have an existing line on Verizon, the carrier will let you upgrade to a Z3 for $10 a month for 24 months, which at roughly $240 is still about half the retail price.

Keep in mind, these two Z3 deals do not come with the 5G Moto Mod, customers will need to shell out the extra $50 to pre-order it afterwards.

motorola moto z3 mod
Z3 users will be able to snap the 5G Moto Mod to the back of their device to access Verizon's 5G networks in Chicago and Minneapolis.

Moto Z3: 5G Moto Mod Pros and Cons

Once April 11 comes around, the Z3 will likely be the only major smartphone capable of accessing Verizon’s high-speed 5G mobile network, at least to start. Anyone that wants a shot at mobile gaming, video chatting, or browsing the internet at “10 times the speed” of 4G will find the offer tempting. But it’s still important to remember that this first glimpse of 5G will only be available in a very limited areas.

Verizon’s 5G network will only work in Chicago and Minneapolis, and only certain pockets of those two cities. If you own a Z3 but live anywhere else, you’ll be out of luck until Verizon decides to add coverage to your hometown, a process that could more than a year (Verizon has committed to coverage in 30 cities by 2020).

In other words, while the Moto Z3 is technically the first 5G phone, that’s really only true for Z3 owners in a few neighborhoods in a few mid-sized Midwestern cities. Little has changed for any one else.

Moto Z3: Phone Specs

If you do happen to live in Chicago and Minneapolis, you might want to take advantage of this upgrade, particularly in light of the carrier discounts.

As for the rest of the specs, the Z3 modular phone is a solid mid-tier smartphone. It won’t offer the same eye-popping display as the Galaxy S10 series, or any of the dazzling camera features seen on the Google Pixel 3. The Z3 will hold you down during day-to-day use, though its major selling point is its roster of unique attachments that turn it into anything from a projector to a polaroid camera.

motorola moto z3
The Moto Z3 is a mid-tier phone you can transform into an array of other gadgets with its mods.

Here’s a rundown of the specs to expect from the 5G capable smartphone:

  • Display: 6.01-inch, notchless AMOLED screen.
  • Resolution: 1080 x 2160 pixels with roughly 402 ppi density
  • Chipset: Qualcomm’s 10 nanometer Snapdragon 835
  • Storage Capacity: 64GB with 4GB of RAM or 128GB with 6GB of RAM
  • Dual Main Cameras: Two, 12 megapixel lenses
  • Selfie Camera: One, 8MP
  • Battery: 3,000 mAh
  • Charging Type: USB Type-C
  • Charging Capacity: Supports 15W fast charging
  • Headphone Jack? No

Moto Z3: Other Mods

If that setup seems a little barebones for 2019, you can beef the Z3 up more by buying some of the 17 individual attachments. The 5G mod was just added to the roster.

One important drawback to note? The Z3 can’t use more than one mod at the same time, so if you want to make use of any of the fun attachments, you’ll have to do so using regular ole 4G.

moto z3 camera mod
The Hasselblad mod provides 10x optical zoom compared to the Z3's standard 7x digital zoom.

That said, if you’re looking for a more personalized device, Moto’s array of attachments has a lot to offer:

The 5G mod was the final piece of the puzzle that will finally let the Z3 live up to its launch hype. However, it’ll be up to users to decide if they want to jump on this very limited launch or wait until more 5G coverage rolls out during 2019.

Media via Inverse, Motorola , Motorola (1, 2)