Still Worth Buying in 2023? An In-Depth Moto Z3 vs Moto G7 Comparison Helps You Decide

Picking between aging but still solid Android smartphones like the Moto Z3 and Moto G7 can seem difficult in 2023. Originally marketed to very different audiences at launch, nowadays these two discontinued Lenovo devices sit nearly neck and neck in pricing from third-party sellers.

So if money is no longer the main differentiator, which phone gives you better bang for the buck? This comprehensive comparison breaks down how they stack up across 8 key categories. Read on to learn which best fits your needs and budget this year.

A Quick Backgrounder

Before analyzing technical specifications, let‘s briefly cover product history and positioning.

Moto Z3

  • Released August 2018 as Verizon exclusive, unlocked later
  • Originally $480-$720 retail
  • Flagship-tier with unique Moto Mods snap-on modules
  • Targeted early adopters wanting customization

Moto G7

  • Launched globally February 2019
  • Unlocked $299 MSRP
  • Mainstream midrange price/performance
  • Made for the mass market

Motorola announced the Z3 about 6 months before the G7 as part of different product portfolio tiers despite somewhat similar pricing today.

Pricing Breakdown Over Time

It‘s important to understand how the perceived value of smartphones declines over time even if technical capabilities remain the same. As newer models with faster components hit the market, previous generation prices eventually fall towards the budget end of the spectrum.

The chart below illustrates how the MSRP and resale value of both phones changed in the US market since launch according to data aggregated from various major vendors and carriers:

PhoneLaunch MSRPCurrent NewRefurbished
Moto Z3$480-$720$200+$150-180
Moto G7$299$120-180$100-130

You can currently acquire a new Moto G7 around the initial cost of the Z3, while refurbs are even cheaper. Yet the Z3 still retains more advanced features despite its age. This closes the gap in value proposition between the two.

Essentially Motorola moved downmarket over time while Lenovo focused on the higher end. Let‘s see where their strengths shine or falter now.

Display Technology

A phone‘s screen comprises one of the most important qualities governing the overall user experience. Aspects like sharpness, color accuracy, brightness and bezels play key roles in immersion and usability.

The Moto Z3 and G7 opted for different display technologies despite close sizing:

Moto Z3Moto G7
Resolution2160 x 1080 pixels2270 x 1080 pixels
Aspect Ratio19:919:9


Although their resolution appears similar on paper, OLED televisions consistently outrank LED-backlit LCDs in independent picture quality assessments. Richer color depth, perfect blacks and improved contrasts simply look more vibrant.

So the Moto Z3 should reproduce multimedia and games better thanks its AMOLED panel origins from Samsung – pioneers in the space. Mobile displays still lag behind living room screens, but retain the same advantages over LCD.

Who has clearer visuals?

With pixel densities over 400, both deliver crisp text and imagery free from discernible individual dots at normal viewing distances.

The G7 gives you marginally more real estate in a slimmer bottom bezel design popularized since 2018. But brightness comes up short at only around 450 nits versus the Z3‘s 550+ nits. This means outdoor viewability suffers on the G7.

One-handed ergonomics

Thanks to minimizing bezels, the taller 19:9 aspect ratios do push single-handed usability. But the Z3‘s conventional 16:9 screen proportions allow reaching everything without risky hand gymnastics or dropping your phone.

Ultimately the Moto Z3 takes the display category for better visual uniformity, brightness and usability.

Hardware Performance and Battery Life

The soc (system on a chip) inside any smartphone plays integral roles in executing tasks smoothly while conserving power efficiency. Faster main and graphics processing directly enable quicker app launches, fluid UI navigation and longer battery standby times per charge.

Let‘s examine the silicon brains behind both Moto phones:

Moto Z3Moto G7
ProcessorSnapdragon 835Snapdragon 632
CPU Cores88
CPU Speed2.35Ghz1.8Ghz
GraphicsAdreno 540Adreno 506
Storage64GB / 128GB64GB
microSDYes, 2TB maxYes, 512GB max
Battery3000 mAh3000 mAh

Quantifying processing power

The Moto Z3 housed Qualcomm‘s top-tier chipset released back in 2017 powering former flagships like Samsung‘s Galaxy S8. In benchmarks, it still outperforms the newer mid-range Snapdragon 632 inside the G7 by around 25% despite having 2 less cores.

Think of soc generations like PC graphics cards. The numbered series indicates tier ranging from budget to extreme. So the 800-series sits at the flagship level well above 600-series meant for mainstream devices.

For perspective, the Snapdragon 835 trounces Apple‘s A11 Bionic inside 2017‘s iPhone X which itself still feels speedy today thanks to iOS software efficiencies.

But why does the Z3 feel faster if both sport 8-core chips? Two factors:

1. Architecture – Kryo 280 cores in the 835 based on ARM‘s Cortex technology hit higher peak clock speeds than the slower A53-based 632.

2. Manufacturing Process – The smaller the silicon fabrication, the less electrical resistance enabling better power efficiency and performance. The SD835 uses 10nm process technology while the 632 utilizes the larger 11nm process.

So despite announcing the 632 chip a year later, the SD835 retains performance leadership. This directly translates to faster loading apps, games and everyday tasks on the Moto Z3 versus G7.

Storage and multitasking

Both phones offer baseline 64GB storage that was plenty ample in their times for apps, media, files and system data with room to spare. The Z3 one-ups with a 128GB configuration and higher 2TB microSD card support over the G7‘s 512GB ceiling.

The option to add 6GB RAM on Moto Z3 also facilitates keeping more background services and programs open for quick switching versus the 4GB only G7. But realistically, 4 gigs suffices for most buyers as long as you don‘t go crazy with dozens of simultaneously open apps.

Battery life

On paper, the two tie directly with identical 3000 mAh non-removable batteries. Mixed usage sees most reviewers achieving day-long runtime from wake to sleep. Standby efficiency favors the Moto Z3 slightly thanks to the aforementioned processor discrepancies.

Both charge up quickly supporting the classic 15W TurboPower standard. But only the modular Z3 allows attaching portable power packs as Moto Mods for potentially doubling battery life on the go.

For those regularly pushing their phones to the limits without access to spare wall plugs, the insurance of snap-on Power Packs makes a meaningful difference.

Camera Capabilities

Phones have essentially replaced point and shoots for many casual photographers thanks to computational wizardry that extracts maximum image quality from tiny mobile sensors. Let‘s examine the shooters on both Moto phones:

Moto Z3Moto G7
Rear Cam 112MP f/2.012MP f/1.8
Rear Cam 212MP mono f/2.05MP depth f/2.2
Front Cam8MP f/2.08MP f/2.0
Rear Video4K 30fps, 1080p 60fps4K 30fps, 1080p 60fps
EISDigitalDigital + OIS

Spec showdown

The 12 megapixel main sensors utilise identical 1/2.55" sizes but with different apertures. The G7‘s brighter f/1.8 lens pulls in more light ideal for low brightness situations. But pixel size plays an equally important role in final image quality. And the Z3 and G7 share 1.25 micron photosites among 12MP sensors of the same surface area.

So in optimal lighting, they essentially capture similar detail. The secondary cameras differ with the Z3 employing a 12MP greyscale shooter for contrast-rich monochrome effects. The G7 instead uses depth sensing to boost background blur in portraits.

Around front both utilize 8MP selfie cameras that adapt well in various conditions. And for video, you can capture sharp 4K footage at 30 fps or smoother 1080p clips at 60 fps on either phone.

Real world performance

Reviewers found images from the main rear cameras bright and crisp during the day, but noisy in dimmer scenes. The Moto Z3‘s monochrome secondary sensor does pull in more fine detail that shows upon inspecting photos at 100% crop.

Video stabilization relies solely on software, but the G7‘s gyroscope ekes out slightly smoother handheld footage compared to digital-only stabilization on the Z3.

Ultimately casual shooters will enjoy social media ready results from both. But those printing larger prints may prefer the Z3‘s contrast and detail rendition in challenging situations. Just don‘t expect nighttime photography on par with today‘s phones embracing much bigger sensors and pixel binning algorithms.

For most buyers, the minor quality jump likely doesn‘t justify choosing the Z3 solely for its cameras. But shutterbugs will still appreciate the creative options its dual lenses provide.

Unique Features

Stock Android purists rightfully praise Motorola‘s light touch retaining Google‘s clean UI. But the company still innovates with unique features that enhance user experience.

Moto Actions and Experiences

Both phones share convenient gestures like twisting to launch cameras, chopping to toggle flashlights and peeking at notifications without touching screens.

Moto Display intelligently presents new messages and alerts without powering whole screens. This works thanks to infrared proximity sensors recognizing your hand waves. Such thoughtful touches aid daily utility while conserving battery.

Moto Mods modules

The Moto Z3 stands in a league of its own as the only mainstream consumer phone enabling hot-swappable snap-on accessories. These Moto Mods physically upgrade your phone similar to Lego building blocks or PC component customization.

Launched alongside the original 2016 Moto Z, approximately 30+ first and third-party Mods serve various functions:

Battery – Power Packs add days of usage
Speakers – Blast louder & clearer audio
Camera – ZenFone-style zoom or Hasselblad optimization
Projectors – Turn phone into portable cinemas
Gamepads – Precision controls for gaming
Printers – Instantly share memories

This versatility makes the Z3 attractive for enthusiasts even today. The downside lies in Mods pricing from $50 to $300. But frequent sales help ease costs for those who plan to build a collection eventually. Do the math based on the ones matching your needs.

Note the modular functionality remains useful should you later upgrade within the Moto Z family sharing backwards compatibility. So the investment pays forward for folks who upgrade phones every 2-3 years.

Headphone jack

While the industry moves towards USB-C and wireless audio, one ace up the G7‘s sleeve comes via retaining the universal 3.5mm headphone jack. Listeners who still prefer plugging in analogue headphones and aux cables will welcome its incorporation.

Software Support

Motorola walks an awkward line trying to provide as close to pure Android OEM smartphones while committing to continuous updates. Hardware obviously outlasts software longevity, but here‘s what to expect:

Moto Z3Moto G7
Original OSAndroid 9 PieAndroid 9 Pie
Latest OSAndroid 10 no updateAndroid 10 no update
Security Update ETASeptember 2020 reachedJanuary 2021 reached

Launched on Android Pie, both phones got bumped a single generation to Android 10 with two years of bimonthly security patches counting from retail availability. This lines up with Motorola‘s public policy of essentially one letter OS upgrade and patches for two years.

Unfortunately neither device received Android 11 nor will make the Android 12 jump. Technically nothing prevents running newer OS versions unofficially once public support halts. But stability risks aside, the Snapdragon 600 and 800 series chipsets inside Moto‘s midrange and upper tier phones seem capable of handling extra software versions.

Industry players like Samsung support devices for 3 major platform updates and additional security patches. Budget brands dip down to only 1 promised OS update and lower durations of vulnerability fixes. So Motorola walks a middle line.

For consumers expecting smartphones to remain dependably secure for 3-4 years, consider shifting expectations or seeking devices with longer guaranteed support terms.

Availability and Purchase Options

Launched under Verizon in North America then unlocked later, Moto Z3 remains widely available Stateside from big retailers like Amazon, Best Buy and B&H Photo. You‘ll also spot batches sold refurbished or open box via eBay and group deal sites.

International shoppers have better luck sourcing the more globally released Moto G7 new in some areas or refurbished in others.

Both work perfectly fine for GSM networks like AT&T and T-Mobile in the US. The Moto Z3 fits right at home on Verizon‘s CDMA infrastructure where the G7 may suffer limited roaming coverage in rural regions or notable network performance discrepancies without VoLTE support.

Those seeking the longest feasible lifetime on original firmware with optimal connectivity should stick region appropriate for models. Importing across CDMA/GSM carriers brings some limitations.

Bottom Line

Despite releasing 6 months apart to divergent phone segments, the Moto Z3 and Moto G7 meet surprisingly closely nowadays in bang for buck value. The G7 once promised a popular price/performance sweet spot, but sees itself matched or outclassed in several respects by the former high-end Z3 available around the same $150-$200 territory now.

For shoppers eyeing either aging handset as an affordable bridge until their next upgrade, the Moto Z3 brings numerous advantages:

  • Faster Snapdragon 800-Series processing
  • Sleeker Super AMOLED display
  • More dynamic dual camera flexibility
  • Double the maximum native storage
  • Magnetic modular upgradeability in Moto Mods
  • More comprehensive US network compatibility

The Moto G7 still deserves credit as a respectable jack of all trades budget smartphone thanks to its:

  • Slightly bigger screen
  • Headphone jack convenience
  • Wider rear camera aperture great in low light
  • More universally accessible Global availability
  • Large developer support community prolonging unofficial software

But side by side in 2023 with pricing discrepancies minimized, the Moto Z3 prevails as overall best pick thanks to aging more gracefully with help from interchangeable Mod accessories you won‘t easily find matched elsewhere even today.

Those partial to Motorola‘s balance of unique value-adds on pure Android but turned off by the high prices of newer models should give the Z3 a shot. With some deal hunting, solid sub $200 specimens give you flagship-grade performance and customization for less.

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