Moto Z4 vs. Asus Zenfone 6: Both dare to be different, but which is better?

The Moto Z4 and the Asus Zenfone 6 are two comparably priced smartphones that run the latest version of Android. They also happen to be two of the best midrange solutions if you’re looking for a durable, sleek, and reliably fast mobile device.

Not sure which phone is right for you? We’ve got you covered. We took a deep dive into both phones’ specs to find out which smartphone offers more bang for your buck.

Specs

Moto Z4 Asus Zenfone 6
Size 158 × 75 × 7.35mm (6.22 × 2.95 × 0.29 inches) 159.1 × 75.4 × 9.2mm (6.26 × 2.97 × 0.36 inches)
Weight 165 grams (5.82 ounces) 190 grams (6.7 ounces)
Screen size 6.39-inch OLED 6.4-inch IPS LCD
Screen resolution 2340 x 1080 pixels (403 pixels per inch) 2340 × 1080 pixels (403 pixels-per-inch)
Operating system Android 9.0 Pie Android 9.0 Pie (with Zen UI 6)
Storage space 128GB
64GB, 128GB, 256GB
MicroSD card slot Yes Yes
Tap-to-pay services Google Pay Google Pay
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 675 Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
RAM 4GB 6GB, 8GB
Camera Single 48-megapixel rear, 25MP front Dual 48MP and 13MP front and rear camera
Video Up to 2160p at 30 fps 2160p at 60 frames per second, 1080p at 240 fps, 720p at 480 fps
Bluetooth version Bluetooth 5.0 Bluetooth 5.0
Ports 3.5mm headphone jack, USB-C 3.5mm headphone jack, USB-C
Fingerprint sensor Yes (in-display) Yes (back)
Water resistance Splash-proof coating No
Battery 3,600mAh

15W TurboPower

5,000mAh

18W fast charging

App marketplace Google Play Store Google Play Store
Network support T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint T-Mobile, AT&T
Colors Flash Grey, Frost White Midnight Black, Twilight Silver
Price $500 $500
Buy from Motorola Asus
Review score Hands-on review Hands-on review

Performance, battery life, and charging

asus zenfone 6 review version 1560273483 hands on 3
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

While the Qualcomm Snapdragon 675 processor inside the Moto Z4 is a decent midrange performer, the Asus Zenfone 6 has the lightning fast Snapdragon 855, the same chip you’ll find in flagships like the Samsung Galaxy S10. That means everything on the Zenfone 6 is going to be snappier and smoother, from general navigation to playing graphically demanding games. The Moto Z4 has an ample 4GB of RAM, but the Zenfone bests it again with 6GB or 8GB of RAM.

The battery in the Zenfone 6 is also much bigger at 5,000mAh and wired charging is slightly faster at 18W. The Moto Z4 makes do with a 3,600mAh battery, though support for Moto Mods means you could buy a 3,490mAh battery attachment for an extra $80.

Winner: Asus Zenfone 6

Design and durability

The Moto Z4 squeezes almost exactly the same size screen into a smaller body than the Asus Zenfone 6, which is heavier and chunkier. The Z4 sports a teardrop notch for the front-facing camera and has an in-display fingerprint sensor. The back has that signature, round Moto camera module and pogo pins at the bottom for connecting Moto Mods. The Moto Z4 looks better with a mod attached, but they all add some bulk. The Zenfone 6 has a standard fingerprint sensor on the back, but it also has an unusual motorized camera module that can flip up, allowing the dual-lens camera to serve as a rear or front-facing camera. That means there’s no need for a notch in the screen, so it looks great from the front.

Neither has an IP rating, but the Moto Z4 does boast a P2i coating that makes it splash resistant. The Asus Zenfone 6 will also cope with rain, but is best kept dry. Both are glass, so drops are liable to cause damage.

Winner: Asus Zenfone 6

Display

moto z4
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The Moto Z4 has a 6.39-inch screen with a resolution of 2,340 x 1,080 pixels which translates to 403 pixels per inch, but there is a teardrop notch carved out of the top. The Asus Zenfone 6 has a 6.4-inch display with exactly the same resolution and sharpness, though it’s free of any notches or holes because of that flip-up camera. What decides this round is the underlying screen tech, because the Moto Z4 has an OLED with fantastic contrast, good colors, and decent brightness, while the Asus Zenfone 6 has an IPS LCD that can’t match those deep blacks and isn’t very bright, making viewing it in sunlight a bit tricky.

Winner: Moto Z4

Camera

asus zenfone 6 review version 1560273483 hands on 8
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Both of these phones have Sony’s excellent IMX586 sensor in the main camera, rated at 48 megapixels, though they output 12-megapixel images by default. Motorola sticks with that single lens, but Asus has paired the 48-megapixel lens with a second, ultra-wide 13-megapixel lens. Both phones offer various special modes. The Moto Z4 has a Night Vision mode, Auto Smile capture, and Smart Composition. The Asus Zenfone 6 allows you to adjust the blur on portrait shots, can take wide shots, and has a Night Mode.

The Moto Z4 boasts a 25-megapixel front-facing camera. The Asus Zenfone 6 has a motorized camera module, so the whole thing swings up to become the front-facing camera when you need it. We love the selfies that the Zenfone 6 is capable of, so it wins there, and it’s also more capable in the video department.

Winner: Asus Zenfone 6

Software and updates

asus zenfone 6 key settings tips layout

The Moto Z4 comes with Android 9.0 Pie and you’ll find things like Moto Display and Moto Actions on top. Motorola has confirmed that the Z4 will get Android Q, but we don’t yet know if it will get Android R. Thankfully, it will get at least two year’s worth of bi-monthly security updates.

The Asus Zenfone 6 also has Android 9.0 Pie with Zen UI on top, though it’s mostly a stock Android experience. There are apps to help you manage data and save power, as well as customization options for navigation. Asus says the Zenfone 6 will get Android Q and R as well as two years of security patches.

Winner: Asus Zenfone 6

Special features

The Moto Z4 offers mods that connect to the back of your phone and add things like extra battery life, new camera capabilities, printing, and even 5G support. If you buy the Moto Z4 unlocked you’ll get the Moto 360 Camera mod bundled with it. The 5G Moto Mod isn’t supported at launch, but will be later, provided you’re on Verizon. The best Moto Mods offer quite a wide array of functionality, but they do cost extra and can be bulky. It’s worth researching them to see if any appeal before factoring mod support in as a reason to buy the Z4. The Zenfone 6 has that special motorized camera and a few software tweaks, but nothing much else in this department.

Winner: Moto Z4

Price

The Moto Z4 is available on Verizon from June 13 and you’ll be able to get it for $400 if you select it as an upgrade via Verizon’s Device Payment Plan. The unlocked Moto Z4 can be pre-ordered now for $500 and comes with the Moto 360 Camera mod. It will ship from June 6 and will work on AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint.

The Asus Zenfone 6 will cost $500 direct from Asus. With a lack of official carrier certification, you’ll need to check up on the bands supported by the model of Zenfone 6 you buy and make sure that it’s going to work on your network. It should be fine on AT&T and T-Mobile, but we’re not sure about Verizon or Sprint.

Overall winner: Asus Zenfone 6

The design may come down to personal taste, and the Moto Z4 definitely has a better display and the extra pull of Moto Mod support, but we think the Asus Zenfone 6 offers more for your money. It completely blows the Z4 away in terms of performance, which should also help future-proof, it has better battery life, a more versatile camera, and there’s a stronger commitment to update the software from Asus than there is from Motorola.

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