Moto Z is creating ripples in the smart phone industry with its Moto Mods which can be snap on the Moto Z according to the user needs. Motorola seems to have put a lot of work into making it easy to use and swap these mods.

More importantly, it seems as though mods will be compatible with future Moto Z models, making the investment seem attractive.

The deal breaker mods are the Hasselblad True Zoom, JBL SoundBoost and the Insta-Share Projector.

Let us review all these mods in detail:

  1.  Hasselblad True Zoom

Moto ModAvailable at $249 at Amazon.com

The name Hasselblad immediately brings to mind professional gear that costs multiple lakhs, so obviously we have high hopes for the True Zoom mod. As its name suggests, one of its biggest draws is the 10x optical zoom lens which physically protrudes from the back just like a compact camera’s lens.

The True Zoom doesn’t need its own app; it simply takes over from the Moto Z’s rear camera. You can use the dedicated button next to the shutter release to launch into the app, or use the two-flick gesture that works with the phone. The camera is set to capture 4:3 stills at 12 megapixel. Video tops out at 1080p, 30fps which is lower than the default camera, which can go up to 1080p at 60fps or 4K at 30fps. You also lose the ability to take slow-mo videos, but there are new options including a B&W mode, RAW mode, and scenes such as sports, night portrait, and night landscape. Manual mode is still available.

The sensor is a 1/2.3-inch BSI CMOS with 1.55µm pixels. The aperture range is f/3.5 to f/6.5, and focal length is 4.5-45mm (25-250mm 35mm equivalent). You get a xenon flash with red-eye reduction, optical image stabilisation for stills, and electronic stabilisation for video. Storage, image processing and GPS depend on the phone you use this mod with – our Moto Z had no trouble, but future models might be different.

Pros

  • 10x optical zoom
  • Improves daylight performance

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Impossible to use without a Moto Z phone
  • Bulky, compromises grip
  • Weak low light results

2. JBL SoundBoost

Moto ModsAvailable at $79 at Amazon.com

There isn’t much to say about the Soundboost – it’s one of the most obvious smartphone accessories. Smartphone speakers aren’t generally very good, and the more space you have to push air through, the better. This speaker mod snaps on, and sound is immediately passed to it rather than the Moto Z’s earpiece speaker. It is rather heavy at 115g though, and does change the balance of the phone in your hand.

The Soundboost speaker has its own 1000mAh battery with a Type-C port on the inside for charging. It will only draw power from the phone’s charger when the phone is at 100 percent and still plugged in, but you can charge it directly if you need to. There’s no audio input other than the Moto mods’ magnetic interface and no volume or any other controls – you cannot use the Soundboost with any other source device or as a standalone speaker. A 3.5mm input for redundancy would have made this accessory much more versatile, since speakers can easily outlive smartphones.

Pros

  • Great for videos and voice calls
  • Fairly loud
  • Large battery

Cons

  • Adds a lot of weight to the phone
  • Impossible to use without a Moto Z phone
  • Expensive

3.Insta-Share Projector

Moto ModsAvailable at $266 at Amazon.com

One of the more ambitious mods, the Moto Instashare puts a pico projector on the back of your Moto Z smart phone. It’s surprisingly slim, considering that it has a fan for active cooling. There’s a folding stand that can support the weight of the phone and projector at any angle. The lamp shines out the raised side, allowing you to use the phone screen comfortably while the projector is in use.

There’s a simple on/ off button and a physical rotary dial to focus the projector’s lens. This is also the only one of the mods with a software control panel. You can adjust the keystone manually or set it to auto, which does a fairly good job of compensating for odd angles. You can also adjust brightness and choose to suppress phone notifications from appearing on the projected screen – an idea which struck us as incredibly thoughtful and smart.

Setup is absolutely painless, as expected. Motorola says you can project a screen of up to 70 inches, but at the native resolution of just 854×480, this doesn’t seem like a good idea. Brightness is 50 lumens; about standard for pico projectors. Zoom and image size can only be adjusted by physically moving the projector closer to or farther from the surface you’re projecting onto. We found image quality enjoyable in a pitch dark room and were actually impressed with the size of the image, but the bigger you get, the duller it is. The lamp is rated for 10,000 hours of life.

Pros

  • Convenient size and shape
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Reasonable picture quality

Cons

  • Loud fan
  • Impossible to use without a Moto Z phone
  • Expensive

All of them detract from the sleekness and style of the Moto Z. If you bought this phone for its thinness or metal-and-glass body, be prepared to lose those attributes. Weight also becomes an issue, and you’ll definitely feel your pockets sagging with a mod attached. Conceptually, none of these mods is something you’ll ever need to whip out at a moment’s notice, and even if an occasion arises, the chances of having the right one at the right time are minimal. You’ll have to carry them all and swap on the fly – which means standalone products would do just as well, if not better.

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