Gear Review: Moto Z Droid Plus Mods Take Smartphones out of Their Stale State

For those looking to extend their phones into endless possibilities in a variety of situations, the Moto Z Droid is the device you want in your pocket. With the introduction of Droid’s Moto Mods, physical plug and play apps, you currently get five different extensions—JBL SoundBoost speaker, Moto Insta-Share Projector, Tumi (or Kate Spade) Power Pack, and the Hasselblad True Zoom camera attachment—which I tested and allowed me to transform the phone to my specific needs.

In the rapid age of evolving technology one piece has been left un-tampered, since the introduction of the iPhone, the smart phones’ hardware hasn’t changed that dramatically. Each new phone that is released touts a “better” screen, camera, or whatever feature marketers are trying to one up their competitor with.

Motorola on the other hand has decided to challenge the status quo with the Moto Z Droid. At first glance the sleek device looks like any other smart phone with minimal design, a big screen and reduced sidewall size (5.2-millimeters thin to be exact). But where this phone parts ways from the rest can be seen on the back. Prying off the style mod will expose Moto Z’s hidden 16 pins that allow users to slap on one of Motorola’s Moto Mods.

I put these five Moto Mods to the test by taking them with me on a Saturday afternoon skate mission.

JBL’s SoundBoost Speaker Mod

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Straight out of the box, the lightweight speaker is just nine grams heavier than the Moto Z phone. With no Bluetooth connectivity required, the JBL speaker instantly improves the phone’s native sound quality with two, three-watt speakers at a level of 80 decibels, which is equivalent to your average blender at full speed. The JBL speaker has its own rechargeable battery that advertised will last up to 10 hours, outlasting the average time for a solid skate session

The speaker also features a convent kickstand that allows the phone to stand horizontally on its own so you’re not forced to lay the phone down on its new screen. When all said and done, the JBL SoundBoost easily snaps off the back of the phone and can be stored in a backpack or pocket to reduce the size of the Moto Z in your chino while you push to the next spot.

Hasselblad True Zoom Camera Mod

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While cruising around America’s finest city of San Diego, I came across perfect opportunities to test out the Hasselblad True Zoom mod. Snapping the Hasselblad True Zoom mod on I noticed that it’s not just an extension of the camera on the Moto Z, but becomes part of the phone. Think of the Moto Z as the body of a DSLR and the Hasselblad True Zoom mod as the detachable lens. The ergonomics of the mod fit firm in your hand while giving more area to grip around the phone. Pushing down on the shutter button while keeping a steady hand proved to be challenging, but pressing on the 25-250 millimeter equivalent zoom showed how this mod can really improve photo quality. The zoom is quick and smooth and gives the ability to shoot a wide landscape photo or capture the details of a faraway subject. The aperture range of f/3.5-f/6.5 makes the photos a bit darker than expected, especially when zoomed all the way in and at night. Overall, the Hasselblad True Zoom mod will give you an improved photo that can be uploaded straight to your social feed just seconds after taking it.

Moto Insta-Share Projector Mod

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The last mod on our list is the one that impressed me the most, the Moto Insta-Share Projector. Instead of all the homies hovering over your shoulder to share the latest viral Instagram clip, everyone can now watch the same footage that appears on your screen. The only downside to the mod is that its built-in battery only lasts up to around an hour while running, making it a little difficult for you and perhaps a special someone to watch a longer length film. All in all, the projector mod blew me away with the ability to easily share what’s on the screen of the phone without the hassle of passing it around to everyone.

Overall, the Moto Z Droid and Moto Mods break away from the average smart phone experience by opening a world of possibilities and while perhaps paving a new way in the smartphone era.