When you’re competing for users with Apple’s iPhone 7 and Samsung’s Galaxy S7, you need an ace of your own. For a long time, Android smartphone makers thought that they could get by on internals alone. Stuffing their devices with the latest processors and display technology made them perform better, but they never actually sold better. Since its rebirth under Google, Motorola has focused on adding value to Android where it makes sense. Moto Display, the sensors and software that let users wave their hands over their devices display for the latest notifications and updates, is still a must-have feature. For the Moto Z, the company needed a new secret weapon. That weapon is Moto Mods.
In their simplest form, Moto Mods are easy to remove smartphone accessories. Magnets on the back of the Moto Z, Moto Z Play and Moto Z Droid phones lock the smartphone accessories into place and keep them there. The phone and Moto Mods are able to communicate with each other through pins that sit on the back of each phone and the front of each Moto Mod.
Motorola wants to make it easier to add features to your smartphone that weren’t built in originally. Because the company has committed to making devices with the same footprint in the future, users can be sure that the Moto Mods that they invest in will work when they upgrade – provided they stay in the Moto Z family. Moto Mods work across devices too, for example a Moto Mod purchased for the cheaper Moto Z Play works with the Moto Z.
Here’s the 5 best Moto Mods that you can buy for your Moto Z smartphone today.
Best Moto Mods: Incipio OffGrid Moto Mod
The Incipio OffGrid Moto Mod has two features that every mobile professional needs in their life. First, stuffed into its gently tapered frame is a battery. This battery adds roughly 22 hours of additional time between charges. It’s up to you to decide how you want this Moto Mod to work. One option lets you keep your phone charged at 80% in exchange for the Moto Mod lasting longer. The other lets you keep your phone at 100%, but you’ll deplete the Incipio OffGrid’s battery reserve faster. Its rubbery feel makes it very grippable.
What about the device’s second great feature? It sports wireless charging, meaning you can charge both it and your phone without having to physically connect any cables. The Incipio OffGrid MotoMod costs $79.99. It comes in black and white.
Best Moto Mods: Incipio Vehicle Dock
Incipio hits the right notes again with the Incipio Vehicle Dock. This Moto Mod holds and charges your Moto Z phone at the same rate your wall-plug Turbo Charger would, provided you have the necessary car adapter.
Android Auto lets you use your Moto Z for maps and music streaming, and this dock gives you the option to open that system automatically when you connect. Smartly, Incipio built in support for AUX cables and Bluetooth streaming.
The Incipio Vehicle Dock Moto Mod costs $69.99.
Best Moto Mods: JBL Soundboost Speaker
The Moto Z has lots of things going for it, but its speaker isn’t one of them. It doesn’t do music justice. That’s where the JBL Soundboost Speaker comes in. This Moto Mod adds two huge speakers, a kick-stand and a battery pack to your Moto Z, Moto Z Droid Force or Moto Z Play.
In short, you have all the necessary ingredients for a quality music listening session. JBL has earned a reputation for great speaker systems, and this one is no different. Because it’s attached to your phone using the Moto Mod system, there’s no need to connect to it through Bluetooth. Deploying the kickstand allows you to get the best sound and not be forced to turn your phone on its face.
The JBL Soundboost Speaker Moto Mod costs $79.99.
Best Moto Mods: Kate Spade StylePack Moto Mod
Not all Moto Mods need to add a function. You can also use the Moto Mods system to inject your smartphone with a little personality. The Kate Spade New York Style Pack Moto Mod allows you to turn your Moto Z into a fashion statement.
Like the other mods, the case simply snaps on thanks to its strong magnets. It’ll protect the back of your Moto Z from drops and scratches, though you’ll want to pair it with a bumper case for maximum protection. There’s versions with stripes, dots and even confetti. You can find them all on Amazon.
Amazon has all three patterns of the Kate Spade StylePack Moto Mod starting at $15.50 and running to $49.99.
Moto Insta-Share Projector
Who wants to crowd around a smartphone display to see video clips? With the Moto Insta-Share Projector you can share what’s on your Moto Z’s display with everyone.
This Moto Mod lets you turn any wall into a 70-inch display. There’s a kickstand and auto-angling software so that you always have a great picture. If the software can’t handle the job, there’s a manual override for focusing too.
To be clear, it’s not going to replace a high-definition projector. It has a minimal brightness of 50 lumens. But it’s perfect for spontaneously letting everyone see what’s on your device. It adds an extra hour of battery to your device too. The Moto Insta-Share Projector costs $299.99.
Good luck with your new Moto Z, Moto Z Droid Force or Moto Z Play. Motorola has plans to continue working with partners to introduce new Moto Mods. For most of 2017, Motorola is holding an open call for small companies that have great ideas for new mods that people might find useful. Among the finalists in the Transform the Smartphone Challenge are an add-on solar charger and notification case with LEDs, according to the Official Motorola Blog.