The Moto Z launches alongside a new line of expandable accessories which offer a new type of expandability to the Moto Z lineup. These examples include things like: expandable battery packs, a loud speaker for music, and even display mirroring (cue the Moto Mod Insta-Share projector).
When Moto Mods are "docked", the phone vibrates and makes a sound to confirm a successful coupling. If you are using the Moto Mod for the first time, you'll be greeted with the corresponding welcome screens.
The docking is quite straightforward as the Moto Mod is attached via quite strong magnets to the phone so placing it wrong is out of the question.
Swiping down to the quick toggles is also a great way to check the battery status of your Moto Mod. All the Moto Mods we tested had their own batteries. The JBL SoundBoost Speaker and Moto Insta-Share Projector both have their own integrated batteries.
The Moto widget in the home screen will also display your Moto Mod's battery status. One more thing, if you have a Moto Mod docked on the Moto Z and you plug the phone to charge, the Moto Mod itself will not be charged until your phone's integrated battery reaches 75%.
Conveniently, both the JBL speaker and Insta-Share Projector have their own USB-C connector ports so you can charge them independently from the phone.
The Tumi battery pack, strangely, does not have its own USB-C slot. So the only way to charge it is by docking it to the phone before putting your Moto Z to charge at night.
All the Moto Mods about to be mentioned have their own battery indicators. A button on the flat-side of the Mod can be pressed to show an LED which will represent an estimated reading of the power remaining.
One Moto Mod that will likely be popular among Moto Z owners is a battery pack that you can (quite, literally) piggy-back onto your phone and transfer juice to your smartphone when it is running low. The one we got to play with is a Tumi battery add-on which contains a 2,200mAh battery. This add-on will revive the Moto Z up to 60% from 0%.
There is also a Kate Spade branded battery pack which brings wireless charging connectivity to the Moto Z's charging routine. The Tumi battery pack is also available in a wireless-enabled version. Perhaps the battery pack itself can be charged independently without relying on the phone's dock to start charging.
The non-wireless charging version of either battery shells will set you back $60 while the wireless-enabled versions will burn a $90 hole in your wallet. You'll likely find deals for the Moto Z which might toss in a free Moto Mod like a battery pack or JBL speaker.
JBL has developed a speaker for use with the Moto Z's Moto Mod dock. There is no setup or pairing required. All you need to do is slap the speaker onto the back of the Moto Z and start playing your music or video clip. There is also a kick stand if you don't wish to put your phone face-down on a flat surface (as this commonly causes small bits of dirt to scratch the glass).
The speaker Mod contains its own battery which JBL says will last for up to 10 hours of music playback before the Moto Z's battery kicks in.
Unlike the battery pack mentioned above, the SoundBoost speaker has its own USB-C port for easy charging.
The Moto Insta-Share Projector is one of the best Moto Mods available. It's a mini Projector that can be viewed up to 70-inches (diagonally). This Moto Mod mirrors whatever can be viewed on the phone's display and anything goes - from a photo album to a YouTube video.
Rather than huddle around the phone's screen, you can use this projector to throw your phone's display onto a wall. We ran the projector for several YouTube videos and only found the phone to become moderately warm thanks to that fan that gives the projector ample air flow to prevent overheating.
This projector will set you back $300. Pretty steep for an accessory which only works with the Moto Z and that outputs a 480p (854 x 480px to be exact) resolution image. It's also worth mentioning the battery found in the projector is 1,100mAh and will run for 1 hour before depleting the phone's battery but you can plug the projector to power independently from the Moto Z.
As for audio with the projector, you're pretty much limited to three options: USB-C out (via the 3.5mm adapter), internal speaker, or an external Bluetooth speaker. Unfortunately, it's not possible to simultaneously use both the JBL SoundBoost speaker and the Insta-Share Projector.