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Motorola Moto Mods hands-on: LG, eat your heart out

by Brandon Russell | June 9, 2016June 9, 2016 5:27 pm PDT

Lenovo wasn’t just happy to release the thinnest phone on the block, or the most durable; the company on Thursday also introduced what it’s calling Moto Mods, which are essentially attachments that extend the capabilities of its new Moto Z lineup. Noticeably missing was a camera attachment, but the ones on show today worked, and they worked well.

What I found most impressive about the Moto Mods were how incredibly easy they are to use. Just line up the contact points and the magnets will do the rest. In three seconds or less you’ll be able to extend your phone’s battery, add a nice case, or make the speakers sound much, much better.

The Moto Mods lineup includes a JBL SoundBoost speaker, Insta-Share Projector, Power Pack, and Style Shells, the latter of which come in real wood, leather, or patterned fabric. On the demo floor they all worked exactly as promised though I am a little skeptical about the Style Shells.

While they look awesome and feel great, they don’t sit 100 percent flush with the phones, so I’m curious to see if these accidentally come off during regular use. It seems as though the magnet is strong enough to keep them attached but that’s a slight concern I had after using them for a few minutes.

The Mod that stood out the most was the JBL SoundBoost speakers, which sounded incredible—even on a noisy floor with people shouting. It does add a bit of bulk to the device but what did you expect? It’s impressive how well and how seamless these Mods work—you simply line up the contact points and you’re good to go. It’s a much more elegant solution compared to something like the LG G5, which forces you to detach the phone’s “chin” and then attach the “friend.”

Motorola says it’s providing open architecture and the tools developers need for them to create their own Moto Mods, so we should expect to see more down the road. I really do hope that more Mods are created—it’s so easy for Lenovo to make promises only for no third-party developers o show support.

I don’t know if we’ll see a healthy ecosystem of Mods later this summer but I like the small lineup of attachments Lenovo has assembled. We’ll have much more when we get a more extended hands-on look.

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Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...