I’m a big techie, and I love collecting gadgets. Often times for me, the more gimmicky the better. I’m always excited by the newest inventions and innovations. I’m usually what you would call an ‘early adopter’, meaning you don’t have to try too hard to convince me to start using (or ‘adopt’) a new product or technology. Now obviously that sometimes doesn’t work out so well. I remember being a pretty broke college student with only a part-time job but saving enough to buy the PlayStation Move. It was supposed to be the future of gaming, with a camera that would track your movements and make you feel like you were actually doing the actions in the game. I think I used it at most, five or six times. No games ever really committed to fully integrating the controller into their play style, and it was just sort of an extra add-on that sometimes you could play for fifteen minutes at a time. Other times though, it’s been great, and I’ve enjoyed the luxury of some truly advanced and exciting innovations. Like the PlayStation VR. The virtual reality headset for the PS4 that cost as much as the system itself. It was a pricey gamble, but it totally worked out. There are PS VR exclusive games that you can only enjoy with the headset, and more and more developers are enthusiastically embracing the technology to make even more in the future.
This time, I’m actually a generation late to the party, but I just couldn’t resist any longer. Between the commercials with the bright colors and all the cool gadgets, plus my really needing to replace my smartphone, I decided to buy the second generation Motorola Moto Z2 Play with all its Moto mod glory. If you’ve seen the commercials for these, you’d know that the big selling point of this particular line of phones are the ‘Moto mods’. Accessories you can attach to the phone via magnets and gold pin connectors to add powerful features. So yes, this will be a very techy, very geeky, review.
The Phone: The phone itself is already pretty impressive. First let’s talk about the physical body of the phone. I don’t know why everyone is pushing phones to become slimmer and slimmer, but yes this phone is impressively thin. For me, while impressive, it isn’t a desirable trait. I kind of would like a phone that feels secure and comfortable in my hand. I’m always extra delicate when holding this because it’s so slim and so light. That it can pack so much power and speed and life into a thin package is great for the technological aspect, but comfort wise I just need more heft. The screen is incredibly vibrant with bright colors and stark contrast. It has voice and fingerprint features for security and ease of access. 12 MP built-in camera, full day (30 hour) battery life, 64 GB of memory and 4 GB of RAM means it is fast and can handle multiple processes at once. Alone, it’s a quality phone, with all the features and capabilities you’d expect. The Z2 Play on its own could be a pretty impressive mid-level phone, but obviously the real value comes with what you can further do with it with the right mods.
The Mods: This is the entirely new and completely unique component of the Moto Z mod phones. Stand-alone devices that attach to your phone for extra features. Now you do have to buy these separately, which can very quickly begin to rack up the cost, but all the mods are backwards compatible so even as new mods are released and sold, you can rest assured they will always work with your phone. I actually had a chance to speak with a Motorola representative in-person, and he assured me that the mods would be backwards compatible with phones for up to three generations. Apple outdates your phone within six months. In 2018 Motorola plans on releasing even more mods, and they even have grant programs for developers who have new and interesting prospects so they can develop them and get them released and sold. Right now I have the JBL speaker mod, the Hasselblad camera, and the projector. I was actually pretty lucky in that I got the camera at 25% off, the projector for only $100, and the speaker was actually a free gift from the Moto rep. I’m very easily bribed. (He didn’t ask me to do this though, btw. Hahah.) The speaker can very easily fill an entire floor with booming sound. Bass is a little weak but unless you’re trying to start a rave, you should be fine. The camera is incredible. In fact from now on almost all my photos will be taken with the camera mod exclusively, very rarely using the built in camera. I love the camera’s true zoom capability, which lets me get quality up-close photos, as opposed to the distant ones a phone camera usually takes. The projector is surprisingly powerful, crisp, and clear. Though it advertises it as effective up to 70″, in a dark enough room you can easily do an entire wall. Or in my case, the ceiling. My Netflix and YouTube viewing game has changed completely. At night I connect my phone to my room’s Bluetooth speaker (told you I was techie), attach the projector, put the phone on the floor, and watch to my heart’s content on the while I lay in bed and the video is broadcast in crystal clear HD on my ceiling. I’m in the future, man.
I don’t think it’s any coincidence that I’ve always been a huge Star Trek fan. Some of the most important gadgets have been inspired by Star Trek episodes. Smartphones, tablets, even automatic sliding doors were all originally conceptualized in the Star Trek universe. Big screen TVs, ironically. I loved watching and marveling at Capt. Picard being able to walk up to a food replicator and order anything he wanted and have it materialized right in front of him. (Though usually it was nothing more than ‘Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.’) I imagined what it would feel like to be ripped apart at the molecular level and transported to distant planets. Fire a phaser. Walk in the holodeck. I love gadgets because they’re fun. And bottom line, that’s what this phone is. It’s fun. It’s Star Trek. It’s having a bunch of gadgets and getting to change them whenever you want. Is it the fastest, most powerful, most impressive phone? Probably not. Could I tell you about its operating system or its processor? No. It makes the calls and it has the beeps and whistles. Hell, I even have a Star Trek computer say ‘incoming transmission from Starfleet’ when I get an email and a Star Trek door chime when I receive a text. It’s a great phone that’s great fun to use and play with. It may not be the most advanced, but it’s certainly made me feel closer to living on the Enterprise.
Jerel says, ‘hello Moto’.