The Moto Z and Moto Z Play are serious when it comes to Moto Mods, the add-ons that snap to the back of each phone and add a number of different upgrades, functions, and tools to the owner’s arsenal of gadgets. We’re well beyond battery packs and speakers here – although you can find those Mods too – and into the realm of full zoom camera attachments (the Hasselblad True Zoom, reviewed here), and the innovative Moto Insta-Share Projector.
Crowding around a mobile phone to show a group of friends a video is a common frustration. Someone’s always got a bad viewing angle, and not everyone has a tablet-sized screen with the real estate needed to pull out all of the details. Enter the Insta-Share Projector, which solves both of those problems by blasting any surface with an up to 70 inch blow-up of your Moto Z screen.
Let me clarify that last statement: technically, the Insta-Share will go as big as you want it to as you distance the projector from the display surface, but the advertised resolution of 854 x 480 is only guaranteed if you zoom out to that size. That’s a damn sight lower than HD – we’re talking DVD-era images at best, here – but given that you’re most likely not going to be projecting onto a dedicated reflective panel or plain white sheet, it’s unlikely you’ll notice the degradation versus squinting at a five-inch HD display in your hand.
I certainly didn’t have any complaints abut the quality of what the Insta-Share was able to achieve. On a combination of hotel walls, living room walls, ceilings, and curtains, I projected YouTube videos, jpegs, and HD video to my heart’s content. The lighter the surface, and the less textured it is, the more faithfully the Moto mod is able to reproduce the content, and there was no lag or shuddering from the video at any time.
Taken in another context, however, the Insta-Share is also an excellent tool for business people on the move who may want to give a presentation without having to mess with a laptop and an external projector. Slide shows and pie charts are reasonably crisp as long as you can dim the lights at least a little bit in conference rooms, which impressed me by how well it performed in a variety of lighting conditions. If you can tailor your presentation to present high contrast graphics and text, then you’ll be set for brighter conditions, too.
Travelers will also be pleased with the form factor of the Insta-Share Projector. The Moto Z is a very thin phone to begin with, and the tapering on either end of the Mod makes it relatively easy to hold in your hand once installed should you need to make a call in the middle of a video. The unit comes with a felt bag that slips easily into your luggage and which does a decent job of protecting the lightweight device, too. As long as the phone, and roughly a half-inch thick in the middle, the Insta-Share comes with a small kickstand that can prop up the phone for easier projecting. There’s no speaker attached to the device, so you’ll have to line out audio via Bluetooth or a USB-C to 3.5mm adaptor (the Z doesn’t have its own audio port) if you need the dialogue or music to be louder than what the phone’s speakers can manage.
The device features a 1100 mAh battery that charges via USB-C, so you can top up the juice even when it’s not connected to the Moto Z or Z Play. Projection time varies: brighter conditions will require a brighter display, which can cut the advertised duration from three to four hours down to a single hour as the lamp inside the device works overtime. It’ll cannibalize your phone battery if it has to once its own internal power pack has been sucked dry. I never ran out of juice when using the Insta-Share, and you can keep the setup plugged in with the TurboPower charger that comes with the Moto Z to help extend your presentations.
Is the Insta-Share Projector Mod a gimmick, or an intriguing example of just how extensively Moto plans on developing its Mod ecosystem. I’m leaning towards the latter. This is a product that serves both entertainment and professional needs, and it’s easy to think of many scenarios where being able to quickly project a video or still image would be quite useful. At a price tag of $299 USD, however ($399 CAD), it’s definitely not a toy, so make sure you have an actual need for the Insta-Share before plunking down your cash.