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Take a break from work with the Moto Gamepad Mod: hands-on

Many of us rely on our phones as essential tools to get work done. However, there is a time for relaxation and with the Moto Gamepad mod you can transform your Moto Z into a portable gaming machine.
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By Matthew Miller, Contributor on
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Moto Z2 Force and Gamepad retail packages

Motorola has done a great job launching and then supporting Moto Mods with its Z line of devices. Its latest smartphone, the Moto X2 Force offers a lot for business, including support for Moto Mods.

Moto Mods give you options to add a 360 camera, loud stereo speaker, portable movie projector, optical zoom camera, extra battery capacity, wireless charging, stylish shells, and more. One of the newest Moto Mods is the Gamepad console and I've been playing games with it for about a week.

The Moto Gamepad mod is affordably priced at $79.99, which is about what I paid for other Bluetooth gamepad accessories in the past. The Gamepad includes a 1,035 mAh battery to help keep your phone topped off while you play games, for a reported period of up to eight hours.

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Moto Z2 Force and Gamepad Mod size comparison

The Moto Gamepad weighs in at just 140 grams, but it is very long at 226 mm with a 75.9 mm width and 24.4 mm thickness.

Simply set your phone down into the center of the Gamepad to enable support for games.

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Left side of the Gamepad

On the left side of the Gamepad you will find a directional joystick, 4-way directional pad, Home button and left trigger. The upper portion of the left trigger lights up in red when buttons are pressed on the left side.

You can also see the opening for the Moto Z camera in the Gamepad Mod.

There is also a lanyard opening on the bottom left of the left side with an included lanyard in the retail package.

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4 of 7 Matthew Miller/ZDNet

Right side of the Gamepad

On the right side you will find a similar directional joystick, A/B/X/Y buttons, Start button, Select button, and a right side upper trigger button.

The Moto Mods connector is found here near the left side controllers.

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Control sticks are textured for improved control

The left and right control joysticks have a good textured outer element so that your finger tends to stay in place while playing games for extended periods of time.

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6 of 7 Matthew Miller/ZDNet

Lenovo Legion icon on the back

This red Legion icon on the back actually lights up in red when you play supported games, such as Asphalt 8.

The Gamepad also includes a 3.5mm headphone jack, which is actually something missing on newer Moto Z phones like the Z2 Force. It is charged up via a USB Type-C port. These are located on the bottom of the Gamepad, facing you when you play games.

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7 of 7 Matthew Miller/ZDNet

Experiences playing games

Gameplay is not consistent with the Moto Gamepad. The Gamepad works great on games like Asphalt 8 and World of Tanks, but even in these games you still have to touch the screen for some setup actions.

I have a SNES emulator I purchased years ago and I was pleased to see it was supported by the Gamepad. This particular emulator even let you map the buttons so I could have nearly the same experience I had when I owned a Super Nintendo.

There is a Moto Game Explorer store with a ton of games that should work with the Gamepad. I also played Jetpack Joyride, Rayman Adventures, and Deer Hunter on the Moto Z2 Force and Gamepad.

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