• Motorola Moto Z: Moto Insta-Share Projector

    Iíve been playing with the Motorola Moto Z and some Moto Mod accessories for it. I recently checked out the JBL SoundBoost Speaker Moto Mod. Initially, I was unsure of how much sense a proprietary accessory would make, but Motorola managed to make it work and I loved the SoundBoost.

    Next up is their Moto Insta-Share Projector. Itís a pic projector that attaches to the back of a Motorola Moto Z family phone (currently there are 3 compatible Z family phones with presumably more to come). There are pogo plugs on the back of the projector which mate to connectors on the back of a Moto Z. It uses magnets to hold it in place which I assure you, hold it very securely.

    It's made so you can still use the Z as a phone if you need to. It even includes a cut-out for the camera.

    The device itself only has two buttons and a dial. Thereís a power button next to the lens which you long press to turn on, short press to bring up a menu and long press to turn off.

    The dial adjusts focus while a button on the back is used to show the battery status.

    Like other mods, you can also check the battery life from the phone.

    Speaking of the phone, you can configure it to not show notifications on the projector which is very convenient. Thereís also a brightness adjustment.

    You get a kickstand which has enough range to allow it to project on a wall or on the ceiling.

    Thereís automatic keystone (makes the projected image square) adjustment when you use it. If it canít correct the keystone thereís a manual setting but the adjustments are quite coarse.

    The resolution is VGA (854x480) which given the Moto Zís 2560x1440 resolution sounds a little weak but in my experience it does a better job than youíd think.

    Now, this isnít a full sized home theater projector so you canít expect too much brightness from it.

    Well lit room and outdoors during the day are out of the question. That said, it does an adequate job indoors if the shutters are drawn.

    Myself, I use it at night sometimes before my wife and I sleep. I leave it on the bed, load up Kodi and project it onto the ceiling. I control it with a Bluetooth mouse though a keyboard or remote control would work just as well.

    Since I just use it to watch videos projected onto my stucco covered ceiling, I never really noticed the modest resolution. I was actually pretty was satisfied with it.

    My ceiling is just over 6 ft away and at that distance it projected an image thatís just under 70Ē diagonal.

    Moto claims it can project images as large as 70Ē diagonal. So, just over 6ft away is the limit which means you canít be too far away from where youíre projecting. If the room is very dark you can actually go even bigger but at that point the lack of resolution starts to be really noticeable plus the brightness canít keep up..

    Now before you criticize me for not testing it out on a proper projection screen, keep in mind that this is a pico projector that attaches to the back of a phone. It doesnít have a tripod mount and instead has a built-in stand. Iím guessing chances are most owners will be projecting onto less-than-optimal surfaces.

    It works best if you project it onto a slightly grey surface. When I projected it onto my white ceiling, whites were slightly blown out.

    The built-in battery lasts around an hour. After itís been depleted it will draw power from the phone. The Moto Z has a smallish 2600mAh battery so itís best to leave it plugged into a charger when you use it.

    If youíre out I recommend connecting the pair to a portable battery pack.

    In fact a portable battery pack can also be used to stabilize the setup if youíre projecting onto the ceiling. Hereís a tip; the Z + projector draws a lot of power so make sure you have a battery pack that has a 2 amp or better output. If it canít do 2 amps youíll find that the extra juice just causes the Battery level to drop more slowly. Make sure you also turn the screen on the Z off - I left it on in my picture.

    Thereís a small built-in fan which is audible though not itís not that intrusive.

    Check out the heatsink!

    Speaker of charging, you can fill it by leaving it attached to your Moto Z when you charge the Z. If you canít do that thereís a Type-C connector on the back so you can charge it separately.

    Instead, what stuck out was that the Moto Z has to use its built-in speaker instead. I previously gushed about the JBL SoundBoost speaker and how awesome it is.

    The problem with Moto Mods is that you can only connect one at a time. You canít piggy back or cascade them. A powerful speaker and a projector are complementary accessories but you have to choose just one.

    The Moto Zís speaker (review to come) isnít amazing but thatís what youíre stuck with unless you use a Bluetooth speaker, in which case the JBL SoundBoost becomes sort of redundant. Thatís the problem.

    Something else to ponder is that while it makes sense for the SoundBoost to be attached to the phone, having a projector attached doesnít make quite as much, because itís difficult to control without causing the projected image to shake around. As I mentioned, a Bluetooth mouse is a must and a keyboard or gamepad would be handy too. Fortunately these accessories are very common and inexpensive.

    Still, if the projector was wireless it would introduce a bit of lag which would make it less suitable for gaming. Presumably lag would be eliminated if you could send the video through the Type-C connector but Iím not sure if the Z is capable of doing that plus youíd have to deal with a cable.

    Looking around I noticed Amazon has off-brand pico projectors which have Android built-in. They also have Miracast built-in so you can project to them wirelessly. This could be a more versatile solution which doesnít have the spectre of Motorola discontinuing Moto Mod support in the future hanging over it.

    Still, these projectors ship with outdated versions of Android and will probably never receive any Android updates so theyíre not good alternatives.

    With these in mind, have the Moto Insta-Share Projector attached to the Z doesnít seem to be as bad an idea as the other solutions also have their own compromises.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Motorola Moto Z: Moto Insta-Share Projector started by howard View original post