Hands-On With The Slider Keyboard And Vital Moto Mods – CES 2018

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Modular phones may no longer be a thing in the way that they were first envisioned by Project Ara, but Lenovo and Motorola have taken on the helm of modular devices through the Moto Z line of smartphones, which carry the growing list of Moto Mods that can be snapped onto the back of the device to give the phone some extra functionality. Lenovo and Motorola announced two new mods at CES 2018 this week and although both won't be available until later this year, they should add some excitement to the lineup of mods which are already available to purchase.

The first mod out of the two that was introduced by Motorola on its official blog this morning is the Lenovo Vital Mod. It may not be as obvious by the name but what this will do is allow you to check your five key vitals after attaching the mod to the back of a Moto Z series smartphone. As discussed in that announcement, the Vital mod will let the user measure their heart rate, their core body temperature, their respiratory rate, their Pulse ox, and the systolic and diastolic blood pressure from the finger. All of this done through the components on the back of the mod, and although these will definitely be some useful features to some users it's also a very thick mod to have on the back of the device, so it's not one you would want to leave on the phone at all times. Rather you would want to snap it on for the duration of checking whatever vitals you were looking to check up on and then remove it once you were done.

The second mod of the two new ones announced today is quite a bit more simple than the Lenovo Vital mod, but sometimes simple is best, and in this case that might be a fairly true statement for a lot of users. The sliding keyboard mod, which is the mod that was entered into Motorola's Transform Your Smartphone Challenge last year and won, is just as the name suggests. It's a sliding keyboard mod that attaches to the back of your device and gives you a physical QWERTY keyboard to work with so you don't have to type stuff using the on-screen keyboard. Better still is that it tilts the phone at a 60-degree angle so that when the keyboard is in use you can type more comfortably. This mod looks to be pretty thin compared to the Vital mod and the hinges seems pretty sturdy so most users should have no problems with it. That is, unless they don't like physical keyboards on phones to begin with. Both new mods may end up feeling more like a niche offering, but the keyboard mod is likely to be more practical to a larger number of consumers who own the compatible Moto Z series devices. If you're interested in picking up either one of these mods, you'll be able to grab the sliding keyboard mod for $99 this winter according to Motorola, while the Lenovo Vital mod won't be available until April and will cost $395.

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