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Motorola's new snap-on Moto Mods get your fingers moving

One Moto Mod measures your heart rate and blood pressure, while the other features a sliding QWERTY keyboard.

At CES 2018, Lenovo took the wraps off two new Motorola Moto Mods, accessory modules that magnetically attach to Motorola Z phones like the Moto Z2 Force and Z2 Play. One of the Mods, called the Lenovo Vital Moto Mod, is health-related and gathers biometric data. The other, the Livermorium Slider Keyboard Moto Mod, adds on a physical five-row QWERTY keyboard.


It's no Motorola Droid, though. Before you get too excited, know that it doesn't have ergonomically staggered rows of keys like the keyboards you're probably used to -- they're lined up neatly (aka awkwardly), and spread out across a very wide keyboard base. And while the impressively thin hinge mechanism has a satisfying snap, we're still talking about a mod that's going to nearly triple the thickness of your phone. 

Here it is attached to a phone, next to a phone with a different Moto Mod for size comparison:


A Moto Z2 Play with TurboPower Pack, versus a Moto Z2 Play with Livermorium Keyboard Slider.

Sarah Tew/CNET

It's also got sharp edges and a plasticky feel, but we were trying an unfinished prototype. Livermorium says it may offer future versions with features such as staggered rows of keys, an integrated 1,700mAh battery or a refined design. 

The Livermorium Slider Keyboard costs $99 and will be begin selling this March, though the company's founder says it'll ship to Indiegogo backers in January. We don't yet have international pricing and availability, but $99 converts to about £75 or AU$130. Though the accessory nearly triples the width of your Moto phone, some may consider that worth it for the old-school ease of use.

Next, the Vital Moto Mod will be available in the US in April and measures your heart rate, respiratory rate and body temperature. It also measure your pulse oximetry levels, or how much oxygen is in your blood, and the two common types of blood pressure readings.


The Lenovo Vital

Sarah Tew/CNET

This data is gathered from your finger, and it measures your systolic blood pressure (the pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls when the heart beats) and your diastolic blood pressure (the pressure your blood exerts while the heart is resting between beats).

The Mod itself is huge and not exactly a pocketable accessory you can tote around in your pocket. During our brief time with it, we also weren't able to check and see how accurate the readings from the Vital Moto Mod were. Even a reading of something considered much simpler like a heart rate isn't always accurate from fitness wearables and heart rate trackers. This Mod is also very expensive as mobile accessories go, and costs $395 (converts to about £290 or AU$505).

Still, having a compact device like this that attaches to a phone can be valuable for someone who may need -- or just want -- biometric data measured frequently. The Vital app that works in conjunction with the Mod also organizes the data for you.

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