A modular phone lets you connect accessories to add new features make it even better. Here are the best choices right now.

Best Overall

Moto Z / Moto Z Force

Moto Z

See at Verizon (Moto Z) See at Verizon (Z Force) See at Amazon

Motorola's latest flagship phones come with a standard load out of high-end specs — a Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB of RAM, a pretty decent (though not trailblazing) 13-megapixel camera and an attractive, super-thin metal design. But what makes these phones special are the mods — modular attachments which snap to the back of the phone thanks to the magic of magnetism. There are mods for increasing your battery capacity, adding a high-quality speaker, turning your phone into a mini projector, or adding an optically-zooming camera. And any mods you buy now will also work with next year's Moto phones.

You also benefit from Moto's lightweight Android UI, which (aside from the expected Verizon bloatware apps) doesn't bog you down with unnecessary features or an obnoxious third-party software skin. The Verizon-exclusive Moto Z Force gives you a shatterproof display and a bigger battery, as well as all the benefits of the regular Moto Z, in a slightly thicker chassis.

Bottom line: Moto does modular support right, with some really interesting and useful mods, and an easy mechanism for swapping them in and out.

One more thing: There's no headphone jack, so you'll need to use a USB-C dongle to connect most headphones to the Moto Z. #donglelife

Why the Moto Z + Z Force are the best

Modularity done right.

Without the mods, the Moto Z might have been yet another decent high-end smartphone. But the mods change all that, allowing Moto to build out meaningful functionality in a series of surprisingly great accessories. If you just want to add some visual flair to the phone, Moto's Style Shells are for you. There are a couple of great battery mods available, including wireless charging options. Even the seemingly ludicrous pico projector mod could be useful for road warriors.

Who says smartphones are becoming boring?

Best mid-range

Moto Z Play

Moto Z Play

See at Verizon See at Amazon

The Moto Z Play is what you get if you take the central idea of the Moto Z and re-engineer it as a really solid mid-range Android phone. It uses Qualcomm's super-efficient Snapdragon 625 chip, paired with 3GB of RAM and a hefty 3,600mAh battery, delivering outstanding longevity. The 5.5-inch display gets bumped down to 1080p, but still looks great. And there's a glass back now, as opposed to the Moto Z's metal unibody.

Fortunately, the Z Play uses the same ecosystem of mods as the regular Moto Z, so you can expand its functionality just as much as other phones in the series.

Bottom line: Forget last year's disappointing Moto X Play. The Moto Z Play is legit — a great mid-range smartphone even without the mods.

One More thing: With its gigantic battery and power-sipping CPU, the Moto Z Play is among the best Android phones out there for battery life.

Best non-Moto

LG G5

See at Verizon See at AT&T See at T-Mobile See at Sprint See at Amazon (Unlocked)

LG's first shot at a modular smartphone is a decent all-rounder, although the Korean firm's ecosystem of modular "Friends" isn't as robust as what we've seen for the Moto Z. You're basically looking at a camera grip, which doubles as an extra battery, a hi-fi audio module, and... that's basically it. (Unless you count the bundled bottom segment, which does nothing in particular.)

At least you get cutting-edge specs: A Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB of RAM, and an excellent 16-megapixel rear camera, backed up by a wide-angle 8-megapixel shooter. The G5 is stronger as an all-round smartphone than it is as a showcase for modularity, but it's still a decent buy — particularly with recent price cuts.

Bottom-line: The G5's modular setup isn't as polished as Moto's, but it does boast a battery camera and a more hand-friendly form factor.

One more thing: The G5 also comes with the benefit of a fully removable battery, something of a rarity in smartphones these days.

Conclusion

Motorola has taken modular smartphones beyond a mere concept, and shown how you can build out modularity in a way that's easy to use, and adds value. The Moto Z and Moto Z Force will both give you the best modular experience available, thanks to snap-on accessories that are simple to attach, and do a bunch of cool stuff. Beyond that, they're just good, enjoyable phones to use in their own right.

Best Overall

Moto Z / Moto Z Force

Moto Z

See at Verizon (Moto Z) See at Verizon (Z Force) See at Amazon

Motorola's latest flagship phones come with a standard load out of high-end specs — a Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB of RAM, a pretty decent (though not trailblazing) 13-megapixel camera and an attractive, super-thin metal design. But what makes these phones special are the mods — modular attachments which snap to the back of the phone thanks to the magic of magnetism. There are mods for increasing your battery capacity, adding a high-quality speaker, turning your phone into a mini projector, or adding an optically-zooming camera. And any mods you buy now will also work with next year's Moto phones.

You also benefit from Moto's lightweight Android UI, which (aside from the expected Verizon bloatware apps) doesn't bog you down with unnecessary features or an obnoxious third-party software skin. The Verizon-exclusive Moto Z Force gives you a shatterproof display and a bigger battery, as well as all the benefits of the regular Moto Z, in a slightly thicker chassis.

Bottom line: Moto does modular support right, with some really interesting and useful mods, and an easy mechanism for swapping them in and out.

One more thing: There's no headphone jack, so you'll need to use a USB-C dongle to connect most headphones to the Moto Z. #donglelife