Motorola's stable of Mods for its Moto Z lineup of phones is constantly growing, and one of the coolest of the lot is the GamePad Mod that adds physical gaming controls to your phone. It was teased back in June with the launch of the Moto Z2 Play, but now we've actually used a production model and can tell you what this $79 accessory brings to the (gaming) table.
While it may look a bit bulky at a glance, it's a totally understandable size once you see everything that's inside. At the base of it the GamePad has to be slightly thick to be stable while twisting and gripping during gameplay, but also that the control surfaces have something to grab on to. The controls are basic, but exactly what you need: joystick and d-pad on the left, joystick and standard buttons on the right, and a pair of bumpers on the top. There's also a 1033mAh battery inside to keep your phone topped up while playing.
Support for gamepad controls varies by game, but most of the types of games that you'd expect to work with a controller do, and it's handled at the OS level so you don't have to worry much about anything funky happening.
Then there's the big unseen advantage: with a physical connection to the phone, there's no fiddling with pairing Bluetooth or messing with Wi-Fi to make it work. Just pop your phone on, and it instantly recognizes the controls — no latency, no disconnects, no problems. That, with all of the other things aside, is worth checking this thing out for.
Even though Motorola is finally talking about the GamePad Mod again, it isn't yet ready to release it to the public. The product page still asks you to "register for updates" and doesn't provide any better timeline than a summer launch, which we were told back in June. Verizon, for its credit, is listing a shipping date for pre-orders of August 25 — plenty of time for that to change, though. The price is honestly a fantastic deal for such a functional accessory among plenty of other Mods that push over $200.
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Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.