Motorola Razr (2023) review: A midrange foldable that underwhelms

Motorola’s affordable foldable phone, the Razr (also known as the Razr 40 in some regions), was released before Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip 5, although the Razr+ with its larger external display beat both devices in terms of timing. While the pricing and availability of the Razr in the US are uncertain at the moment, it is priced at £800 in the UK, while the Razr+ is priced at £1,050 in the UK and $999 in the US. Although the Razr is cheaper, it does have its limitations. Its screen is comparable to foldable phones from a few years ago, but it boasts a larger battery and seemingly better cameras.

Now that the excitement from Samsung’s unveiling of the Galaxy Z Flip 5 has subsided, it’s worth considering what exactly you get from a more affordable foldable phone like the Moto Razr.

Design-wise, the Razr and Razr+ share many similarities. Both devices have the same body and internal flexible 6.9-inch display, eliminating the Razr’s characteristic “chin.” The foldable screen is top-notch, with a sharp pixel density of 413 pixels per inch and a maximum brightness of up to 1,400 nits. However, the cheaper Razr falls short in terms of its smaller 1.5-inch external panel, which is smaller than the screens on Samsung’s first two flip smartphones. It’s even more evident when compared to the Razr+, which boasts a 3.6-inch external screen. Additionally, the Razr’s external screen only occupies about 20% of the lower front of the device and features a 64-megapixel and 8-megapixel camera duo on its right. While it has an IP52 rating for some protection against splashes or light rain, it’s best to use the device with caution. One redeeming feature of the Razr is its vegan, faux leather texture, which adds a touch of elegance, even though it may not be as durable as a hard shell case.

The small external screen on the Razr offers basic phone functions, such as swiping through your calendar or checking the weather forecast. However, it feels a bit dated compared to the more extensive functionalities of Samsung’s Z Flip 4. The external screen on the Razr is most useful when taking selfies with the external cameras. The camera app can be quickly launched by double-pressing the power button, and you can easily switch between different modes and lenses. It even has a feature to entertain children with cartoon characters while taking photos. The Razr’s 2,640 x 1,080 screen can refresh at up to 144Hz, which provides a smoother experience compared to devices with lower refresh rates. Although the presence of the crease is still noticeable, it doesn’t significantly affect the device’s overall functionality.

In terms of performance, the Razr falls into the mid-range category, equipped with a Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 chip. It may not be a flagship processor, but it gets the job done. However, there were some noticeable lags when processing lengthy video files. On a positive note, the Razr boasts a larger 4,200mAh battery compared to the Razr+ and Galaxy Z Flip 4, which translates to longer battery life. In our video playback test, it lasted over 18 hours, three hours more than the Razr+. The device also supports fast charging at 30W, allowing it to reach a full charge in under an hour. It also has 5W wireless charging, but unfortunately, no reverse charging capability.

Software-wise, the Razr’s external display leaves much to be desired. Customization options are limited to the clock’s font and color. This is disappointing considering Motorola’s ability to deliver more sophisticated software features, as evidenced by the Razr+.

One area where the Razr falls short is its camera performance. While the Razr+ and Galaxy Z Flip 4 feature 12-megapixel cameras, the Razr only has a 13-megapixel wide-angle lens paired with a 64-megapixel primary lens with optical image stabilization. Unfortunately, the Razr’s camera does not meet the standards set by its pricier counterparts. The ultra-fast and accurate laser autofocus does not perform as expected, especially when shooting videos. Maintaining consistent focus is a challenge for the Razr. The 64-megapixel sensor also doesn’t deliver significantly better image quality compared to the higher-end devices. Without activating the high-res capture mode, the primary sensor aggressively pixel-bins, resulting in less detail without much improvement in overall image quality.

To summarize, the Moto Razr attempts to broaden the appeal of foldable flip phones by offering a more affordable option. However, it falls short in terms of utility due to its limited external display. Additionally, it may be difficult to justify spending a substantial amount on a phone that is already two years behind the curve. Motorola has not yet announced the pricing or release date for the US market, but if the Razr were priced at $800 or lower, it would be more competitive against devices like the Galaxy S23 or iPhone 14. For those interested in a foldable flip phone, it might be better to seek out discounted options like the Galaxy Z Flip 4.



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