Moto Razr 2023 hands-on: Two promising foldable upgrades to an iconic phone | Engadget

When Motorola rebooted the legendary Razr line as a foldable phone in 2019, it seemed like such a natural evolution. Unfortunately, we haven’t received many updates since then, aside from a slightly updated 5G variant in 2020 and a China-only release late last year. But that changes now as today Motorola announces not one but two new members of the Razr family with the Razr and Razr+. And after having a chance to try both, I feel that each has some interesting features that you don’t get on competing devices.

In terms of overall design, both the Razr and Razr+ share the same chassis and internal flexible display. The main difference is that the Razr+ sports a 3.6-inch 144Hz pOLED screen on the front that Motorola claims is the largest external display on any foldable available today, while the standard Razr has a 1.5-inch external panel. much smaller. The Razr+ also boasts faster performance thanks to a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip that helps the phone achieve a 165Hz refresh rate on the primary screen, while the Razr uses a Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 chip that can only support 144Hz. Both also feature 30-watt wired charging and wireless Qi charging, though the latter is limited to a slow 5 watts.

Both come with a side-mounted fingerprint sensor, 8GB of RAM and up to 128GB of storage (or 256GB on the Razr+). They have the same 32MP punch-hole selfie cameras inside, with the Razr+ packing a 12MP primary rear camera and 13MP ultra-wide/macro setup, while the regular Razrs sensors are 64MP and 8- MP respectively. And as a nod to day-to-day durability, both Razrs have some form of water resistance, though their IP52 ratings aren’t good for protecting against more than light splashes or light rain.

That said, I’m going to focus on the Razr+ because it’s the more interesting of the two. Unlike the previous folding Razrs of 2019 and 2020, the new model doesn’t sport the iconic chin lines, which is a bit sad. But in return, you get a much larger screen that feels more usable than rivals like Samsung’s Z Flip 4. And the way the display wraps around the phone’s two main cameras looks better, too.

The Razr+ will be available in three colors: Infinite Black, Glacier Blue and Viva Magenta.

Photo by Sam Rutherford/Engadget

Plus, Motorola has streamlined the external display so you can access your most important apps, notifications, and more without things feeling too cramped. Heck, there are even some simple games that have been optimized specifically for the external display. This means you can do things like look at a map, reply to messages, or check your calendar without having to open your phone. This gives you some of the adjustability of a large foldable like the Z Fold 4 but in a more compact device.

Then, when you open the Razr+, you’re greeted by a beautiful 6.9-inch flexible OLED display with great brightness (up to 1,100 nits). And while there’s technically a crease that you can feel if you run your fingers across the center of the screen, visually, it’s nearly imperceptible. That’s quite an achievement, and when you combine that with a frame that folds completely flat and measures just 15.1mm when closed, you start to really appreciate the many subtle design changes Moto made to get here. You even get Gorilla Glass Victus in the front and back for some extra toughness (with the exception of the Viva Magenta model which has a vegan leather material in the back).

Gallery: Hands-on photos of the 2023 Moto Razr and Razr+ | 11 photos

In many ways, the Razr+’s body looks like a more refined and functional version of the Z Flip 4s model. The outer screen is larger and easier to use, while the flexible display inside has no distracting grooves or wrinkles. Moto also included a slightly larger 3,800mAh battery, which is great because longevity has never been a strong point of foldable flip-style phones. And thanks to a new hinge that can hold its position when it’s half open, Moto was even able to include a number of nifty camera modes so you can hold your phone like an old-school camera, use the external screen to give your subjects a preview of your shot or activate the new Photobooth mode by raising your hand.

As for the standard Razr, the benefit of having a smaller external screen is that it makes room for a larger sensor on its main camera as well as a slightly larger 4,200mAh battery. And while you don’t get Gorilla Glass Victus on its exterior, swapping it out for vegan leather seems like a great choice for both style and durability.

The standard Razr will be available in three colors (cream, lilac, and sage), but will feature vegan leather on the front and back instead of Gorilla Glass Victus like on the Razr+.

Photo by Sam Rutherford/Engadget

But my favorite thing about the 2023 Razr family is that by expanding the line into two devices, Motorola seems to be making foldable phones much more accessible. At $1,000, the Razr+ is nearly bridging the gap between modern clamshell phones and larger foldable devices, and could be ideal for people who want a compact device that doesn’t sacrifice much in the way of usability.

My only concern at this point is Motos timing. Currently, the Razr+ is expected to be available for pre-order starting June 16th before official sales begin on June 23rd. This is close to when Samsung typically announces new foldables in late summer, meaning the Razr+ may only be on the market for a month or two before new opposition (likely with faster silicon) appears.

Both the Razr and Razr+ are built with the same chassis and internal 6.9-inch flexible OLED display.

Photo by Sam Rutherford/Engadget

Meanwhile, for those curious about foldable phones, there’s the standard Razr. Sure, it has a slower chip, and its external screen isn’t meant for much more than checking notifications. The only problem is that, at least for now, there’s no official information on an expected price or release date. But according to Motorola execs, it will also be significantly cheaper than the Razr+, which could make it a great entry-level foldable device, especially if Moto can bring the price down by around $750 or less.

But if you’re like me and have been waiting for more foldable phones to hit shelves, between Moto’s two new Razrs and Google’s upcoming Pixel Fold, it’s gotten a lot more exciting really fast this summer.

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