Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Motorola Razr 2023 review

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Flip phones are all the rage these days. People seem to love the nostalgia of open and closing a phone like a classic clamshell from 2005. One of the first to cash in on this throwback tech was Motorola with the introduction of its Android-powered Razr from a few years ago.

I’ve been testing the latest rendition of the Motorola Razr for a few weeks (thanks to our friends at AT&T), and this might be the most important flip smartphone we’ve had to date.

Design

Moto has done away with most of the full nod to the original Motorola Razr flip phone with the 2023 rendition. It’s a much more modern look that leverages the engineering of the Razr’s return since 2019 and brings it closer to the competition of the Samsung Flip 5.

You get a smaller, 1.5-inch outer display sharing a housing with the main camera array. Again, this could be mistaken for a Samsung at first glance, but this limited real estate does keep the possible configurations low here as well. Either way, it works here for the Motorola Razr 2023.

The backing is covered in a vegan leather that feels great in the hand. On the “bottom” half, you get the essential Motorola logo and Razr branding. The entire thing feels more polished and premium than the previous generations, and on par with the offering of the Razr+.

The hinge mechanism is stiff and sturdy with good feedback. You can open it one-handed, but it’s a chore. The frame is brushed aluminum and all the buttons feel great. There’s a volume rocker and power button on the right-hand side, and that’s it. The fingerprint reader is built into this power button and works as expected.

Screens

As mentioned, the external screen is 1.5-inch OLED. Its size makes it fairly limited with interactions. You can easily check the time, notification, weather, and music playback. Other options include optional shortcuts for calendar events, contacts, and quick voice recordings. It’s not as feature rich as the Razr+, but in this package it’s fine.

The larger screen is still where most of the business will get done, of course. Here you have a flexible 6.9-inch OLED at 2640×1080 with max refresh of 144Hz. This new higher refresh rate makes scrolling and transitions buttery smooth and honestly makes this one of the better Motorola displays in recent memory.

 

I guess I have to mention the crease as well. It’s there. You’ll see it. And you’ll soon ignore it.

Performance

Internally, the Moto Razr packs the Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 chip from last year, making it an obvious midrange. Even with this compromise in chipset, the Razr never let me down on general performance. I found it can more than keep up with daily tasks like email, chats, and socials without issues. Casual gaming seem to be fine too, but that’s not really my jam.

Rounding out the specs, the Motorola Razr has 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. This is still plenty in today’s world for “most” people. I think we are quickly approaching where 128GB might get some in trouble of running out of space, but for most, it’s still adequate.

The software helps the performance as much as anything, and thankfully Motorola still includes a super stock version of Android 13. This leads to quick and snappy UI elements without fluff. The company still includes its normal tweaks like twist to launch the camera and chop for flashlight, but otherwise they don’t bloat the OS.

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One of Motorola’s biggest failures has been software updates for flagships, but it’s gotten better. Android 14 was revealed in October and Moto promises it will find its way to Razrs late this year. It’s also committing to three full years of OS updates and four years of security patches. This puts it’s behind every other major OEM still, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Cameras

The cameras on the Motorola Razr 2023 are surprisingly good. The main shooter is a 64MP that bins the results to 16MP images. The output is solid. You can finally say that a Motorola camera is passable among other flagships. Is it at the top of that tier? No. But man, it’s a leap ahead for the company’s past performance.

There’s also a 13MP ultrawide lens that offers extended shots and doubles as a macro lens as well. These are still niche in my opinion, but nice to see them here. The results are also pretty good. Finally, you get a 32MP hole punch selfie camera, and it’s exactly that.

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Battery life

The internal battery bank of the Motorola Razr is 4200mAh and Moto doesn’t disappoint here. You should have zero issues of a full day of battery life using this phone. Even with extended use of the external display, you will be able to get through a work day no problem.

When you do need to top off the tanks, Motorola has included a 30W fast charging cable in the box, but you will need your own capable brick. There’s also Qi wireless charging, but that’s just for nightstands with the Razr at just 5W of input.

Cost

I wouldn’t normally attribute an entire category to price, but in this review it matters. Motorola has been known to bring the market cost down in smartphones before. With the launch of the Moto G years ago, the company reset what a sub-$500 phone could be and how good it could be perceived.

This year’s Motorola Razr is that phone for flip-style touchscreens. With the full retail pricing at $700, the Razr is the most affordable flip phone you can buy. It makes the decision between the Razr+ and Samsung Flip 5 at $200 more even harder, with the price tipping most consumers to the standard Razr in my eyes.

While those other two options are more premium. And they do have a much better outer display, but the average consumer most likely doesn’t need that. The Razr 2023 hits the sweet spot of having that fresh new flip phone and saving real money.

Conclusion

The Motorola Razr 2023 is a tipping point for the flip smartphone. The balance of premium build, good software additions, and wallet-friendly price make it a huge push forward for the market. Moto has been known to be at the forefront of this type of move before, and the Razr reminds us the company still has the mettle to do that.

Right now, you can snag your Motorola Razr 2023 from AT&T with as little as $2 per month or $650 for full retail. That’s an incredible deal on the best bang for your buck flippable phone currently available.

Purchase the Motorola Razr 2023 from AT&T

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