Motorola’s new Razr foldables are official, confirming what we learned from a set of substantial leaks over the past few weeks. Just as it was foretold, the Razr Plus comes with a massive cover screen, while the standard Razr offers a much more modest screen on the front panel. They’re both coming to the US, though only the Razr Plus is launching this month — June 23rd, to be exact, for $999. And it’s a real head-turner.
You might have seen the specs already, but just to recap: the Razr Plus (the Razr 40 Ultra internationally) comes with a Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset (the flagship Qualcomm chip from last year), 8GB of RAM, 256GB of storage, a 12-megapixel f/1.5 stabilized main camera, and 5W wireless charging. Its outer display is a 3.6-inch OLED with a 144Hz refresh rate covered by Gorilla Glass Victus, and the inner OLED unfolds to a 6.9-inch 1080p panel with a 165Hz refresh rate. It uses an “Ultra Thin Glass display,” with a protective multilayer treatment, and is also an LTPO display, so it will downshift to 1Hz for activities like reading an ebook to save on battery life.
Motorola ditched the large chin of the original Razr design, which is for the best, and the cover screen’s 3.6-inch diagonal measures up very well against the smaller 1.9-inch display on the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4. It’s the difference between getting a heads-up notification and being able to use a whole-ass app without opening your phone… oh, you know what? Just take a look at the difference yourself:
There’s a whole lot you can do with the cover screen, too. You’ve got the usual weather and calendar widgets in quick panels optimized for the smaller format, but you can also run almost any app you like on there — Chrome, Gmail, Instagram, and YouTube all worked for me when I tried them out. If you start a new email or text, you’ll have a full on-screen keyboard at your disposal. The only thing I couldn’t do was open the image gallery from the camera app.
Otherwise, the cover screen is basically a tiny smartphone in itself. If you have three-button navigation set up as your system-wide preference, then that’s what you’ll use on the cover screen to flip between app windows. You can also choose to extend the display to fill the full bottom portion of the screen around the camera lenses, or you can toggle to a cropped view with a black bar across the bottom of the screen by tapping the navigation bar.
There’s a clever method for handing off apps between the main screen and the cover screen, too. When you close the phone while you’re running an app, a button will pop up in the corner of the cover screen that allows you to tap to open the app on the outer screen.
You can run whole-ass apps on the cover screen.
Want a keyboard? Here’s a keyboard.
There’s a lot more to play around with and I only had a little bit of time with the phone, but suffice it to say, it’s a whole different ball game compared to the much smaller screen on the Z Flip 4. Overall, it looks and feels the part of a style-forward, high-end phone. It comes in three colors, and the glacier blue and infinite black versions feature Gorilla Glass Victus, while the covetable viva magenta (the official Pantone color of the year, if you’re keeping score at home) offers a soft vegan leather finish. It’s the same as on the Edge 30 Fusion, and it feels great with a little bit of extra grip in your hand compared to glass.
Black, magenta, and blue — take your pick.
All three versions feature a sturdy aluminum frame, though they carry only an IP52 rating for some resistance against dust and are merely water-repellent. You could excuse it for being less water-resistant than other flagship phones because it folds in half, except Samsung figured out how to make its Flip and Fold fully resistant to immersion in water with an IP68 rating. That’s a bit of a concern on a $999 phone, flip or no flip.
The hinge on the Razr Plus doesn’t quite hold the screen rigid at every degree, either. It sits up fine bent at 90 degrees in “laptop” mode, but there’s a little mushiness as you get close to 180 degrees, and it will sort of flop into the fully open position. I don’t find this concerning, but it’s a notable difference between the Flip 4, which will hold steady at any position.
The Razr Plus includes an aluminum frame but just an IP52 rating.
The phone sits steady in the laptop position for hands-free viewing.
2023 Motorola Razr
The standard 2023 Motorola Razr (Razr 40 internationally) features the same overall size and shape, but with a much smaller cover screen, it’s an entirely different kind of animal. Its outer screen is a 1.5-inch 60Hz OLED that’s designed for quick info like calendar alerts, texts, and checking the weather. Motorola’s pitching it as an alternative for people who want to spend less time looking at their phones, which… sure. Don’t we all? That’s admirable, but I don’t know. It just doesn’t look as much fun.
In any case, it comes with a slightly less powerful Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 chipset, a bit bigger 4,200mAh battery (owing to the smaller screen real estate), and a 64-megapixel f/1.7 main camera with OIS. It has a similar 6.9-inch inner screen with a lower 144Hz maximum refresh rate. Wireless charging and an IP52 rating are here, too, and all three versions of the regular Razr come with the vegan leather treatment. Color options include vanilla cream, summer lilac, and sage green. Both the standard Razr and the Plus are promised three years of OS upgrades and four years of security support, which is a little better than Motorola has done in the past but still falls short of Samsung’s promised four OS upgrades and five years of security support.
Motorola isn’t giving a price or exact release date for the standard Razr just yet — only that there will be a “meaningful difference” in MSRP compared to the Razr Plus and that it will be available in the coming months. The Razr Plus will go on presale on June 16th, and when it goes on sale a week later, you’ll only find the viva magenta version for sale direct from Motorola and at — you guessed it — T-Mobile.
In the meantime, I’m kind of excited about the Razr Plus. Motorola seems to think it’s going to capture the imaginations of fashionable trendsetters and millennials who are nostalgic for their old flip phones. Personally, I think it’s a device for a certain type of mobile tech nerd who’s been intrigued by the Galaxy Z Flip but wished it could do more.
And it certainly can do a lot. I’m excited to see what it feels like to live with that big cover screen and all of its capabilities in my day to day. There’s a risk it will all feel too fiddly for practical use, and I’m curious to see how Motorola’s UI responds to the potential for rough edges. In the brief time I used it and tried my hand at typing out an email, I discovered that my thumb kept missing the tiny space key. Is that something you adapt to, or is it forever frustrating? There’s just one way to find out.
Photography by Allison Johnson / The Verge