Motorola’s new Razr foldable is official, confirming what we’ve learned from a slew of big leaks over the past few weeks. Just as expected, the Razr Plus comes with a huge cover screen, while the standard Razr offers a more modest display on the front panel. Both are coming to the US, though the Razr Plus only launches this month — June 23rd, to be exact, for $999. Which is impressive.
You’ve probably seen the specs already, but just to recap: The Razr Plus (Razr 40 Ultra globally) comes with the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset (Qualcomm’s flagship chip from last year), 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage. GB, 12MP fixed main camera, f/1.5 aperture, 5W wireless charging. Its outer screen is a 3.6-inch OLED with a 144Hz refresh rate covered with Gorilla Glass Victus, and the inner OLED unfolds to a 6.9-inch 1080p display with a 165Hz refresh rate. It uses an “ultra-thin glass screen,” with a multi-layer protective treatment, and it’s also an LTPO screen, so it’ll drop to 1Hz for activities like reading an e-book to save battery life.
Motorola ditched the large chin for the original Razr design, which is for the better, and the 3.6-inch cover screen tilts very nicely against the smaller 1.9-inch screen on the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4. It’s the difference between getting an alert notification and being able to use a full-ass app Without unlocking your phone… oh, you know what? Just see the difference for yourself:
There’s a lot you can do with the Cover Screen, too. You have the usual weather and calendar widgets in quick panels optimized for the smaller format, but you can also launch almost any app you want—Chrome, Gmail, Instagram, and YouTube all worked for me when I tried them. If you start a new email or text message, you’ll have a full screen keyboard at your disposal. The only thing I couldn’t do was open the gallery from the camera app.
Otherwise, the Cover Screen is essentially a mini smartphone in itself. If you have three-button navigation set up as a system-wide preference, this is what you’ll use on the cover screen to move between application windows. You can also choose to stretch the view to fill the entire bottom of the screen around the camera lenses, or you can switch to a clipped view with a black bar across the bottom of the screen by tapping the navigation bar.
There’s a clever way to hand apps between the home screen and the cover screen, too. When you lock the phone while an app is running, a button will appear in the corner of the cover screen that lets you tap to open the app on the external screen.
There’s a lot to fiddle with and I’ve had very little 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 high-end, elegant phone. It comes in three colors, and the icy blue and infinite black versions feature Gorilla Glass Victus, while the coveted viva magenta (this year’s official Pantone color, if you’re keeping score at home) offers a smooth vegan leather finish. It’s the same as the Edge 30 Fusion, and feels great with just a little extra grip in your hand compared to glass.
All three versions feature a sturdy aluminum frame, though they only carry an IP52 rating for some resistance against dust and are just as water-resistant. You could justify it for being less water-resistant than other flagship phones because it folds in half, except that Samsung figured out how to make the Flip and Fold fully waterproof with an IP68 rating. This is somewhat of a concern on a $999 phone, flip or flip.
The hinge on the Razr Plus doesn’t hold the screen completely rigid at every notch, either. It bends well at 90 degrees in “laptop” mode, but there’s a bit of brittleness as you get closer to 180 degrees, and it will kind of flop in the fully open position. I don’t find this worrisome, but it’s a noticeable difference between the Flip 4, which will hold steady in any position.
2023 Motorola Razr
The standard 2023 Motorola Razr (Razr 40 globally) has the same general size and shape, but with a much smaller cover screen, it’s a whole different kind of animal. Its external display is a 1.5-inch 60Hz OLED display designed for quick information such as calendar alerts, texts, and checking the weather. Motorola is promoting it as an alternative for people who want to spend less time looking at their phones, that’s for sure. Aren’t we all? That’s impressive, but I don’t know. It doesn’t sound fun.
Anyway, it comes with a slightly less powerful Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 chipset Larger 4200 mAh battery (due to the small screen size), 64MP f/1.7 main camera with OIS. It has a similar 6.9-inch internal display with a lower refresh rate of 144Hz. Wireless charging and an IP52 rating are also here, and all three versions of the regular Razr come with a vegan leather treatment. Color options include vanilla cream, summery purple, and sage green. The standard Razr and Plus promise three years of OS upgrades and four years of security support, which is slightly better than what Motorola has done in the past but still short of Samsung’s promised four OS upgrades and five years of security support.
Motorola hasn’t provided an exact price or date for the standard Razr release yet — only that there will be a “significant difference” in MSRP compared to the Razr Plus and that it will be available in the coming months. The Razr Plus goes on sale June 16, and when it goes on sale a week later, you’ll only find the viva magenta version on sale directly 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 will capture the imaginations of modern trendsetters and millennials who are nostalgic for their old phones. Personally, I think it’s a device for a certain kind of mobile geek who was intrigued by the Galaxy Z Flip but wished it could do more.
It certainly can do a lot. I’m excited to see what it feels like to live with this large cover screen and all its capabilities every single day. There’s a risk that it all feels too cramped for practical use, and I’m curious to see how Motorola’s user interface responds to the possibility of jagged edges. In the short time I’ve used it and tried my hand at writing an email, I’ve discovered that my thumb kept missing the tiny space bar. Is this something you adjust to, or is it forever frustrating? There is only one way to find out.
Photo by Allison Johnson/The Verge
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