Motorola obviously studied the Samsung Z Flip series reviews and took notes. The Moto Razr+ is a foldable phone that, when opened, resembles a conventional 6.9-inch phone but, when closed, has a sizable 3.6-inch display. That answers one of the Galaxy Z Flip 4’s Cover Display’s size issues, which is one of the most frequent ones.
It has a tiny 1.9-inch display and a small number of widgets that you can choose from. While the Razr+ essentially runs a modified version of Android. I was overcome with nostalgia when I first started using the outer display because it had a feel somewhat similar to a pager. Old souls and early adopters may both enjoy the Moto Razr+, which goes on sale today for $999.
The Razr+, which is currently in its fourth generation (assuming you regard the 5G model coming in 2020 as a second-gen), differs from its forerunners in two key ways. The larger display comes first. The second difference is something that only individuals over 30 might notice: Unlike the legendary original Razr, the Razr+ doesn’t have a chin that cups the bottom.
Although it doesn’t bother me, it loses some of its nostalgic appeal. The primary screen’s two sides fit together perfectly when folded. It’s a small square, and I’m reminded of my dad’s pager’s casing by its matte back. The only model with a vegan leather back is, regrettably, the Viva Magenta, while the blue and black variants have Corning Gorilla Glass Victus on the front and back.
The matte coating gives our black review unit a more premium feel and helps prevent smudges. The Razr+ is comfortably sized in my palm when folded and is a little thicker than the Galaxy Z Flip 4 when it is open. Additionally, the Razr+’s hinge is a little less firm than the Flip 4’s. The Samsung phone can essentially support itself in every orientation, but the Moto’s hinge gives way and fully opens when you push it past 150 degrees.
Last but not least, the Razr+ weighs 188.5 grams (6.6 ounces), making it lighter than both the slightly smaller-screened Galaxy S23 Plus and the iPhone 14 Plus. However, it is slightly heavier than the Z Flip 4. Both Motorola and Samsung’s products have water-resistant ratings, with the Razr+ meeting IP52 requirements and the Flip reaching IPX8.
The Z Flip 4’s Cover Display feels worthless in comparison to the Moto Razr+, especially when trying to frame a selfie. It’s difficult to see, and there’s hardly enough room to hold everything. Our producer Joel Chokkattu had trouble getting a good shot of the camera preview on the Z Flip 4’s external display when filming the video for this article.
A more complete Android experience is also made possible by Motorola’s larger pOLED display, whereas Samsung is just a glorified notification widget. On the Moto, swipe slowly up to reveal your open applications and switch between them, swipe in from the side to go back, and swipe down from the top to see all of your quick settings toggles and the brightness slider.
In contrast, the Z Flip 4 only allows you to swipe sideways to cycle through widgets, and when you slide down from the top, all of the toggles are displayed in a single row. The home screen is the primary distinction between the full Android experience and Moto’s external display. Only the clock widget, date, weather information, and a row of six shortcut buttons are allowed, per Motorola’s design.
You can access the appropriate panel by tapping each of the latter. Additionally, you may swipe sideways to view them in order, and you can arrange them however you choose. The widgets themselves closely resemble Samsung’s selection. A launcher for apps, a dialer, a calendar, games, media controls, a step counter, and the day’s headlines are all included.
The last two are offered through Google services like Fit and News on the Moto. The Razr+ can display more data or utilize a larger font because it has greater screen space. Both of these are unquestionably better than the tiny Samsung panel, especially for people who have larger fingers, less dexterity, or vision-related issues.
Not the widgets steal the show here. They are generally straightforward; examples include a calculator, media controls, etc. It is annoying that the Spotify playback widget only allows you to pause, skip tracks, go back in time, and switch playlists. However, just the fact that it provides that final choice makes it superior to the Z Flip 4.
But you can’t choose a specific song from a playlist. Given that there are two workable alternatives in this situation, it is really a minor irritation and not a deal-breaker. One: I can just open my phone and select a song from a different playlist using the main Spotify app. Two, any Android app can run on the outer screen as long as you’ve enabled it, and this is where the Razr+ really shines.
This function allows you to go on with your current activity on the main display on the outer panel even after you close the phone. I would launch Spotify (or any other app) on the inside, close the smartphone, then proceed outside in order to use it on the small screen.
If I swipe up from the bottom to see open apps, I can still find the app on the external display even if I move on to anything else. You’d expect that the two cameras in the bottom right corner of the screen would cause problems with apps crashing and elements not displaying or being blocked. Motorola, however, has a few workarounds.
Apps can either fill the entire screen or a portion of it can be blocked by sensors. Or you may swipe up and choose a layout that, like how Android phones used to handle camera notches, forces the content to sit within a rectangle above the cameras.
Any software should be able to use this, but in some cases the experience is problematic. You won’t be able to see the directions or your route if you use Google Maps to navigate while listening to music, for instance. Additionally, just because the 3.6-inch panel can display your Instagram feed, doesn’t guarantee you will want to.
Even better, it’s simple to use with one hand because the screen is so small (it’s essentially the same size as the first iPhone). To reply to messages, you can pull up a full QWERTY keyboard. I was able to access the letter Q or A by extending my thumb across from the right.
A larger external screen also has the benefit of being a much better viewfinder. Both Samsung and Motorola allow you to preview images captured with the rear cameras on the outside display as well as show your subject how they seem. You must make an educated estimate as to where the scene will end up on the Z Flip 4 as you can only see a fraction of it.
No guesswork is required with the Razr+ because it is WYSIWYG. Both phones allow you to take pictures when you’re ready and positioned by using comparable gestures, such as putting up your palm to start a countdown before the picture is taken. The configuration will shift so that the top half is your viewfinder and the bottom displays controls if the foldable is bent at 90 degrees and set on a surface with the inside screen facing out.
On the Z Flip 4, you are unfortunately forced to decide between a larger viewfinder and a subpar 10-megapixel camera and a smaller window and superior cameras. On the Razr+, you don’t have to compromise on quality or visibility when shooting because you can use the large outdoor screen and the exterior cameras.
Moto chose to use an internal 32 MP sensor with a 12 MP primary camera and a 13 MP wide-angle system. At first, I believed that the Razr+ produced respectable shots. Motorola’s photos, however, stand out as being more washed out and lifeless when compared to samples taken from the Z Flip 4 and a Pixel 7 Pro.
Samsung performed better in terms of exposure and kept the blue skies visible through the green foliage. The Razr+ destroyed the sky in the same scene. And because of the slower focus and general lag, it had trouble getting a clear shot when I took pictures of my friends’ gorgeous pets.
In my nighttime cityscapes and selfies, the Moto also struggled in low light and was prone to lens flares. Although the Flip 4 performed a little bit better, flip-style foldable generally fall short of flagship phones in terms of camera quality.
As a Regular Phone: Main Screen, Performance, and Battery Life
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 microprocessor found inside the Z Flip 4 powers the Moto Razr+, unlike the majority of high-end Android phones released this year. It’s important to note that the Flip 4 is now over a year old and most likely about to be replaced by a newer model at this point.
So you shouldn’t even think about the Razr+ if having the most recent specs is important to you. You’ll probably be happy with the Moto’s performance if you don’t care what processor generation your phone has. It did not flinch when I played countless games of solitaire, sent messages to pals, set up custom gestures, or changing the wallpaper.
The few glitches I did experience—like being unable to click the X button in a game’s furthest corners—had more to do with particular programs and poor design than hardware. The main OLED display of the Razr+ has a refresh rate of 165Hz and a 1080p resolution, making it a good choice for tasks like scrolling through Instagram and Reddit.
Even though there is a slight seam where the screen folds, the images and stories I glanced at were bright. In fact, it doesn’t interfere with using apps or webpages, and I mainly forgot it was there. It was simple to use the fingerprint sensor built into the power button to unlock the Razr+ when I needed to.
Motorola also keeps providing useful features that have been in its phones since the Moto X, such as the ability to launch the camera or flashlight by twisting your wrist or performing a chop motion while holding the device. In order to use the Razr+ on my PC, the Ready For program from the firm was surprisingly simple to install.
The abundance of Moto-branded software originally turned me off, but happily, most of it was helpful and didn’t feel bloated. Although the corporation guarantees four years of bimonthly security patch updates and three years of OS upgrades, historically, it hasn’t had the finest reputation in that area.
And Samsung only offers five years for security patches and four years for OS updates. This, along with Samsung’s expertise in foldable, gives me a little more faith in the durability of its products. A slightly larger 3,800mAh battery than the Flip 4’s 3,700 mAh arrangement was crammed into the Razr+ by Moto.
Our video rundown battery test, which I intend to do on both the 6.9-inch and 3.6-inch panels, hasn’t had time to be completed. On the internal screen, however, I have so far been able to play nonstop Solitaire for five to eight hours without having to plug the Razr+ in.
It’s also important to note that since the external display is so much more practical, you can accomplish more on the phone during the day without having to touch the bigger, more power-hungry screen. The Moto really lasts longer than most phones because of this.
I adore the front screen because of how well it functions, how simple it is to use with only one hand, and how much more energy-efficient it is. It’s almost as though I miss having a little phone. However, the camera quality is what keeps me from switching to the Moto Razr+ the most. This is a widespread issue that doesn’t just affect Motorola’s flip-style foldable.
Everyone who is considering purchasing a Razr+ should wait as well. It is widely anticipated that Samsung will introduce new foldable during its upcoming Galaxy Unpacked event, which will be held in Korea in late July. If you can wait, it’s worthwhile to wait and see what the following Z Flip has to offer.