The new 2023 Razrs are the much-needed update to a legendary phone line

Today, Motorola announced not one but two new additions to its iconic phone line with the 2023 Razr and Razr+. Packing a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip and a 3.5-inch exterior display – which Motorola says is the biggest on any foldable phone on sale right now – the Razr+ is the more premium while the standard Razr has the potential to be a great entry-level gadget for people new to foldables. Unfortunately, there’s still no word on a price or release date for the basic Razr, but with the Razr+ slated to go on sale on June 23rd for $1,000 we should know a lot more about that model real soon.


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Video transcript


SAM RUTHERFORD: The original Moto Razr is an iconic device. But after the company rebooted the series as a foldable phone in 2019, it hasn't gotten quite the same level of attention as Samsung's Galaxy Z Flip rival. We got a slightly updated version in 2020 with 5G and then absolutely nothing for a few years aside from a China-only model in 2022. But all of that is about to change. Because today, Motorola is announcing not one but two new members of its legendary phone line with the 2023 Moto Razr and Razr +.


So here we are with the 2023 Moto Razr family. Now as you can see, right in front of me, we have the standard Razr. And then over here we have the Razr +. Now as you can probably tell, both models of the phone have the same basic design, the same chassis, and a lot of the same general hardware builds to them. But there are a couple of important differences.

Now we're going to start with the Razr +. Because not only is it going to go on sale first, I also think it's just the more interesting of the two for a couple of important reasons. And it's also the more premium of the two. And some of the tech on the Razr + trickles down to the standard Razr. So it just kind of makes sense to start with this one first.

So now here we are with the Razr +. And it's available in three different colors. So as you can see, the phones are Gorilla Glass Victus on the front and back, at least on the glacier blue and black models. And then on the vivo magenta model, we're looking at Gorilla Glass Victus in front but a vegan leather in back. So you get a very different feeling in the hand.

I think it looks good. It feels good. And I'm hoping it's going to be a little bit more durable, too. But that remains to be tested.

Now if I flip it around, the biggest, most important feature on the Razr + compared to the standard Razr is this exterior screen, which measures 3.6 inches across. And Motorola is claiming that it's the biggest exterior display on any foldable yet. Now in front, we have a 12 megapixel main camera along with a 13 megapixel ultrawide camera that also does macro shots. So it does a little double duty.

And now if we open it up, you can also see that there's a 32 megapixel selfie camera. So you have all your bases covered. Now let's go back to that exterior screen for a minute, because it's really big. And that means it feels a lot more usable than something like the Galaxy Z Flip 4.

Interestingly, Motorola has added a whole bunch of custom panels. You can scroll through. And you see, you can have the Camera app. You can have Calculator, Maps. And you can also have Contacts and stuff like that, Calendar. And there's even some simple games that Moto has added.

Now you're not going to be playing a full RPG title on this. But hey, as a time waster, it's really handy. But also, it just gives you a lot more to do with that outside the screen, which is kind of all I really wanted from modern day, foldable flip phones.

So another interesting thing is that Motorola has done a lot of work to make sure that flipping between the two screens feels really smooth and continuous. So if you open up something like Google Maps, you can see you can look for directions and stuff like that. But if I open it up, suddenly it's right there, boom, on the main screen. So there's not a lot of fuss between opening up the screen and getting what you need to do done.

Moto has made it really easy to use the device. And they even have a really nifty feature so that, if I open up an app, I can kind of hold here. And then it will give me back a little of that space, which is an important usability thing just because, some apps, they might not be configured for this kind of awkward exterior display. You might get some interference with text or buttons.

So if you want to make sure you can touch all the buttons, you can do that. But if you really want to get full value of that exterior screen, you can just hold down there again. And suddenly, look, you have a full length view of your app.

And then wrapping up the rest of the exterior of the phone, you have your standard volume rocker right here. And you have a lock button with a built-in fingerprint sensor. Now I also want to call out that, if you look right here, there's no gap between the two phones. And that really goes into the thinness of this device.

Because Motorola is saying it's about 15.1 millimeters when closed. And that could be the thinnest foldable phone available on the market. And then if you look over here at the hinge, we have a really nice sturdy hinge. It looks similar to what you get on the Z Flip 4. But that's not a bad thing.

Now moving on to the inside of the device, you have a big 6.9 inch 165 hertz dynamic display. That means it can adjust its refresh rate depending on the content. And the colors are great.

It's pretty bright. I mean, we're outside. And I'm having no trouble looking at it. But from here, you get a very traditional candy bar smartphone experience.

Now I do want to point out that, while there is a crease, it's incredibly faint. I don't know how well it's coming across on camera. But it's basically-- you can't see it. Now if you run your fingers across, you will notice that there is a little bit of a divot behind the screen. But that's kind of what you get when it comes to all modern foldable flip phones.

As for specs, we're talking about a Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chip-- so not exactly state of the art but not bad. You have 8 gigs of RAM and 256 gigs of storage, which is pretty good. So one nice thing is that Motorola has added a couple of tweaks to make sure that you can still use this thing when it's half open. And you get a slightly different UI depending on the app.

So if I open up the YouTube app, now you can see we've got a video running here. And then if I fold it, you kind of see it adjusts down. So you can see your comments on the bottom. But you can still see your normal video up top, which is really handy.

Now that said, the biggest optimizations probably come in the Camera app, where you can use this thing-- because it stays open when it's half closed, you can use this thing as sort of like a mini tripod. But you can also flip it around. If you are a very friendly camera person, you can kind of see, you can also use it to take selfies, TikToks, very social media friendly phone.

Now one cool thing is that there's even a photo booth mode. So if I hold my hand up like here, you can see, it starts counting down 3, 2, 1. Yeah. And then it'll do a series of shots. And so we get another one. Hi. And we should get one more. So it can kind of turn into like an impromptu photobooth mode, which is really cool, especially if you're hanging out with your friends and you just are bored and want to take some photos.

Meanwhile, for those of you who remember handheld camcorders, you can also kind of get a similar thing with the Motor Razr 2023 By. Going like this. And I can kind of hold it like this. And now we have a sort of camera. And you can even get a preview for people on the other side, so they can also see what they look like.

And finally, rounding out the Razr +'s specs, we have support for stereo Dolby Atmos speakers, three mics, which is one more than before. And that's really going to be important because one of the complaints of the original 2019 Razr was that the call quality was just kind of OK. And you also get a 3,800 milliampere battery, which is pretty good for a phone this size. So we're hoping we get good longevity. You also get 30 watt wire charging and wireless charging, but it's really slow at just 5 watts.

So now we're back with the standard Razr. And as you can see, it's available in three different colors. So here we have lilac, cream, and this is supposed to be a sage, but it's looking kind of gray in this light right here.

Now, obviously the big difference is that the standard Razr has a much smaller exterior display. We're talking a 1.5 inch display. And as you can see I'm touching right here, it doesn't really do anything when it's half open.

You have to close it. And then you kind of see, hey, you can see the time. You can see the date. You can see texts and notifications like that. But that's about all you're getting.

Now that said, because there isn't that huge display on the front, you do get a little bit more in terms of battery, 4,200 hours along with a larger 64 megapixel main sensor in front along with that same 13 megapixel ultra wide we had on the Razr +. So those are two kind of benefits you get to not having that huge exterior display. Of course, it's not nearly as usable.

Another important difference is that the standard Razr has a Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 chip-- so not quite the same level of performance but should still be more than good enough for everyday tasks, even some light gaming. And obviously, the other big difference is that we have vegan leather on the front and back instead of Gorilla Glass Victus-- but aside from that, a very similar device with a 6.9 inch display. The difference is it's going to be running at 144 hertz instead of 165 hertz because of that slightly slower processor-- so slightly slower but really not a huge sacrifice.

So as you can see, with the standard Razr we're looking at a very, very similar device with some tweak specs and performance. But that should have an impact on price, too. Now Razr hasn't given an official price or release date. But the Razr people that we talked to said it should be meaningfully cheaper than the standard Razr +. So we're looking forward to seeing how that turns out when it eventually comes out sometime later this year.

So unfortunately, we ran out of time at the hands on. So now we're downstairs. But now that I've had a chance to think about the new 2023 Moto Razr family for a minute, for $1,000, I actually really like what Moto is doing with the Razr +. It has pretty good specs, similar to the Galaxy Z Flip 4. And that big exterior screen makes the device so much more usable, which is what you really want in a very compact device like the Razr +.

That said, there are a few shortcomings-- because with the Razr + you only get IP 52 water resistance, which isn't really good for protecting against more than light rain. So it's definitely not on the same level of durability. I'm also a little bit concerned about longevity.

And it feels weird that Moto only included 5 watt wireless charging, which is really slow. Sure, it might trickle charge the phone overnight. But I really think for this price, you should get something at least in the 10 to 15 watt range.

But my biggest question is about timing because the Razr + is scheduled to go on pre-sale around June 15, June 16, and it'll be officially on sale about a week later. But if we look forward, Samsung always has their big unpacked events sometime in late summer. And that means we could see a Galaxy Z Flip 5 on the horizon real soon. And I'd expect that to have more performance and a more modern chipset.

On the flip side, when we talk about the standard Razr, I actually think that might be the most interesting long-term device of the two. Because while we still don't have concrete details on release date or price, if it really is $100, or $200, maybe even $300 cheaper, that could really bring a foldable phone to the masses that's affordable and significantly cheaper than your traditional $1,000 flagships. But that's it from us today here at Engadget. And as always, don't forget to leave a comment down below, and subscribe, and follow us for more news, reviews, and hands ons real soon.