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I tested Motorola's new Razr Plus (2024) and it made the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip feel outdated

Motorola recently launched two new Razr models, and they've already made me less excited for Samsung Unpacked.
Written by Kerry Wan, Senior Reviews Editor
Motorola Razr Plus (2024)
Kerry Wan/ZDNET

The smartphone release calendar typically looks like this: New Android flagships come out early in the year, then mid-range phones in the spring, followed by foldables in the summer, and the iPhone in the fall. Right now, we're in stage three, with Motorola kicking things off this week by announcing two new flip phones, the 2024 Razr and Razr Plus.

Also: What to expect from Samsung Unpacked Summer 2024: Galaxy Z Fold 6, Watch 7, Smart Ring, more

The two phones look similar to last year's models, and the Razr and Razr Plus are also priced the same at $699 and $999, respectively, but three notable differences make them even more worthy of your consideration in 2024.

View at Motorola

1. Large external displays on both models 

Motorola Razr Plus (2024)
Kerry Wan/ZDNET

Perhaps the most logical (and unsurprising) upgrade with this year's Razr models is the larger external displays, with the standard Razr going from a 1.5-inch OLED to 3.6 inches, while the Razr Plus goes from a 3.6-inch OLED to 4 inches.

They both were just bright enough to swipe around under the afternoon sun in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and the smoothness of the 165Hz panel on the Razr Plus was particularly pleasant. I just wonder how the high refresh rate display will impact the phones' batteries, which are rated 4,000mAh (Plus) and 4,200mAh (standard).

Also: Motorola Razr Plus (2023) review: The best flipping foldable right now

The smaller battery on the Plus model can be reasoned by the larger 4-inch display, which gives it the title of having the largest external display of any flip-style phone, besting the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5's (and possibly the Z Flip 6's) 3.4-inch panel. Does 0.4 inches make a difference to the user experience? Not significantly, but possibly enough to motivate me to use the outer display more often.

2. I'm cautiously optimistic about Moto AI

Motorola Razr Plus (2024)
Kerry Wan/ZDNET

It can't be a 2024 phone without AI features. Both Motorola Razr models come with the Google Gemini app pre-installed, accessible via a long press of the power button. Considering how practical I found the shortcut to be when I tested the Pixel 8a just a month ago, I expect this similar integration to continue to help broaden my use of mobile AI tools.

Also: Google unveils big AI features coming to Android phones. Here's what's to expect

The AI features on the more expensive, more capable Razr Plus model go beyond what Google has to offer, though, with Motorola rolling out new Moto AI capabilities in the coming months, including voice prompts like "Catch me up" for summarizing notifications, "Pay attention" to start a voice recording with transcriptions and summarization, and "Remember this" to capture what's on screen and store for future recall.

That last feature is akin to Microsoft's Recall, which captures screenshots every few seconds so the system can pull any textual or visual information you may want in the future. However, with Microsoft delaying Recall over privacy and security issues, the same concerns could plague Motorola's "Remember this." When asked about how it's keeping user information secure, the company says the Razr Plus will only store what's on-screen when prompted by the user, and all information is stored on the device. We'll have to see the feature for ourselves when it rolls out later this fall.

3. Textured backing is here to stay 

Motorola Razr (2024)
Kerry Wan/ZDNET

Motorola has seemingly double-downed on textured back covers, and I'm not mad at it. Besides the flashy new colors that the Razr phones come in, including a "Hot Pink" for the Plus model that's a callback to the old Motorola Razr V3, they're styled in grippy vegan leather (or suede) material. Paired with the phone's contoured edges, I wouldn't expect these devices to slip out of your hand or pocket.

Also: Heineken just announced its own flip phone, and it oozes nostalgia

If they do, both models now feature Corning Gorilla Glass Victus and a 30% smaller hinge design that the company says improves dust protection (from last year's IP54 to this year's  IPX8), reduces the crease, and makes the devices more comfortable to use.

The 2024 Razr and Razr Plus will be available for preorder starting on July 10 and officially arrive in stores on July 24.

Some tidbits...

  • Both models come with a base storage of 256GB and configurable RAM (8GB or 12GB).
  • The Razr Plus features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 (hence the Moto AI exclusivity), while the Razr has a MediaTek Dimensity 7300X processor.
  • New AI-powered camera features include a Photo Enhancement Engine that automatically optimizes detail, clarity, highlights, shadows, bokeh effects, and more.
  • The Razr Plus no longer has an ultrawide camera. Instead, it has a 50MP main and 50MP telephoto lens, the latter of which, Motorola says, is more popular among Razr users.
  • On the other hand, the Razr does have an ultrawide camera, though it's only a 13MP sensor.
  • Both phones support 15W wireless charging.
  • Motorola is promising three operating system upgrades and four years of security updates.
  • The external display will now show an always-on graphic when the phones are folded at an angle.
  • Motorola won't include a charging brick in the box -- only a USB-C to USB-C cable.
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