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

Motorola's third attempt at the clamshell foldable phone does more right than wrong -- even with its closest competitor hovering over its shoulder.
Written by Kerry Wan, Senior Reviews Editor

Motorola Razr Plus (2023)

4 / 5
Very good

pros and cons

  • Solid performance with minimal form factor issues
  • 3.6-inch external display is useful and thought out
  • First foldable with dust resistance
  • Moderate battery life with slow charging
  • No telephoto camera
  • Some LTE signal problems

As LL COOL J once said, "Don't call it a comeback. Motorola's been here for years." Okay, I twisted a word or two there for context, but the point stands. 

With the new Motorola Razr Plus, the company is not pulling any punches to establish itself as the premier foldable phone maker in the U.S., even if its previous two attempts were a flip and a flop.

There's now a larger 3.6-inch external display, the phone comes in some of the trendiest colorways on the market, and the overall design really makes you question exactly how much progress Samsung's made with its foldables over the past four years.

And as its closest competitor is slated to unveil its 2023 foldables in a month's time, there's no better opportunity for Motorola to put a dent in the market than right now. After spending a little more than a week with the Razr Plus, here's what Moto got right -- and what it got wrong.



6.9-inch POLED with 165Hz




Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1


8GB with 256GB


3,800mAh with 30W charging and 5W wireless


12MP wide, 13MP ultra-wide, 32MP front





What's new with this model 

With the Razr Plus, Motorola is in a tight race against Samsung's popular Galaxy Z Flip model. So, in order to win the hearts of early adopters, tech enthusiasts, and the everyday user, the company must tread carefully, balancing innovative benefits without endangering the delicacy that is foldable form factors. Here's how Moto did just that.

1. An external display that does more 

Motorola Razr Plus (2023) mounted in a car

Trust me, this is more fun than just connecting the phone via Android Auto.

June Wan/ZDNET

There's no denying that the hero feature of the Razr Plus is its 3.6-inch, 144Hz, OLED display. It's something I've been longing for with Samsung's now four-year-old Galaxy Z Flip series. And while Samsung's rumored to fulfill that wish during its Unpacked event in July, Moto's interpretation has stolen all the thunder -- and for good reason.

Besides serving as a quick access portal to notifications, alarms, and text messages, the external display on the Razr Plus gives the phone -- hear me out -- a second life. Using the Moto display feels more like a secondary, smaller phone than a larger smartwatch. You can interact with apps and services just like how you would when the phone is unfolded. That aspect alone gives the Razr Plus greater appeal than its clamshell competitors.

Naturally, I've found the handset to be the perfect car companion. With the display folded and mounted (shown above), controlling and swiping through Spotify playlists, glancing over at incoming notifications, and making phone calls are within arm's reach. Should I need the larger 6.9-inch panel for clearer navigation, I can just lift the top half upward, and voilà.

Also: Motorola Razr Plus vs. Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4: Who did it better?

The external display isn't perfect; notifications often wake the screen, triggering an error vibration because I'm not actively looking at the automatic face unlock detection, and the high refresh rate panel feels excessive. But I respect Motorola for its thoughtfulness and unsettling mentality when designing the Razr Plus. You're getting your money's worth here.

2. Software that just works

Spider-Man Across the Spiderverse playing on the Motorola Razr Plus (2023)

The Razr Plus expands to a 6.9-inch POLED display with a 165Hz refresh rate.

June Wan/ZDNET

I'll admit: I've only recently gotten back to testing Motorola phones, so my expectations for My UX, its custom skin over Android, were mostly neutral going into this review. On top of that, designing software for foldables is not an easy feat; it only takes opening up the Instagram app and some split-screen gestures to see the flaws in the system. But this one's different. This one's a flip phone.

Also: AT&T is selling the Motorola Razr Plus for $180, no trade-ins required

Unlike phone-to-tablet foldables, flip phones are basically regular slabs that can bend at the center. The physical shift in form factor doesn't affect how you tap, scroll, and swipe through the user interface -- not completely, at least. Besides angling the inner display for hands-free pictures and videos, the experience of surfing the web, scrolling through news feeds, and answering calls is still the same. That similarity not only makes it easier for manufacturers to optimize the software but for users to master the usability of it all.

From my week of use, I was left pleasantly surprised with the Razr Plus. Old-time features like Moto's chop and twist gestures for activating the flashlight and camera, respectively, are still present. And the lack of bloatware, save for the pre-installed games for the external display and Moto's own apps, made me feel comfortable with the 256GB of onboard storage.

3. Dust resistance is game-changing  

Motorola Razr Plus 2023 crease

The crease in the internal display is just barely noticeable.

June Wan/ZDNET

Durability remains one of the biggest questions with foldables, and with the Razr Plus, Motorola's managed to solve half of the equation. The phone is rated IP52, which is not as water resistant as Samsung's foldables at IPX8 (emphasis on the "8"), but notably more protective from dust and particles. 

The "5" in IP52 stands for resistance to limited dust ingress, per Rainford Solutions. That's a first for foldables, and means dropping the Razr Plus in a dusty pocket, backpack, or even sand, should yield less wear and tear than if you were to drop one of its competitors.

Also: The Galaxy Z Flip 4 solves these two big problems for me

This feat is all the more impressive when you realize the Razr Plus' two halves fold completely flush, with a minimal gap at the hinge. The hinge has also been engineered to put less strain on the flexible glass display, leaving a less prominent crease at the centerfold compared to the Galaxy Z Flip 4, as shown above.

What I'd like to see in the next model 

While Motorola gets a lot of things right with the Razr Plus, it's not without its faults. For how small the phone is, let alone the fact that it's foldable, the most obvious of tradeoffs are very much present with this device.

1. Larger battery, faster charging, or both

Motorola Razr Plus 2023 Viva Magenta Display
June Wan/ZDNET

Starting with battery life and charging. I get it: You can't have a compact phone, a large external display, and a large battery at the same time. But when you have two displays running at high refresh rates, an older, less efficient Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor under the hood, and a motherboard that gets warm whenever you play a video any longer than 3 minutes, you'd be hard pressed to get more than a day's worth of battery life out of this thing. 

My review unit's aggressive dialing between 4G LTE and 5G signaling may have also had a role in the middling endurance.

Also: This is by far the most convenient power strip I've ever used

The kicker for me is how slow it takes to charge the phone. Motorola capped the charging rate at 30W, which is underwhelming when compared to the 45W, 65W, and even 100W solutions on similarly priced handsets. For how much focus the company is putting on Gen Z and content creators as the Razr Plus' target audience, I'd argue that battery life and charging speed are just as important as the camera features.

2. A telephoto camera for far-distance shots

Motorola Razr Plus (2023) camera
June Wan/ZDNET

Having a larger external display also means that Moto had to stick to two camera lenses at the rear, a 12MP wide and 13MP ultra-wide. From what I captured, I was just satisfied with how the Razr Plus handled dynamic range and sharpness. Sure, subjects can appear cooler toned and washed out than in real life, but the camera has an instinct for when to focus on singular subjects and when to focus on everything in the frame, as shown in the samples below. That ability to quickly pull focus, snap, and shoot should appeal to most people.

Verrazano Bridge captured by the Motorola Razr Plus
June Wan/ZDNET

As I was testing the Razr Plus' camera system, I had a particular itch for a telephoto lens -- something that would allow me to physically capture farther subjects without losing much detail or relying on post-processing to vaguely reproduce the visual. Portrait Mode does exist in the camera app, and I've seen it work to some degree on phones without a telephoto lens (like the iPhone 14), but the Moto camera proved to be hit-or-miss.

A photo of a white car, captured by the Motorola Razr Plus

The blur from Portrait mode fades naturally into the background, though some of the cat's fur is lost in the process.

June Wan/ZDNET

Bottom line 

The Razr Plus is Motorola's return to form, modernizing a classic flip phone into one of today's best foldables. The most impressive part is that for $999, the same cost as the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 (and possibly the upcoming Z Flip 5), you're getting a notably superior handset thanks to its larger external display, 256GB of base storage, and higher refresh rate. And I haven't even talked about that Viva Magenta, vegan-leather finish that makes the Razr Plus uniquely Motorola.

Should I buy one?

If you've been on the fence about switching to a foldable phone, this may just be the most accessible ticket onto the innovation wagon. The clamshell form factor, paired with the external display, makes the Razr Plus just as applicable to aspiring content creators as it is to users who seek the nostalgia of early 2000s flip phones.

Alternatives to consider 

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