Motorola Razr Plus Evaluation: A Blast From the Previous With Trendy Twists

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8.5/ 10
SCORE

Motorola Razr Plus (2024)

Execs

  • Cowl display updates
  • Good battery life
  • Enjoyable, modern design
  • Digital camera upgrades a step ahead, however may go farther

Cons

  • New cameras are a blended bag
  • Digital camera cowl display place not nice for proper handed-people
  • Will get heat gaming or charging

I have been utilizing the brand new Motorola Razr Plus for 2 weeks and there is one thing transformational about it that is made me rethink my relationship with telephones for the higher — and introduced me again to my childhood.

I am a child of the ’80s and grew up loving the Transformers. It was the Transformers’ duality that fascinated a 10-year-old Patrick: I cherished the truth that an 18-wheeler truck may rework into an enormous speaking robotic who was a heroic chief. The brand new Motorola Razr Plus does not rework right into a robotic or a truck, nevertheless it does morph from a 4-inch handset (image the iPhone 5 or the unique Samsung Galaxy S) right into a full-fledged 6.9-inch Android telephone. What makes the 2024 Razr Plus more proficient at doing so than earlier foldable Razrs, and even final yr’s wonderful Razr Plus, is that the quilt display is best in each means.

The outer show is bigger with a brand new 4-inch panel, however nonetheless integrates its exterior digital camera lenses in the identical means as final yr’s mannequin. I dig the best way the twin cameras protrude out like a vampire chew. The duvet display’s software program lets me run my common array of Android apps and has extra widgets and panel customizations this time round. It additionally has an always-on show that is nice for rapidly checking the time.

Over the course of my time testing the Razr, I discovered myself utilizing the quilt display as a lot as the interior display. If I needed to put an unscientific quantity on this, I would say that 40% of the time I solely used the quilt display. The opposite 60%, it was the interior one. At one level, I noticed I hadn’t even used the interior show’s selfie digital camera as a result of I used to be so content material taking pictures with the rear cameras when the Razr Plus is folded closed.

A trio of Motorola Razrs in cases with straps A trio of Motorola Razrs in cases with straps

The Razr Plus is all about that cowl display life.

Patrick Holland/CNET

I paid for my espresso from the quilt display, listened to Spotify by way of its nifty widget, took Zoom calls and even performed video games with out opening the telephone up. And I did all of this stuff and extra one-handed, which for me is the most important enchantment of small telephones.

There’s much more to get pleasure from within the new Razr Plus, particularly its lengthy battery life, quick charging and improved cameras. The brand new mannequin is licensed to outlive non permanent dunking, with an IPX8 ranking which means it may be immersed underneath 1.5 meters of water for as much as half-hour.

Lots of the options I like on the Razr Plus even have shortcomings, although, particularly for a telephone that prices $1,000. The brand new cameras are a blended bag when it comes to picture and video high quality, which has been an space Motorola telephones struggled with previously. That cowl display is brighter than final yr’s mannequin, however nonetheless laborious to see outdoor, particularly in direct daylight. The quick charging which helps as much as 45 watts is nice, however the telephone itself does not include a wall charger. And the brand new IP ranking for contemporary water immersion comes on the expense of dropping final yr’s IP-rating for mud resistance. 

However taken in whole, the Razr Plus reveals how far Motorola and different corporations have come from the early days of foldables. When the corporate made its first try at reviving the Razr in 2020, its display hinge was virtually open to the weather. The brand new telephone is an absolute delight to make use of and can little question enchantment to followers searching for one thing extra distinctive and trendy than the usual rectangular slabs supplied by Apple and Samsung — it makes an alluring various to the greatest flat smartphones.

The Motorola Razr Plus is obtainable to preorder for $1,000 beginning Wednesday and go on sale on July 24.

Motorola Razr Plus 2024 models in the tented position Motorola Razr Plus 2024 models in the tented position

The Razr Plus is available in 4 colours.

Patrick Holland/CNET

The Samsung issue

It is not misplaced on me that this assessment comes out earlier than Samsung holds its July Galaxy Unpacked occasion. The Galaxy Z Flip 6 will possible be one of many massive reveals and can undoubtedly supply enhancements over final yr’s Galaxy Z Flip 5. I point out this as a result of, as has been the case for a number of years working, the brand new Z Flip would be the Motorola Razr Plus’ largest competitor. We won’t solely assessment and take a look at the brand new Samsung foldable, but in addition put it head-to-head towards the Razr Plus to see how the 2 stack up of their newest rivalry.

At the moment, I am assured saying that Samsung has rather a lot to dwell as much as. The brand new Razr Plus brings quite a few {hardware} and, extra importantly, software program upgrades that enhance the telephone in practically each means. And Motorola did this all with out elevating the value.

The Motorola Razr Plus’ fashion-forward design

Motorola Razr Plus 2024 Motorola Razr Plus 2024

The again of the telephone is roofed in vegan leather-based.

James Martin/CNET

Like final yr’s Razr household, the brand new Razr Plus is constructed from a mixture of aluminum (the body), Gorilla Glass Victus (the quilt display) and vegan leather-based (the again). The mix of supplies make the Razr Plus tactile-tastic and an absolute delight to carry. It is mainly like having a case constructed proper into the telephone. Enjoyable truth: Vegan leather-based does not crack in case you drop it.

Motorola takes this playful strategy even additional in relation to colour. There’s spring inexperienced, peach fuzz, midnight blue and the Razr-iconic sizzling pink — y’know the identical colour as 2004 Razr V3 Paris Hilton had. Even essentially the most conservative colour, midnight blue, has a two-tone “vegan suede” texture full with a delicate stripe down its again. The Razr Plus’ enjoyable colours and textures make it eye sweet for passersby. I had co-workers who did not know me run up wanting to carry and use it.

As a lot as I get pleasure from utilizing the Razr Plus closed and one-handed, one downside, in case you’re right-handed like me, is that the digital camera bump nestles into the bottom of my thumb. That is extra annoying than anything and people cameras do must go someplace.

Each shows now have an identical 165Hz refresh price which makes the whole lot from enjoying video games and scrolling social feeds to Android animations look easy. I am keen on the best way the quilt display edges get darkish earlier than going to sleep. Can I inform the distinction between the 2023 Razr Plus’ 144Hz cowl display and the brand new one? Nope. However I do know there are individuals who can and who care about such issues. These folks might be delighted.

Each shows are brighter; the quilt display is ready to attain 2,400 nits and the inside show 3,000 nits. In use, I want they have been the identical brightness. It is odd utilizing the telephone outdoor and going from the brilliant essential show to a much less vivid cowl display. Often I discovered the quilt display laborious to see underneath direct daylight, even with the brightness cranked to full.

The 6.9-inch inside show’s side ratio is narrower in comparison with an everyday telephone, which is nice for having two apps open on the similar time, one on prime of one other. However it’s much less gratifying when watching movies on YouTube and TikTok, the place there are noticeable black “bars” of empty house above and beneath (or on the perimeters, relying on the best way you are holding it). If you happen to discover a movie that is shot in a movie show format like 1.85:1 or 2.39:1, it’ll fill the display completely — simply do not inform Christopher Nolan you are watching Oppenheimer on a Razr.

The Motorola Razr Plus has new cameras

Motorola Razr Plus 2024 Motorola Razr Plus 2024

Motorola upgraded each exterior cameras on the brand new Razr Plus.

James Martin/CNET

The Razr Plus has three cameras, two on the surface and the identical 13-megapixel digital camera as final yr on the within. The outside cameras each have new 50-megapixel sensors paired with a wide-angle lens (with optical picture stabilization) and a 2x telephoto lens respectively. The telephoto digital camera replaces the ultrawide shooter on final yr’s Razr Plus, which may nonetheless be discovered on the brand new $700 common Razr. Motorola informed me that its prospects took extra zoomed-in pictures than they did ultrawide ones, therefore the change.

It comes down to non-public desire whether or not you are on workforce telephoto or workforce ultrawide. However primarily based on my expertise, the 2023 Razr Plus’ ultrawide digital camera wasn’t nice. Footage I took with the brand new telephoto, whereas nonetheless a step down in picture high quality from the primary digital camera, have been higher optically than the previous ultrawide. However the telephoto solely actually shined for me underneath vivid even lighting or at golden hour, like this picture I took in New York.

This was taken with the Razr Plus’ 2x telephoto digital camera.

Patrick Holland/CNET

Images taken indoors underneath blended lighting with the tele lens look smooth with a number of noise discount utilized, particularly in case you zoomed in previous 2x. I took this picture of Paris Hilton djing at Motorola’s Razr launch get together in Brooklyn at 4x. The outcomes are serviceable at greatest. Her pores and skin tone seems splotchy, particularly round her nostril. And particulars, like her hair, are smooth and muddy. Will this maintain as much as a social media submit? Definitely. However I hoped this telephoto can be higher.

I took this picture at 4x digital zoom.

Patrick Holland/CNET

Listed here are two photographs of lasers over San Francisco for Satisfaction weekend. Discover the distinction in brightness and saturation between the primary digital camera’s picture taken with night time imaginative and prescient (Moto’s title for night time mode) and the telephoto digital camera’s picture taken in the identical mode.

Lasers over San Francisco taken with night time imaginative and prescient on the primary digital camera.

Patrick Holland/CNET

And this is the identical second captured with the brand new telephoto digital camera at 2x. It is a lot darker and the colours much less saturated.

Patrick Holland/CNET

Happily, the primary digital camera fares higher and is extra constant when it comes to picture high quality, even in blended lighting. I’m genuinely impressed with lots of the pictures I acquired with the Razr Plus’ essential digital camera. Similar to with final yr’s Razr Plus, you may most likely be counting on the primary digital camera extra ultimately — because the previous pictures adage goes, simply use your ft to zoom.

This was taken with the primary digital camera.

Patrick Holland/CNET

The Razr Plus thrives within the golden hour.

Patrick Holland/CNET

Here is a photograph from the primary digital camera taken underneath the nice and cozy dim home lights of the Golden Theater in New York.

Patrick Holland/CNET

The brand new {hardware} definitely contributes to the higher pictures I took, however so does Moto AI. Yep, I made it this far into the assessment earlier than mentioning these two overhyped letters. Synthetic intelligence and machine studying are nothing new to smartphone pictures.

However even at its greatest, that is nonetheless a foldable telephone that is a step behind its non-folding brethren when it comes to digital camera energy and consistency. Check out the 2 photographs beneath, taken inside seconds of one another with the Razr’s essential digital camera. Each are HDR pictures, however in one in all them the highlights are blown out to white — word the sky within the background. The sky within the different picture isn’t solely seen however you may see constructions within the distance and electrical wires strung between buildings within the foreground. Why are they completely different? I don’t know, however I think AI may need one thing to do with it.

This picture and the subsequent have been each taken in HDR mode on the Razr Plus. Discover the distinction within the backgrounds.

Patrick Holland/CNET

The buildings within the background are seen on this shot that was additionally taken with HDR — very completely different outcomes.

Patrick Holland/CNET

Video recordings are likewise a blended bag. However this telephone is not meant to be a paragon of what smartphone cameras can do. Motorola focuses simply as a lot on how gratifying it’s to take a photograph or report a video because it does the standard of what you get. It jogs my memory of taking Polaroid pictures with associates in highschool — they have been a blast to seize even when all of us seemed like ghosts within the precise photos. I’ve so many crappy Polaroid pictures from my youth displayed round my home in the present day. Their comparatively “low” high quality offers the moments captured a honest rawness not discovered within the crisp photos shot with trendy telephones.

If the Razr Plus’ enjoyable modern design is nice for one factor, it is selfies. And the foldable’s clamshell design means you may take them with the primary exterior digital camera. You may even angle the Razr Plus so it sits flat on a desk to be its personal tripod. I had so many associates and CNET colleagues take selfies with the telephone or need their portrait taken. And everyone seems to be smiling in each single picture. That is why you get a Motorola Razr Plus.

Have a look at all of the completely satisfied enjoyable folks!

Patrick Holland/CNET

There’s something about taking pictures with the Razr Plus that makes folks smile.

Josh Goldman and Eli Blumenthal/CNET

The Razr Plus’ battery and efficiency

The Snapdragon 8S Gen 3 powers the entire Razr Plus’ goodies together with 12GB of RAM and quick UFS 4.0 storage. There might be some telephone diehards and tech journalists questioning why Motorola did not embody the non-S variant of Qualcomm’s chip, however in makes use of the 8S Gen 3 is lots quick, and it is able to powering AI options whether or not I used to be scrolling social media or enjoying video games.

Multitasking was a breeze. The telephone by no means felt sluggish to me however did get heat when enjoying video games like Genshin Impression for longer than 10 minutes. In benchmark testing, the Razr Plus did nicely. It is not the quickest telephone we examined this yr, nevertheless it sits in-between the Galaxy Z Flip 5 and the Oppo Discover N3 Flip. In contrast to different foldables that unfold into far greater shows, I would not use the Razr Plus to do any heavy productivity-related duties, so I did not thoughts that it wasn’t on the prime of the charts — most individuals might be wonderful with its still-fast speeds.

Geekbench v.6.0

Motorola Razr Plus 2024 1,958 4,925Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 1,999 5,116Oppo Discover N3 Flip 1,321 3,350Motorola Razr Plus 2023 1,756 4,318

  • Geekbench v.6.0 single-core
  • Geekbench v.6.0 multicore
Word: Longer bars point out higher efficiency

What the Razr Plus lacks in pure efficiency energy it makes up with in battery life. Every single day over two weeks of use, I ended my days with the telephone having round 15 to twenty% of its battery nonetheless charged. In CNET’s battery assessments, the outcomes informed an identical story. The Razr Plus went from a full battery to 90% throughout our 45-minute endurance take a look at the place I made a Zoom name, streamed a video, performed PUBG Cell and Stack Bounce and scrolled Instagram and TikTok. That is similar to what the Z Flip 5 did in the identical take a look at and barely higher than the Oppo Discover N3 Flip, which dropped to a barely decrease 89%.

In CNET’s 3-hour video streaming take a look at over Wi-Fi, the Razr Plus dropped from a full battery to 84% — and that was on the primary display. The Z Flip 5 dropped to 80% in the identical take a look at.

The Razr Plus has a big 4,000-mAh battery which is essentially the explanation behind the great outcomes — Motorola managed to squeeze in much more capability over final yr’s Razr Plus’ 3,800-mAh battery. And bear in mind the telephone’s screens are considerably brighter than final yr’s Razr Plus which scored equally in the identical assessments.

Motorola Razr Plus last ideas

Motorola Razr Plus 2024 Motorola Razr Plus 2024

I preserve coming again to the Razr Plus even over my very own smartphone.

James Martin/CNET

This telephone does not have the most effective cameras, it isn’t the quickest machine you should buy and its largest competitor is probably going releasing a more recent model of its foldable clamshell telephone this week. However once I think about the Motorola Razr Plus by itself phrases, it’s excellent. And, maybe extra importantly, it is a delight to make use of.

Merely put, I get pleasure from utilizing it greater than telephones that price $200 to $300 extra. Motorola discovered a singular strategy to the Razr Plus final yr, and this yr’s mannequin builds on its strengths and addresses a lot of its shortcomings. I genuinely cannot bear in mind the final time I used a telephone this enjoyable. Motorola prioritized the expertise of utilizing a Razr Plus over just about anything. And that may positively enchantment to some folks greater than others.

Do you have to purchase a Motorola Razr Plus? I like to recommend seeing what Samsung finally ends up saying earlier than you do. It will possibly’t harm to attend.

How we take a look at telephones

Each telephone examined by CNET’s evaluations workforce was really utilized in the actual world. We take a look at a telephone’s options, play video games and take pictures. We study the show to see if it is vivid, sharp and vibrant. We analyze the design and construct to see how it’s to carry and whether or not it has an IP-rating for water resistance. We push the processor’s efficiency to the extremes utilizing standardized benchmark instruments like GeekBench and 3DMark, together with our personal anecdotal observations navigating the interface, recording high-resolution movies and enjoying graphically intense video games at excessive refresh charges.

All of the cameras are examined in quite a lot of circumstances from vivid daylight to darkish indoor scenes. We check out particular options like night time mode and portrait mode and evaluate our findings towards equally priced competing telephones. We additionally try the battery life through the use of it every day in addition to working a collection of battery drain assessments.

We take into consideration further options like help for 5G, satellite tv for pc connectivity, fingerprint and face sensors, stylus help, quick charging speeds and foldable shows, amongst others that may be helpful. We steadiness all of this towards the value to provide the verdict on whether or not that telephone, no matter value it’s, really represents good worth. Whereas these assessments could not all the time be mirrored in CNET’s preliminary assessment, we conduct follow-up and long-term testing in most circumstances.

Watch this: First Look: The 2024 Motorola Razr and Razr Plus Come With Colourful Upgrades