Motorola keeps churning out phones across all price brackets, from flagships in the Edge series to clamshell foldables in the Razr lineup. But barely any have managed to stand out against established rivals like Samsung.
In 2023, that just might change with the upcoming Razr 40 Ultra/Razr Ultra, a flip folding phone that looks astonishingly good, functionally ahead of the competition, and with impressive hardware inside. This phone looks like Motorola finally decided to go all out and give the best foldable that it can.
In the past few days, everything from detailed specifications and renders to full-fledged marketing videos has been dumped online. And from what I’ve seen so far, I am not inclined to own any other phone than the Razr 40 Ultra this year. Here are some of the reasons that I am hopeful for it.
Foldable phones and fragility go hand in hand. Leaked materials (via @evleaks) suggest the Razr Ultra will come with a respectable (by foldable standards) IP52 rating. More importantly, Motorola has solved at least one crucial engineering challenge here, and that’s the gap between the two halves of the screen when the phone is folded.
So far, every clamshell foldable phone out there has a wedge, leaving the doors open for liquid and dust particles to creep in. Not many moons ago, Samsung Galaxy Z Fold phones had a problem with solid particles getting underneath the foldable screen, leading to expensive damage.
Recently, smartphone makers have adopted a new mechanism where the screen forms a droplet shape when the phone is shut closed, while the hinge parts adjust on either side. This allows both halves of the side frame to shut closed, while a larger curvature allows the foldable panel to evade crease-related damage.
In the leaked renders above, you can clearly see the screen forming a droplet outline in the hinge area. Google adopted a similar trick for the Pixel Fold and says it has laminated the hinge parts underneath so that water droplets entering the frame simply flow out without causing any damage.
Plus, it appears that Motorola will be offering plenty of design choices to buyers. The black trim appears to rock a beautiful sandstone crystal finish reminiscent of OnePlus phones, while the peppy magenta shade has a leather texture to it.
Over the years, Samsung has increased the size of the secondary screen on its clamshell foldables, and Oppo and Motorola have followed suit, too. But this time around, Motorola is turning the entire upper half into a display that even surrounded the camera lenses.
It definitely looks good, and leaked marketing videos suggest you can actually run apps in all their functional glory. From streaming videos and playing games to being able to send messages with a full-fledged QWERTY keyboard — and even running Google apps — this secondary display on the Razr 40 Ultra means business.
Of course, you can park it at 90 degrees and use it as a camcorder or simply deploy it as a viewfinder to capture high-resolution selfies and videos using the rear cameras. You can even place app shortcuts, interact with notification banners, and make payments using the wallet app without having to flip open the phone.
This is the most functionally rewarding implementation of the secondary screen that I’ve seen on a foldable phone in this segment, and I can’t wait to push it to its limits.
As per Winfuture, the Motorola Razr Ultra will come armed with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chipset. It’s not the latest chip out there, but the performance gulf between this one and the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 isn’t really anything to worry about. Nothing is following in the same footsteps with the Nothing Phone 2, so there’s that precedent, as well.
The inner foldable panel is a 6.9-inch (2400 x 1080 pixels) OLED screen with an extremely high 165Hz refresh rate, the highest we’ve ever seen on a foldable screen so far. Over at the back is a 3.6-inch (1056 x 1066 pixels) display with a similarly high refresh rate and adequate pixel density.
Motorola has reportedly paired the Qualcomm chip inside with 8GB of RAM, 256GB of onboard storage, and a dual-SIM connectivity kit. The selfie camera is said to be a hefty 32-megapixel unit, while the rear face offers a 12MP optically stabilized primary camera and a 13MP sensor for ultrawide photography.
Battery capacity is reportedly 3,800mAh, which is not the biggest out there, but at least there’s support for 33W charging to juice it up quickly. 5G support is part of the package, and so is the convenience of wireless charging. Overall, the Razr 40 Ultra looks like a foldable that looks great and can also deliver the raw firepower of a modern top-tier phone. And that’s no small feat.
Not too long ago, I was apprehensive about suggesting a Motorola phone because the best that the company could do was promise two OS upgrades — and that was for high-end smartphones. For comparison, Samsung and OnePlus are promising four generations of Android updates and security updates for five years.
But things have improved over the past few quarters. This year, Motorola has assured three years of Android OS upgrades and security updates for four years for its Motorola Edge Plus (2023) flagship. Given the Razr 40 Ultra’s status as a premium phone, Motorola will most likely give it the same treatment – or even better – at software updates.
Another advantage in Motorola’s favor is the brand’s love for a near-stock Android experience that is as close to the Google Pixel phones as it gets, saved for some Pixel-exclusive tricks. Bloatware is an issue that plagues phones by Samsung and other Chinese brands, but Motorola’s track record has been quite clean in this department.
With a larger secondary screen that can run apps in full form and clean software to boot, Motorola already appears to have won the race for Android enthusiasts, including me. Pair that with the most stunning foldable phone hardware we have seen to date and solid internals, and my eyes are fixated on Motorola more than ever.
I’m hoping that the Razr 40 Ultra doesn’t jump into the ultra-luxe price tier, where the price tag becomes a deterrent for even diehard enthusiasts. According to WinFuture, we are looking at a price between $1,250 and $1,300, which isn’t too shabby by market standards.
If Motorola can really deliver on everything we’re seeing here at that price, it’s already got me as an excited customer.
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