The first new Razr mobile was launched in autumn 2019 to great fanfare. The iconic flipper from the 00s was back, now with a folded touchscreen! It was not a success, apart from nice mechanics for the screen it was only a half-decent mid-range mobile, but with a price you could buy three other better mobiles for.
The Razr 5G that came a year later was better, but still a mid-range mobile priced like a maxed-out iPhone. It received a rating of 4 out of 5 from us, but it would not have received that today, because development has gone at breakneck speed.
While Samsung showed with last year’s Galaxy Z Flip 3 and this year’s Galaxy Z Flip 4 that a flip mobile can be almost as good as a regular one, and only marginally more expensive, Motorola took a break. Now they are back and with a message.
Razr 2022, as the new model is called, directly takes up the fight with Samsung, with a mobile that gives you about the same things as the Galaxy Z Flip 4, in about the same price range. It does some things better, other things worse, but they are fully comparable as mobiles.
It is of course possible to discuss what you will use a foldable mobile phone for at all. Is it revolutionary new technology or a gimmick, which users will tire of in a few years? But if you definitely want a foldable, the Razr is there and competes at the right level.
If we initially ignore how the phone looks and functions as a foldable device and only look at what it can do as a smartphone, there is not much that differentiates it from other top mobile phones at the moment.
You get top-class performance, a large 6.7 inch oled screen with 1080p resolution and high frame rate, beautifully sounding stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos support, and of course all modern connectivity such as 5g and Wi-Fi 6e. You also get one of the better mobile camera sensors right now, and you get fast-charging battery and e-Sim support.
A more beautiful fold
The flip design should of course not be ignored, there are whole reasons to buy a Razer. And here we see both good and less good things. The retro vibes from the first two models have been rationalized away. The Razr 2022 no longer has the neat chin at the bottom, which gave both the predecessors and the original Razr from the 00s their identity.
The Razr 2022 looks a lot more anonymous, but in a way that’s an advantage, as it makes it easier to open. Hopefully that doesn’t mean it’s more susceptible to damage if you drop it on the hill.
Motorola has a unique solution for its folded screen as an advantage over Samsung. It does not need such a sharp crease inside the mobile when it is folded. This means that we do not get the clear little fold in the middle of the screen, which Samsung’s Flip and Fold mobiles have when they are folded up. Or well, it’s still there, but is many times more discreet and mostly not noticeable at all.
It also means that Motorola succeeds in folding the mobile completely tightly. There is no gap between the upper and lower half, the risk of, for example, a grain of sand getting in and scratching the screen is less. And it looks neater. How tight it is exactly in the hinge against dust and locks is more unclear.
During just under a week of testing, we have so far not noticed any problems with it, but it certainly feels like a risk factor. A certain play in the hinge also gives an unsightly impression. If we have the mobile half-open, the hinge is not rigid, but can move freely a couple or three degrees back and forth. We can’t rule out that it’s a deliberate build for some reason, but it does bring a different solid and solid feel to the phone.
Do more on the mini screen
The screen placed on the outside of the Razr hasn’t changed significantly since the Razr 5G. It is a 2.7 inch screen in landscape format, built on the same p-oled panel as before. The idea is that you should be able to do a lot on it, so that you don’t have to fold up the more power-sucking large screen. Unfortunately, it is not as bright as the main screen. In bright sunlight it loses legibility, but otherwise it is sharp enough, stylish and easy to navigate.
There’s a home screen with a notification panel and interchangeable watch faces like on a smartwatch, and a bunch of select apps that are customized or work naturally well on a small screen. It is possible to add many more. All that Android allows in that format, which is surprisingly many. However, not for example Chrome.
Of course, many apps become miserably cramped to use. For example, we test adding Google Maps, and get a narrow gap to the map, while the rest of the screen is taken up by the interface. Stick to a few good ones, and you can have a successful experience. Full phone functionality and SMS handling, as well as the useful Gmail app, for example, work well.
The best function is a new camera app adapted for the screen. It gives us a simple and intuitive interface to both film and take photos in selfie mode, with the better main camera as sensor. It’s not full functionality in the app, for example we can’t zoom in, but we can easily access things like filters, hdr settings, dark photo and portrait photo with short depth of field.
A good camera, two half-baked ones
For reasons of space, the phone does not have a huge camera rig, but on the outside/back of the phone there are two lenses, a main camera and a wide angle. But that is still the most important thing, as long as the two of them shoot well. The main camera is top notch.
Its 50-megapixel sensor with optical image stabilization captures accurate, sharp and vibrant images with the right dynamics in daylight and doesn’t disappoint in the evening either, although it loses speed in autofocus. An automatic night mode provides plenty of detail in dark images and enhances light and detail in indoor photos.
The camera films without problems in up to 4k and 60 Hz with flexible focus and pleasant image stabilization. You can also film 8k in 30 Hz, but it doesn’t really work, with some micropauses in the recording and trailing shadows in the image. But who needs 8k filming on their mobile phone?
The phone’s two other cameras, a 120-degree wide-angle 12-megapixel sensor and a 32-megapixel in-screen selfie camera, aren’t nearly as good. The wide-angle camera loses detail, even in daylight, and has too warm color tones when shooting at night. The selfie camera, despite its high resolution, takes fairly poor-detailed images, and we therefore only use it for video calls. The pictures will be much nicer if we close the mobile phone and use the main camera and the external screen instead.
Top class performance
The phone is powered by the latest and fastest Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ gen 1 chipset, it has eight gigabytes of RAM and 256 gigabytes of storage. It actually delivers surprisingly high performance in our measurements. There is great variation on different mobiles with the circuit, a lot depending on how well they manage to cool the processor and graphics. In such a compact device, we didn’t expect top marks, but the Razr is among the fastest Android phones right now.
The exception is during long gaming sessions, when the chassis quickly heats up and performance drops after a few minutes of gaming. It doesn’t get uncomfortably hot to the touch, but it’s not comfortable. If you want to remedy that, the Razr 2022 comes with a protective, two-part shell, which also makes it cooler to hold.
But if we can avoid the shell, we will, as it is completely glossy and attracts fingerprints. In addition, it makes an unusually wide phone even wider. It is the same 6.7 inch diagonal here as in the Galaxy Z Flip 4, but the Samsung mobile is more elongated. Then the Razr also has wider edges around the display panel. In total, it will be almost eight centimeters in width, an unusually large mobile phone to hold and try to use in one hand.
The screen maintains high image quality, we expect nothing else from an OLED mobile. It has rich colors in dci-p3 class and well-approved color accuracy. Not as perfect as the amoled screens that sit in foldable mobiles, but without a doubt good enough.
Brightness of up to 1,000 cd/m 2 and support for hdr 10+ means that we get both a brilliant movie experience in the pocket and all the brightness needed for problem-free use outdoors. However, the automatic brightness is set annoyingly low, we prefer to manually poke it up a few percent outdoors.
The screen has up to 144 Hz frame rate. In normal mode, it automatically switches between 60 and 120 Hz as needed, and we never notice it misfire. You can run at fixed 60 Hz to save battery 144 Hz is only activated in the games that support fully unlocked frame rate. Not that we immediately see any difference between it and 120 Hz.
The Razr 2022 doesn’t tick off just about everything in the premium class. Motorola settles for splash-resistant construction with an ip52 rating instead of fully waterproof ip68, and has opted out of wireless charging. For reasons of space, according to a representative of Motorola, who we got the Razr demoed by just before the official launch. Just like in the Galaxy Z Flip 4, there is no room for a particularly large battery.
Here you get 3,500 milliampere hours of capacity, where most new top mobiles have 4,000 or more. Even so, the Razr does well, as long as you don’t engage in performance-demanding stuff. We can mostly use it actively from morning to night with up to 30 percent battery left. It depends on how much we film, use occasional demanding apps, or play games. With 30 watt USB charging, the battery is full again in about an hour and a half.
No freedom of choice, but the right price pressure
It’s only available in one configuration, you can’t pay more for extra storage, and the phone doesn’t have a microSD card slot either. On the other hand, only the occasional extremely active user needs more than 256 gigabytes in the mobile phone. Motorola also doesn’t offer multiple color choices for the Razr 2022. It has a matte black metal frame and black exterior, half glossy and half frosted glass.
The Motorola Razr 2022 price is $1,099. A huge reduction compared to the $1,499 that the Razr 5G cost two years ago. It is also clearly cheaper than the Galaxy Z Flip 4, which costs $1,299, with the same amount of storage or $1,199 with 128 gigabytes.
Although the Razr 2022 was released globally now, it has been ready since August, when it was first released in China. That’s why it’s Android 12 in it and not Android 13. It’s also unlikely that Motorola would have had time to fix its own interface for Android 13, as it has some flip-specific features, for example the same dual viewfinder as before in the camera app, so that the person you take a picture of can also see themselves in the extra screen.
The system is otherwise stripped down and as similar to Google’s original design for Android as possible, with additions such as easier gesture navigation and a dedicated game mode.
The biggest unique feature is Ready For, which provides either a desktop-style or media center-style interface on a fixed or wirelessly connected screen or television. It has been tweaked since we last tested it and can state that the mouse-driven desktop interface is easier to navigate. But it still suffers from not having enough dedicated mouse-compatible apps.
Our Motorola Razr 2022 Review
- Top class performance
- Folding mobile without cracks and folds
- Excellent screen and speakers
- High class on the main camera
- Wide to grip
- No further wide angle
- No wireless charging
- Half wide angle and selfie camera
Motorola has promised two system updates and three years of security updates for the Razr 2022. This means at most that it will keep up with Android 14. It feels unreasonably stingy, Samsung gives you double. Most top mobiles from other manufacturers promise three new Android generations. On that point, we hope that Motorola tightens up, so we can have it in best 2022 phones list.