Motorola Razr 2023 review: a flipping cool phone that you can afford

One of the coolest, forget about the best

Motorola Razr in cream closed in hand
(Image: © Philip Berne / Future)

TechRadar Verdict

Since the Motorola Razr launched and refreshed the Razr brand, there hasn’t been a cooler-looking phone to come along and steal its clamshell crown. It has flaws, but Motorola has kept the price so low with discounts and sales that it’s almost irresistible, if you want something compact, unique, and affordable.

Pros

  • +

    Slick design with great color options

  • +

    Gapless fold with barely-visible crease

  • +

    Huge, brilliant display inside

Cons

  • -

    Cameras are more cheap than cool

  • -

    Lacks fast performance and big screen of the Razr Plus

  • -

    Battery life could be better

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

Motorola Razr 2023: One-minute review

The Motorola Razr knocked my socks off when I first saw it last year, and it’s remained one of my top three phone designs of the past year (the other two being OnePlus phones). I love the color options, I dig the feel of the ‘vegan leather’ finish, and I show off the amazing clamshell design. If you haven’t seen this phone go from a truly huge smartphone to a tiny, pocketable communicator, you need to get your hands on one for a look. 

Compared to the Motorola Razr Plus, I missed the larger display but the smaller screen on the cover of the Motorola Razr was still sharp and very usable. You can get a preview of your selfies and videos on this phone, just like on the more expensive clamshell foldables, which means you can use the main camera as your selfie cam. 

Motorola Razr 2023 in multiple colors half closed with cover display showing content

Motorola Razr in front, Razr Plus in the back (Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)

Unfortunately, the camera is the perennial compromise with foldable phones, and none moreso than on this Razr. The Razr Plus had disappointing cameras, but the Moto Razr cameras just feel a bit cheap compared to other options in this price range. For $500, you can get a Google Pixel 7 or a OnePlus 12R, and both of those have much, much better cameras than this phone. 

What those phones, and any other phone in this price lacks is the cool factor of the Razr. You can snap it shut to hang up on a phone call. Heck, you can hang up on TikTok or Snapchat the same way. It’s a very satisfying way to put your phone away and focus what’s in front of you, and that is part of what makes the Razr so cool. 

The Motorola Razr dares you to put away your phone. You can take photos without the distraction of a big screen. You can check messages with a quick glance. You can snap it shut and show off the look instead of looking at the show. That’s cool. Being hundreds cheaper than other clamshell phones? Maybe the coolest part of all.

Motorola Razr 2023 review: price & availability

Motorola Razr 2023 in multiple colors half closed with cover display showing content

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)
  • Launched at a higher price and immediately went on sale
  • Cheaper than every other new clamshell
  • Don’t buy it when it’s not on sale
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StorageUS PriceUK PriceAU Price
128GB (US) / 256GB (UK, AU)$499.99£799.99$999.99

The Motorola Razr had a staggered launch across the globe, in the shadow of the more exciting Motorola Razr Plus. This phone snuck into US stores at a price close to $700 at launch, after sitting on shelves in the UK for months prior. It quickly went on sale, dropping $100 then another $100, settling at its current price point.

Except Motorola hasn’t changed the price, it’s just kept the phone on sale for months. Not one sale, either, but different sales that tend to run concurrently. As I write this there is a “Spring Break” sale offering $200 off. I’m sure there will soon be an “April Showers” sale offering $200 off, followed by a Mother’s Day $200 sale. Don’t worry about that sale expiration date, but don’t buy this phone if it’s not on sale. 

Outside of the US, this phone ships with 256GB of storage, but Americans only get 128GB. We all get 8GB of RAM on this phone, though a 12GB variant may be available in other regions. 

  • Value score: 4 / 5

Motorola Razr 2023 review: specs

Motorola Razr 2023 in multiple colors half closed with cover display showing content

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)

The Motorola Razr 40 isn’t a very powerful phone, but it can handle any apps, web pages, and games you throw its way. It lacks the high-end camera specs you’ll find on other bargain phones like the OnePlus 12R, and even the Motorola Razr 40 Ultra has slightly better cameras. That said, you still get a Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 chipset, a respectable engine that is capable enough, as well as 8GB of RAM and just enough storage, 256GB if you live outside the US (sorry Americans, only 128GB for us). 

It’s hard to compare specs directly, because the Motorola Razr 40 bends in half. The OnePlus 12R may have better cameras, but the Motorola Razr weighs 20g less, and it folds up to a pocketable shape that is half the length of the OnePlus phone. If size and style are meaningful, that’s worth a lot more than a little spec bump. 

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Dimensions:Open: 170.8 x 74 x 7.4mm; Closed: 88.2 x 74 x 15.8mm
Weight:188.6g
Screen size (Internal/External):6.9-inch folding LTPO OLED / 1.5-inch OLED
Screen resolution (Internal / External):1080 x 2640 pixels / 194 x 368 pixels
Screen peak brightness (Internal / External):1,400nits / 1,000nits
Refresh rate (Internal):144Hz
Chipset:Qualcomm Snapdragon 7 Gen 1
RAM:8GB (LPDDR5)
Storage:128GB (US) / 256GB (UK, AU) (UFS 2.2)
OS:Android 13
Rear Cameras:64 MP (f/1.7, 0.7µm); 13 MP (f/2.2, 1.12µm)
Front Camera:32MP (f/2.4, 0.7μm)
Battery:4,200mAh
Charging:30W wired, 5W wireless
Colors:Sage Green, Vanilla Cream, Summer Lilac, Cherry Blossom

Motorola Razr 2023 review: design

Motorola Razr 2023 in multiple colors half closed with cover display showing content

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)
  • Compact, appealing clamshell design
  • Not quite a Razr look, but still very cool
  • Colors look great on vegan leather

My first thought seeing this latest Motorola Razr 40 was a bit of disappointment. Where is the ugly chin that defines the Razr look? Where are the sharp cut edges and keys? I quickly got over it. The Motorola Razr is the best-looking clamshell phone I’ve seen, and one of the coolest phones you can buy right now. 

The vegan leather finish is excellent, very grippy and matte so it doesn’t pick up fingerprints. The colors are lovely, especially the lilac and cream, but even my sage green review unit was unique and classy looking. 

Inside, you get a humongous display. For such a small clamshell when closed, it’s honestly surprising how large the internal display gets when you open the Moto Razr. There’s a crease that is barely visible, and it’s so slight you can hardly feel it with your finger. When the phone is closed, there is no gap between the halves, and this was the first clamshell I’ve seen to achieve that design goal.

Motorola Razr 2023 in multiple colors half closed with cover display showing content

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)

Sadly, where the Moto Razr lags behind competition like Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 is in durability. The Galaxy Z Flip 5 is IPX8 water resistant. You need to be careful with dust and dirt on every clamshell phone, but you can take the Galaxy into the bath or drop it in the pool. It won’t break. The Razr has a water resistant coating, but no promises. If you get it wet, it might die.

  • Design score: 4 / 5

Motorola Razr 2023 review: display

Motorola Razr 2023 in multiple colors half closed with cover display showing content

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)
  • Standout internal display is big, bright, and fast
  • The inner screen is bigger than most competing displays
  • Cover display is small but still sharp and useful

The display on the Motorola Razr, like the screen on the Razr 40 Ultra, is truly remarkable. Thanks to the clamshell design, it’s hard to see just how much screen you’re getting with this phone, but at 6.9-inches, it’s about as big as the huge display on the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra. It’s also nice and bright, and it runs fast at 144Hz, which beats many premium, flagship phones. 

With the Razr closed, you get a 1.5-inch cover screen, and it's much nicer than I expected. I was hoping it would be useful for weather reports and reading text messages, but that cover screen is a bright, AMOLED display, capable of showing even the camera viewfinder when you want to take a selfie. It’s a small view, but it works. 

Of course, the extra real estate you get when you upgrade to the Motorola Razr 40 Ultra makes a huge difference – it practically gives you a new device altogether when it’s closed. Still, Motorola Razr 40 buyers can save some money and still get the same amazing internal screen, one of the best I’ve seen even before I try to figure out how it folds in half. 

  • Display score: 5 / 5

Motorola Razr 2023 review: cameras

Motorola Razr 2023 in multiple colors half closed with cover display showing content

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)
  • Cameras feel cheap compared to everything else
  • Great possibilities let down by lack of versatility
  • At least it’s fun to use

The Motorola Razr has a serious camera conundrum. On the one hand, it’s very fun to use as a camera. You can take selfies with the main camera, thanks to the cover display showing you a slice of the scene. You can use the crease as a tripod and put the camera on the ground or on a table and let it aim at unique angles that would be hard to manage with a flat phone. 

Unfortunately, all that fun is deflated by terrible image quality. I’d love to excuse Motorola and say that the cameras are fine for the Moto Razr’s very low price tag, but I would have rather had a better camera than a display with a super-fast refresh rate. I’d give up some battery, even wireless charging, if it meant this phone had a solid, reliable camera. Sadly, that’s not the case. 

Motorola Razr 2023 in multiple colors half closed with cover display showing content

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)

The camera is just bad. In the brightest conditions, you’ll get good photos but you’ll still notice digital oversharpening around the edges, and a lack of fine detail when you zoom in. Reduce the light at all, and you’re left with a noisy mess. Photos look like watercolor paintings as the colors run together.

There are fun shooting modes, especially in video recording, but these won’t be very satisfying with the low image quality. If you don’t care very much about image quality, or you’re carrying a better camera with your phone, then be satisfied that this is the lowest point on a phone that is otherwise stacked with highlights. If you want images that you’ll be happy sharing and saving for a long time, you might want to look elsewhere.

  • Camera score: 2 / 5

Motorola Razr 2023 review: software

Motorola Razr 2023 in multiple colors half closed with cover display showing content

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)
  • A light touch on Android, with shortcuts
  • Can’t run full apps on the cover screen, only widgets
  • Motorola lags behind competitors in update promises

Motorola takes a light touch when it comes to modifying Android, so the software on the Motorola Razr looks a lot like what you’ll find on a Google Pixel – and that’s a good thing. There aren’t too many extra menus or widgets or pop-up buttons that distract from the task at hand. Even better, Motorola has a few unique gesture commands that are actually quite useful and memorable. 

If you hold the phone and make a chopping motion, the flashlight turns on. If you twist your wrist back and forth a couple of times, the camera turns on. The Razr is even smart enough that these gestures work when the phone is closed. If you need a compact flashlight, or if you want to take a quick selfie using the cover display, a gesture is all that’s required. 

The cover display can’t do much, but what it can manage are useful tasks. You get six widgets to activate on that small screen, including the weather, calendar, contacts, and media playback. There is also a widget for timers, which I found very useful, as well as a widget for voice recording, which seems tailor made for an editor like me. I wish there was the option to add more widgets, especially third party options, but only these half dozen features are available. 

  • Software score: 3 / 5

Motorola Razr 2023 review: performance

Motorola Razr 2023 in multiple colors half closed with cover display showing content

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)
  • Adequate performance for most tasks
  • Not the most capable work phone, but no complaints
  • The 144Hz screen is overkill on this phone

The Motorola Razr uses a Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 chipset, which is an adequate performance platform, though it won’t be great for gaming and intense workloads. The phone ran smoothly through the Motorola software and interface with never a stutter or lag. I didn’t notice any extra smoothness thanks to the 144Hz display, but I had no complaints about the way the phone handled. 

When I pushed the performance limit with games like Call of Duty Mobile, the Motorola Razr started to show its age. This Snapdragon 7 chipset is almost 2 years old, and CoD ran fine with lower graphics settings, but when I tried to crank things up in multiplayer mode, I got plenty of stuttering and jumps. More casual games ran smoothly, but intense game players should find a faster phone. 

You can do some basic multitasking on the Motorola Razr, but using the multi-window features was a bit difficult, and the phone had trouble when I had intense apps running on both halves of the display. Running Waze maps with YouTube causes lag, for instance. As a casual phone, the Motorola Razr certainly gets the job done, and I’d ask for a better camera before I asked for better processing performance. 

  • Performance score: 3 / 5

Motorola Razr 2023 review: battery

Motorola Razr 2023 in multiple colors half closed with cover display showing content

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)
  • Good battery life, on par with the best clamshell phones
  • Larger battery than the Razr 40 Ultra
  • Comes with a 30W charger

Motorola has done the best it could in fitting a large battery inside the thin folding shell of the Razr Plus. It's even managed to fit a larger battery into the folding frame than you’ll If the Motorola Razr has any advantage over the more premium Razr Plus, it’s the battery. First of all, the Razr obviously lacks the larger cover display of the Razr 40 Ultra, and a smaller display uses less power. I’m also less likely to use that smaller display, since it’s only good for a glance at a time, not useful as a screen on its own. 

Second, without that larger cover display, Motorola made a smart move and stuffed a larger battery into the Motorola Razr, compared to the Razr Plus. The Razr Plus packed only a 3,800 mAh battery cell, while this Razr gets a larger 4,200 mAh battery. It makes a difference. 

In my review of the Motorola Razr Plus, I had trouble making it through a full day of use without charging the phone. That was never the case with the Motorola Razr. The battery lasted a full day throughout my review, no matter what I was doing. It helped that I was taking fewer photos, and using the cover display less than I did with the Razr Plus. No matter, it still helped, and the cheaper Razr lasts longer, for better and for worse.

Motorola Razr 2023 in multiple colors half closed with cover display showing content

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)

The 30W charging time is respectable for a bargain phone, and so is Motorola’s decision to include a 30W charger in the box with the Razr. The phone even has wireless charging, at a creeping 5W pace. I know wireless charging has its fans, but I would have traded that feature for a better camera; just sayin’. in the iPhone 14 Pro, though Apple manages power slightly better. I couldn’t quite make it through a full day on a full charge with the Motorola Razr Plus, though that's probably because the phone was just so much fun to use. 

Having a dynamic and useful external display meant that I used the phone a lot more than I would a flip phone that's dark and motionless when it’s shut. Even when I wasn’t checking my hiking trails or keeping up with Slack chats, I just liked having the clock and screen saver active. It looks cute, and I don’t mind charging my phone a little more often as a trade-off for a bit of cuteness.

  • Battery score: 4 / 5

Should you buy the Motorola Razr Plus?

Motorola Razr 2023 in multiple colors half closed with cover display showing content

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)
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Motorola Razr 2023 / Razr 40 score card
AttributesNotesRating
ValueAmazing that you can get a cool foldable clamshell for $500, though it lags behind competitors with lower specs.4 / 5
DesignVery stylish and cool looking with great color options. Shame that it isn’t more water resistant, like Samsung’s foldables. 4 / 5
DisplayFantastic, huge display on the inside is bright, sharp, and faster than it needs to be. The cover display is small but very useful. 5 / 5
CamerasThe weak link in this otherwise strong chain, Motorola has skimped on cameras and it shows in images with noise and blurriness. 2 / 5
SoftwareMotorola doesn’t add too much to Android, and most of the gestures work very well. There are some features that don’t work, and not much productivity help. 3 / 5
PerformanceAdequate performance for most tasks, as long as you aren’t playing intensive games with high-res graphics. 3 / 5
BatterySolid battery life had no trouble lasting a full day. Wireless charging was a nice addition, though maybe unnecessary. 4 / 5

Buy it if...

You want the coolest looking phone you can buy for $500
The Motorola Razr is a cool-looking phone at any price, but for $500!? It’s astounding that you can get a great clamshell foldable for this bargain price. 

You want a huge screen but have small pockets
The Motorola Razr has a gigantic screen, about the same size as the huge Galaxy S24 Ultra, but it folds up into a totally pocket-sized communicator.

You want to hang up on calls again
Having a clamshell phone means you can snap your phone shut to hang up on calls. You can also hang up on social networks, the internet, and everything else on your phone. It can be a big relief. 

Don't buy it if...

You need to take great photos
The biggest compromise with the Motorola Razr, the one that hurts the most, is the lack of great cameras. The Razr cameras are a big step backwards, and photos don’t look good.

You want to use the phone while it’s closed
The larger cover display on the Motorola Razr Plus makes it an entirely new category of device, and it’s worth considering if you want a pocket phone that you don’t need to open.  

You’re a big mobile gamer
If you play a lot of high-resolution games, like Genshin Impact or Call of Duty Mobile, the Motorola Razr won’t be able to deliver the best experience, which is too bad considering the amazing display.

Motorola Razr Plus review: also consider

Motorola Razr Plus / Razr 40 Ultra

Motorola Razr Plus / Razr 40 Ultra
Like the Motorola Razr, the Razr 40 Ultra is perpetually on sale, and for just a bit more you get a huge, usable cover display and faster performance. Still no great cameras, sadly.
Read our <a href="https://www.techradar.com/reviews/motorola-razr-plus" data-link-merchant="techradar.com"">Motorola Razr Plus review

Image

OnePlus 12R
If you’re looking for the same mix of great style and an amazing display, but you don’t need a foldable phone, check out the new OnePlus 12R, which is the same price but gives you better cameras and much better performance.
Read our <a href="https://www.techradar.com/phones/oneplus-phones/oneplus-12r-review" data-link-merchant="techradar.com"">OnePlus 12R review

Image

Google Pixel 7
The Google Pixel 7 and Pixel 7a can both be found on sale for the same price as the Moto Razr, but Google’s phones are renowned for their amazing image quality, so if you want the best camera in this price range, consider a Pixel instead. Read our <a href="https://www.techradar.com/reviews/google-pixel-7" data-link-merchant="techradar.com"">Google Pixel 7 review

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Other phones to consider
Motorola Razr 2023Motorola Razr Plus / Razr 40 UltraOnePlus 12RGoogle Pixel 7
Price:$499 / £599 / AU$999$699 / £849 / AU$1,499$499 / £649$599 / £599 / AU$999
Display6.9-inch LTPO OLED, 144Hz 1.5-inch OLED6.9-inch LTPO OLED, 144Hz 3.6-inch OLED6.78-inch LTPO OLED, 120Hz6.3-inch OLED, 90Hz
PlatformQualcomm Snapdragon 7 Gen 1Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2Google Tensor G2
Cameras64MP wide; 13MP ultra wide; 32MP selfie12MP wide; 13MP ultra wide; 32MP selfie50MP wife; 8MP ultra wide; 2MP macro; 16MP selfie50MP wide; 12MP ultra wide; 10.8MP selfie

How I tested the Motorola Razr 2023

  • I've had the Motorola Razr 2023 for months of testing
  • This was the only phone I used for the two-week review period
  • I use benchmarking software, developer tools, and internal data collection

I used the Motorola Razr as my primary phone for both business and personal use for more than a month while writing this review. I used the Razr in every way I imagined a typical user would want to use it. I took photos, played games, and used it for all of my social networking and communication needs. I used productivity apps and tools, mindfulness and health apps, and fitness apps on the phone. 

I also used the Razr with wearable devices, including the Pixel Buds Pro earbuds and my Pixel Watch. I used it with an Xbox gaming controller, my Honda and Kia cars, and numerous Bluetooth accessories.

We benchmark all the phones we test using standard benchmarking software, and we also perform internal testing on the phone’s performance and battery life. I used GFX Benchmark, PhoneTester Pro, and Geekbench, among other testing apps. 

During my review time with the Motorola Razr, I loaded all of the apps I normally use with my smartphone. I used it for maps and navigation, music and video playback, as well as for calls and messaging. I took lots of photos and videos, played games, and used the phone to take photos at family events and gatherings. 

Read more about how we test

First reviewed March, 2024

Philip Berne
US Mobiles Editor

Phil Berne is a preeminent voice in consumer electronics reviews, having reviewed his first device (the Sony D-EJ01 Discman) more than 20 years ago for eTown.com. He has been writing about phones and mobile technology, since before the iPhone, for a variety of sites including PCMag, infoSync, PhoneScoop, and Slashgear. He holds an M.A. in Cultural Theory from Carnegie Mellon University. 


Phil was the internal reviewer for Samsung Mobile, writing opinions and review predictions about top secret new devices months before launch. He left in 2017. He worked at an Apple Store near Boston, MA, at the height of iPod popularity. He has been a High School English teacher at Title I schools, and is a certified Lifeguard. His passion is smartphones and wearables, and he is sure that the next big thing will be phones we wear on our faces.