Motorola Razr 40 Ultra: The Future of Foldable Smartphones

razr 40

Motorola has recently launched its latest foldable smartphone, the Razr 40 Ultra, and it seems like they have finally cracked the code to deliver a phone with a great display, battery life, and software. This phone is packed with features that make it stand out in the crowded foldable smartphone market. In this article, we will take a deep dive into the Razr 40 Ultra, exploring its design, display, software, camera, and hardware. We will also take a look at its pros and cons, and discuss why it is one of the best foldable smartphones to launch so far.

Design: Compact and Portable

Motorola has done an excellent job with the design of the Razr 40 Ultra. It is a compact phone that easily fits in your pocket and turns a big smartphone screen into something portable. It has rounded edges that make it comfortable to hold and give it a friendly look. However, it loses some of its Razr-ness, as historically, the Razr was a sharp, angled phone. It wasn’t named after a razor for no reason. The 2023 versions don’t have anything particularly sharp and angular about them at all. They’re rounded, soft, and friendly. While the very first model looked like it might cut you, this just wants to give you a cuddle.

The phone snaps shut, leaving no gap between the two halves of the phone. That means you’re not likely to find dust and debris finding its way in there. The phone is available in three colors: Infinite Black, Glacier Blue, and Viva Magenta. The last of those is the only one that features a soft vegan leather back rather than glass, giving the pinkish-reddish model a softer feel on the palm. The matte, frosted glass on the other two has a great, smooth texture too.

Display: A Great Combination of Screens

The Razr 40 Ultra comes with two screens: the cover screen and the internal screen. The revamped cover display is undoubtedly its highlight feature. It’s the largest cover screen we’ve seen on a modern folding flip phone, and it’s massively bigger than Samsung’s own Z Flip 4 display. It pushes all the way down to the edges, surrounding the dual cameras.

The cover screen software has been refreshed to give you easy access to interactive elements like notifications, quick settings, weather, calendar, and even a dedicated full-screen Spotify player interface. The position and size of the exterior display make it far more useful than any of the previous Razr cover screens. It became a handy way to read notifications on the fly, read messages, and even respond to those by typing on the keyboard. The keyboard is large enough that it’s comfortable to use and easy to type on.

Thanks to the revamped hinge on the phone, you can set the cover to almost any angle, making it convenient for taking selfies with the main camera too. Motorola has even loaded it with a handful of games designed to be played on the smaller screen.

The internal screen is a large 6.9-inch flexible LTPO AMOLED display with some impressive specs. It’s an LTPO panel, so it can ramp up and decrease refresh rates quickly and efficiently, from as low as 1Hz and 165Hz. It’s HDR10+ compatible too. It’s a bright panel that delivers plenty of light, color, and contrast to give good impact to videos and games of all kinds. Once it’s open, you can watch it and play on it just like you would a candy bar smartphone.

Software: A Simple and Clean Approach

One of the things we appreciate the most about the Razr 40 Ultra is the clean approach to the software. There are a couple of Motorola-created apps and features, like the clock and weather widget and gestures for launching the camera, but on the whole, it feels very similar to the software you’d get on a Pixel. This light touch makes it really easy and convenient to use and means it’s not loaded with the tonnes of additional apps you’d find on the Samsung competitor.

The only thing it’s missing is decent Flex Mode optimization. In the camera app, you’ll see the camera view move up to the top of the display when the screen is folded at an angle, but it doesn’t do that in any other app. Samsung has the advantage here, especially in video apps where you can have video controls on the bottom half and video on the top.

Camera: Good Performance, Yet Room for Improvement

The Razr 40 Ultra has a dual-camera setup on the front cover, with a primary camera having a large 12-megapixel sensor and an impressive f/1.5 aperture. It’s joined by a 12-megapixel ultrawide that also doubles as a macro lens. On the whole, it’s a strong system that will serve most buyers well. In strong outdoor daylight conditions, it would deliver images with vibrant colors that didn’t border too far into the over-saturated look we see from Samsung. Photos didn’t have that artificially sharpened, overly contrast-heavy look either.

However, there is a feeling that in saying that, we should probably lead with a caveat: for a foldable screen. Foldable displays do have a couple of disadvantages over traditional smartphone displays, and that’s almost entirely down to the materials used to make it a usable flexible display. The permanently attached screen protector is – essentially – a plastic film. By its very nature, it’s not as oleophobic as glass screens, and so fingerprints collect quite easily. Plastic film is also slightly less fluid and slippery under the finger, so you don’t always get the same effortless fluidity as glass offers when swiping and interacting with the display.

Hardware: Fast, Powerful, and Battery Friendly

The Razr 40 Ultra has last year’s flagship chipset, the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, which is fast, powerful, and battery-friendly. That was one of the reasons Motorola chose it, and our testing lead to surprisingly good performance from the 3800mAh battery inside. Most days, with typical usage, the phone would be at around 40% by bedtime. Despite having only 100mAh more than the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4, there was never the sense that we had to be austere with the phone usage. It just didn’t seem troubled at all, and even on the busiest days, we didn’t come all that close to draining it.

When it needs to be refilled, there’s a 30W wired charging capability that’ll get you topped again fairly quickly. It’s not as fast as the fastest wired chargers out there, but given the relatively small-capacity battery, it’s quick enough to be convenient. It has the benefit of wireless charging too, but at 5W, that’s laughably slow and definitely only worth using overnight on a bedside table.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Great display and software
  • Strong battery performance
  • Competitive price for the spec
  • Cover/exterior display is really useful

Cons:

  • Camera results could improve
  • Wireless charging is slow

Verdict

The Motorola Razr 40 Ultra represents quite a big step forward for the foldable smartphone market. It is a great combination of screens, with a revamped cover display that is undoubtedly its highlight feature. It’s a compact phone that easily fits in your pocket and turns a big smartphone screen into something portable. It makes it nice to hold, and the revamped hinge design means it doesn’t create one distinct pressure point across the middle of the panel, reducing the visibility of any crease. With strong display, battery life, and cameras, the Razr 40 Ultra gets a heck of a lot more right than it gets wrong. It is one of the best foldable smartphones to launch so far.

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