Motorola’s Razr foldable phone is discounted to $500 today | Digital Trends

Motorola’s Razr foldable phone is discounted to $500 today | Digital Trends

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

If you’re planning to buy a foldable smartphone, here’s an offer from Motorola that may be hard to refuse — the Motorola Razr 2023 for a discounted price of $500, for savings of $200 on its original price of $700. Folding phones rarely appear in phone deals, and they get sold out quickly when they do. We expect the same thing to happen with this bargain, so if you’re interested in taking advantage of it, you should proceed with completing your purchase as soon as you can.

Why you should buy the Motorola Razr 2023

The Motorola Razr 2023 is in our roundup of the best folding phones as the top option if you want to get one for cheap — it’s our recommendation if you’re one of those people who doesn’t need to have everything you can possibly get on a foldable phone. It’s a lightweight and compact device that features a 1.5-inch OLED external display with a 60Hz refresh rate and a 6.9-inch Full HD+ pOLED main display with a 144H refresh rate. You can view notifications, check the weather, play music, record videos and many more through the external display, without having to flip the phone open.

In terms of performance, the Motorola Razr 2023 runs pretty quick with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 processor and 8GB of RAM. It ships with Android 13 pre-installed, but you’ll be able to upgrade the smartphone to the latest Android 14. Its camera system is headline by a 64MP camera with optical image stabilization, and its 4,200mAh battery can last you the whole day.

The Motorola Razr 2023 is an excellent choice if you want a folding phone, and it’s currently an even better option due to a $200 discount from Motorola. From its sticker price of $700, it’s down to a more affordable $500, but only if you hurry because there’s no telling when the offer will end. If you want a similar smartphone from Motorola with a faster refresh rate, a larger outer display, and an updated processor, the Motorola Razr+ also has its

from $1,000 for savings of $300. You can’t go wrong with the Motorola Razr 2023 though, so buy it now if it’s the phone that you prefer.

Editors’ Recommendations






Have one of these Motorola phones? You’re getting a big update | Digital Trends

Have one of these Motorola phones? You’re getting a big update | Digital Trends

Joe Maring / Digital Trends

If you bought a Motorola phone within the last couple of years, you’ll want to keep your eyes out for a big Android update coming your way. Why? Motorola recently updated its support website, confirming which of its phones are getting Android 14, and it’s a big list.

The folks at YTECHB went through the (somewhat complicated) support page and made a full list of all the Motorola phones slated to get Android 14. There are well over 20 phones, including ones sold in the U.S. and models Motorola sells in other markets.

Focusing on the U.S. Motorola phones getting Android 14 and starting with the Moto G series, the following Moto G handsets are confirmed to receive an Android 14 update:

  • Moto G Stylus 5G (2023)
  • Moto G Stylus (2023)
  • Moto G Power 5G (2023)
  • Moto G 5G (2023)
  • Moto G Play (2023)

Looking at Motorola’s Edge phones, the Motorola Edge (2023) and Motorola Edge Plus (2023) are — unsurprisingly — getting Android 14. If you have the older Motorola Edge (2022) or Motorola Edge Plus (2022), you’re getting an Android 14 update, too. The wonderfully named Motorola Edge Plus 5G UW also has an Android 14 update headed its way.

Moo on the Motorola Razr 40 and Razr Plus's cover screen.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

What about Motorola Razr phones? The two Razr handsets released last year — the Motorola Razr Plus and Motorola Razr (2023) — will be updated to Android 14. And if you picked up the Lenovo ThinkPhone, you’re getting Android 14 as well.

That’s a healthy list of Motorola phones confirmed for an Android 14 update, which is great to see. However, there’s one big piece missing from this puzzle: timing. Motorola hasn’t indicated when Android 14 is coming to any of these phones, and if previous Android updates are anything to go by, you could be waiting a while before you actually get Android 14 on any of these Motorola phones.

Regardless, it’s good to have confirmation from Motorola that Android 14 is — finally — in the works.

Editors’ Recommendations






Why Motorola could be the smartphone company to beat in 2024 | Digital Trends

Why Motorola could be the smartphone company to beat in 2024 | Digital Trends

Joe Maring / Digital Trends

2023 is just about one for the history books, and it was a big one for smartphones. Apple went all-in on titanium iPhones, Google had an incredible year for Pixel devices, and Android phones had a shockingly good year across the board.

As we wind down 2023 and start looking ahead to 2024, there’s one company, in particular, that I want to highlight. Plenty of folks are already getting excited about the Samsung Galaxy S24 and the iPhone 16, but if you ask me, Samsung and Apple aren’t the companies you should be paying close attention to in the new year. Instead, your eyes should be set and centered on Motorola.

Motorola has nailed flagship smartphones

The lock screen on the Motorola Edge Plus (2023).
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Motorola got so much right this past year — and it all started with the Motorola Edge Plus (2023).  I reviewed the Edge Plus this past May, and all these months later, it remains one of my favorite phones of the year.

There’s not one single thing that made the Edge Plus stand out, but rather a culmination of Motorola getting so much right.

The 6.7-inch OLED display is vibrant, colorful, and a pure joy to look at. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor is still a performance champ, even a year after its release. The battery easily lasts for two days on a single charge, and the 68-watt wired charging means you can go from zero to 100% in about an hour. Hell, even the cameras — something Motorola has long struggled with — are solid. They’re not Google Pixel 8 Pro or Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra quality, but the Edge Plus’s camera system is still a wholeheartedly enjoyable one.

2023 gave us a lot of standout flagships, but the Motorola Edge Plus still stands out as one of the best ones. It’s one of the most complete smartphone packages you can buy today, not to mention the excellent $800 MSRP (which is often discounted as low as $600). I’ve waited years and years for a proper return to form for a flagship Motorola phone, and that’s precisely what we got with the Edge Plus in 2023.

Its mid-tier options are getting better, too

The back of the Motorola Edge (2023).
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

And it wasn’t just top-of-the-line flagships where Motorola succeeded this year. The company also impressed with its more budget-minded offerings — specifically with the Motorola Edge (2023).

I reviewed the Edge (2023) right around the time I was testing the Google Pixel 8, and it was remarkable just how easy it was to go back and forth between the two phones. As a $600 smartphone (which can now be bought for as little as $350), the Motorola Edge exceeded a lot of my expectations this year.

The Edge isn’t quite as well-rounded as its Edge Plus sibling, but as a decidedly mid-tier handset, it’s a very good package. I really like Motorola’s decision to use leather on the back and around the camera housing, which is grippier than glass and more premium-feeling than plastic. You also still get a very good OLED display with a 144Hz refresh rate, the MediaTek Dimensity 7030 processor is surprisingly capable, and you don’t have to sacrifice battery life or fast charging speeds.

There are some drawbacks, obviously. Motorola promises just one major software update from Android 13 to Android 14, and the cameras aren’t anything to write home about. But the overall package is a strong one, and I think it’s one of Motorola’s better mid-range offerings in a while.

The flip-phone foldable champ

The Motorola Razr Plus, half folded with its cover screen on.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Even while doing so well with “regular” smartphones in 2023, Motorola still found time to crank out multiple folding phones — and two of the most important ones of the year, at that.

The first foldable release from Motorola in 2023, the Motorola Razr Plus, was everything I’d been waiting for in a flip-phone type of foldable. Fun, unique design? Check. A large cover screen that runs fully-fledged Android apps? Check. Water and dust resistance? Fast performance? Great software? Check, check, and check.

Motorola has been dabbling with folding phones since late 2019, and the Razr Plus felt like what the company has been working toward for so many years. It’s one of the most enjoyable phones I’ve used in 2023, and even with more technically impressive competitors like the Galaxy Z Flip 5 now out, the Razr Plus still holds a special place in my heart.

A person opening the Motorola Razr 40.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Finally, it’d be a disservice not to talk about the regular Motorola Razr (2023).

On paper, the Razr (2023) doesn’t seem like anything special. Compared to the Razr Plus, it has a lower-specced main display, a slower processor, worse cameras, and a much smaller cover display. It’s an inferior phone in almost every regard, so why mention it at all?

The price.

The Motorola Razr (2023) has a retail price of $700, and depending on when you buy it, you can pick it up for as little as $500. In late 2023, you can spend just $500 for a brand new folding phone. That was completely unheard of just a year ago, but Motorola made that a very true reality this year — and it’s still a bit hard to believe.

High prices have long been one of the main deterrents for foldables. Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip and Z Fold families are great, but with prices ranging anywhere from $1,000 to $1,800, they’re far from affordable. The Razr (2023) is the first folding phone that feels like it’s actually obtainable for a large group of people, and even without the best specs in the world, that’s nothing short of amazing.

What will Moto do in 2024?

White Motorola logo against a wooden background.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Was 2023 a perfect year for Motorola? Not quite. The company still has room to improve its software update policy. Motorola’s Moto G line has also become unnecessarily confusing, and resulted in some less-than-stellar releases from Motorola this year.

But even with those quirks left to iron out, I can’t help but look back at 2023 as one of the strongest for Motorola in years. And because of that, I’m excited thinking about where Moto goes in 2024.

With the Edge Plus nearly perfected this year, imagine how good a successor next year could be. Motorola proved the standard Edge can be a very competent mid-ranger, and it has clear — but manageable — ways to improve it in the new year. And with the Razr and Razr Plus making such strong showings in 2023, the prospect of 2024 successors to them is beyond exciting.

Leaks and rumors about Motorola’s 2024 product roadmap have remained quiet so far, but if the company follows a similar pattern to what we saw this year, it’s safe to say we’ll be in for another spectacular year. And I can’t wait.

Editors’ Recommendations






Using this Motorola folding phone was an emotional rollercoaster | Digital Trends

Using this Motorola folding phone was an emotional rollercoaster | Digital Trends

Joe Maring / Digital Trends

In psychology, there is something called “affective ambivalence,” where two opposite emotions are experienced almost at the same time. It perfectly sums up the rollercoaster of feelings I’ve had for the Motorola Razr Plus since returning to it.

One moment I absolutely love it, but then it deeply frustrates me due to something silly or something Motorola should have fixed by now. But then I check how much it costs, and I go right back to being astonished by it.

Yes, my time with the Motorola Razr Plus has been emotional. Here’s why.

Emotional rollercoaster painted red

The back of the Viva Magenta Razr Plus.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

The Motorola Razr Plus has an uncanny ability to tug at my heartstrings. The Pantone Viva Magenta color is beautiful for a start, and apparently, red is a good example of a color that fires up our synapses and provokes an emotional response. “The emotional connotation of red switches between negative and positive,” it states in a study from Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, echoing how I’ve felt about the Razr Plus in general.

This small, red phone is utterly gorgeous, and I love the way the polished red metal surrounds the matte textured panel on the rear of the closed phone, which helps give it a tactility missing from smooth phones like the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5. Motorola changed its foldable phone design for the better this year, and it made exactly the right choice by going for such a bold color to highlight its work.

But when I pick the Razr Plus up and go to open it, my heart sinks. The exterior is slicker than a freshly polished wooden floor, but the hinge has more in common with cracking open an aging oak door than it does with the rest of this red beauty. It creaks as you prize it apart, and although it doesn’t offer any resistance, you can feel the components inside moving. I don’t think it’s going to break, but it robs the Razr Plus of finesse — something the Z Flip 5 doesn’t lack at all.

Moo saves the day, for a while

Moo on Motorola Razr Plus
Prakhar Khanna / Digital Trends

I snap the Razr Plus shut, my emotion having suddenly switched from attraction to aversion, but then I see Moo on the cover screen, and everything changes again. I don’t care that Moo is an animated, cutesy version of the Motorola “wings” logo and, therefore, corporate marketing fluff masquerading as a fun character. For me, it’s up there with the fantastic Snoopy watch faces on the Apple Watch with its uncanny ability to give a soulless electronic device real emotional appeal.

During the week, Moo’s schedule of working, eating, and sleeping mirrors mine, and during the weekend, Moo sings at karaoke, shops, and works out. No, I didn’t do any of those things this last weekend, so it made me laugh that the character on my phone screen was more socially outgoing and motivated than I had the opportunity to be.

Moo on the Motorola Razr Plus's cover screen.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

With Moo warming my heart, I replied to some messages, but using the Razr Plus then reminded me that it still has Android 13 installed. I’d recently used the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and the Galaxy Z Flip 5 again, and both received an update to Android 14. Oppo has also updated the Find N2 Flip with Android 14, leaving Motorola well behind with no firm information on when the update will arrive.

The Razr family is supposed to get three years of software updates, but timing is equally important, and communication on when Android 14 will arrive is minimal. Digital Trends asked Motorola’s press team about the schedule, but it has not provided any information on the situation yet. It sent my mood crashing down, and not even Moo’s antics could instantly turn that around.

At this price, it’s a bargain

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 next to the Motorola Razr Plus.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

As my mood related to the Razr Plus flip-flopped, I wondered if anyone should buy it instead of the Galaxy Z Flip 5. It’s brilliant, but it doesn’t have the same fun nature or the same emotional baggage as the Razr Plus. So I checked the price, and through Motorola’s online store, at the moment, it’s $700 unlocked — significantly less than its normal $1,000 price and matching the standard retail price of the mid-range Razr (2023).

Will it stay at this price forever? No, probably not, but Motorola seems highly motivated to sell these fun little phones, so another deal is almost certainly around the corner if you miss this one. But if you catch it for $700, the frustrations I’ve mentioned here are much easier to forgive, and saving this amount of money to get a very cool compact folding phone would make me quickly forget the creaky hinge.

A video playing on the Motorola Razr Plus.
Motorola Razr Plus Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

I settled back into loving the Motorola Razr Plus again, and my SIM is still in it as I write this. But as I glanced over to check out that shiny red body once more, the annoying empty black cover screen looked back at me as well. I tapped the screen to check for any missed notifications and sighed at Motorola’s decision not to add an always-on ambient display to any of its phones, let alone the Razr Plus.

I do recommend the Motorola Razr Plus, especially if you can get it at such a big discount, but here’s a warning for potential buyers: this feisty red phone won’t hesitate to play with your emotions, for better and for worse.

Editors’ Recommendations






Something amazing happened to folding phones in 2023 | Digital Trends

Something amazing happened to folding phones in 2023 | Digital Trends

Prakhar Khanna / Digital Trends

Samsung has been in charge of leading the foldable segment for too long. For years, Samsung dominated the foldable landscape with little to no competition. But that changed in 2023.

While the company put in the work to improve the Galaxy Z Flip 5 with a bigger cover display, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 seemed to remain an afterthought. Fortunately, other smartphone manufacturers started rolling out more foldable phones globally this year, and now, Samsung’s aren’t the go-to choice anymore. There’s finally healthy competition and choice for folding phones, and I’m so here for it.

Finally, some real competition

OnePlus Open and Google Pixel Fold camera modules.
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

Samsung started facing the heat from Google in June with the rollout of the Google Pixel Fold. It introduced a new form factor with a wide cover display and a horizontal aspect ratio on the inside. In my opinion, it isn’t an ideal form factor, especially with the weight and not having a vertical display on the inside. But it brought actual competition for the foldable phone market in the U.S. — a critically important task.

Honor showcased the slimmest and lightest foldable with the Honor Magic V2 in September, and it was a turning point for me. It lies in the middle of the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Pixel Fold in terms of form factor. It solved the major design issues that were a norm for book-style foldables.

The Honor Magic V2 is closer to a slab phone in more than one way. It is thin enough to feel like a regular slab phone and weighs less than my then-primary phone, the iPhone 14 Pro Max. In fact, Honor made a whole new slim 5,000mAh battery for its foldable. Plus, It has a crease less than the other two Folds and packs a 20:9 cover screen, which is close to what you’d find on the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra or the iPhone 15 Pro Max.

While the Honor Magic V2’s global availability hasn’t been announced, it is slated to launch sometime in Q1 2024. It showcased what a book-style foldable can be and became a benchmark for design – at least for me. And it remains one even after the launch of the OnePlus Open (more on that below).

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 next to the Motorola Razr Plus, both showing their cover screens.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Additionally, we saw the return of Motorola Razr with the Motorola Razr (2023) and Motorola Razr Plus. The latter was arguably better than the Galaxy Z Flip 5, with a bigger cover screen and better battery life. Globally, Oppo had already rolled out the Find N2 Flip, which introduced a new vertical cover screen on the outside.

Samsung made a good comeback with the Galaxy Z Flip 5 in Q3, which brought a solid hinge and new cover screen but with the same dual camera setup and gutter-like crease in the middle. The Oppo Find N3 Flip solved both concerns with a triple rear camera setup that included a dedicated telephoto lens on a flip phone for the first time. Plus, the crease situation was much better than Samsung’s phones.

One phone beat Samsung at its own game

OnePlus Open from the back, in hand and less than half folded.
Prakhar Khanna / Digital Trends

If the Honor Magic V2 had been released outside of China, it’d be my go-to recommendation for a book-style foldable. But OnePlus did what Honor couldn’t with its first big foldable, the OnePlus Open. It not only challenged Samsung but beat it in almost every way — despite undercutting it on the price.

Similar to the Honor Magic V2, the OnePlus Open features a 20:9 aspect ratio, which I consider ideal for this type of foldable. As a result of the slab-like cover screen, apps don’t misbehave, which is an issue on the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Pixel Fold – whether with black borders or the app not being comfortable and displaying zoomed-in text on an irregular aspect ratio. But the OnePlus Open did two other things that no other folding phone has done yet.

First, It offered a camera setup that’s better and more versatile than any big foldable phone. At launch, it had some issues with tuning for the new Sony sensor, but it has only gotten better with updates. Plus, the 6x zoom feels straight out of a more traditional flagship phone.

Two games running simultaneously on OnePlus Open held in hands.
Botworld (top) and Whiteout Survival running on OnePlus Open simultaneously. Tushar Mehta / Digital Trends

Second, the crease is almost negligible. You can still feel it, but it’s notably less than the Samsung, Google, Honor, or Tecno foldables. You can’t see it 99% of the time, and for that 1% you can, you have to view it at a specific angle. It’s a non-issue.

The OnePlus Open also took multitasking to the next level with its Open Canvas feature. For the first time, you can now have three apps simultaneously on your screen, with each interaction just a tap away. When you use it, you realize how much you can accomplish on the big inner display. I can plan for my next story or my next trip with Chrome, YouTube, and Google Keep all open simultaneously.

The OnePlus Open is easily my favorite phone of the year that’s available globally.

2023 did something else for foldables

Tecno Phantom V Fold and Tecno Phantom V Flip.
Prakhar Khanna / Digital Trends

It’s no secret that folding phones come at an expensive price tag, and oftentimes, it’s the price that keeps consumers from jumping on the foldable bandwagon. But Tecno democratized the market by launching a book-style foldable and a flip phone at unbelievable prices.

The Tecno Phantom V Fold was launched at 79,999 Indian Rupees (INR), which translates to $960, less than most regular flagship phones. YouTuber Michael Fisher famously called it the “a fold at the price of a flip” – something Tecno used at its launch event.

The Tecno Phantom V Fold's open screen.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The Phantom V Fold isn’t a bad foldable by any means. It offers a more useable cover screen and a lesser crease on the inner screen than the Galaxy Z Fold 5. There were obviously instances where Tecno had to cut corners. For example, the hinge is either at 90 degrees or 180 degrees flat, and the cameras aren’t something to boast about, but they’re workable.

As if that wasn’t enough, Tecno also launched a flip phone at 49,999 INR ($600), which brings it to a mid-range phone category, similar to the Motorola Razr launch price in the US. It is selling for 54,999 INR ($660) and still remains the cheapest flip phone on the market, slightly cheaper than the $700 Motorola Razr.

You might not get the fastest performance or the best cameras on these two flip phones, but they are democratizing foldables, which have long remained a novel pursuit. In 2023, folding phones aren’t something you have to splurge on, and that’s a big win for the form factor.

Folding phones are here to stay

Honor Magic V2 and OnePlus Open in hand.
Prakhar Khanna / Digital Trends

In short, 2023 was an outstanding year for folding phones.

Samsung faced more competition than ever, which exposed its lazy approach with the Fold 5. Google entered the segment. Honor showed you can make foldables as slim and light as a slab phone. OnePlus led the form factor with great cameras, a near-creaseless display, and next-level multitasking. Oppo introduced a dedicated telephoto camera on a flip phone for the first time. Motorola and Tecno brought foldables to the masses.

That’s more activity in the global foldable market than we’ve seen in the last four years combined — since the launch of the first Galaxy Fold in 2019. I’m still amazed by having a 7.6-inch tablet-like display right inside my pocket that enables me to do so much more than a regular, non-folding phone.

I hope 2024 continues to be amazing for foldables and that Samsung pushes itself to make the Galaxy Z Fold 6 more than an iterative upgrade. This is the best year we’ve had yet for folding phones, and I can’t wait to see where the niche is another year from now.

Editors’ Recommendations






Motorola Razr foldable phone hit its lowest price of 2023 | Digital Trends

Motorola Razr foldable phone hit its lowest price of 2023 | Digital Trends

Joe Maring / Digital Trends

If you’re looking for some impressive savings on a new phone, look no further than the Motorola Razr Plus. The unlocked model is seeing its lowest price of the year at Amazon today. The Motorola Razor Plus is one of the best phone deals you’ll find, as it’s marked down to $800 from its regular price of $1,000. This makes for a savings of $200 on what is a very recently released phone. Amazon is including free shipping with a purchase.

Why you should buy the Motorola Razr Plus

Motorola has been in the phone business for decades, and the Motorola Razr has always been one of its more popular models. It’s a sleek, minimal smartphone that makes it easy to keep a lot of cool phone features in your pocket. In fact, we consider the Motorola Razr to be the best cheap folding phone on our list of the best folding phones, and the Razr Plus is the larger version of it. It has a 6.9-inch pOLED display and a 3.6-inch external display that lights up with notifications and other alerts when you have it folded up.

But there’s a lot to love about the Razr Plus beyond its displays. It has a powerful Snapdragon 8+ processor that makes using the Razr Plus a snappy experience. The camera setup is pretty impressive as well. It has a couple of different lenses for versatility in capturing photos, and with Flex View you can stand the phone on its own at multiple angles, giving you new ways to interact, capture, and create. This model comes with 256GB of storage space, which is quite a bit and should be able to house all of your favorite apps and media without any issues. This is also an unlocked model of the Motorola Razr Plus, which means it’s compatible with any carrier.

While the Motorola Razr Plus would typically set you back $1,000, it’s currently marked down to $800 at Amazon. This makes for $200 in savings, as well as the lowest price the phone has seen all year. Free shipping is also included with a purchase of the Motorola Razr Plus.

Editors’ Recommendations






I’m sick of Motorola phones not having this one feature | Digital Trends

I’m sick of Motorola phones not having this one feature | Digital Trends

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

I’ve really liked many of the Motorola phones I’ve used this year, from the excellent Motorola Razr Plus and Motorola Razr 40 to the interesting, but odd Motorola ThinkPhone.

But I’m increasingly annoyed by the lack of one simple feature across all of them. It’s beginning to really bother me, as I don’t understand why Motorola refuses to add it in. I’m talking about a true always-on screen.

No permanent always-on option

Motorola's Peek Display feature active on a Razr Plus.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

It probably sounds strange, but it’s true. No modern Motorola phone has an always-on screen that permanently shows the time, notification icons, battery level, and other helpful at-a-glance information. What you get is a feature called Peek Display, which uses gestures or movement to wake the screen, so you can then see the time and various informative icons. There is no option to leave Peek Display on, so you see a black screen on the front of your phone almost all the time.

A permanently available always-on screen is, for me, exceptionally helpful. Like many people, I have my phone on silent and like to take a quick look at the screen to see if I’ve missed anything, especially when I’ve been busy with something else and the phone isn’t close to hand.

While it’s not the end of the world to go over to the phone and tap the screen, I shouldn’t have to do it. I don’t need to do the walk-and-tap with any other phone except a Motorola one. Even the iPhone now has an always-on screen, a feature that was avoided for years before Apple came to its senses.

The Always-On display on the iPhone 14 Pro.
The iPhone 14 Pro Always-On Display Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Yet Motorola is still holding out. The reason, according to the company, is to conserve battery life. It’s a bizarre excuse that makes almost no sense at all, especially in the era of dynamic refresh rate screens. But always-on screens are off by default most of the time anyway, so you have to make an effort to activate it.

If someone is really dedicated to maximizing battery life, they can either not activate it, or turn the feature off if they desperately miss the few percentage points of charge it’ll pull from the battery each day. But for those of us with different priorities, it can remain active.

I want the choice

The Peek Display's activation options on a Motorola Razr Plus
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

I simply want the choice to let the always-on screen drain the battery in my phone, rather than have Motorola make the decision for me. It’s baffling that it’s not an option because every other manufacturer is confident enough in its power management to enable what is a helpful feature. Why isn’t Motorola? Peek Display (and its various ways of interacting with notifications) is a decent added feature. But the absence of an always-on option has now gone from irritating me to making me rather angry.

I’ve been using the Motorola Razr 40 Ultra (known as the Razr Plus in the U.S., due to Motorola’s love of confusing everyone with its nomenclature), and have enjoyed it apart from the stupidity of not being able to fully utilize the excellent cover screen. However, what I began to notice is that I only have to breathe in the phone’s direction to wake the cover screen up. It’s unbelievably sensitive, and springs into life at almost every opportunity — to the point where its incessant, sudden illumination became distracting when the phone is in my peripheral vision.

Moo on the Motorola Razr Plus's cover screen.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

This made me angry because there’s no way this saves any power, or is any more efficient than just giving me a regular, monochrome, low-refresh rate always-on display. Instead, Moo (the best Motorola wallpaper you can get) constantly leaps on to the screen in all its animated glory, eagerly sucking that valuable energy Motorola is apparently going out of its way to retain by not giving me what is a basic phone feature in 2023.

It makes the “saving battery” excuse sound very weak indeed. It’s no substitute for a normal always-on screen either, as the moment I look over at the screen to see if there’s some helpful information, it goes black again. It’s infuriating.

Is this a deal breaker?

Moo on the Motorola Razr 40 and Razr Plus's cover screen.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

I understand not everyone will be angered by this in the same way as I am, and I’m not claiming that ignoring a permanent always-on screen is as stupid as something like not installing a Phone app. It’s obviously not a reason to avoid buying a Motorola phone completely, particularly because the company has put out some great phones recently — from the aforementioned Razr foldables to the Motorola Edge Plus (2023).

However, because its top phones have steadily improved over the past year or so, the lack of a true always-on display becomes more irksome. “Oh great, I’ve got to put up with Peek Display” has become the first thing I think of every time I put my SIM in a new Motorola phone. It makes me wonder if there’s a clause in Motorola’s contracts that says, “I promise to never fully enable the always-on display,” like some ancient directive handed down over the years. Sounds ridiculous. I know, but then, so is not giving people the option to use an always-on display all the time.

Still, I’m holding out hope that Motorola will one day realize a really helpful feature is missing from its phones, and a short software update will be sent out to cure the oversight. Until that day, I’ll continue to roll my eyes when I glance over to see absolutely nothing apart from a black screen on my Motorola phone.

Editors’ Recommendations






I was totally wrong about 2023’s best folding flip phones | Digital Trends

I was totally wrong about 2023’s best folding flip phones | Digital Trends

Motorola Razr Plus Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

I admit it: I got sucked into the anticipation and excitement around the concept of running any app I wanted on the cover screen of a compact folding smartphone. I wasn’t the only one either. The ability to run any application on a tiny, folded-up smartphone sounds — on paper — really exciting.

But then I tried the feature out and realized that I was wrong about folding flip phones in this regard. Actually, I didn’t want to run any app on the screen at all. I only need a few.

Flip phones, cover screens, and apps

Apps on the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The Motorola Razr Plus (or Razr 40 Ultra as it’s known in the U.K.) can run practically any app installed on the phone’s cover screen. By default, there is a selection of apps available when you swipe to the right of the main screen, but the edit button lets you add as many as you like. It shows a half-hearted warning that apps may not quite look right, as they’re not designed for the oddly shaped small display, but other than that, it’s a total free-for-all.

Samsung went in a different direction with the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5, and out of the box, it only lets you run a selection of curated apps it thinks you most want on the cover screen. There was a bit of furor over this ahead of launch, and I’m ashamed to say I was somewhere in the mix, stating that Samsung really needed to widen app support on the cover screen if it wanted to be a success. Post-launch, it was discovered that if you jump through a few hoops and install a separate app on the phone, it’s relatively easy to get any app you like operating on the outer display.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 next to the Motorola Razr Plus.
Motorola Razr Plus (left) and the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 Joe Maring / Digital Trends

That’s any Android app you like on a small screen. Nirvana, surely? Well, no.

As a quick reminder, the Galaxy Z Flip 5 has a 3.4-inch Super AMOLED cover screen with a 720 x 748 resolution, while the Razr Plus has a 3.6-inch AMOLED with a 1056 x 1066 resolution. You can probably tell, even without trying either phone, that these are square screens and not oblong ones — and that they are also much larger than the ones fitted to the Galaxy Z Flip 4 and the Razr Plus’s cheaper sibling, the Razr 40.

The hard truth about using any app you want

Just because the cover screens on these two superb phones are bigger and higher resolution, and can run any app you like, doesn’t mean you should bother. I’ve used both phones for many weeks now and love the way the cover screens show notifications, let me reply to messages, take a quick look at Google Maps, and briefly check an email. I also appreciate how useful they are to show QR codes, tickets, or other time-sensitive information. Basically, they are excellent at saving you time by performing any simple task that would otherwise require opening the phone.

However, the instant I want to write a long message, accurately reply to an email, browse Chrome or Threads, play a game, or watch a video, I open the phone. Why? It’s natural.

When you use the keyboard on the closed Razr Plus, for example, it takes up the entire screen, so you lose context from the original message, slowing you down. When you open Threads, you see one short post at the most and a bit of any attached image, making browsing a laborious affair (which is repeated in Chrome). When you watch a YouTube video, it displays at a fairly low resolution on the screen and is obviously tiny. And while I can add Pocket City to the cover screen, I don’t know why I’d suffer through actually playing it there instead of just opening the phone.

I quickly began to use only a core selection of apps on the cover screens of these phones, such as Messages, WhatsApp, Line, and Outlook. And even then, it was really only to get a little more information outside of the normal notification. As soon as I wanted to do anything in greater detail, I opened the phone to do it. I felt a bit silly getting excited about any app on the cover screen because, in reality, it’s usually much easier and faster to just open the phone up to do anything of substance.

That said, Samsung’s optimized apps are brilliant and far slicker than on the Razr Plus. For example, WhatsApp makes better use of the space on the Z Flip 5 than it does on the Razr Plus. That’s despite the Razr Plus having a bigger screen, simply because WhatsApp has been specifically designed to work on the Z Flip 5. The keyboard doesn’t just fill the screen, although it’s more fiddly to use because it’s smaller, and you can better navigate YouTube on the cover screen too. But I still have no real wish to use either of them.

Foldables need to be smarter about this

A video playing on the Motorola Razr Plus.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

This may sound like I don’t want apps on the cover screen of my folding flip phones, but this isn’t strictly true. What I’ve found is that the ideal situation is a mix of both Samsung and Motorola’s approaches to them.

Samsung only offers certain apps on the cover screen by default because each has been specially adapted to work there, ensuring quality and functionality don’t suffer. However, it has wasted time and effort optimizing apps like Netflix. I can’t think of a single instance where I would want to watch videos on the cover screen when I could just open up the phone for an infinitely better viewing experience.

Motorola just leaves it down to you from the start and doesn’t require installing another app to make full use of the cover screen’s functionality. This is a great way around the issue of a curated app list likely not providing access to features like digital keys or tickets that are visible in less popular apps, which simply aren’t likely to be worth optimizing for the cover screen. But as the Z Flip 5 proves, apps really benefit from being coded to work on a cover screen.

A video playing on the Motorola Razr Plus.
Motorola Razr Plus Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Freedom to use different apps is essential, but optimizing apps that are actually useful is equally important. Before using these two phones, I was adamant I wanted the chance to have any app on the cover screen, but now having lived with them, my opinion is different.

I wasn’t completely wrong about the need for such open-app functionality, but my earlier thoughts have been refined. Yes, the ability to run any app on the cover screen is a must-have for phones like the Z Flip 5 and Razr Plus, but anything outside of a logical, core group of optimized apps is absolute overkill.

Editors’ Recommendations






The crazy (but cute) reason you should buy a Motorola flip phone | Digital Trends

The crazy (but cute) reason you should buy a Motorola flip phone | Digital Trends

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

When I reviewed the Motorola Razr 40 (or Razr 2023, if you prefer), I fell in love. Not with the phone, although it is very good indeed, but with Moo.

Moo lives on the phone’s cover screen and is a very rare beast indeed, as it’s a fun and cute character created by a brand that’s actually fun and cute. I liked having Moo live on my Razr so much that once I’d discovered it, I never thought about changing to another clock face or wallpaper image once.

What on Earth is Moo?

Moo on the Motorola Razr 40 and Razr Plus's cover screen.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Moo is an animated character who lives on the cover screen of the latest Motorola Razr phones, including the brilliant Motorola Razr Plus. Despite the name, Moo is not a cow, but an interpretation of the iconic Motorola “Batwing” M-shape logo. Moo is round and white, with a cute face and two dots above its antenna, and just goes about its day on your phone. It just so happens that Moo’s day usually mirrors your own.

I know how this sounds. Moo is based on Motorola’s logo and therefore dreamt up by marketing folk who have heard about cute things, but have no understanding of cuteness at all. Many brands have tried to create fun characters that resonate with people — for example, Samsung has a skateboarding bear, and Realme has the Realmeow cat mascot — but they’ve always been rather soulless branding exercises and quickly forgotten.

This history suggests Moo absolutely shouldn’t work in any way at all, but Moo is different. Whether by design or by chance, Moo is easily the cutest, most fun animated logo-turned-mascot ever to be put onto a smartphone, and you need to be made aware of its existence. Why? Because it may end up factoring into your phone-buying decision.

What’s so great about Moo?

Moo on the Motorola Razr Plus's cover screen.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

What am I saying? Am I actually recommending you buy a particular smartphone because of a clever clock face? Well, kind of, yes! Smartphones are pieces of technology, so when something adds character, it should be celebrated. Moo does exactly that. Let me explain what I mean, and you’ll have to forgive me because I’m going to sound a bit crazy; I know I’m describing an animated character on a phone, but just stay with me.

Right at this moment, I am typing this story on my computer, and when I tap the cover screen on the Razr 40, Moo is there typing away on a laptop too. Tap Moo again, and the view switches to the side as Moo furiously types away, reminding me of those cute GIFs of cats typing. Moo’s activities then change according to the time of day. Moo brushes its teeth first thing in the morning, then commutes to the office before eating dinner and reading in the evening, with other activities in-between. When the phone’s battery is almost flat, Moo gets exhausted and takes a nap.

The Motorola Razr 40's cover screen, with the Moo character.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Each time you tap Moo, the scene changes to something else, but it’s never something unrelated or perfunctory. Someone has thought about Moo and tried to inject some feeling into the design. Only when you are told Moo is shaped a bit like Motorola’s logo does that link it become clear, and until then, it’s just a very cute creature doing its own thing. It’s astonishingly successful, as there are flashes of actual character here, and it all comes to life through a simple, yet brilliant design.

Moo’s activities aren’t just basic movements or “cool” activities. Moo doesn’t skateboard, which is a good thing, as neither do I. Moo doesn’t act like a DJ, jump up and down for no particular reason, or just walk across the screen either. This is the inspired part, as it transforms Moo from being yet another failed marketing play into a memorable character that lives on your phone and, amazingly, becomes somewhat relatable in the process. No other phone company has come close to creating a character like Moo.

I didn’t want Moo to go

Moo on Motorola Razr Plus
Prakhar Khanna / Digital Trends

Initially, I didn’t use Moo for the Razr 40’s cover screen, and those early few days with just a boring image are ones I regret. I discovered Moo after looking at the cover screen options, and my experiences with previous mascots almost made me pass it by. I’m so glad I didn’t, as once Moo was living on the cover screen, it didn’t change until I took my SIM card out to put into a different phone. I’ll be honest, it was a sad day saying goodbye to Moo.

I have recently had the chance to try the Motorola Razr Plus (or Motorola Razr 40 Ultra, as it’s known in the U.K.), and Moo is also an option on that phone — just at a far larger scale than on the Razr 40’s small cover screen, and with added background animations too. Moo manages to make the Razr’s cover screen entertaining, is far cuter than it has any right to be, and I promise you will smile when you see its antics (especially when you’re doing something very similar in real life).

Here’s a confession: I’d take Moo on the cover screen over it running Android apps every time. If you think I’m crazy, then just give Moo a try when you handle a Razr phone, and I think you’ll be nodding in agreement with everything I’ve said after just a few moments. If you already own a Razr phone, but haven’t found Moo, go to Settings > External Display > Clock Faces, and select the one named Moo Time. You’ll be glad you did.

Editors’ Recommendations






5 ways the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 beats the Motorola Razr Plus | Digital Trends

5 ways the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 beats the Motorola Razr Plus | Digital Trends

Joe Maring / Digital Trends

The Motorola Razr Plus instantly became the best flip phone when it launched a few weeks ago because it was competing with the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4. Its biggest advantage was the big cover display compared to the tiny widgets-only screen on Samsung’s clamshell foldable phone. The cover screen software remains superior to that of the new Galaxy Z Flip 5, but the Razr Plus starts falling behind when you unfold it.

I’ve been using the Motorola Razr Plus on and off for the past month and got the Galaxy Z Flip 5 a couple of days after its launch. I’ve spent a lot of time with both phones to have a good idea of which one is better, and it seems like the Z Flip 5 is winning this battle.

The Galaxy Z Flip 5 has a nicer design and hinge

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 next to the Motorola Razr Plus.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

In my experience, the Galaxy Z Flip 5 feels more premium in the hand. When compared to the Razr Plus, the Samsung phone also has a better hinge. It sits flush nowm with no gap between the two folded sides – just like the Motorola flip phones since the first Razr. But the Galaxy Z Flip 5 hinge instills more confidence in me as a user for two reasons.

In my one month of usage, the Razr Plus hinge has loosened up quite a bit. It was more relaxed than the Flip 5 hinge since the beginning, but I didn’t expect it to loosen this much. When I try to rub the two folded sides against each other (with minimal force), I can feel them moving, and that doesn’t happen on the Z Flip 5. Yes, I’m still just a week into using the Flip 5, but I’ve only used the Razr Plus on and off after having my SIM in it for six days.

Secondly, the Galaxy Z Flip 5’s hinge lets me prop it to any angle I want. The Razr Plus can go up to 135 degrees too, but once you touch the upper screen, it unfolds to 180 degrees. I keep my Z Flip 5 unfolded at around 135 or 150 degrees when I’m on a Zoom call and taking notes on my laptop, or when I’m in bed and still want to use certain apps at specific angles. The Flip 5 also has a setting under Advanced Features > Labs > Flex mode panel that lets you use any app on the upper half of the display with certain controls at the bottom. It has come in handy for me when browsing on Chrome in bed.

Samsung’s flip phone wins the camera comparison

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 next to the Motorola Razr Plus.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

The Galaxy Z Flip 5 has better cameras than the Razr Plus. On paper, both the flip phones feature 12MP primary cameras, but the way Samsung processes images is better than Motorola’s algorithm.

For instance, in the above comparison, you can see how the Motorola produces a blooming effect around the lights and an artificial outline around me — as if I added it after clicking the photo (I didn’t). In the same scenario, the Galaxy Z Flip 5 handles the lighting better. I see minimal blooming effect around the light and no outline around me. The details could have been better, but the Flip 5 image looks much nicer overall.

None of these cameras systems are on the same level as $1,000 non-folding phones. But for a flip phone, the Galaxy Z Flip 5 clicks better photos. In the daytime, the Motorola also processes dull-looking shots when compared to the Flip 5. It might be my preference, but I like the output from the Flip 5’s cameras better than that of the Razr Plus.

Motorola trails on performance and updates

Motorola Razr Plus and Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 in hand with cover display turned on.
Prakhar Khanna / Digital Trends

I didn’t notice a difference in day-to-day tasks like app switching and web browsing, but once you fire up a game, things change. The Motorola Razr Plus gets warm with medium usage, even without gaming. To get the Galaxy Z Flip 5 to heat up, you need to push it to the limits. The difference in the chipset – the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 on Razr Plus and Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 on the Flip 5 – is apparent when playing games. The processor also helps with better image processing on the Flip 5.

Plus, your Galaxy Z Flip 5 will get four years of major Android upgrades and five years of security updates, as compared to the promised three OS upgrades and four years of bimonthly security updates on the Razr Plus.

One big miss on both flip phones is mediocre battery life. I wish I could get through a day of heavy usage on a flip phone, but that isn’t happening yet. However, the Galaxy Z Flip 5 lasts me a bit longer than the Razr Plus. It’s still not incredible battery life, but it is outperforming Motorola’s handset.

The Galaxy Z Flip 5 is a better flip phone overall

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 showing off its new cover screen.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

I’ve written before about how the Motorola Razr Plus beats the Galaxy Z Flip 5 with its cover screen software. After all, taking advantage of the big screen on the front shouldn’t be as complicated as it is on the Z Flip 5. But the Samsung flip phone is better than Motorola’s on almost every other point.

The Galaxy Z Flip 5 features a better hinge, feels more premium in the hand, offers better performance, has longer update support, and captures more detailed shots. This easily makes the Z Flip 5 the better clamshell foldable when compared to the Razr Plus — and the one I’m much happier using.

Editors’ Recommendations