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Home Amazon,walmart.etc Motorola’s 2024 Razr Plus is a fun but flawed flip phone

Motorola’s 2024 Razr Plus is a fun but flawed flip phone

by xyonent
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It’s rare to be happy with a phone in 2024, but that’s the Motorola Razr Plus.

Sure, phones are great little computers—and rightly so, since the Razr Plus costs $999. But phones are mature products, more tools than objects of pleasure, and for the most part, they blend into the background noise of our lives. But the Razr Plus is different, and not just because it folds in half.

Here’s an example: One of the background options in the media controls on the cover screen is a turntable. When music is playing, a record spins with one of the camera cutouts in the center. When you press pause, the needle moves away from the record and stops. Are you kidding? Cute.

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There’s a lot to like about the Razr Plus, so the disappointment hurts just a little more than it would if it were a regular flat-screen phone. The cover screen is incredibly useful. This year, the UI has been improved to make it even more useful. It’s IPX8 rated, making it much more waterproof. And the hinge has been improved this time, so the crease is barely visible when using the inner screen. That’s important. But the meaningful improvements and moments of joy don’t outweigh the Razr Plus’ shortcomings in the long run.

For those new to modern flip phones, here’s a quick rundown: They’re a big phone on the inside and a small phone on the outside. When you open the phone, it’s a regular smartphone with a big screen that lets you perform all of the common functions. But when you close it, the cover screen acts almost like a second phone, allowing you to do basic things like check notifications and reply to texts without having to open the phone and face all of that big screen. Personally, I love flip phones.

Motorola sells two versions of its modern take on the classic flip phone: the Razr Plus and the more basic Razr. This year, both Razr models come with larger cover screens. The Razr Plus’s diagonal screen is a generous 4 inches, compared to last year’s 3.6-inch screen. It feels compact compared to modern phone displays, but it’s probably about the same size as the screen on the first iPhone. The bezel (can we call it a bezel?) around the top of the screen is much smaller than in previous generations; it makes last year’s model look like a prototype.

This time around, these cover screen panels take up a much larger portion of the screen.

There are also significantly more ways to customize your cover screen this time around. You can choose a few app shortcuts to place directly on the main page of your cover screen. Previously, you had to swipe to another panel before you could access your apps. The calendar panel has been significantly improved, with several more display configurations and more information visible.

The flow for allowing apps to open on the cover screen has also been improved. Last year’s model required you to open the phone to approve an app to appear on the cover screen, once per app, then for all apps. Now you can approve and open an app directly from a notification on the cover screen. There are actually three options: Allow, Don’t Allow, or (my favorite) Not Now. This option lets you slowly walk away without making a commitment when you mindlessly tap on a Threads notification. Not now, Satan.

This phone has a completely different phone connected to it.

Overall, the Cover Screen experience is much better than the previous generation. It’s more mature and doesn’t feel like you’re testing beta software. I would choose this over the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 any day. And of course, I know about Good Lock. Motorola has put a lot of thought into every aspect of the display and it shows. Oh, and before I talk about the whole other phone that comes with this phone, let me tell you about two other features they added to the Cover Screen: Google Assistant (including Gemini!) and the Always-On Display. All my dreams are coming true.

The cover screen is great, but the inside screen is more ordinary: a 6.9-inch 1080p OLED, the resolution wasn’t too noticeable in testing, but the screen is large enough that you’d benefit from more pixels, and it’s not as bright outdoors as I’d like. Are you okayBut for the same amount, or maybe even a little less, you can certainly get a better display on a slab-style phone.

The creases are not visible unless you actually look for them.
Photo: Allison Johnson/The Verge

The good news is that Motorola has implemented a new hinge design this year that should reduce the noticeable crease when the phone is fully open. It’s also upgraded the IPX8 rating. Though it’s not officially dustproof, the Razr Plus is certified to survive full immersion in fresh water, a big improvement over the previous generation’s “splash-proof” rating. Importantly, the IPX8 rating puts the Razr Plus on par with the Galaxy Z Flip 5 (and soon-to-be Z Flip 6).

The soft-touch back panel is still a nice touch, but the hot pink model I tried has a new “vegan suede” material, which I don’t think has changed it for the better. It feels more paper-like and won’t age as easily. My review unit did have some faint scratches that didn’t go away even when I tried to buff them with my finger. This isn’t a premium case, and it’s not a premium case. Actual phone call — The other colours, Peach Fuzz, Midnight Blue and Spring Green, come in a vegan leather finish. last This year’s pink model appears to be holding up just fine.

With use, the “vegan suede” back panel has developed a few scratches.

The Razr Plus uses the Snapdragon 8S Gen 3 chipset, which occupies the upper mid-range, low-flagship realm in Qualcomm’s increasingly cluttered lineup. In the US, the Razr Plus comes with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, which are healthy numbers. This combination is more than enough for my everyday use, and it’s a great phone. Pocket City 2 My sessions didn’t put too much strain on it, and I have absolutely no complaints about the battery life – which is a real compliment, as flip phones tend to have smaller batteries – and the Razr Plus’s 4,000mAh cell provides enough power for a full day of heavy use and then some.

But I would again like to see Motorola improve its software support. The Razr Plus comes with three years of OS upgrades and four years of security updates. That’s fine. Four years is probably how long most people want to keep this phone. But Samsung and Google promise seven-year warranties on their high-end phones. Even the $499 Pixel 8A comes with seven years of support. I can’t help but expect more from a $999 phone. Motorola’s track record of timeliness isn’t great either. Razr Plus Owners in 2023 Android 14 update just started With Android 15 only a few months away from release, this doesn’t bode well.

Camera performance has been another weak spot for Motorola over the last few years, and unfortunately that remains the case with the Razr Plus.

Motorola appears to be trying to address this issue with a new feature called Photo Enhancement Engine. The company says the feature uses AI to improve noise reduction in low light, improve bokeh in Portrait Mode photos, and increase dynamic range. This sounds like a list of everything phone makers have used AI for in the last decade. Either way, the new photo processing pipeline doesn’t address some fundamental issues, such as poor subject separation in Portrait Mode, unconvincing background blur, and uneven color reproduction.

The system knows how to handle bright, plentiful light—I was able to take some great photos from the top of a hike—but in moderate light it still had challenges, with flat, overbright images and reds that were saturated enough to clip.

The Razr Plus swaps out last year’s ultra-wide lens for a 2x telephoto lens, giving it better zoom options for portrait shots. There’s also a 4x digital zoom for longer shots, and image quality is good as long as there’s enough light. The lack of an ultra-wide lens on the back panel means you won’t get the chance to get everyone in a group selfie, but the main camera is wide enough to capture several people.

So, here’s the dilemma. As much as I love using the Razr Plus, I find it very hard to recommend it. The cover screen is a key part of the flip phone experience, and it’s improved in every way this time around. It’s easier to use, has more useful features, and is much more customizable. For a flip phone enthusiast like me, this is a real winner.

But for those with a more casual interest in flip phones, or those with nostalgia appeals, we wouldn’t recommend this phone. You can get better cameras on cheaper flat-screen phones, and camera performance is important if you’re going to carry it around every day. Motorola’s track record with timely software updates is still spotty, and the internal screen isn’t up to the standards of modern flagship phones.

If you think $999 is too much for the Plus, it’s worth considering the standard 2024 Razr. Unlike last year, it comes with a large cover screen like its sibling and is also IPX8 rated. We haven’t tested it yet, but $699 for its feature set makes it very appealing. Meanwhile, the Galaxy Z Flip 6 is on the way. Motorola could learn a thing or two from Samsung’s software approach with quick updates and long support periods. Meanwhile, Samsung could take a few cues from the Razr Plus, which is a great phone.

Photo: Allison Johnson/The Verge

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