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The Motorola Razr 2024 needs to fix these three things if it wants to beat Samsung

Motorola Razr 40 Ultra, folded in hand with the external display on

If Motorola can address the few concerns I had with the Razr 40 Ultra, the Razr 2024 could be a real game-changer

Motorola is a name that has long been synonymous with some of the best foldable phones of all time, but the brand has struggled to surpass Samsung as the definitive choice for a modern flip phone.

When I reviewed the Motorola Razr 40 Ultra last year, I stressed how close it was to claiming the crown as the best flip phone, but that it ultimately fell tantalisingly short of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5.

I’ll get to exactly what needs to change to shift this dynamic later, but first, let me quickly go over what features the Razr 2024 must poach from its predecessor. If you’re already caught up on everything that the Razr 40 Ultra got right, or you just want to get to the juicy bits, use the link below to skip to my suggested improvements.

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Motorola Razr 2024: What needs to stay

The biggest strength of the Motorola Razr 40 Ultra was its sleek and stylish design. While roughly the same dimensions as the Galaxy Z Flip 5, its rounded edges felt more snug in the hand than the Samsung’s flat sides, making it more comfortable for one-handed use.

On top of that, and this is admittedly down to personal preference, the bold Viva Magenta colourway is far more striking than Samsung’s muted palette. Motorola has continued its partnership with Pantone for its recent handsets, so it looks like a safe bet that we’ll see at least one stand-out colour option for the Razr 2024.

The Razr 40 Ultra also has an excellent external display so I’m hoping Motorola doesn’t meddle with this too much. The 3.6in panel wraps around the rear cameras, resulting in a cleaner look than the Galaxy Z Flip 5, which has a fairly chunky cutout to accommodate its lenses. The 1,066 x 1,056 resolution is also terrific and should carry over, though I’m not convinced that the 144Hz refresh rate is worth putting on the outer display, as it feels like overkill.

Motorola Razr 40 Ultra against a grey backdrop, with author Ben Johnston reflected in the blank display taking a photo

The internal display, however, should bring all the strengths of its predecessor over, 165Hz refresh rate and all. I had so few faults with this panel that I’m even tempted to say that Motorola should focus its improvements elsewhere and just stick with what works here. The bumpers around the panels are slim and unobstructive, the hinge crease is barely visible – an accolade that Samsung still cannot match – and colour accuracy is solid, albeit still not perfect.

I’m not against Motorola bringing improvements to the camera suite – in fact, it’s a near certainty – but what’s important here is that there are no cuts to what already works. The dual-camera array on the Razr 40 Ultra proved to be a solid pairing in my testing, with bright, vibrant images in good lighting and even some fairly decent ultrawide shots – an area in which the Galaxy Z Flip 5 stumbled slightly.

Three different uses of the Motorola Razr 40 Ultra's external display, with Netflix, a mobile game and YouTube

The main camera also performed reasonably well after dark, producing much more naturally coloured images than we saw with the previous year’s Motorola Razr 2022. The only camera I’d consider switching up is the 32MP selfie lens that sits beneath the display – considering how simple it is to take selfies with the rear cameras on a foldable phone, having a higher pixel count on the internal lens always struck me as weird. It would make more sense to pour those pixels into the main shooter and highlight its selfie capabilities.

One thing that must not change is the price. The Razr 40 Ultra retailed for £1,049; a price increase of around £100 from the Razr 2022 but one that meant it cost the same as the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5. Assuming that the Z Flip 6 avoids a price increase, all of the following improvements will be moot if Motorola prices itself out of the market.

Motorola Razr 2024: What needs to change

I know that was a relatively comprehensive breakdown of what needs to carry over but as I said above, the Razr 40 Ultra was frustratingly close to being top of the game. Now, let’s look at the three things that need fixing to get the 2024 Razr over the line, starting with what I consider to be the biggest fumble from last year.

Fix #1: The processor

Wrapping up my Razr 40 Ultra review, I noted that if Motorola had forked out the extra for a more up-to-date processor, we could have been crowning a new king of the foldables. I stand by that today; the Razr 40 Ultra wasn’t a bad performer by any stretch but its use of the previous year’s Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 processor really hurt it in direct comparison to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2-powered Galaxy Z Flip 5.

The Motorola Razr 40 Ultra in hand, showcasing how faint the hinge crease is when the display is on

With Samsung likely to carry over either the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 from the Galaxy S24 Ultra or the Exynos 2400 used in both the Galaxy S24 and Galaxy S24 Plus, Motorola needs to be looking at the latest platforms to power the Razr 2024. Not only for sheer power – though that is very much an important factor when you’re dropping four figures on a new phone – but also in terms of efficiency.

If Samsung opts for the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for the Z Flip 6, for instance, it would be picking a chipset from which we’ve seen some phenomenal power efficiency: The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra, Honor Magic 6 Pro, OnePlus 12 and Xiaomi 14 all use the platform and all delivered exceptional results in our looping video battery life test. With such a powerhouse on the table, Motorola can’t afford to settle for anything less if it wants its top-end foldable to stand out this year.

Fix #2: The software

This next point is an interesting one because it’s not something that Samsung has done any better than Motorola. Neither brand has taken full advantage of the folding format of clamshells on a software level, with very few apps optimised for the dual-screen setup. The most notable app I can think of is YouTube, which positions the video in the top half and the comments in the bottom but there’s a lot of room for improvement here.

Motorola Razr 40 Ultra unfolded with the display on, against a grey backdrop

There’s also the tricky subject of software support. Both the Razr 40 Ultra and the Galaxy Z Flip 5 were confirmed for three years of OS updates and four years of security patches, so neither is outlasting the other, but both are still a bit behind modern flagships. The Galaxy S24 series, for instance, are all getting seven years apiece of OS and security patches, while Google has recently put pricier phones to shame by committing to seven years of support for the Google Pixel 8a, which costs less than half of these foldable phones.

I’m not saying that Motorola necessarily needs to match this, but we’re entering a stage where companies are starting to understand that consumers want better life spans from their devices. The foldable form factor is fun enough to play around with, but the fact is that prices are rising everywhere we look and people are more focused than ever on getting the best value for their money.

Motorola Razr 40 Ultra half-open in hand with the camera app on the screen, showing a magic 8 ball in the viewfinder

With that in mind, it’s not difficult to imagine that at least some potential users may choose to forgo the foldable phone that will be obsolete in a few years and opt instead for a standard flagship like the Google Pixel 8 or Samsung Galaxy S24 – both of which are cheaper than the Razr 40 Ultra and Galaxy Z Flip 5, incidentally – and get a few more years out of their pricey investment before they have to think about upgrading once again.

Fix #3: The Lite model

Finally, if leaks are to be believed – and I always take them with a healthy serving of salt until we hear directly from the manufacturer – it looks as though the 2024 Razr will once again be joined by a more affordable variant, following on from last year’s Motorola Razr 40. I’m still not convinced that there’s as much of a market for these “diet” folding phones, but if Motorola can make it work, the entry-level model is the final area in which it has the opportunity to outgun Samsung.

Motorola Razr 40 in hand, rear view, against a backdrop of trees

Likely to be called the Motorola Razr 50 – though I maintain that it feels more like a “Razr Lite” – this potential handset has a lot of opportunity to improve on the Razr 40, which I thought was decent enough, but unfocused. The name of the game here is going to be smart cuts, figuring out what can be dropped to hit a lower price without getting too far away from what makes foldables appealing in the first place.

According to those same leaks that I’m treating with a fair bit of scepticism, the Razr 50 will drop its puny external display in favour of a full-sized number, similar to the Ultra version. This is a good start – half the fun of foldables is using the external display – but it’s not all that needs to change. Performance was fairly weak on the Razr 40, underperforming compared to similarly priced non-foldables like the Google Pixel 8, so there needs to be a better balance there. Equally, the main camera left a lot to be desired, especially when taking low-light shots.

Motorola Razr 40 half-open in hand with the display on, against a backdrop of trees

A bold move is for Motorola to cut the secondary ultrawide lens completely. Single rear cameras are out of fashion, but I’d prefer one excellent camera over two mediocre ones any day of the week. Equally, I don’t think the display needs that lightning-fast 144Hz refresh rate; so few apps make full use of it, Motorola would be better off keeping things at a simple 120Hz for this version.

Motorola Razr 2024: Final thoughts

So there we have it, three achievable goals that Motorola could aim for to finally surpass Samsung and claim the top spot in the clamshell phone market: competitive performance, optimised software and more thoughtful refinement of the “Lite” variant. If Motorola can address these issues, there’s a decent chance that it will make some serious dents in Samsung’s foldable supremacy.

For its part, Samsung won’t be treading water either – rumours point to a more affordable Galaxy Z Flip FE that will directly compete with the Razr 50 – so we’ll have to see how things shake out when all of these devices are officially unveiled in the coming weeks. We’ll have full reviews of each for you to peruse, so be sure to check back to see who’s going to end up at the top of our best foldable phones list for 2024.

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