Motorola’s done the near impossible with the Razr 40 Ultra – it’s made me care about smaller flip-style foldable phones.
|External Display works really well||Premium price, without cameras to match|
|Battery life is really good||Is IP52 enough?|
|Essentially Clean Android UI||The base Razr 40 is much cheaper if you just want a flip phone|
Foldable phones have been in the market for a number of years now, but to date I’ve been rather resolute. If I had the choice, I’d pick a larger foldable that expands out into a tablet – Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold is the poster child here – over a smaller phone that folds down into a clamshell. The high prices and limited viability of external displays made “flip” foldables a bit of a non-starter for me.
Motorola’s Razr 40 Ultra (AKA the Razr+ in some markets because… marketing?) has me seriously reconsidering that position, because it’s a genuinely useful little device that I was sad to see go back to Motorola after this review.
Unfolded and from the front, you probably wouldn’t pick the Razr 40 Ultra as a foldable phone – or indeed, even as a Razr phone, because that familiar jutting “chin” design is gone.
Motorola Razr 2022 Review (Finder)
What you get instead is a 6.9 inch 165Hz pOLED display with a simple holepunch style camera hole at the top, volume and combined power/fingerprint reader button on the right hand side and USB charging at the bottom. Sorry headphone jack fans, none to be found here.
This design shift is a good step for Motorola, however, because while the screen does have the familiar hinge crease “feel” when you slide you finger across it, it’s not super evident in day to day usage. I quickly forgot it was there when using the Razr 40 Ultra unfolded, to be honest.
Fold it up, and you hit the big new selling point of the Razr 40 Ultra, and the detail that differentiates it from the more affordable Razr 40. The Razr 40 Ultra is the first flip foldable to use almost all of its front as a display, packing in a 3.6 inch 144hz AMOLED display that wraps around the front two camera lenses.
Compact size is the game here, with the folded Razr 40 Ultra measuring in at just 73.95 x 88.42 x 15.1mm when closed.
In colour terms Motorola sent me the basic black model – sorry, “Infinite Black”, but it’s also available in “Viva Magenta” and “Glacier Blue” finishes locally.
Durability is always an open question with foldables, and here Motorola has taken an interesting approach.
Samsung’s competing Z Flip 4 has an IPX8 rating, which means it can be immersed in clean water, but has no tested anti-dust protection. The Razr 40 Ultra is IP52, which means that it’s not going to survive a dunking the way the Z Flip 4 will, but there’s some robustness there for smaller dust particles getting into the phone.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 review (Finder)
Ideally you never want to damage your fancy new foldable anyway, but I think I prefer having a little bit of both avenues covered rather than just water ingress. I didn’t have the Razr 40 Ultra for anywhere near long enough to test how well its flexible display lasts – but then that kind of testing would take months to properly assess in a real world way.
It gets tricky talking about cameras on foldables, because the nature of folding means that the camera that’s on the rear of the phone is sometimes on the front. Still, if we’re talking cameras that are always facing you, that’s the one on the primary display with a 32MP sensor, while the “rear” (which is also the front facing when folded) lenses comprise a 12MP f/1.5 sensor and 13MP ultrawide sensor.
This kind of trio arrangement is very much par for the course with flip foldables. I’ve yet to be truly wowed by any of them, and the Razr 40 Ultra did not change my opinion much to speak of. It is useful to have the larger external display when using the dual lenses as the selfie cameras for framing purposes, for sure, but the results are only middling at best. The ultrawide camera tends to wash out pretty easily and doesn’t handle lower light situations all that well.
The primary lens is a lot better in wider situations, and the selfie camera is equally OK, but nothing stunning.
Is that a problem?
For many users the camera quality will be entirely acceptable, but I do have to measure this against the camera quality that you can get at the Razr 40 Ultra’s $1499 price point. That puts it against some of the best that Apple, Google and Samsung offer… and it does not compare well there. If you’re keen on photography, this really won’t be the phone for you.
Motorola Razr 40 Ultra Sample Photos
The Razr 40 Ultra is a $1499 smartphone, placing it firmly in the “premium” price category for smartphones generally. It’s then a bit of a surprise to note that it’s running off a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip, AKA “2022’s premium Qualcomm offering”. That’s paired up with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of onboard storage, running Android 13 at the time of review.
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 is no slouch, and for most users it’s going to be more power than they’re likely to need, but it feels fairly likely that when Samsung announces its next generation Z Flip 5 it’ll be a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 model, which doesn’t put the Razr 40 Ultra in a good position.
In benchmark terms, the Razr 40 Ultra performs almost exactly as I expected it to. I’ve only got a handful of of Geekbench 6 CPU scores to compare it against:
That comparison to the ThinkPhone is, naturally, because it’s running the exact same chipset.
Motorola ThinkPhone review
It’s much the same story on the graphics front, where the Razr 40 Ultra is a capable device, but not the best you can get for this price:
Like many of Motorola’s phones, there’s not a lot done to Android 13 in terms of launcher features on the Razr 40 Ultra, though you do get the familiar Moto Actions for quick camera launching and flashlights and so on. At least, that’s the story for the inside of the phone.
For the outside, it’s a different story, because it’s working from a 3.6 inch AMOLED display. You get a choice of clock faces as the default, as well as swipable views for calendar, weather and contacts, alongside a standard dock launcher. By default, this only has a handful of applications ready to roll, but you can add any given Android app to it.
You do have to approve it running, and the tiny screen doesn’t suit every app, to be fair. To push it, I tried running Xbox Cloud Gaming through the external display. It’s functional, but not the best way to get your Halo fix in, honestly.
The more practical and genuinely useful side of this is that instead of just seeing a notification on the external panel, I can see the entire email or message, or quickly run a web search to find something without having to fully unfold the phone. It works really well and very quickly became my go-to for a quick check, meaning I was, overall, spending less time mindlessly doomscrolling. That’s got to be a plus, no?
The Motorola Razr 40 runs from a 3,800mAh sealed battery, which isn’t huge for a modern Android smartphone – but is is on par with what you get from these smaller foldable phones. Popping a hinge in the middle of a phone really does impact how much space manufacturers have to play with in terms of overall battery capacity.
My experience testing out prior flip models has generally tended towards mediocre battery life given their price, with only Motorola’s prior Razr 2022 model really impressing me. The RAZR 40 Ultra has its external display to further sap its power, so my expectations were not particularly high.
Using my standard one hour YouTube battery test, where I play back a video for an hour from a 100% charged phone at full brightness and moderate volume, the Motorola Razr 40 Ultra yielded the following results.
Here I can compare against a wide range of foldables available in the Australian market (save for the Oppo Find N2 Flip, because for whatever reason they won’t send me one to test), because I’ve run this test many times.
The Razr 2022 is still king of the hill, but the Razr 40 Ultra is nipping at its heels with a very solid battery score here. It does make me wonder how the regular Razr 40 – which goes with the more regular notification panel style external display – might score in this test.
In day to day use, bearing in mind that I’ve not had an extensive review period for this particular phone, it backs that battery score up, with a fairly easy all-day battery experience. Recharging is supported at up to 30W, with a 33W charger in the box – a true rarity for premium smartphones these days. If you want to go wireless, it’s supported, but at a much more sedate 5W only.
Motorola Razr 40 Ultra: Alex’s Verdict
At $1499, the Razr 40 Ultra presents an absolute challenger to Samsung’s Z Flip 4, and if I had to pick between them, it’d be the Razr 40 Ultra all the way and all the time.
Right now, the Razr 40 Ultra is the best small flip foldable on the market thanks to its external display, but if current rumours are accurate, it won’t have that space for long. Samsung’s expected to announce the Z Flip 5 with a larger external display in July, though we may have to wait a little longer again to see models here in Australia.
It’s also worth noting that alongside the Razr 40 Ultra, Motorola’s also got the new Razr 40. That doesn’t have the full external display, but in return it shaves a hefty $400 off the asking price. If all you want is compact, that might also be a smarter buy.
Motorola Razr 40 Ultra: Pricing and availability
The Razr 40 Ultra is available in Australia for $1499 outright.
Want to support this very site, and keen on the Razr 40 Ultra? Click the button below to buy one on Amazon!Buy On Amazon
Motorola Razr 40 Ultra: Alternatives
If you wanted a Motorola foldable but don’t want or need the external display, there is, as noted, the Motorola Razr 40. I’m testing one of those right now, so stay tuned for a full review. You can buy one on Amazon with the button below:Buy On Amazon
Samsung’s equivalent at the time of writing is the Galaxy Z Flip 4, which can currently be had for a bit less than the Razr 40 Ultra; that’s no surprise however as its replacement is expected (but not confirmed) to be announced in the next week or so. If you wanted a cheaper Samsung flip foldable though, it’s also a contender; use the button below to buy one on Amazon.Buy On Amazon