Samsung is the reigning king of foldables, and its latest launch only serves to extend its rule. The Galaxy Z flip 4, in particular, is set to sell very well thanks to its compact form factor, stylish design, and cheaper price tag.
Over the past few years, I've stuck primarily with Samsung phones, so it would make sense for my first foldable to come from Samsung. However, despite the upgrades made to Samsung's latest clamshell, it's the Motorola Razr 2022 that has my attention.
The phone is Motorola's first foray back into foldables after taking a bit of a break, and it does not disappoint. It's got a new design, flagship specs, and seems to come with a very reasonable price tag. The Razr 2022 will likely be my first foldable phone, if only the company would bring launch it outside of China.
Time (off) well spent
Motorola launched the Razr 2022 on August 11, 2022, just a day after Samsung unveiled the Galaxy Z Flip 4. The latter phone got much of the fanfare, but I couldn't care less because I knew the Razr was coming. Don't get me wrong, both phones are pretty impressive, but depending on how you look at it, the Razr has a bit of an edge over the Galaxy Z Flip 4. And even if it's not much of an edge, it's enough for me.
For one, it has a larger cover display at 2.7 inches. This is already enough of a reason for me to consider this phone over Samsung's. It gives users much more room to view and interact with notifications, take selfies, and much more. It even works as a second screen for supported apps, without the need for additional software.
In addition to the larger cover screen, it has a 6.7-inch Full HD+ primary display that goes up to 144Hz while gaming, which may appeal to some users. There's also a higher-resolution 50MP primary sensor, faster wired charging, and up to 12GB of RAM for better multitasking.
That's not to say the Razr 2022 is definitely better than the Galaxy Z Flip 4. In our Razr 2022 vs. Galaxy Z Flip 4 comparison, Samsung's foldable has a few advantages like water resistance, wireless charging, a larger battery, and a customizable design. But despite all that, I don't really care.
When you compare Samsung's latest foldable to the Galaxy Z Flip 3, there's not much of a difference, and to me, it's hardly worth upgrading. But Motorola's latest is a huge step up from its predecessor, a result of the company taking its time to come back with a new foldable two years later. Time well spent.
Does Motorola stand a chance against Samsung?
Of course, a good phone doesn't always equal good sales. I've learned that the hard way, as I watched LG's mobile phone business crumble (I'm still not fully recovered). Motorola managed to snatch the #3 spot in LG's absence, but the company isn't known for its high-end devices, predominantly banking on selling some of the best budget Android phones on the market.
The Razr 5G wasn't particularly impressive either, offering mid-range specs at a premium price, thus hampering its chances of success. Things are different now that we have an actual flagship foldable from Motorola, but does it stand a chance against the behemoth that is Samsung and its Galaxy Z Flip 4?
Ross Young, CEO of Display Supply Chain Consultants, seems to think Motorola has a shot.
"I do think it stands a chance given the lower price point, same size display, better cameras, larger and more functional cover display, etc.," he says in an interview. However, he remains cautious in the presence of the Galaxy Z Flip 4.
"Where it comes up short is the battery capacity (3500 vs. 3700mAh), and it also doesn't have variable refresh on the display, LTPO technology, so I would suspect its battery life will be quite a bit less than the Z Flip 4, especially given the larger cover display. But given the lower price/better cameras/larger, more functional cover display, I think will generate a lot of interest from traditional clamshell Razr users and those looking for something cool and different."
Despite my concerns over Motorola's brand as of late, Anshel Sag, senior analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, thinks that brand recognition is the very reason why Motorola has a shot.
"I think it does; one, because the Razr brand is incredibly strong and it evokes the flip phone era extremely well, but also that Motorola has had more time to iterate the design and style to differentiate more from Samsung."
It's possible that Samsung could hinder sales of its Galaxy Z Flip 4 by keeping the design, display, and camera specs largely the same. Users may instead aim for the previous model if they're looking to save a few bucks, or they could spring for the Razr 2022 if they want newer hardware with a more functional design.
"I really like the size of the outside display of the Moto Razr 2022, as well as the curved shape of the inside display on the bottom and top, giving it that unique Moto Razr feel," Sag continues. "I am also very impressed with the hinge design and the lack of any seams on the inside display. I do think that the battery capacity is a bit small, but I hope that the efficiency of the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 helps maintain all-day battery life."
Don't mess this up, Motorola
So far, the stars are aligning for Motorola's foldable comeback. We've got a new design, impressive specs lead by the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, and the brand recognition to give the Galaxy Z Flip 4 some real competition. However, Motorola needs to approach this carefully and aggressively if it wants to give Samsung a run for its money.
Speaking of money, Motorola has yet to mention global availability or pricing. The phone was launched in China, and so far, is exclusive to the region. There have been rumblings of a global launch on the horizon, with Sag suggesting that Motorola will likely expand its availability given that the Razr 2022 "is probably one of the few phones on the market today that has a chance of competing with Samsung's Z Flip 4."
According to Young, Motorola seems to have high hopes for the Razr 2022, and he suspects a global launch may happen in September or October. "According to our contacts in the display supply chain, Motorola has ambitious plans for this product, well above the previous products."
Given the price conversion of roughly $890, Young also believes that Motorola will try to undercut the Galaxy Z Flip 4 in the U.S., which launched at $999 before promotions and deals.
Even so, carriers make it easier for consumers to buy new phones by making monthly payments. Previous Razr models were only available on Verizon or unlocked, so it was a tad out of reach for many. As a T-Mobile user, I'm really hoping Motorola can get the Razr 2022 on more carriers so I don't have to shell out nearly a month's rent all at once to buy it.
There's also the matter of software. Motorola hasn't been known to support its phones for very long, or very well for that matter, just one of the complaints I've had against the company and its products. However, there are signs that this is changing, as the company just launched the Motorola Edge (2022) with three OS upgrades and four years of software support.
It's still a bit behind Samsung but not too far from what Google provides with its Pixel series, meaning Motorola is finally stepping up its game when it comes to software support. Hopefully, it can promise similar support for the Razr 2022.
It's been a long time since I've wanted a Motorola phone, the last one being the Moto X Pure Edition from way back when. Since owning that phone, I've stuck primary to LG, and now I'm all about Samsung.
But the Razr has me very intrigued, and assuming Motorola doesn't mess things up with the global launch with something stupid like carrier exclusivity or downgraded features, I'll be more than happy to switch back.
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Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.