Motorola Razr Plus 2023: How it started and how it's going

Motorola Razr Plus 2023 cover screen with shortcuts
(Image credit: Derrek Lee / Android Central)

I've been using the Motorola Razr Plus as my daily driver for about a year now, pretty much since the device launched in June 2023. To say that this has been my favorite phone to use is quite an understatement. This phone was my first foray into foldables and made me fall in love with flip phones. I've since reviewed plenty of other clamshells over the past year, but I always go back to the Motorola Razr Plus.

It's not Motorola's first foldable Razr since the moniker was revitalized back in 2019, but this was a huge leap forward for the company, essentially solidifying it in the foldable market with an impressive and well-designed phone. Its biggest selling point has been the massive cover screen, which is also the biggest reason why I chose the Razr Plus over the Galaxy Z Flip 5.

Now, more competitors are coming with larger cover screens, great cameras, and other compelling specs that could give the Motorola Razr Plus a run for its money. And with the next Razr on its way very soon, I want to look at how the current model has fared over the past year compared to when I first reviewed the phone.

Motorola Razr Plus 2023: Design and hardware

The Motorola Razr Plus 2023 cover screen

(Image credit: Derrek Lee / Android Central)

"However, unlike its biggest competitor...the Razr Plus embraces curves, with the rear panel seamlessly flowing into the frame, which is also rounded. The result is a phone that's quite comfortable to hold, devoid of any sharp edges digging into my fingers."

The phone's curvy design was one of my favorite things about it, and that remains true to this day. After reviewing the Galaxy Z Flip 5, returning to the Razr Plus felt like a sweet relief to my hand, especially my poor pinky finger.

Overall, the phone is actually quite sturdy and has held up relatively well in the year I've had it. Yeah, there are a few nicks here and there on the aluminum frame, and the power button/fingerprint sensor is starting to show its age, but everything still works as it should.

The hinge has also held up, but not as well as I would hope. Yes, the phone still opens and closes just like it should, and it even retains the very soft and satisfying sound when you shut it. However, open the display at just about any angle, and I notice it doesn't feel quite as sturdy as I remember. It even wobbles quite a bit, especially when I put my finger on it, and the effect is far more dramatic than what I've seen on other flip phones like the cheaper Motorola Razr 2023.

I can't say whether or not this is just a quirk with my particular unit, but I also sometimes hear a creaking sound when opening the phone. Not all the time, but when it does occur, I get a little concerned that the hinge is beginning to falter. It should be able to withstand up to 400,000 folds, although we've seen one (rather extreme) case where it didn't quite reach that number.

Motorola Razr Plus 2023 from the side

(Image credit: Derrek Lee / Android Central)

"Of the three color options, it's the only one with a faux leather back, adding a nice soft texture to the phone. I wouldn't say it feels premium, but it's definitely different from the all-glass or plain plastic phones I'm used to."

Motorola has been leaning heavily on vegan leather with its 2024 lineup, which is very nice to see on cheaper phones like the Moto G Stylus 5G 2024. I will say that since reviewing the cheaper Razr, I find the finish on that phone feels a lot better, and I'm curious to see how the next Razr will follow up. Still, the vegan leather finish is quite a nice touch on the Razr Plus and has probably saved me a few times after dropping the phone, although I'd still recommend picking up a Razr Plus 2023 case and a screen protector for the cover screen while you're at it.

Not all screen protectors and case combinations will work. I like the first-party Motorola cases, but the screen protector I was using would extend beyond the cover screen and onto the bezel above. Needless to say, this is a section already covered by the case, and using both at the same time just didn't work, so I had to choose which I would keep.

The Motorola Razr Plus 2023 next to a Game Boy Advance SP

(Image credit: Derrek Lee / Android Central)

"Aside from the faux leather back, the phone is quite glossy, which makes it look more crimson than magenta and reminds me of the red LG G8. It's a beautiful phone that will surely stand out, especially if you can snag this colorway."

The phone is still a head-turner and always gets looks whenever I use it in public. Plenty of strangers comment on it, saying how cool it looks and that it resembles a Game Boy Advance SP. I find that the people who are most in awe when they see the Razr Plus are iPhone users. Given the lack of foldable phones in the iPhone space, that makes sense, but it's nice to see them appreciate the ingenuity of Android OEMs.

Motorola Razr Plus 2023: Hardware and performance

The Razr+ playing a YouTube video next to a DualSense controller

(Image credit: Derrek Lee / Android Central)

"It's nearly a year old, but the [Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1] is still quite good and brings some solid performance to the Razr Plus."

Motorola went with the slightly older Snapdragon chip in the Razr Plus, which is likely to keep costs down. This seemed very much like a smart move on Motorola's part, and performance has mostly remained consistently good with the chip. Obviously, the downside is that a year later, the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 is now a generation and a half behind current flagship devices, and in the era of generative AI, it's starting to show its age.

Still, overall performance has held up well over the past year, although gaming can cause the phone to heat up quite a bit. Since the bottom half of the phone is vegan leather, only the top half—glass and aluminum—gets hot, which can be quite uncomfortable.

Motorola Razr Plus 2023 internal display

(Image credit: Derrek Lee / Android Central)

"I will say that the teardrop hinge mechanism on the Razr Plus seems to do wonders with the crease. It's not nonexistent — tilt the phone just right, and you'll definitely see it — but it's not as jarring as I expected it to be."

The foldable display has not failed me in the year I've used the phone. The crease is still extremely minimal, especially when compared to the Grand Canyon found on the Galaxy Z Flip 5. I will say that I've started to notice very faint lines across the crease, which I imagine are stress fractures that have accumulated on the built-in screen protector after flipping the phone open and shut for a year. I can't say I'm particularly concerned about them, as they're very hard to see, and I can barely feel them with my finger, but it's worth noting if you're concerned about longevity and durability. I don't think these little cracks are appearing on the actual display, so there's that.

Dust and other particles will also accumulate in between the screen protector and the display bumper, which I don't really care for.

The Motorola Razr Plus 2023 doesn't have the best OLED display, and after some time, it starts to show its age.

The OLED display on the Razr Plus isn't the best-looking display I've ever seen, especially since reviewing more flip phones over the past year. The display's Natural mode is too washed out, while the Vibrant mode is too vibrant for my liking. You can adjust the temperature, but this doesn't help too much. At one point, I tried to get it as close to the Galaxy S24 Plus as I could, as it's a much better display, but nothing really worked.

Still, the 165Hz refresh rate is nice to have when viewing media and playing games, at least indoors or away from direct sunlight. I just wish peak brightness was brighter, as the display can be a little hard to see outdoors, which I believe is partly (or mostly) because of the built-in screen protector.

YouTube Music on a rotated Motorola Razr Plus 2023 cover screen

(Image credit: Derrek Lee / Android Central)

"What I love about the cover screen is that it makes it incredibly easy to use the phone while closed."

This has not changed, and it's the primary way I prefer to use the phone. The cover screen, while not as bright as I'd like it to be, is still the most useful implementation of a flip phone external display that I've come across. The OPPO Find N3 Flip feels like a wasted opportunity with the vertical cover display, and Samsung makes you go through too many hoops to allow access to your apps.

Since the phone launched, Motorola has updated the cover screen with more functionality, allowing users to jump straight to the calendar, add more panel shortcuts, access more news stories, and more. My favorite addition is the ability to rotate the cover screen, which can be helpful when navigating certain apps like YouTube Music, which enables a different UI in the Now Playing screen.

Unfortunately, there's still no option to adjust the resolution or refresh rate of the cover screen, which I feel could help reduce battery consumption.

Motorola Razr Plus 2023: Software and battery life

The Motorola Razr Plus (2023) semi-folded on the home screen

(Image credit: Michael Hicks / Android Central)

"The company promises to support the phone with three OS upgrades and four years of bi-monthly security updates, which is great for a phone that costs this much. Let's just hope Motorola can actually live up to the promise."

As we all know, Motorola has not been the best when it comes to software updates. Things seem to have improved ever so slightly, but it still remains an issue if you're going to consider a Motorola phone. To its credit, the company has been pretty consistent in keeping a bi-monthly update cadence, which has been the case with the Razr Plus. Some of these updates have even included new UI tweaks and features, like Moto Unplugged and the new Smart Connect (which is something of a Ready For rebrand).

Aside from that, many of the updates are small and just give the phone a security bump, usually with the previous month's patches. It's not phenomenal, but at least it's consistent.

The problem is with Android 14. Most Android OEMs have rolled out the OS upgrade to all, if not most, of their devices by now. Meanwhile, the update has only appeared on a small handful of Motorola devices, including the Motorola Edge Plus 2023 and Stylus 5G 2023. The Razr Plus is somehow still without Android 14, which is a bit ridiculous at this point.

Stable Android 15 is fast approaching, as the beta has just reached platform stability. At this rate, the Razr Plus will receive Android 14 when other devices start getting Android 15, and it'll be yet another waiting game.

I'll also note that, for some reason, the Motorola Razr Plus still doesn't have access to the Gemini app.

Moto Unplugged app on the Motorola Razr Plus 2023

(Image credit: Derrek Lee / Android Central)

"The phone struggles to get through an entire day on a single charge, despite Motorola's claims, so if you're a power user, be ready to charge the device at least once during the day and perhaps even twice within 24 hours."

I can't say everyone has had the same experience as I have when it comes to battery life, but it's probably my biggest annoyance when it comes to the Razr Plus. Battery life has been consistently abysmal for me, and I won't even consider going out without making sure the phone is fully charged. And even then, I'm still worried that it will die, so I try to make sure I have a portable charger on me.

Battery anxiety like this should not happen in 2024.

Motorola Razr Plus 2023: Cameras

Auto Enhance on the Motorola Razr Plus 2023

(Image credit: Derrek Lee / Android Central)

"Don't get me wrong...the Razr Plus doesn't take bad photos. It just doesn't take the best photos either, which, unfortunately, is par for the course when it comes to clamshell foldables."

The cameras have been another weak point for me and is the main reason why I have often considered switching to the Galaxy Z Flip 5. This is also the reason why I normally carry two phones around with me (usually a Pixel), so that I can at least get some decent shots wherever I'm at. The Razr Plus camera is just unreliable.

Motorola surprised me with an update that addressed this. The phone now has an option to apply AI-based Auto Enhance via Google Photos, which happens automatically when you take a photo. This gives photos a welcome boost, and you can always toggle it off in the viewfinder if you need to. That said, it still doesn't do enough for me to rely on this phone's image quality, especially when taking selfies.

Motorola Razr Plus 2023: Is it still worth buying?

The Motorola Razr+ retail box

(Image credit: Derrek Lee / Android Central)

So, how has the Motorola Razr Plus held up in the year that I've used it? Well, it's a bit of a mixed bag. I still love this phone enough to keep it as my daily driver, and I will boast loudly and proudly when people ask me about it. The cover screen experience is still the best, and I still enjoy the versatility of a flip phone. Plus, Motorola still has some things going for it, like its useful gestures and powerful Smart Connect.

However, my biggest gripes with the phone still remain. Atrocious battery life and cameras that are okay at best can sometimes ruin the overall experience. For some of you, I can see how these points would deter you from buying the phone.

To counter that, this is a phone that cost $999 when it launched and has since seen some incredible discounts. Now, you can buy the Motorola Razr Plus for as low as $650, which is about what you'd pay for a standard midrange phone and is even cheaper than the Pixel 8. For that price, I think the negatives can be overlooked, just as long as you're willing to work a bit for a good photo and carry a portable charger around with you.

Or, you can wait to buy the Motorola Razr Plus 2024, which will hopefully have addressed many of the problems I've had with its predecessor.

Derrek Lee
Managing Editor

Derrek is the managing editor of Android Central, helping to guide the site's editorial content and direction to reach and resonate with readers, old and new, who are just as passionate about tech as we are. He's been obsessed with mobile technology since he was 12, when he discovered the Nokia N90, and his love of flip phones and new form factors continues to this day. As a fitness enthusiast, he has always been curious about the intersection of tech and fitness. When he's not working, he's probably working out.