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Motorola’s 2022 Razr reviewed: plenty to like

Quick review

Moto Razr (2022)
The good
Feels great in the hands
Really solid clamshell folding design
Crease is difficult to see
Excellent performance
Decent battery life
The not-so-good
Cameras could be better
Flagship phone without wireless charging
Not much in the way of water resistance
Only two operating system updates, and it comes with an already out-of-date Android 12

Not every foldable phone is modelled on a tablet you can unfold, as Moto’s 2022 Razr details. A little wider than its obvious competition and with a bigger external screen, is this the best pocket phone today?

You don’t need to look too far to see the shape of the phone world today, and it’s pretty big. Phones are often quite large and not made with pockets in mind, though the pockets in jeans and pants aplenty have been stretched and sized to their limits thanks to phones.

Almost every phone is big, even if some may want a smaller phone. Apple still makes the iPhone SE which is a small phone, but it gave up on the 13 Mini, possibly because it just wasn’t selling enough. Meanwhile, Asus builds a small phone in its Zenfone range, but even that might be too big for some. What happens if you want a small phone with the heart of a big phone?

For that, you might turn to a foldable flip phone, which borrows the clamshell design of older flip phones, but uses a big screen on the inside that folds closed. They’re essentially big phones that fold into themselves to make them smaller, and a great option for folks who love compact phones.

In the past few years, Samsung has given us a few models to choose from, but Motorola was there in the beginning with a model named for its classic flip phone, the “Razr”. While that model featured a super slim profile when opened, it became synonymous with the idea of a flip phone, and so Motorola is trying it again, but in foldable style.

The new model isn’t flat-edged like a razor, but the 2022 Razr still has something going for it, especially if Samsung’s take on the foldable flip phone isn’t quite for you. What’s different about it, and is it one of the better foldables for long-term use?

Design

A little fatter and wider than the compact foldables Samsung has been making for a few years now, the Razr is different, and that’s a good thing.

It may well be named after an older Motorola flip phone, but this foldable is Moto’s second attempt, even while Samsung has made four of the things, and it may have helped the company make something a little bit different.

Like other foldable phones out in the world, the 2022 Razr is basically a foldable screen on the inside of a body with a large hinge in the middle. You can’t see that hinge while it’s open — the body elements collapse over it — but you can definitely see it when closed, and it looks a little like an old clamshell flip phone, but with a noticeable edge.

Motorola’s point of difference may well be width, as this thing is a little wider than what we recall from our time spent working on the Samsung Flip 4 review. We still have a Flip 5G from a few years ago, and the size is still kind of there, so you can see the difference below.

It’s the sort of change that you can feel, too.

Holding the phone gives you the best of both worlds: small and compact, but wide and tall. Unfols the phone and that extra width helps make the 2022 Razr seem bigger and more like a regular big phone today, as opposed to the thinner option we’ve seen from other models.

It’s a point of difference, and one we like.

Features

It may not look quite like Samsung’s Z Flip 4, but feature-wise, the tech under the hood is largely the same. Granted, it’s an end-of-the-year 2022 phone that we’re only getting to now, but it’s still fairly high-end, thanks in part to just how high-end Motorola went for the technology angle.

To that end, you’ll find Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 in the Moto Razr, a high-end chip still, and one armed with 8GB RAM and 256GB of fixed storage that can’t be upgraded. Google’s Android 12 arrives on the Razr 2022 out of the box, a little out of date now that version 13 is out, but Motorola has allowed for two OS updates through the phone’s life in its Australian release.

There are three cameras in the phone, with two main cameras on the outside covering 50 megapixels on the wide F1.8 camera and 13 megapixels on the ultra-wide F2.2 camera, the latter of which supports macro. That sits on the outside and the back of the phone, while the inside sports a 32 megapixel F2.4 camera that downsamples to 8 megapixel thanks to quad pixel technology.

You’ll also find the typical assortment of connection technologies, including WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax WiFi 6E, GPS, Bluetooth, and 5G for wireless, while wired is covered only by Type C USB at the very bottom.

The most important feature on the 2022 Moto Razr may well be the screens, which includes a 6.7 inch Full HD+ 2400×1080 144Hz AMOLED screen on the inside that folds closed (or unfolds open, depending on how you look at it), and a 2.7 inch HD+ 800×573 touchscreen on the outside. Two screens are in this phone, both of which are full touchscreens you can prod and play with, though in different ways.

There’s also a fingerprint reader built into the power button, support for face unlock in the inside camera, Dolby Atmos in the two stereo speakers, plus an IP52 rating that you can’t call water resistant, but rather “water repellant”. Don’t drown the phone, because it won’t survive that, though does have a smidge more dust and particle resistant than phones with an “IPX” rating.

The 2022 Razr comes with a 3500mAh battery and can be charged by 30W wired charging, though there is no wireless charging in the phone whatsoever.

In-use

With a similar feature set to the other major compact foldable from Samsung, you’ll also find a similar way to use it: flip the phone open and the foldable 6.7 inch screen opens up to reveal Android in all its glory.

In fact, using the phone is actually just like any other Android phone, so if you’ve used one of those before, you’ll know what to do.

That 6.7 inch screen is a little wider than what Samsung offers in its phone, thanks in part to that distinctly wider design and offers a barely visible crease, a solid achievement given how foldables tend to look, with the only other difference really being the outside screen.

Thanks to the wider phone size, Motorola has managed to pack in a 2.7 inch display, which lets you see a little more, giving you a clock, notifications, and widgets if you so choose.

In the camera, that rear screen turns into a bit of a smile-maker with some animated camera faces, handy if you’re trying to get kids to crack a smile. You can also opt to see yourself, pressing a little icon on the screen to jump between the selfie preview and the cartoon faces.

Moto has kept some of the handy features found across its other phones, though, including the twist to shake gesture to fire the camera, and there’s also a decent fingerprint sensor built into the power button on the side.

Performance

Unlock the phone using your finger and the phone will spring to life, and more or less give you exactly what you need.

While the 8GB RAM onboard isn’t the biggest amount we’ve seen for a phone, the combination between memory and processor doesn’t stop the phone from performing, whether it’s through use or a synthetic benchmark.

Unsurprisingly with a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 in the phone, the same chip Samsung uses on its Flip 4, the phone performs in much the same way: fast.

That's great news, because it means pretty much any of what you throw the phone's way should be fine. Not just for this year, but for a good year or two onwards.

It's a similar picture for 5G usage, which sports speeds as high 250Mbps in our tests, though you may be able to get more provided you have a fast connection. Your network speeds will vary dependent on where you are and how strong your connection is, plus who your provider is, but tested in the suburbs of Sydney, Australia on the Telstra 5G network, we found some decent speeds waiting for us.

Camera

The performance may well be a winner, but we're not too sure about the cameras. They deliver some decent shots at times, but the overall level of camera quality is a bit of a question mark.

Like other foldable screen flip phones, you'll find two cameras here covering a wide 50 megapixel and ultra-wide 13, plus a 32 megapixel on the inside. However, we're in the high-end of prices here and yet running with a somewhat mid-range configuration, and that's a touch frustrating.

While the cameras are often quick to fire, you're sadly not getting best in class imaging. Much like how the Z Flip 4 used wide and ultra-wide, and missed out on the telephoto options like its siblings in the S22 line, so too does the recent Razr. You'll get wide and ultra-wide, but no telephoto, and given how premium the phone feels, that's a missed opportunity.

We suspect packing in a third camera would have been difficult here, but it would have pushed the phone into the high-end phone camera world just that little bit more. Even Apple's approach to its 48 megapixel cropping in for 12 megapixels and working as a zoom in the iPhone 14 Pro might have helped deliver something more than just a basic 0.5X (ultra-wide) and 1X.

If you're okay with that, the camera quality on the 2022 Razr is fine in daylight, but less fine in low light, and may need you looking for a place to rest the phone on and use its body as a bit of a tripod. You can do that -- it's a flat phone that can be left open! -- but low-light shots aren't always the best, showing softness and blur.

Macro is acceptable from that ultra-wide camera, even if the aspect ratio is a little different, though the results range from over-sharpened to clearly-close-yet-blurry.

Meanwhile, selfie images using the front-facing camera have their own share of problems, which can include weird softness and visual artifacts that can make your skin seem blotchy or pixelated. It's not a great outcome, and just doesn't lend itself well to what should be an otherwise flagship camera experience.

The glitches exhibited in the selfie camera of the 2022 Razr were some of the strangest glitches in an image we'd seen in any phone camera review.

Battery

We weren't super shocked by the cameras and their middling performance, but the battery handled better than expected.

Inside, the 3500mAh battery is surprisingly large for the size, affording you as much as 28 hours of battery life, though most people will want to charge nightly.

It means a full day of life is actually possible, though not always comfortably. Use the Razr's internal screen obsessively or lean on that mediocre camera, and the battery life will fall faster.

Weirdly, while the battery is decent, the omission of wireless charging is a bizarre exclusion for a flagship phone to miss out on.

Wireless charging isn't exactly new, and it's the exact sort of thing you expect to find in phones for over a thousand dollars. But not here, not in the recent revision of the Razr.

To say we're confused by the lack of wireless charging is a bit of an understatement; were flummoxed as to why Motorola skipped this feature. It's not as if foldable phones can't offer it, and it's been in Samsung flip phones since day dot. Just not in this phone.

Value

That makes the $1599 price harder to justify.

On the one hand the pricing is more or less what you'd pay for the obvious competitor, but on the other, you also get a little less.

Both come with caveats in the camera, but the compromises you make for being a Motorola customer are the lack of wireless charging, plus that better water resistance rating. You get a hint of dust protection, which is an interesting trade-off, and slightly less crease in the screen, but it still feels like the value is a touch over where it should be.

What needs work?

To fix this, we'd drop the price to the evenly matched $1499 of the Galaxy Z Flip 4 and add in wireless charging.

The omission of the latter is such a surprise for what is otherwise a flagship phone. You can find it on less expensive Moto models in the Edge range, yet on the most pricey Motorola model, the feature is missing in action. Crazy.

Motorola also places the 2022 Razr in its rather ridiculous update rule of only two operating system updates, something we've heard about on Moto's other less expensive models, and yet is also a factor on its most expensive it seems, as well.

You might argue that two major Android updates should be fine, but the new Razr arrives out of the box with Android 12, even though Android 13 has been out for months. This unfortunately means Android 13 and then version 14 will be all the major OS updates this flagship foldable will receive, and that, ladies and gentlemen, is just bonkers.

Long term software support is no laughing matter, and makes up a great reason why you should consider a phone. Longevity is important. The biggest competitor to do the right thing here is Apple, which supports older models for around five years.

Compared to Moto's maximum of two, which also feels more like one given the lateness of the current update, buying the Razr reads like buying into planned obsolescence knowing from well from the beginning. It is nuts.

Final thoughts (TLDR)

While the cameras need some extra love and the support approach Motorola Australia has taken with a maximum of two operating system updates is maddening, there are things we like about the phone.

The Razr feels like a genuinely solid take on the foldable flip phone today and worthy of the "Razr" name. There's plenty to like about it as Moto brings a phone made for your pocket.

Saying that, our score is a little awkward because of that support approach Moto has taken: a phone costing this much supporting only two major OS updates is genuinely confusing which is already out of date is crazy, which means this year's Android 14 release is the maximum Motorola will support the phone until. That is, to put it lightly, ridiculous, and makes this phone difficult to recommend. If Motorola lifted that and gave you say 3 or 4 updates, the Razr becomes a lot easier in that regard.

Right now, the 2022 Razr has a lot going for it, but longevity sadly isn't it, so take that into account if you decide to unfold your wallet for this foldable.

Moto Razr (2022)
Design
Features
Performance
Ease of use
Cameras
Battery
Value
Support
The good
Feels great in the hands
Really solid clamshell folding design
Crease is difficult to see
Excellent performance
Decent battery life
The not-so-good
Cameras could be better
Flagship phone without wireless charging
Not much in the way of water resistance
Only two operating system updates, and it comes with an already out-of-date Android 12
4
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