Motorola has been ahead of the game in terms of flip phones and cutting-edge technology, with previous iterations of this iconic phone dating all the way back to 1996. Since then, they have been perfecting their craft, which feels like it has led up to the release of the Razr 40 Ultra, a premium flip phone with an impressive external display and a refined hinge, both of which help this feel like a premium product that comes with all the bells and whistles you would expect from a flagship phone.
While flip phones have never been high on my radar due to the issues other companies have been plagued with, after spending a few weeks with the Razr 40 Ultra, I now understand the appeal of this newer design.
Flipping the Script
Taking a sharp turn from its previous design, the Razr is now smooth and glossy, boasting a premium matte feel. It’s simply great to hold in your hand, in addition to fitting perfectly in your pocket. The newly updated hinge snaps shut without the screen edges touching, and the increased hinge space stops dust and particles from building up in this space. There is also now no gap in the phone edges thanks to the new hinge, and this helps the phone feel more solid and less likely to break.
The feature everyone is talking about, however, is the external screen on the outside of the phone. It may sound gimmicky, but it is incredibly useful and has enough features to justify its existence. Here you can control volume, answer or decline incoming calls, control your music, reply to text messages and even play games. Ok, so the featured games are gimmicky, but they are admittedly well-designed, with Marbles, in particular, proving incredibly addictive and intuitive.
The three colours on offer here are Glacier Blue, Infinite Black and Viva Magenta. All of these colours look fantastic on the device build and fit comfortably in your hand. These are complemented by the 6.9-inch AMOLED display boasting a crazy 165HZ refresh rate.
Colours are generally sharp and pop at every opportunity, especially when using apps like Instagram and Tik Tok. It’s also rather comfortable to hold to play mobile games, including streaming options like YouTube and Netflix, that are calibrated for this display making streaming an absolute joy. The new hinge allows for this phone to appear seam-free in the middle section, which helps a great deal when watching content on a full landscape screen, as the crease is virtually invisible.
The Art of the Handset
If you aren’t up for holding the phone or mounting it on a stand, there is a great feature where you can actually move an app to the top part of the phone and have it sitting open, creating its own makeshift stand. It doesn’t feel creaky in any way, or like it’s going to tip the other way or snap shut. It feels as good as any foldable has ever been, and I found myself using this as my primary way of making video calls and listening to podcasts and music so the screen was still open.
The phone runs the latest version of Android 13, along with Motorola’s native apps, like weather and the clock, which feel like a natural extension of the Android market. There are also gestures for opening the camera that are thankfully really easy to initiate. Running multiple apps, games and music run seamlessly on this device. During my two-week play-through with the Razr 40 Ultra, I never had any overheating issues, shutdowns or apps closing unexpectedly, mainly thanks to that premium Qualcomm SM8475 Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chipset.
My only complaint was the screen, both inside and out; it just loves fingerprints. While it’s a small niggle, due to the amount of touching and flipping, the prints stayed and required cleaning with a microfibre cloth several times a day. This is the first time a phone has required this, but depending on your level of OCD, it may not be an issue for you.
The Motorola Razr 40 Ultra is an incredible leap forward in flip phone technology and Motorola’s crowning achievement in their lineup. The outer screen is intuitive and allows a lot of control without needing to open the full device. The cameras allow for some impressive selfies thanks to the external screen’s ability to let you use the outer camera, which I’m glad is making its way to most foldable options today.
While it is a bit of a fingerprint magnet, it doesn’t take away from the absolutely brilliant design and usability of this phone. The Razr 40 Ultra is far and above the best phone that Motorola has produced.
FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Highlights: Unique design, Secure hinge; External screen provides easy access without needing to open the phone.
Lowlights: Fingerprint magnet
Review based on unit supplied by Motorola.