The best genes of forgotten design gods: Motorola Razr 40 Ultra review

By: Alex Chub | 14.09.2023, 13:51

Smartphones with folding screens are becoming more affordable. But so far, the price is still quite high and such models are more of an image. Motorola Razr 40 Ultra is just such a smartphone. It looks and feels very nice and expensive to use. And it has a number of undeniable strengths not only in comparison with the previous generation, but also with competitors. For example, the internal screen is of excellent quality and has very high brightness. But a more interesting feature is the external screen, which not only has a large diagonal and excellent image quality, but also supports full operation with almost all applications available on Google Play. This is very convenient and in many cases eliminates the need to open the smartphone on the go. In addition, it is worth mentioning that this form factor provides some bonuses when using the camera: shooting without a tripod and hands-free selfies. Continuing the camera theme, the main module takes great photos in the vast majority of situations. Inside, the hardware is not flagship, but very powerful, and the almost pure Android runs very quickly and smoothly. But the smartphone also has some not-so-pleasant features. Firstly, it heats up considerably and throttles under load. And secondly, there is still a crease on the screen. The main and most obvious competitor is Samsung Galaxy Flip5. It's already in the editorial office at gg and a review will be coming soon. It is slightly more expensive, but has a more powerful processor and full IPX8 water protection, while the Motorola Razr 40 Ultra has only IP52 splash protection. On the Motorola side, it has a larger and more functional external display, as well as a more interesting and pleasant design.

Screen 165 Hz
Motorola Razr 40 Ultra Motorola Razr 40 Ultra
Flagship folding smartphone
An Android smartphone with a flexible display in a fold-out form factor. Equipped with an external optional 3.6-inch 144 Hz OLED screen, a foldable 6.9-inch 165 Hz OLED main screen, a flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor, 8 GB of RAM, 256 GB of built-in storage, a dual main camera and a front-facing internal camera
Current price on Amazon

5 reasons to buy Motorola Razr 40 Ultra:

  • Excellent folding AMOLED screen with a refresh rate of 165 Hz
  • Large and functional secondary screen with support for most applications
  • Nice design and materials
  • High-quality main camera
  • Almost pure Android 13 that works perfectly

2 reasons not to buy Motorola Razr 40 Ultra:

  • Significant overheating and trotting under prolonged maximum loads
  • Screen crease is still there

Fast transition:

  1. What's included?
  2. What does Motorola Razr 40 Ultra look like?
  3. Is Motorola Razr 40 Ultra comfortable to use?
  4. How good are the displays?
  5. What are the unlocking methods?
  6. What about performance, memory, sound and battery life?
  7. How user-friendly is the interface?
  8. How good are the cameras?
  9. In the bottom line

What's in the box?

The Motorola Razr 40 Ultra is packed in a black box with the Motorola logo and model name. Motorola packs all its smartphones very well, unlike some manufacturers. In addition to the smartphone itself, the package includes a 33W power supply, a USB Type-C cable, a two-piece protective bumper, a SIM card tray tool and documentation. The protective bumper is made of transparent glossy plastic. It slightly spoils the appearance of the smartphone, but it performs its function.

What does Motorola Razr 40 Ultra look like?

The first two models of the new Razr with flexible screens had some features of the legendary Razr clamshells in their design. Including the outline of the body and the massive chin. Starting with last year's model, the company decided to focus on the practical side of the issue. Motorola Razr 40 Ultra is more similar to other modern clamshells. It has become less unique, but more practical. The screens have become larger, especially the external one. It is the largest among the models in this form factor and has a diagonal of 3.6 inches. But we will return to it in more detail later. In general, the design is already familiar. When folded, it is a small, rather thick square that is convenient to carry in almost any pocket. When unfolded, it's a more typical Android smartphone with a large elongated display. The front camera is traditionally in a small round hole, with an earpiece speaker above the screen. The screen itself is slightly recessed. The bezels around the perimeter are slightly wider than those of classic modern smartphones. But this is quite usual for clamshells with flexible displays. There is a crease in the place where the screen is bent. Although it is not very noticeable and is hardly noticeable if there is no glare on the screen.

The frame of the smartphone is made of 7000 series aluminium. It is glossy and has a streamlined shape. There are small plastic inserts around the perimeter for the antennas to work properly. There is no gap between the halves, they fit snugly together. On the right side of the smartphone there is a large power button with a built-in fingerprint scanner, two separate volume buttons and one of the additional microphones. The buttons are placed a little higher than we would like for maximum convenience. But it's a necessary measure for this form factor.

On the opposite side is only a SIM card tray.

It can accept one SIM card and also supports eSIM.

On top is another additional microphone. At the bottom is an external speaker, a Type-C connector, and an earpiece microphone.

The hinge cover is also black without any additional elements. The hinge itself is made of stainless steel.

Both halves are protected by Gorilla Glass Victus, but they are finished in completely different ways. The lower part has a very nice matte texture and shimmers in the sun in an interesting way. In the middle is the Motorola logo, and below it is a stylised Razr inscription.

The upper part is completely glossy and has a mirror effect, more so than the usual protective glass. This seems to be a design feature as well. This is both good and bad. The outer OLED screen fits very well into the plane of the lid, and when using a black background, the display borders are not visible. But, like all glossy surfaces, the lid collects fingerprints very actively. The dual camera is integrated into the outer screen and the lenses protrude slightly above the surface. The flash is also in a hole in the screen, but it's made almost invisible.

The only thing that was a little annoying during the first days of use was that the smartphone doesn't open completely. Not 180°, but maybe 178° or 179°. This is not a bug, but a feature. Perhaps for greater durability of the hinge. But my inner perfectionist always wanted to open the smartphone fully to 180°.

Motorola Razr 40 Ultra looks and feels very cool and expensive. It's a pleasure to use. Despite its folding design, it seems reliable. There is a nice auto-folding mechanism, as well as the ability to lock it in a half-open position. There is no full protection against dust and water. There is only a moisture-repellent coating, protection class IP52.

Is Motorola Razr 40 Ultra convenient to use?

Let's start with the basics. How convenient is it to unfold Motorola Razr 40 Ultra? As much as other modern folding smartphones. I still haven't managed to learn how to unfold it with one hand. In any case, so that you don't have to press the internal display with your thumb. And I really don't want to do that, so as not to damage it. In the settings there is an option to automatically answer a call when the smartphone is unfolded, which is quite logical and convenient. Among the advantages of the form factor is the ability to take photos and videos in a semi-folded position. Firstly, it eliminates the need for an additional tripod or other fixation. Or take a selfie without having to hold your smartphone. To do this, you just need to raise your palm, and then the countdown to the picture will start. Also, it may be convenient for someone to shoot video while holding the smartphone as a camera in a half-folded position.

Speaking of other use cases, it is possible not to hold the smartphone, but to put it on the table and scroll through the quality of the news feed or social media. Or read a book in a similar position. However, for such applications, smartphones with flexible screens that turn into something similar to a tablet when unfolded look more interesting. Given the size of the Motorola Razr 40 Ultra's internal display, it is still more convenient to use it for web surfing, messengers, games, and more in the format of a regular smartphone.

Now let's move on to the external display. It's much more interesting thanks to the large 3.6-inch diagonal. The external screen has up to 8 desktops (or rather widgets) with their own purpose. Contacts, weather, application list, music player (unfortunately, the native widget is only for Spotify, although other players work fine), calendar, etc.

In the settings, you can change the sequence, turn any of them on and off. The top curtain works as usual.

The vast majority of standard apps work on the Razr 40 Ultra's external screen. In the settings, you can select all the necessary applications that will be launched on the external screen when you close the smartphone. A notification will appear on the screen with an offer to continue working. Everything works in this way, including messengers, maps, Google Wallet players (yes, you can pay without opening your smartphone), and even some games. From the external screen, you can fully reply to messages. But there is a nuance here. This only works with the standard Gboard keyboard. SwiftKey, unfortunately, refused to work. For the external display, you can also choose wallpapers, themes and everything else.

It's quite logical that in some applications the camera can cover some controls. Motorola has provided a simple and logical solution for this. By long-pressing the bottom edge of the app, it collapses to a smaller size. You can expand it back in the same way:

There are many different designs for the home screen. Motorola decided not to limit itself to useful and functional ones and added a variant with a kind of mascot in the form of an animated cat-like creature.

Depending on the time of day, the animations change:

The use of a large external display in Motorola Razr 40 Ultra is fully justified and implemented very conveniently. Many actions can be done without opening the smartphone, which is convenient, especially on the go.

How good are the displays?

The external display of Motorola Razr 40 Ultra has a diagonal of 3.6 inches, a resolution of 1056x1066, and a pixel density of 413 ppi. Motorola decided not to skimp on the external display either: it uses an AMOLED matrix capable of reproducing a billion shades, supports HDR10+, has a refresh rate of 144 Hz and a peak brightness of 1100 cd/m². The screen is really high quality and bright, it does not fade under the summer sun, and the picture remains clear.

The internal flexible LTPO AMOLED display has a diagonal of 6.9 inches and a resolution of 2640x1080 (pixel density of 413 ppi). It also promises a billion shades, 120% coverage of the DCI-P3 colour gamut. Refresh rate up to 165 Hz (60 and 165 Hz modes), sensor readout frequency of 240 Hz in standard and 360 Hz in gaming mode. There is also support for HDR10+, peak brightness cd/m². Settings are almost standard: brightness, dark and light themes, interface and text scale, refresh rate selection, night mode, two colour display modes with colour temperature adjustment, and flicker prevention (DC Dimming).

The display really reproduces an extremely rich and vivid picture in bright mode. Viewing angles are maximum, and the brightness margin is sufficient for comfortable use in any conditions. In general, there is only one complaint: the presence of a crease in the middle. Yes, it's small and hardly noticeable, but it's there and you can feel it with your finger. In Bright, the maximum brightness is 490.48 cd/m2. The colour gamut is really impressive. Not only is it much wider than standard sRGB. It's also a little wider than the vast majority of smartphones we've tested. But colour accuracy is not perfect: the picture is a little cold due to a slight excess of blue and a lack of red. However, the colour temperature can be adjusted in the settings.

In Natural mode, the colour gamut is close to sRGB, and the colour display is more accurate. The brightness is slightly lower: 452.247 cd/m2.

Comparison with other models:

Smartphone name White field brightness,
Black field brightness,
Motorola Razr 40 Ultra 490.48 0
Samsung Galaxy Flip4 681.478 0
Samsung Galaxy Fold4 479.32 0
Xiaomi 11T Pro 493.872 0
ASUS ROG Phone 5 482.347 0
Samsung Galaxy S21+ 437.906 0
Sony Xperia 1 394.97 0
Huawei P30 Pro 447.247 0
Samsung Galaxy S10 378.72 0

What are the unlocking methods?

The unlocking methods are quite standard. The fingerprint scanner is built into the side power button. It works accurately and very quickly. But, as mentioned earlier, it is located a little higher than we would like. But this is a feature of the form factor. There is also a face recognition system. In this case, it works with both internal and external cameras. It works quite normally: quickly in good light. In the dark, it is more advisable to use the scanner.

What about performance, memory, sound, and battery life?

Motorola Razr 40 Ultra has the flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor, which is no longer the most up-to-date, but very powerful. It is manufactured using a 4nm process, includes one high-performance ARM Cortex-X2 core with a frequency of up to 3.19 GHz, three Cortex-A710 cores of 2.75 GHz, a block of four energy-efficient Cortex-A510 cores of 1.8 GHz, and an Adreno 730 graphics accelerator. There is 8 GB of LPDDR5 RAM. Internal storage: 256 GB UFS 3.1. The smartphone demonstrates high (though no longer top-end) results in synthetic tests. The performance is enough for comfortable work and modern games. And it will be enough for the next couple of years.

But the cooling is not so good. As with the vast majority of modern clamshell smartphones. The form factor doesn't allow for a good cooling system, and the dense layout inside doesn't contribute to good heat dissipation. The smartphone almost immediately starts to throttle at maximum loads and performance can drop to about 50%, which is not very good. The case also heats up significantly. Although in everyday use, heating is observed only after 10-15 minutes in some modern games.

Like other smartphones of the company, Motorola Razr 40 Ultra has a proprietary gaming application. It has performance settings, mute notifications during the game, lock the brightness level, take screenshots, and more. All modern games run well on the smartphone. Call of Duty Mobile and XCOM 2 had no problems at maximum settings and the smartphone hardly heated up. Diablo Immortal also visually runs at a stable (or relatively stable) 60 FPS, but after about 10 minutes of play, the case heated up considerably.

Motorola Razr 40 Ultra is equipped with a tri-band 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6e Wi-Fi module, Bluetooth 5.3 LE (with support for SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX HD, aptX Adaptive, LDAC codecs), and NFC for contactless payment. Support for global positioning systems: GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, BDS, LTEPP, SUPL. The smartphone reproduces stereo sound using the main and earpiece speakers and supports Dolby Atmos virtual surround sound. The settings have presets for different scenarios (movies, games, music, etc.), as well as an equaliser. The smartphone sounds quite loud, but there are few low frequencies.

Due to the design features, large batteries cannot be crammed into folding smartphones. Motorola Razr 40 Ultra is no exception: the battery capacity is 3800 mAh. Obviously, you shouldn't expect record-breaking battery life. In everyday mode (browser, instant messengers, mail, social networks, some photos and about 1.5 g of music via Bluetooth), the smartphone works until late in the evening. If you add games to this, you will need to recharge it at 18-19 hours. The smartphone supports 30W TurboPower fast charging and 5W wireless charging. A full charge from the bundled power supply takes approximately 1.5 hours, and in the first 30 minutes the smartphone charges to just under 50%.

How user-friendly is the interface?

Like all current Motorola smartphones, the Razr 40 Ultra runs on almost pure Android 13. The system is well optimised, runs very fast, and there were no problems, glitches or other unpleasant moments during use. The interface is standard: desktops, widgets, a curtain with large switches, a separate menu with all applications. There are settings for the grid, wallpaper, colours, themes, and fonts.

There are button and gesture options for navigating the system. There are additional gestures for activating or deactivating the screen, one-handed control, screen splitting, and a sidebar with a set of the most frequently used applications.

The application manager is almost standard, in the form of a horizontal carousel of cards. There is a split-screen mode, which allows you to launch applications in a window and minimise it to an icon. The only thing is not very convenient (similarly in Motorola Edge 40 Pro ). The button at the bottom of the application manager is responsible for taking a screenshot, not for closing everything that is running.

All additional gestures and functions are collected in one separate Moto application:

The smartphone supports Ready For desktop mode. You can connect to an external monitor or TV. There is a mode with a Windows-like desktop and an entertainment mode with TV (online video services), Game, Video Chat (using your smartphone as a webcam) and mirroring your smartphone image. You can connect a keyboard, mouse or gamepad via Bluetooth, as well as use the smartphone screen as a touchpad.

And for fans of the legendary Razr, there is a corresponding mode with imitation of buttons, the original screen, interface and sounds:

How good are the cameras?

The main camera of Motorola Razr 40 Ultra includes two modules. The main one is 12 megapixels with f/1.5 aperture, 1/2.55", pixel size 1.4µm. It has phase detection autofocus and optical stabilisation. The second module is ultra-wide-angle. It has a resolution of 13 MP, f/2.2 aperture, 1/3", and a pixel size of 1.12µm. The viewing angle is 108˚ and it has autofocus. This camera is also used for macro photography. The smartphone can shoot video at 4K resolution, 60 FPS. The front camera is 32 MP, f/2.4, 0.7µm.

The camera app is intuitive and clear. There is a familiar carousel of modes, a separate section with additional modes (including professional), and all the basic settings on the screen (flash, aspect ratio, HDR). The drop-down menu contains everything else, including the frame rate and video resolution.

The main camera takes good pictures both during the day and at night. Good detail, rich and fairly natural colours in most cases. Only in the evening does a bit of yellowish tinting, typical of night photography, appear.

The ultra-wide-angle camera can take good photos with sufficient lighting. At night, the detail drops very noticeably, there is a lot of noise, and the photos become blurry:

The ultra-wide-angle camera with autofocus is responsible for macro photography. The photos are good:

Motorola Razr 40 Ultra records video well. Very good detail and electronic stabilisation. 4K 60 FPS video:

Motorola Razr 40 Ultra Motorola Razr 40 Ultra
  • Excellent folding AMOLED screen with a refresh rate of 165 Hz
  • Large and functional secondary screen with support for most applications
  • Nice design and materials
  • High-quality main camera
  • Almost pure Android 13 that works perfectly
Check price

To summarise: four things you need to know about the Motorola Razr 40 Ultra.

  • The Motorola Razr 40 Ultra has an internal folding screen with a refresh rate of 165 Hz..
  • An external additional screen supports the vast majority of applications.
  • Runs on almost pure Android 13.
  • The screen crease is still there.
Motorola Razr 40 Ultra specifications
Main display Folding LTPO AMOLED, 6.9 inches, 2640x1080, 413 ppi, HDR10+, 10-bit colour, 120% DCI-P3 colour gamut, 165Hz refresh rate, sensor frequency: 240 Hz/360 Hz (in game mode), peak brightness: 1400 cd/m²
External display AMOLED, 3.6", 1066 x 1056, 413 ppi, HDR10+, 10-bit colour, 100% of DCI-P3 colour gamut, 144 Hz refresh rate, sensor frequency: 120 Hz/360 Hz (in game mode), peak brightness: 1100 cd/m², Gorilla Glass Victus
Body Expanded: 170.8x74x7 mm; folded: 88.4x74x15.1 mm, weight: 188 g
Processor 64-bit octa-core 4nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1: 1x3.19 GHz Cortex-X2 + 3x2.75 GHz Cortex-A710 + 4x1.80 GHz Cortex-A510, Adreno 730 graphics
Flash memory 256 GB UFS 3.1

Main camera: 12 MP, f/1.5, 1/2.55", 1.4µm pixel size, PDAF, OIS; ultra-wide-angle: 13 MP, f/2.2, 1/3", 1.12µm pixel size, 108°, autofocus; front camera: 32 MP f/2.4

Wireless technologies Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6e (tri-band), Bluetooth 5.3 LE, NFC
Battery 3800 mAh, non-removable, fast charging 30W, 5 W wireless charging
Operating system Android 13
Sim card NanoSIM
Additional IP52 splash protection, fingerprint scanner in the power button

Motorola Razr 40 Ultra
Flagship folding smartphone

For those who want to know more: