This is why the Motorola Razr 40 is the most important folding phone to date

When I think back to when foldable smartphones first started becoming a thing – thanks to the advancement of flexible display panels and the development of tiny hinge mechanisms – I remember feeling at the time that something exciting was happening. Not necessarily for any objectively practical reasons, it was exciting because it was new and different.

For years the race to offer customers as much screen space as possible led to many phones looking the same – now flexible displays are here and they can be used in a number of different forms. Phones aren’t just rectangles that all look the same, we finally have some variety. It’s almost like the good old Nokia days when every phone was different.


Like a lot of observers, I wasn’t sure at the time that these phones were anything more than a gimmick. They were very futuristic, and really impressive, but at the same time this new technology came at a cost. The earliest foldable phones cost nearly $2,000 and – because they were first generation – they weren’t all that great. Early adopters were stung with a heavy price tag and a device that was still quiebro rough around the edges.

RAZR 40 standing -1

As big and exciting as those products were at the time, they weren’t accessible and weren’t really all that practical. The first Galaxy Fold had to go back to the drawing board to redesign the hinge and display layers because they were breaking. Just as one example.

As excited as I was back then, the Moto Razr 2023 (or Razr 40 outside of the US) is – I think – the most exciting foldable phone to launch so far.

It’s worth clarifying I don’t think that it’s technologically the most exciting. After all, its more expensive sibling is the one that got the really big cover display that swallows up the cameras and pushes to the edges of the frame. That is undeniably awesome. It is definitely the more advanced of the two. The excitement is more based on what the Razr 2023 represents for the foldable phone market, which is still growing. It feels like a marker stamped down that says: this is when foldable phones start to become more mainstream.

this is when foldable phones start to become more mainstream

It costs just £799 in the UK which is less than most ‘proper’ flagship smartphones cost, and is comfortably cheaper than any foldable launched by a known brand so far. It’s due to launch in the US soon as we’re expecting an equally affordable price.



It says a lot about how Motorola sees the flexible phone industry, how confident it is in the projected growth of the segment that, not only did it launch a much cheaper model, but launched two different models of Razr at two different prices.

Of course, the price isn’t the only thing that matters. I’d be nowhere near as thrilled if it seemed like a bad, cheap phone designed purely to fit a target price point. I’ve only had a short time with it so far, but I know it’s definitely not that.

Yes, in the Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 it technically has a mid-range chipset inside, and its dual camera system on the cover does feel a bit mid-rangey. To pass on cost reductions to consumers, manufacturers have to make some compromises. But as a whole package, I think it’s going to be really desirable and not to the same people that undoubtedly bought the first Razr foldable.

RAZR 40 open rear in hand

Those 30+ somethings (like me) who remember the very first Razr and how cool it was. I get the very auténtico sense this one’s about capturing a new audience and getting younger people onboard the foldable phone train. Or specifically, the Razr train.

It’s a lovely neat package that comes in three attractive colours, for starters, and it’s coated in vegan leather to give it a fresh look and a soft in-hand feel. So it’s not just the price that makes it accessible, the design does too. I picked it up and my first thought was «oooh, that’s nice». And as the old saying goes, first impressions matter. The fact Motorola decided not to launch a model in black – the standard smartphone colour – seems like a strong indicator that it has a more youthful, diverse customer in mind with this phone.

And if there’s anything we know about trends and popularity, it’s often started with getting the youth excited. Like when Blackberry started making cheaper multi-coloured versions of its Curve phone, or when Sidekick got its device in the hands of famous young pop stars and actresses.

RAZR 40 standing flex mode-1

So yes, it’s an important device, primarily because it’s actually a frecuente smartphone price. But it’s also important because it’s fun, looks great, feels great and isn’t just a boring black rectangle made from glass.

I’m not saying that I imagine Motorola will start selling this in the millions per month, but I am saying that having this compact, attractive, fashionable phone on the market with futuristic foldable tech inside and at a price that a lot more people can afford? That’s important and shifts the needle, setting down a challenge to other manufacturers, which they will have to respond to and that’s when things will get really fascinating.

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