April 17, 2024
Close-up of the black faux leather back on the Motorola Edge (2023).
Joe Maring / Digital Developments

2023 is nearly one for the historical past books, and it was an enormous one for smartphones. Apple went all-in on titanium iPhones, Google had an unbelievable 12 months for Pixel units, and Android telephones had an incredibly good 12 months throughout the board.

As we wind down 2023 and begin looking forward to 2024, there’s one firm, specifically, that I need to spotlight. Loads of people are already getting excited concerning the Samsung Galaxy S24 and the iPhone 16, however if you happen to ask me, Samsung and Apple aren’t the businesses you need to be paying shut consideration to within the new 12 months. As an alternative, your eyes must be set and centered on Motorola.

Motorola has nailed flagship smartphones

The lock screen on the Motorola Edge Plus (2023).
Joe Maring / Digital Developments

Motorola acquired a lot proper this previous 12 months — and it began with the Motorola Edge Plus (2023).  I reviewed the Edge Plus this previous Might, and all these months later, it stays certainly one of my favourite telephones of the 12 months.

There’s not one single factor that made the Edge Plus stand out, however somewhat a fruits of Motorola getting a lot proper.

The 6.7-inch OLED show is vibrant, colourful, and a pure pleasure to have a look at. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor remains to be a efficiency champ, even a 12 months after its launch. The battery simply lasts for 2 days on a single cost, and the 68-watt wired charging means you possibly can go from zero to 100% in about an hour. Hell, even the cameras — one thing Motorola has lengthy struggled with — are strong. They’re not Google Pixel 8 Professional or Samsung Galaxy S23 Extremely high quality, however the Edge Plus’s digicam system remains to be a wholeheartedly gratifying one.

2023 gave us a number of standout flagships, however the Motorola Edge Plus nonetheless stands out as top-of-the-line ones. It’s probably the most full smartphone packages you should buy at this time, to not point out the wonderful $800 MSRP (which is commonly discounted as little as $600). I’ve waited years and years for a correct return to type for a flagship Motorola telephone, and that’s exactly what we acquired with the Edge Plus in 2023.

Its mid-tier choices are getting higher, too

The back of the Motorola Edge (2023).
Joe Maring / Digital Developments

And it wasn’t simply top-of-the-line flagships the place Motorola succeeded this 12 months. The corporate additionally impressed with its extra budget-minded choices — particularly with the Motorola Edge (2023).

I reviewed the Edge (2023) proper across the time I used to be testing the Google Pixel 8, and it was exceptional simply how straightforward it was to shuttle between the 2 telephones. As a $600 smartphone (which might now be purchased for as little as $350), the Motorola Edge exceeded a number of my expectations this 12 months.

The Edge isn’t fairly as well-rounded as its Edge Plus sibling, however as a decidedly mid-tier handset, it’s an excellent package deal. I actually like Motorola’s choice to make use of leather-based on the again and across the digicam housing, which is grippier than glass and extra premium-feeling than plastic. You additionally nonetheless get an excellent OLED show with a 144Hz refresh price, the MediaTek Dimensity 7030 processor is surprisingly succesful, and also you don’t should sacrifice battery life or quick charging speeds.

There are some drawbacks, clearly. Motorola guarantees only one main software program replace from Android 13 to Android 14, and the cameras aren’t something to put in writing dwelling about. However the total package deal is a powerful one, and I believe it’s certainly one of Motorola’s higher mid-range choices shortly.

The flip-phone foldable champ

The Motorola Razr Plus, half folded with its cover screen on.
Joe Maring / Digital Developments

Even whereas doing so nicely with “common” smartphones in 2023, Motorola nonetheless discovered time to crank out a number of folding telephones — and two of crucial ones of the 12 months, at that.

The primary foldable launch from Motorola in 2023, the Motorola Razr Plus, was every thing I’d been ready for in a flip-phone sort of foldable. Enjoyable, distinctive design? Examine. A big cowl display screen that runs fully-fledged Android apps? Examine. Water and mud resistance? Quick efficiency? Nice software program? Examine, examine, and examine.

Motorola has been dabbling with folding telephones since late 2019, and the Razr Plus felt like what the corporate has been working towards for therefore a few years. It’s probably the most gratifying telephones I’ve utilized in 2023, and even with extra technically spectacular rivals just like the Galaxy Z Flip 5 now out, the Razr Plus nonetheless holds a particular place in my coronary heart.

A person opening the Motorola Razr 40.
Andy Boxall / Digital Developments

Lastly, it’d be a disservice to not discuss concerning the common Motorola Razr (2023).

On paper, the Razr (2023) doesn’t seem to be something particular. In comparison with the Razr Plus, it has a lower-specced principal show, a slower processor, worse cameras, and a a lot smaller cowl show. It’s an inferior telephone in nearly each regard, so why point out it in any respect?

The value.

The Motorola Razr (2023) has a retail value of $700, and relying on once you purchase it, you possibly can decide it up for as little as $500. In late 2023, you possibly can spend simply $500 for a model new folding telephone. That was utterly unparalleled only a 12 months in the past, however Motorola made {that a} very true actuality this 12 months — and it’s nonetheless a bit laborious to imagine.

Excessive costs have lengthy been one of many principal deterrents for foldables. Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip and Z Fold households are nice, however with costs ranging anyplace from $1,000 to $1,800, they’re removed from inexpensive. The Razr (2023) is the primary folding telephone that feels prefer it’s truly obtainable for a big group of individuals, and even with out the most effective specs on the planet, that’s nothing wanting superb.

What’s going to Moto do in 2024?

White Motorola logo against a wooden background.
Joe Maring / Digital Developments

Was 2023 an ideal 12 months for Motorola? Not fairly. The corporate nonetheless has room to enhance its software program replace coverage. Motorola’s Moto G line has additionally turn into unnecessarily complicated, and resulted in some less-than-stellar releases from Motorola this 12 months.

However even with these quirks left to iron out, I can’t assist however look again at 2023 as one of many strongest for Motorola in years. And due to that, I’m excited eager about the place Moto goes in 2024.

With the Edge Plus practically perfected this 12 months, think about how good a successor subsequent 12 months might be. Motorola proved the usual Edge generally is a very competent mid-ranger, and it has clear — however manageable — methods to enhance it within the new 12 months. And with the Razr and Razr Plus making such robust showings in 2023, the prospect of 2024 successors to them is past thrilling.

Leaks and rumors about Motorola’s 2024 product roadmap have remained quiet to this point, but when the corporate follows the same sample to what we noticed this 12 months, it’s protected to say we’ll be in for an additional spectacular 12 months. And I can’t wait.

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