Saturday, July 13, 2024
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Using this Motorola folding phone was an emotional rollercoaster

The red Motorola Razr Plus propped open.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

In psychology, there is something called “affective ambivalence,” where two opposite emotions are experienced almost at the same time. It perfectly sums up the rollercoaster of feelings I’ve had for the Motorola Razr Plus since returning to it.

One moment I absolutely love it, but then it deeply frustrates me due to something silly or something Motorola should have fixed by now. But then I check how much it costs, and I go right back to being astonished by it.

Yes, my time with the Motorola Razr Plus has been emotional. Here’s why.

Emotional rollercoaster painted red

The back of the Viva Magenta Razr Plus.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

The Motorola Razr Plus has an uncanny ability to tug at my heartstrings. The Pantone Viva Magenta color is beautiful for a start, and apparently, red is a good example of a color that fires up our synapses and provokes an emotional response. “The emotional connotation of red switches between negative and positive,” it states in a study from Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, echoing how I’ve felt about the Razr Plus in general.

This small, red phone is utterly gorgeous, and I love the way the polished red metal surrounds the matte textured panel on the rear of the closed phone, which helps give it a tactility missing from smooth phones like the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5. Motorola changed its foldable phone design for the better this year, and it made exactly the right choice by going for such a bold color to highlight its work.

But when I pick the Razr Plus up and go to open it, my heart sinks. The exterior is slicker than a freshly polished wooden floor, but the hinge has more in common with cracking open an aging oak door than it does with the rest of this red beauty. It creaks as you prize it apart, and although it doesn’t offer any resistance, you can feel the components inside moving. I don’t think it’s going to break, but it robs the Razr Plus of finesse — something the Z Flip 5 doesn’t lack at all.

Moo saves the day, for a while

Moo on Motorola Razr Plus
Prakhar Khanna / Digital Trends

I snap the Razr Plus shut, my emotion having suddenly switched from attraction to aversion, but then I see Moo on the cover screen, and everything changes again. I don’t care that Moo is an animated, cutesy version of the Motorola “wings” logo and, therefore, corporate marketing fluff masquerading as a fun character. For me, it’s up there with the fantastic Snoopy watch faces on the Apple Watch with its uncanny ability to give a soulless electronic device real emotional appeal.

During the week, Moo’s schedule of working, eating, and sleeping mirrors mine, and during the weekend, Moo sings at karaoke, shops, and works out. No, I didn’t do any of those things this last weekend, so it made me laugh that the character on my phone screen was more socially outgoing and motivated than I had the opportunity to be.

Moo on the Motorola Razr Plus's cover screen.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

With Moo warming my heart, I replied to some messages, but using the Razr Plus then reminded me that it still has Android 13 installed. I’d recently used the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and the Galaxy Z Flip 5 again, and both received an update to Android 14. Oppo has also updated the Find N2 Flip with Android 14, leaving Motorola well behind with no firm information on when the update will arrive.

The Razr family is supposed to get three years of software updates, but timing is equally important, and communication on when Android 14 will arrive is minimal. Digital Trends asked Motorola’s press team about the schedule, but it has not provided any information on the situation yet. It sent my mood crashing down, and not even Moo’s antics could instantly turn that around.

At this price, it’s a bargain

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 next to the Motorola Razr Plus.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

As my mood related to the Razr Plus flip-flopped, I wondered if anyone should buy it instead of the Galaxy Z Flip 5. It’s brilliant, but it doesn’t have the same fun nature or the same emotional baggage as the Razr Plus. So I checked the price, and through Motorola’s online store, at the moment, it’s $700 unlocked — significantly less than its normal $1,000 price and matching the standard retail price of the mid-range Razr (2023).

Will it stay at this price forever? No, probably not, but Motorola seems highly motivated to sell these fun little phones, so another deal is almost certainly around the corner if you miss this one. But if you catch it for $700, the frustrations I’ve mentioned here are much easier to forgive, and saving this amount of money to get a very cool compact folding phone would make me quickly forget the creaky hinge.

A video playing on the Motorola Razr Plus.
Motorola Razr Plus Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

I settled back into loving the Motorola Razr Plus again, and my SIM is still in it as I write this. But as I glanced over to check out that shiny red body once more, the annoying empty black cover screen looked back at me as well. I tapped the screen to check for any missed notifications and sighed at Motorola’s decision not to add an always-on ambient display to any of its phones, let alone the Razr Plus.

I do recommend the Motorola Razr Plus, especially if you can get it at such a big discount, but here’s a warning for potential buyers: this feisty red phone won’t hesitate to play with your emotions, for better and for worse.

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