Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 vs Motorola Razr 40 Ultra: best dressed?

 The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 vs  the Motorola Razr 40 Ultra.

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 vs the Motorola Razr 40 Ultra.

Samsung has announced the Galaxy Z Flip 5, the latest version of its trailblazing compact foldable phone. It arrives to a newly competitive foldable market, in which the Motorola Razr 40 Ultra (known as the Motorola Razr Plus in the US) has arguably one-upped it.

We love the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4, but the Motorola Razr 40 Ultra clearly does a few things better. So what chance does the new and improved Flip 5 have to steal back some of that thunder?

That’s what we’re here to try and find out. We can’t offer a definitive winner as yet, because while we’ve spent a lot of time with Motorola’s foldable, we can’t yet say the same for Samsung’s ahead of a full review (we’ve already done a brief Galaxy Z Flip 5 review). We can make some educated guesses based on that experience and the official specs Samsung has shared post-Unpacked.

Here, then, is how the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 shapes up against the Motorola Razr 40 Ultra.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 vs Motorola Razr 40 Ultra: specs comparison

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 vs Motorola Razr 40 Ultra: price and availability

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 hands on vs Flip 4 back angled

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 hands on vs Flip 4 back angled

The Galaxy Z Flip 5 was announced on July 26, with availability coming August 11 at the second major Samsung Galaxy Unpacked of 2023.

Pricing doesn’t change all that much between generations but a little extra perspective is required considering the reworked storage configurations for the Flip 5. US customers are paying the same this year for the baseline 256GB model as they would have for baseline 128GB Z Flip 4 last year: $999.99, while the 512GB SKU comes priced at $1,119.99.

In the UK, consumers are paying £10 less than they would have for the same storage last year: £1,049 for the 256GB model and £1,149 for the 512GB build, while Australian pricing is unchanged, relative to storage capacity: AU$1,649 (256GB), AU$1,849 (512GB).

The Motorola Razr 40 Ultra, for its part, hit shops on June 5, 2023. It costs $999.99 / £1,049.99 / AU$1,499 for a model with 8GB RAM and 256GB of storage. One thing that looks likely to go in Samsung’s favor, is the provision of more storage options, which we always approve of.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 vs Motorola Razr 40 Ultra: Design

Motorola Razr Plus 2023 / Motorola Razr 40 Ultra

Motorola Razr Plus 2023 / Motorola Razr 40 Ultra

Broadly speaking, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 and the Motorola Razr 40 Ultra have the same design. Both are clamshell phones, offering a regular smartphone form factor that folds in half for easy portability.

Their dimensions are similar too, although the Motorola’s 0.2-inch larger screen means it reaches fractionally further in all dimensions (saved for thickness when closed, which is the same across both phones at 15.1mm). The Razr 40 Ultra distinguished itself from the Flip 4 by offering a completely flush folding mechanism, but that advantage went away with the Flip 5’s revised ‘waterdrop’ hinge design.

That system should also even things out in terms of the display crease. Motorola won a lot of fans with its smaller dip, but the Flip 5 looks to follow suit.

We’ll talk about displays in more detail in the next bit, but there’s an important design angle with these external displays. While the Razr 40 Ultra swallows up that dual camera module with its outer panel, Samsung shaved the corner off at an angle to avoid doing so, giving it an L-shaped appearance. We’ll have to say right off the bat that Motorola’s approach is preferable.

As for colors, Samsung didn’t dare go anywhere as bold as Motorola with its Viva Magenta color option in vegan leather. It brought the Z Flip 5 mint, graphite, cream, lavender, gray, blue, green, and yellow options, all of which are exceptionally muted by comparison.

That’s not a criticism, as Samsung’s classy, professional-looking colorways have been a highlight of the Flip range since its inception. Even so, the Razr 40 Ultra will certainly appear more ‘fun’ to certain types of users.

The Flip 5 comes with an IPX8 rating and an uncertified degree of dust resistance too, while the Razr 40 Ultra has an IP52 rating. This means the Flip has better water resistance, while the Razr wins on dust resistance.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 vs Motorola Razr 40 Ultra: display

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 hands on cover display clock handheld

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 hands on cover display clock handheld

As we’ve just alluded to, both of these phones are notable for expanding the size of their external displays.

In the case of the Razr 40 Ultra, we called its 3.6-inch 1056×1066 external display “a real game changer” for its added utility. It’s not just there to tell you the time, but permits you to run full apps on it, meaning you can achieve many basic tasks without ever having to open the phone up.

That’s enough to gazump the Galaxy Z Flip 4, but the Flip 5 features a 3.4-inch 748×720 external display which Samsung calls a Flex Display. No, that still isn’t as big or sharp as the Razr’s, but it’s closer.

Motorola looks set to win in hardware terms, but the true winner here will likely come down to software implementation with those square displays, so we’ll hold off until we see how Samsung’s new phone shapes up in practice (stay tuned for the full review soon).

Internally, things are looking somewhat similar, though again, the Razr 40 Ultra might just have the edge. It packs a 6.9-inch OLED with a 144Hz refresh rate, whereas the Galaxy Z Flip 5 features a 6.7-inch OLED with a 120Hz refresh rate.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 vs Motorola Razr 40 Ultra: cameras

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 hands on partial open angled table

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 hands on partial open angled table

We described the Motorola Razr 40 Ultra’s camera set-up as “the weakest link” in an otherwise impeccable package. It offers a dual camera system with a 12MP wide sensor and a 13MP ultra-wide.

The Razr takes pretty bad photos if we’re being blunt. From blown-out colors to blurry zoomed shots and iffy portraits, it’s just not a very capable shooter.

For its part, the Galaxy Z Flip 5 offers a similar camera set-up to the Flip 4, which means twin 12MP sensors on wide and ultra-wide duty. We fully expect it to kick the Razr 40 Ultra’s behind.

For one thing, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 already takes better pictures than the Razr. While it’s no star, the Flip 4 generally takes consistently adequate, balanced snaps. Now consider that the Flip 5 brings in new and improved image processing upgrades that come as part and parcel of a new SoC, we’re expecting an improvement in the Flip 5’s photographic prowess that leaves the Razr in the dust.

In terms of selfies, the Razr 40 Ultra gives you a 32MP hole-punch camera, while the Galaxy Z Flip 5 gives a 10MP equivalent. None of this matters, because one of the benefits with these two phones is that you can easily use the main camera to take selfies. In which case, the Flip 5 will likely win again.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 vs Motorola Razr 40 Ultra: performance

A model of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 in a perspex disc in-hand at the Snapdragon Summit 2022 in Hawaii

A model of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 in a perspex disc in-hand at the Snapdragon Summit 2022 in Hawaii

Samsung scores a comfortable win in the specs and performance stakes. The Flip 5 is equipped with Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, which confidently tops the Motorola Razr 40 Ultra’s Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 on a straight-up generational basis.

Our experience with both chips in other phones has been hugely positive, but all of the benchmarks point to a clear win for the Flip 5, barring some deeply unlikely long-term optimization catastrophe.

The two phones tie on RAM, with the sole Razr 40 Ultra model giving you 8GB (a 12GB model exists, but is not widely sold), and the Galaxy Z Flip 5 is the same. Samsung does win here again when it comes to storage options, as we highlighted above. The Razr only comes in one flavor – 256GB – while the Flip 5 comes with two: 256GB and 512GB. Again, a 512GB model does exist for the Razr if you look around, but the 8GB/256GB model is what’s widely sold.

There are some fascinating differences when it comes to software, too. Not everyone warms to Samsung’s heavily tinkered-with Android user experience, but there’s no denying its power-user tweaks have capitalized on the foldable form factor better than anyone, while its market penetration means that it’s in a strong position on third-party support.

In the opposite corner, Motorola’s softly-softly approach to software has won it a lot of fans, sticking much closer to Google’s own blueprint. But it has also made meaningful enhancements for the Razr 40 Ultra, with genuinely cool and useful external display widgets.

These widgets mean that you won’t need to flip open your phone half as much. With that said, third-party support is a little spotty, and we’re not confident it’ll ever be perfect given the phone’s niche nature – though Google’s foldable-focused updates should make that optimization process easier for both brands.

Samsung’s update promise is also class-leading, meaning far greater long-term support and – based on current practices – more timely updates than Motorola can ever manage.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 vs Motorola Razr 40 Ultra: battery

Motorola Razr Plus with iPhone 14 Pro and Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4

Motorola Razr Plus with iPhone 14 Pro and Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4

The Galaxy Z Flip 5 sticks with the same 3,700mAh battery as the Flip 4. That makes it fractionally smaller than the Razr 40 Ultra’s 3,800mAh cell, which is probably less significant than how both manufacturers optimize their hardware through software.

Neither the Razr 40 Ultra nor previous Flip models have blown us away with their stamina, with each just about meriting the tag of “all-day battery life”. But only just.

There’s reason to hope that the Galaxy Z Flip 5 will be a little better than before, given its more efficient processor. Then again, it’ll have that larger external display sipping away at the juice. Wait and see, we say.

Neither phone brings blistering charging speeds. The Razr 40 Ultra only comes with 30W wired and 5W wireless while the Flip 5 sticks with the Flip 4 set-up, which means slower 25W wired but faster 15W wireless.  It’s six of one, half a dozen of the other.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 vs Motorola Razr 40 Ultra: verdict

Motorola really impressed us with the Razr 40 Ultra earlier in the year. It’s the first widely available compact foldable that actually beats Samsung at its own game.

Will the Galaxy Z Flip 5 be capable of taking that crown back? It’ll at least get closer, with improvements being delivered to the external display, performance, camera tech, and design.

It seems likely that the Flip 5 will be faster than the Razr, and that it will take better pictures. Conversely, the Razr 40 Ultra does have larger and more fluid displays, both in and out.

That aside, it could all come down to software. You’re either a fan of Samsung’s distinctive UI or you’re not, while Motorola’s clean, stock-like take has a lot of fans here, but it is still in the early stages of its move to a foldable format.

All in all, we’re as fascinated as you to learn which of these compact foldable phones will be the king of the hill once all is said and done. It’s going to be a tightly fought-battle.

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