Fast Charge: I’m in love with the Razr 40 Ultra’s external display

OPINION: Motorola has unveiled the Razr 40 alongside the high-end 40 Ultra, and while many are excited about the idea of a cheaper foldable, it’s the Razr 40 Ultra and its large external display in particular that has wowed me the most. 

The Razr 40 Ultra makes big steps forward in terms of foldable hardware, battery performance and camera prowess, but it’s the inclusion of the large 3.5-inch cover display that’ll likely wow most consumers. 

The 3.5-inch OLED panel is comfortably the biggest external display on the market, beating the Oppo Find N2 Flip’s 3.26-inch display and the paltry 1.9-inch offering from Samsung’s popular Z Flip 4. It’s not just big either; it’s high quality, encompasses the twin camera setup in the bottom-right (I’ll never complain about hole punch cameras again!) and sports a near-bezel-less design.

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It’s not just a good-looking display either; the 3.5-inch panel provides quick access to a number of widgets designed for the Razr’s external display, including weather, calendar and contacts, with another widget providing shortcuts to your favourite apps, be it Camera, YouTube or WhatsApp. These apps run within the small exterior display, making it much easier to quickly use apps to do things like toggle on smart home tech without having to unfold the phone itself. 

The ability to run apps and access whatever information you need without opening the phone fixes one of my biggest complaints with flip-style foldables. While book-style foldables offer a large external display, flip phones have largely been relegated to small basic displays for simple tasks. 

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That’s great if you’re looking to cut down on screen time as having to open the phone to access apps acts as a kind of barrier, stopping the mindless unlocking and scrolling that I find myself doing all too often. 

But while I appreciate that from time to time, there are plenty of other times that I wish I didn’t have to open the phone to reply to an incoming message or access my music controls. That’s especially true if I’ve got my hands full, as it’s not as easy to unfold a modern flip phone with one hand as it was with its early 00s counterparts.  

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The Razr 40 Ultra allows me to do more with its large 3.5-inch display, and with impressive specs including a 144Hz refresh rate — unheard of on exterior displays, which usually cap out at 60Hz — the Razr 40 Ultra could offer the perfect flip-phone experience.

I have found that to be the case with my experience of using the phone so far, though with the caveat that I’ve only spent just over 24 hours with the phone right now. 

Still, the experience is ideal for me, heavily reducing the number of times I need to unfold the phone, which should have the knock-on effect of less strain on the internal foldable display — though that’s just speculation on my part rather than an official line from Motorola. 

Essentially, Motorola took what I loved about the Razr (2022) compared to most of the foldable competition, and turned it up to 11. It’s easily the most capable external display of any clamshell right now, and it’ll be interesting to see how Oppo, Samsung and co respond over the coming months.

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