Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 Vs. Motorola Razr Plus 2023: Which Is Best?

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Samsung recently unveiled its new assemblage of flagship products at the second annual Unpacked event in South Korea, where its new foldable smartphones — the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Galaxy Z Flip 5 — were the main attractions. While Samsung primarily focused on improving the durability of the Fold, the new Flip gets a bigger spic-and-span external display besides an improved hinge mechanism. The larger display also helps the Galaxy Z Flip 5 compete against the Motorola Razr Plus, launched in June 2023 with a more useful outer screen.

Samsung dominates the segment of foldable phones with over 80% of the reported market share in 2022. Even though the foldables market is maturing and getting denser — over 35 new foldable smartphones are set to launch throughout the year — most of them, however, will not make it to the U.S. With the Galaxy Z Flip 4 being the best-selling foldable smartphone of 2022, the Motorola Razr Plus 2023 has a lot to overcome in the form of the new Galaxy Z Flip 5.

However, the former's much improved outer display could bring some respite from the competition and help Motorola bite into Samsung's massive share in the U.S. Similarly, Samsung's bigger outer display and improved internals make the choice between the two clamshells confusing. How do you pick? Let's look at the differences between the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 and Motorola Razr Plus 2023 to help decide the better flip phone for you.

Small cover displays make a large difference

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 and the Motorola Razr Plus 2023 received significant design changes this year, with the external display being the center of attention for both brands. Motorola has added an almost-square 3.6-inch external display to the Razr Plus, which wraps around the two cameras. Meanwhile, the Galaxy Z Flip 5 gets a slightly smaller 3.4-inch display called "Flex Window" with a folder-shaped design and adequate spacing around the camera setup.

Talking about the level of detail on both phones' external screens, Motorola leads with a crisp 1056x1066 pixels display while Samsung lags far behind with its resolution of 720x748 pixels. The Razr Plus also edges Galaxy Z Flip 5 out by offering a 144Hz refresh rate on the tiny display, making it extremely smooth and engaging compared to the standard 60Hz panel on the Galaxy Z Flip 5.

Full-screen apps can run on the external display and easily transition to the larger inner screen when the Razr Plus is opened. In contrast, the functionality is limited on the Galaxy Z Flip 5, which officially only allows certain extensions of apps through "widgets" while also limiting the number of widgets to six initially. Notably, unofficial mods such as CoverScreen OS run full-screen apps on the tiny displays on the Galaxy Z Flip 3 and the Flip 4 and can be expected to enhance the experience on the Galaxy Z Flip 5 as well.

Similar foldable displays

Unlike the outer displays on the Galaxy Z Flip 5 and the Motorola Razr Plus, we find fewer immediately visible differences between the inner folding displays on both phones. Both have AMOLED displays with the exact same resolution of 1080x2640 pixels. There is a minor difference in the size of the internal screens on the two phones, with the Razr Plus sporting a 6.9-inch flexible panel while the Galaxy Z Flip 5 features a tad smaller 6.7-inch foldable display.

Delving deeper into the nuances, we notice changes that set the two apart. The panel used on the Motorola Razr Plus offers a higher 165Hz refresh rate, while the Galaxy Z Flip 5's inner display refreshes at 120Hz. While the higher refresh rate on the Razr Plus is more stimulating, most users will not find the Galaxy Z Flip lacking, either.

Motorola and Samsung also make hefty claims about the display's brightness. While Razr Plus endorses 1400 nits, Z Flip 5 offers 1200 nits of peak brightness. Both will dazzle human eyes unless viewing the screens under bright sunlight.

Minor differences in design

There is little to differentiate between the two phones' designs as both phones offer glass backs reinforced by aluminum frames. The only subtle difference is in the form of the Razr Plus' curved rear edges compared to the Galaxy Z Flip 5's completely flat back. Samsung claims higher resistance to drops and scratches with Gorilla Glass Victus 2 compared to the Razr Plus' first-gen Victus.

With a frosted glass finish, Samsung offers four color options for the Galaxy Z Flip 5, including Cream, Graphite, Lavender, and Mint. You can also choose among four more matted shaded shades: blue, gray, green, and yellow, which are only sold on official channels, but you no longer get the bespoke color options previously available for the Galaxy Z Flip phones. Motorola has fewer options, including Infinite Black, Glacier Blue, and Viva Magenta. The magenta variant comes with a vegan leather back, while the other two use glass for packaging.

When folded, both phones stay shut completely gapless, which reduces the chances of dust, sand, or lint getting stuck inside the folded screen, although neither claims extensive resistance against dust. The Galaxy Z Flip 5 receives a high resistance to water with an IPX8 rating, which means it can withstand being under five feet underwater for up to 30 minutes. The Razr Plus gets an IP52 rating, suggesting a limited resistance to dust ingress and protection against direct sprays of water. Dipping the phone underwater, even for seconds, will not be a good idea.

Flip 5 overpowers with more advanced internals

With the Razr Plus, Motorola took the controversial route of using the last year's flagship chipset on a $1,000 phone. The latest Razr comes with Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip, which we also saw on the Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Fold 4. Meanwhile, the Galaxy Z Flip 5 has a noticeable advantage with a newer, more powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip. Besides being the latest from Qualcomm, Samsung is using a more powerful version of the chipset, custom-designed for Galaxy smartphones.

The Razr Plus and the Galaxy Z Flip 5 offer a single variant in the U.S. with 8GB of RAM and 256GB storage. Meanwhile, the Galaxy Z Flip 5 offers options between 256GB and 512GB of internal storage, both paired with 8GB RAM.

The Galaxy Z Flip 5 still uses the same 3,700mAh battery from the previous generation, while the Razr Plus gets a comparable 3,800mAh battery. Motorola offers slightly faster wired charging at 30W, while Samsung uses 25W wired charging. Both phones also support wireless charging at 5W using standard Qi-certified equipment. Samsung also offers faster 15W wireless charging but only with a Samsung-branded charging pad.

Lastly, the Galaxy Z Flip 5 can also charge accessories such as earphones or other phones with reverse wireless charging. Although this is awfully slow at 4.5W, the option is still better than not having the facility at all, which is the case with the Razr Plus.

Sub-par cameras on both clamshells

The Motorola Razr Plus and the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 lack anything spectacular about the dual cameras on the outside. Both phones get 12MP shooters for the primary camera. The sensor inside the Galaxy Z Flip 5's main camera is physically bigger, thereby resulting in better light capturing. At the same time, Motorola makes up for this shortfall with a wider opening on the lens. Both phones get Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) to reduce shakes while capturing handheld photos or recording videos.

As for the secondary cameras, Samsung is using a 12MP ultrawide unit while Motorola has opted for a 13MP ultrawide sensor. The Z Flip 5 gets a much wider field of view at 123 degrees, whereas the Razr Plus is limited to a 108-degree-wide sweep.

The two phones are equally capable of recording HDR10+ videos with 4K resolution at a maximum of 60fps. Both can record higher frame rate videos at 1080p resolution.

Inside, the Galaxy Z Flip 5 has a 10MP selfie camera for selfies, while the Razr Plus gets one with a 32MP resolution. Both of these phones also allow you to take selfies with the external cameras, which should offer better quality than the front cameras. Since the Razr Plus lets you run full-screen apps on the outer display, you can also use the external cameras for video calling or for applications such as Snapchat and Instagram.

Samsung offers more updates

The two phones offer starkly different interfaces despite running Android 13. The Razr Plus runs a near-stock interface similar to Google's Pixel smartphones. This stripped-down version of Android is limited to essential features and has non-existent pre-installed third-party apps.

Meanwhile, the Galaxy Z Flip 5 runs a heavily customized OneUI 5.1 with bigger icons and rounder elements optimized for single-handed usage despite the large screen. You get the entire suite of Samsung apps and plenty of third-party apps, including LinkedIn, Facebook, Microsoft Office, Outlook, Spotify, etc. Thankfully, most of these can be uninstalled if you want to free up the phone's storage.

Despite this inconvenience, Samsung is better for long-term usage. The Galaxy Z Flip 5 is promised to get four incremental Android updates — i.e., to at least Android 17, with five years of security updates. In recent years, Samsung has delivered prompt software updates to fix issues or add new features. You can also expect the Android 14 update to roll out in a few months after Google announces the first stable release.

On the other hand, Motorola promises three platform updates and four years of security patches for its flagships — although no such claim has been made for the Razr Plus. The company's frequency or promptness is not comparable to Samsung's, and you can expect several months of waiting before the Android 14 update comes to the Razr Plus 2023.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 vs. Motorola Razr Plus 2023: Which is the better flip phone?

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 and the Motorola Razr Plus 2023 offer a comparable selection of features. Hence, the best flip phone of 2023 (as yet) depends on what you value more.

The Razr Plus gets better displays on the inside and outside. Further, the versatility of the outer display's use case makes it a better choice for anyone looking for fewer reasons to open the phone with every notification. Meanwhile, the Galaxy Z Flip 5 leads with better software support, a newer and more powerful processor, more storage options, and faster wireless charging — so long as you use a Samsung charger. The Z Flip 5 also offers better durability against water than the Razr Plus. The phones are nearly identical when it comes to their camera specifications and battery capacities.

Regarding the pricing of each phone, the unlocked variant of the Motorola Razr Plus 2023 is priced at $999.99 and is readily available. Meanwhile, the Galaxy Z Flip 5 also has the same starting price of $999.99 for the 256GB model, but for a limited period, you can get the 512GB storage variant for the same price. After this offer ends, the 512GB model will make a $1,119.99 dent in your wallet. The Galaxy Z Flip 5 is up for pre-order and will be available starting August 11.