Why Motorola could be the smartphone company to beat in 2024

Close-up of the black faux leather back on the Motorola Edge (2023).
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

2023 is just about one for the history books, and it was a big one for smartphones. Apple went all-in on titanium iPhones, Google had an incredible year for Pixel devices, and Android phones had a shockingly good year across the board.

As we wind down 2023 and start looking ahead to 2024, there’s one company, in particular, that I want to highlight. Plenty of folks are already getting excited about the Samsung Galaxy S24 and the iPhone 16, but if you ask me, Samsung and Apple aren’t the companies you should be paying close attention to in the new year. Instead, your eyes should be set and centered on Motorola.

Motorola has nailed flagship smartphones

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

Motorola got so much right this past year — and it all started with the Motorola Edge Plus (2023).  I reviewed the Edge Plus this past May, and all these months later, it remains one of my favorite phones of the year.

There’s not one single thing that made the Edge Plus stand out, but rather a culmination of Motorola getting so much right.

The 6.7-inch OLED display is vibrant, colorful, and a pure joy to look at. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor is still a performance champ, even a year after its release. The battery easily lasts for two days on a single charge, and the 68-watt wired charging means you can go from zero to 100% in about an hour. Hell, even the cameras — something Motorola has long struggled with — are solid. They’re not Google Pixel 8 Pro or Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra quality, but the Edge Plus’s camera system is still a wholeheartedly enjoyable one.

2023 gave us a lot of standout flagships, but the Motorola Edge Plus still stands out as one of the best ones. It’s one of the most complete smartphone packages you can buy today, not to mention the excellent $800 MSRP (which is often discounted as low as $600). I’ve waited years and years for a proper return to form for a flagship Motorola phone, and that’s precisely what we got with the Edge Plus in 2023.

Its mid-tier options are getting better, too

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

And it wasn’t just top-of-the-line flagships where Motorola succeeded this year. The company also impressed with its more budget-minded offerings — specifically with the Motorola Edge (2023).

I reviewed the Edge (2023) right around the time I was testing the Google Pixel 8, and it was remarkable just how easy it was to go back and forth between the two phones. As a $600 smartphone (which can now be bought for as little as $350), the Motorola Edge exceeded a lot of my expectations this year.

The Edge isn’t quite as well-rounded as its Edge Plus sibling, but as a decidedly mid-tier handset, it’s a very good package. I really like Motorola’s decision to use leather on the back and around the camera housing, which is grippier than glass and more premium-feeling than plastic. You also still get a very good OLED display with a 144Hz refresh rate, the MediaTek Dimensity 7030 processor is surprisingly capable, and you don’t have to sacrifice battery life or fast charging speeds.

There are some drawbacks, obviously. Motorola promises just one major software update from Android 13 to Android 14, and the cameras aren’t anything to write home about. But the overall package is a strong one, and I think it’s one of Motorola’s better mid-range offerings in a while.

The flip-phone foldable champ

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

Even while doing so well with “regular” smartphones in 2023, Motorola still found time to crank out multiple folding phones — and two of the most important ones of the year, at that.

The first foldable release from Motorola in 2023, the Motorola Razr Plus, was everything I’d been waiting for in a flip-phone type of foldable. Fun, unique design? Check. A large cover screen that runs fully-fledged Android apps? Check. Water and dust resistance? Fast performance? Great software? Check, check, and check.

Motorola has been dabbling with folding phones since late 2019, and the Razr Plus felt like what the company has been working toward for so many years. It’s one of the most enjoyable phones I’ve used in 2023, and even with more technically impressive competitors like the Galaxy Z Flip 5 now out, the Razr Plus still holds a special place in my heart.

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

Finally, it’d be a disservice not to talk about the regular Motorola Razr (2023).

On paper, the Razr (2023) doesn’t seem like anything special. Compared to the Razr Plus, it has a lower-specced main display, a slower processor, worse cameras, and a much smaller cover display. It’s an inferior phone in almost every regard, so why mention it at all?

The price.

The Motorola Razr (2023) has a retail price of $700, and depending on when you buy it, you can pick it up for as little as $500. In late 2023, you can spend just $500 for a brand new folding phone. That was completely unheard of just a year ago, but Motorola made that a very true reality this year — and it’s still a bit hard to believe.

High prices have long been one of the main deterrents for foldables. Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip and Z Fold families are great, but with prices ranging anywhere from $1,000 to $1,800, they’re far from affordable. The Razr (2023) is the first folding phone that feels like it’s actually obtainable for a large group of people, and even without the best specs in the world, that’s nothing short of amazing.

What will Moto do in 2024?

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

Was 2023 a perfect year for Motorola? Not quite. The company still has room to improve its software update policy. Motorola’s Moto G line has also become unnecessarily confusing, and resulted in some less-than-stellar releases from Motorola this year.

But even with those quirks left to iron out, I can’t help but look back at 2023 as one of the strongest for Motorola in years. And because of that, I’m excited thinking about where Moto goes in 2024.

With the Edge Plus nearly perfected this year, imagine how good a successor next year could be. Motorola proved the standard Edge can be a very competent mid-ranger, and it has clear — but manageable — ways to improve it in the new year. And with the Razr and Razr Plus making such strong showings in 2023, the prospect of 2024 successors to them is beyond exciting.

Leaks and rumors about Motorola’s 2024 product roadmap have remained quiet so far, but if the company follows a similar pattern to what we saw this year, it’s safe to say we’ll be in for another spectacular year. And I can’t wait.

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Courtesy by: Digital Trends

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