As long as you weren’t born after the year 2000, you’re acutely aware of Motorola’s profound impact on the cell and smartphone industries. The Razr remains one of the most recognizable phones in the world, and Motorola’s modern smartphones are affordable and dependable mid-tier stalwars.
Yes, Apple and Samsung have dominated smartphone headlines for the last few years, but Motorola remains a reliable option for anyone tired of the two-party system. Below, we rank some of our absolute favorite Motorola phones over the years, going back as far as 2002 to find some of the best.
1. Razr V3 (2004)
Iconic. Legendary. World-altering. These are just a few of the words to non-dramatically describe the Motorola Razr of the mid-2000s. While virtually any flip phone seems like Stone Age technology in 2022, the original Razr was the height of technology in 2005, boasting a, stylish design, a unique button sleek layout (remember those?), and internet-connectivity that, at the time , was groundbreaking.
You could argue that the Motorola Razr V3 started the world’s obsession with cell phones. The device became a cultural phenomenon, from LeBron James taking video with one at a WWE Event to Maria Sharapova’s iconic pink device at Wimbledon that eventually became a mainstay. After selling 130 million units in its four-year lifespan — making it the highest selling clamshell phone ever — the iPhone squashed the flip phone market and the Razr along with it, but as we know, it came around a few decades later.
2. Moto Z (2016)
2016 was a wild year. The Chicago Cubs won the World Series for the first time in 108 years, a reality TV star was elected president, and Motorola Moto Z, the company’s flagship device that year. What made this smartphone unique was the ecosystem of Moto Mods that accompanied it. These handy additions could be connected to the Moto Z to bolt its performance, whether it is a power speaker system, a high quality camera setup, or a quick-sharing projector.
The device was popular and well-critiqued, when design awards and general praise for the unique approach to smartphone technology. Unfortunately, it was not nearly popular enough to change the trajectory of the smartphone industry to adapt these mods for future phones. Tragically, Moto Mods were discontinued in 2020, and no such replacement appears to be on the horizon for Motorola or the rest of the smartphone industry.
3. Moto G Power (2022)
Battery life continues to be the bane of the smartphone industry. With borderline obsessive usage by virtually every user, smartphone manufacturers are still trying to hack the longevity problem. Still, Motorola did the world a service with the Moto G Power, a mid-tier smartphone with a 5000 mAh battery and lower end specs, which allows for a whopping three-day battery life. That’s right, no more charging every single night to make sure you make it past lunch.
With most devices lasting at most two days on a full charge, and the average iPhone still struggling to keep up with even that, the Moto G Power represents a big step towards a smartphone experience that isn’t tethered to the nearest charger. Obviously we’re still a long ways off from being able to enjoy wireless charging wherever we are, but three days is plenty of time to feel like you don’t need to ask a stranger for their USB-C cable.
4. Moto Razr Gen 2 (2020)
When foldable screen technology started looking like a serious possibility, the idea that Motorola could resurrect the iconic Razr phone was nothing if not exhilarating. Once it was announced, the tech news cycle resembled 2004 again, discussing whether or not the Razr was going to be the next big thing in the mobile phone world. Unfortunately, the first iteration suffered some serious problems, from screen glitches to broken hinges. However, the second itation, released in 2020, improved on the first device — particularly in the price department at only $999 — and is certainly a go-to option for those looking for a foldable phone.
Yes, it’s not the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip. The hardware obviously doesn’t match up to the powerhouse that is Samsung, and the options aren’t nearly as expansive. Still, if you love a nostalgia play that reminds you of the good old days, the newest Motorola Razr represents easily one of our favorite phones from the Chicago-based mobile phone installation.
5. Moto Edge (2020)
Over the last few years, displays have crept closer and closer to the edge of the screen. As bezels started completely disappearing, the smartphone world was simple not satisfied, and started sending the display over the edge in wrap around screens that have become quite popular. The Motorola Edge followed this trend to a tee, with its Endless Edge technology that seriously added some space to the display for everyone.
That display, combined with the 5G functionality, the solid speaker set up, and the hi-res display made for an excellent streaming experience, particularly for a phone that only cost $699. It obviously wasn’t perfect, with no waterproofing, no wireless charging, and poor cameras, but those are far from dealbreakers for the average user, and the 4,500mAh battery more than makes up for it with two full days of life before it dies .
6. Moto V70 (2002)
In the days before the Razr, Motorola was taking some swings. In an age before internet-enabled phones were the standard, unique designs were the primary means of attracting attention, and Motorola was great at it. The V70 was a prime example of this, with its odd shape, rotary cover, and innovative button placement. It looked like it was straight out The Jetsons without alienating users with a hard-to-use interface.
Keep in mind, it was a cell phone from 2002, so it didn’t have a lot going for it outside of the cool design and unique rotary cover. Still, back in the day, that was more than enough to illicit attention from the masses, and this phone represented Motorola’s refocus on the customer experience. In fact, you could even say this kind of device is what paved the way for the Razr, and the rest, as they say, is history.
More classics to come
Motorola continues to make some of the best budget and mid-tier devices on the market. Its recently-released Moto G 5G performed well in our review, and we’re hopful a new Razr is in the works for 2022.
How does Facebook know what I’m thinking about?