Galaxy Z Flip 5 vs. Moto Razr Plus 2023 camera test: It's no contest

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 vs. Motorola Razr+
(Image credit: Laptop Mag/Sean Riley)

The choice of Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 vs. Moto Razr+ could be challenging for foldable fans with both manufacturers making a leap with their respective designs this year.

While we are still weighing the question of which phone offers the better total package, we wanted to do a camera face-off to see which flip-style foldable delivers a superior experience for mobile photographers. 

Now as always with camera face-offs, there is a subjective aspect to some of the interpretations of the images, so while I'll give you my opinion on which is coming out ahead in each case, you can peruse the images and determine which you prefer.

Without further ado, here's a look at the Galaxy Z Flip 5 vs. Motorola Razr Plus 2023 cameras.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 Vs. Motorola Razr Plus 2023: Camera specs

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Header Cell - Column 0 Galaxy Z Flip 5Motorola Razr+
Primary camera12MP Wide (f/1.8, 1.8μm) OIS12MP (f/1.5, 1.4μm) OIS
Ultrawide camera 12MP Ultra-wide (f/2.2, 1.12μm)13MP Ultra-wide (f/2.2, 1.12μm)
Front camera10MP Selfie (f/2,2, 1.22μm)32MP (f/2.4, 0.7μm)

Both phones feature the same basic camera layout with a primary and ultrawide camera on the back and a centered hole-punch front-facing camera. 

However, the details differ with Samsung opting for a 12MP with an f/1.8 aperture and larger 1.8μm pixels for its primary compared to an f/1.5 aperture and smaller 1.4μm pixels on the Razr. It's hard to land on a clear winner there with Samsung's larger sensor balancing out Motorola's superior aperture.

The ultrawide is basically a wash as well with both featuring an f/2.2 aperture and 1.12μm pixels. The only difference is that Samsung's is 12MP and Motorola's is 13MP, which is negligible. 

The front-facing camera is the one relatively clear win with Motorola going over the top with a 32MP sensor with an f/2.4 aperture and 0.7μm pixels. Samsung comes up well short in the megapixel race with 10MP but does fight back with a superior f/2.2 aperture and 1.22μm pixels.

From a hardware standpoint, neither of these phones is really managing to stand out as a winner and both fall short of a flagship phone camera experience in 2023, however, that's not to say they can't produce excellent photos.

Let's take a look at actual samples and see what these sensors can do.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 Vs. Motorola Razr Plus 2023: Primary camera

Note: I'm including samples here from the primary camera at 1x all the way out to the maximum digital zoom for each phone's primary camera: 10x for Galaxy Z Flip 5 and 8x for Motorola Razr Plus 2023. Neither of these phones actually offers a telephoto lens, there are still times where punching in a little bit can be the difference between getting a shot or not so it's good to know what's possible.

Samsung's primary camera on the Galaxy Z Flip 5 impressed me after relatively weak results from the previous versions. The first shot is of a mountain lake off Beartooth Highway and shows off the strong dynamic range of the camera. The lush greenery is accurately displayed and the intense clouds that dominated the sky retain sharp detail. The results at 1x are consistently solid from the primary, delivering bright, sharp, and color-accurate results.

This all holds true at 2x allowing you to bring your subject reasonably close without sacrificing any perceptible visual fidelity. While some of the samples in the 4x to 10x range hold up pretty well to me, the first set of the mountain lake is a demonstration of what can go wrong. Something about those conditions just destroyed the sharpness of the image and give it a blurry and surreal quality. The swans and the floral scene on the other hand remained detailed and color accurate throughout, so if you are capturing something that allows for multiple attempts don't ignore the zoom capabilities of the Flip 5.

The Motorola Razr Plus 2023 primary camera has its moments, but overall I found it to be a frustrating experience as it often somewhat inexplicably missed capturing a scene properly. In the first scene, the vibrant green falls to a more muted tone, while the clouds are blown out in comparison to the Flip 5's effort at the same shot. In the second scene the Razr struggled to deal with the contrast between the land and sky with the former being too dark and the latter blowing out again. Finally, the floral scene is over-brightened consistently which is throwing off the hue of the flowers.

While the above issues remain present, I was surprised that the 2x through 4x zoom images remained mostly usable, but steer clear of 8x in almost all circumstances. The detail in the image just evaporates to a degree that won't have you saving or sharing any of these photos.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 Vs. Motorola Razr Plus 2023: Ultrawide camera

Things were a little more hit-or-miss with the ultrawide on the Galaxy Z Flip 5. The first scene is excellent again with a color-accurate landscape and it did a fantastic job dealing with the contrast between the land and cloud-filled sky. The second shot is a much less flattering result from the Flip 5 with the sky mostly blown out, the trees in the foreground lost in darkness, and considerable distortion at the edges. The floral scene returns to a solid performance with the lack of distortion on the light post on the left leaving me even further confused by what happened in the second shot.

The ultrawide on the Razr does remain consistent with the primary, which is generally a good thing, but in this case it left me still feeling like it has a way to go to catch up to Samsung. The first shot again lacks some of the vibrant color that should be present in the foreground and the cloudy sky is blown out in spots and loses detail. The second shot casts the entire foreground in darkness in order to deliver an overly bright, but detailed sky. The floral shot is the most successful in the set to me with color accuracy and a lack of distortion at the edges.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 Vs. Motorola Razr Plus 2023: Front-facing camera

You should basically never be using the front-facing camera on these phones. Going split-screen on a video chat app is just about the only reason I can think of. Why? One of the most obvious benefits of a flip-style foldable is the incredible ease with which you can use the much better rear cameras for selfies. As you'll see the results bear this out, neither front-facing camera comes close to the results from the primary or ultrawide.

It was a bright environment, but even so the Galaxy Z Flip 5 struggled here with the side of my face and the background largely blown out. It did a solid job with my skin tone and the rest of the colors in the image with my light orange shirt and the leaves behind me accurately depicted. However, I find the detail mushy and lacking with the leaves behind me blending into single mass in spots.

Motorola finally chalks up a win for itself here, it did a much better job of managing the bright lighting to keep the image clear while still maintaining accurate colors. What's more it offers a sharper image and cleaner separation from the background without even using the portrait mode. The only unfortunate part about this is that front-facing camera is the least important of the three by far as you should stick to using the rear cameras with cover display preview whenever possible as both the wide and ultrawide cameras there are superior.

Overall winner

While the Motorola Razr Plus 2023 scored itself a late win in the front-facing camera battle, it ultimately loses the war with the Galaxy Z Flip 5's primary and ultrawide cameras consistently outperforming it. It's not that you can't get a good image out of the Razr Plus 2023, but your hit ratio is going to be much higher with the Galaxy Z Flip 5.

What I will say for both is that the literal flexibility of these phones makes them so much fun to use for taking photos. Whether you are taking a selfie, a group photo, or even just want a steady tripod shot of something you can place your phone down and angle it to get the shot without any concern over shaky hands or needing to leave someone out of the photo. For anyone that loves mobile photography, foldables are only going to make that love blossom even more.

It does make me wish that Samsung would give us a Galaxy Z Flip Ultra that added a telephoto lens and even better sensors, maybe next year. 

Sean Riley

Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more.  Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more.