My Favourite Motorola Telephone in 2023 Is on Sale for $400

Motorola ThinkPhone


In order for you a cellphone for lower than $500 that is not used or refurbished, there are two most important choices.

The primary is to contemplate a cellphone that was made to be reasonably priced, of which there are lots from the likes of Samsung, Motorola, OnePlus and Google. These telephones usually have loads to supply for his or her value, similar to nice battery life, 5G help and a processor that is not the quickest however remains to be highly effective sufficient for mundane every day duties (i.e. scrolling by social media, texting, video chats, and many others.). However to maintain the value down, these cheaper telephones include compromises together with lower-resolution screens that are not very vibrant, cameras that take simply OK photographs and plastic designs.

Learn extra: Finest Telephones of 2024

The opposite choice is to discover a costlier cellphone that got here out final 12 months, and even two years in the past, for a reduction. The Lenovo ThinkPhone by Motorola, at the moment priced at $400, is a good instance. I can nearly hear you asking: “Wait, Lenovo makes telephones?” They did this 12 months, and it is certainly one of my favourite telephones I examined in 2023.

The ThinkPhone was an excellent deal at its unique value of $700, but it surely’s positively price shopping for with a $300 low cost.

Because the title suggests, the ThinkPhone is a collaboration between Motorola and its mother or father firm, Lenovo. It has an analogous design as Lenovo’s widespread ThinkPad laptop computer lineup, proper right down to the signature pink {hardware} button for triggering software program shortcuts. It has spectacular {hardware} for $400 that features 256GB of storage (most sub-$500 telephones solely have half that capability), a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Plus processor (two generations previous however nonetheless highly effective) and a stunning 6.6-inch 144Hz show (a better refresh price than most telephones).

Motorola ThinkPhone

The Lenovo ThinkPhone by Motorola is a first-generation product that made its debut in 2023.

James Martin/CNET

It additionally helps 68-watt quick charging and ships with the required wall plug. That alone makes the ThinkPhone stand out; telephones from Samsung and Apple take longer to cost and do not embody the ability adapter within the field. In my checks, the ThinkPhone went from an empty battery to 92% in half-hour, making it one of many fastest-charging telephones bought within the US. For perspective, the $799 iPhone 15 solely added 53% in the identical period of time.

Nevertheless it’s the ThinkPhone’s harmonious design that made it stand out in 2023. Smartphone {hardware}, particularly within the sub-$500 vary, has moved away from being an expression of fashion and design and has as an alternative grow to be an aluminum or plastic housing for an oblong glass display. A cellphone’s shade and digicam bump form are often their most distinctive features.

The ThinkPhone’s design is a little more bold. It is refined and mature, replicating the ThinkPad’s buttoned-down company look. The diagonal aramid fiber weave inlay on the again offers it a classy end and feels nice to the contact. The {hardware} and evenly personalized Android 13 software program really feel like a single cohesive design. It is the sort of factor loads of reviewers, together with myself, often credit score Apple with. I ought to notice that Motorola and Lenovo commit to 3 years of main OS updates and 4 years of safety updates.

The ThinkPhone by Motorola badge on the back of the phone The ThinkPhone by Motorola badge on the back of the phone

The again of the cellphone comes with the identical backside nook branding as a Lenovo ThinkPad.

Patrick Holland/CNET

I spoke with Sudhir Chadaga, international lead of Motorola for enterprise, concerning the ThinkPhone this previous summer season. He stated the cellphone’s design took time to search out.

“We needed to make an announcement that the ThinkPhone ought to be the very best companion to your PC,” stated Chadaga on a video name. “It is not simply that they should seem like one another; they should work effectively collectively.”

Apart from being a strong Android cellphone, the ThinkPhone has plenty of nifty shortcuts and cross-platform utilities with Home windows. The cross performance is not restricted to Lenovo ThinkPads; the ThinkPhone can work with most up-to-date Home windows computer systems.

ThinkPhone by Motorola next to a ThinkPad laptop ThinkPhone by Motorola next to a ThinkPad laptop

ThinkPhone by Motorola subsequent to a ThinkPad laptop computer


You’ll be able to join it to PCs, displays and TVs. For instance, I copied and pasted textual content and photographs from the cellphone to a PC laptop computer and used the ThinkPhone’s 50-megapixel most important rear digicam for a video name I took on the ThinkPad. The video high quality appeared a lot clearer than the laptop computer’s built-in webcam.

These integrations between Android and Home windows are the results of clients, and even Lenovo employees, wanting a greater expertise between their laptops and telephones. Chadaga tells me a lot of his staff steadily file bills on the highway, which could be a clunky expertise that usually entails emailed photographs of receipts. He questioned if there was a better method.

“Android and Home windows have not all the time performed effectively collectively,” stated Jerry Paradise, vp of worldwide business portfolio and product administration at Lenovo. “Prospects have been all the time saying, ‘You guys actually need to do a ThinkPhone.'”

Motorola ThinkPhone Motorola ThinkPhone

The ThinkPhone will get three years of main Android OS updates.

James Martin/CNET

Clearly, the ThinkPhone made an excellent impression on me. However I ought to point out a few of the drawbacks, and the primary are the cameras. For $700, these cameras take first rate photographs, however they wrestle in low mild. If you happen to’re shopping for this for $400, the ThinkPhone’s cameras are good in contrast with most different low cost telephones.

The interconnectivity between the cellphone and PCs labored effectively more often than not, however there have been occasions (similar to once I had the ThinkPhone’s display on a ThinkPad show) once I skilled an occasional lag.

When it comes to software program help, Motorola and Lenovo nonetheless fall behind Samsung, which affords 4 years of main OS updates, and Google, which affords seven years for the brand new Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Professional.

Whereas Chadaga and Paradise praised the ThinkPhone for business-minded customers, it is also a splendid Android cellphone. You could not care about having a cellphone that syncs to your PC or helps you to use Microsoft Groups on the press of a button. However the ThinkPhone’s speedy charging, iconic design and in any other case high-quality {hardware} nonetheless makes it a worthwhile cellphone.

With its $300 low cost, the ThinkPhone is the very best $400 cellphone you should buy proper now. The query now: How lengthy will it stay at this value?


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