Lenovo has owned the ThinkPad division, which creates laptops aimed at business and entrepreneurs, for many years, and has been the owner of Motorola, one of the world’s most famous smartphone manufacturers, for several years. It is not surprising that earlier this year, during CES, a business smartphone created by Motorola was presented, which received ThinkPad security technologies and the new ThinkPhone brand. The model is the first of its kind, so it has no other designations besides the ThinkPhone name, but, remembering ThinkPad laptops, the new generation will probably get a Gen 2 prefix. Hopefully, it will get here sooner than the first version, but since it marks a certain milestone and is generally quite interesting, I decided to review it.
|Dimensions and weight||158,8 x 74,4 x 8,3 mm
|RAM and storage||8 GB, 256 GB|
|CPU||Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1|
|Graphics processor||Adreno 730|
|Wireless modules||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6e, Bluetooth 5.2, NFC|
|Display||6.6-inch P-OLED 20:9
Resolution: 2400×1080 dots
Refresh rate: 144 Hz
Peak brightness: 1200 nits
|Main cameras||50 MP wide-angle, ƒ/1.8, phase detection autofocus, optical stabilization;
13 MP ultra-wide-angle, ƒ/2.2, 120°, electronic stabilization;
2 MP depth sensor ƒ/2.4.
|Front camera||32 MP, ƒ/2.5|
|Charge||Wired up to 65 W, wireless up to 15 W|
|Connectors||USB Type-C 3.1|
|Operating system||Android 13|
|Recommended price||38 999 UAH|
Design and usability
The ThinkPhone is noticeably different from the latest flagship smartphones from Motorola, which is not surprising, because the model was supposed to have a ThinkPad-like aesthetic. As for me, this has worked to the device’s advantage both in terms of design and convenience.
The smartphone has a 6.6-inch display with a small notch for the front camera at the top. But unlike the top-of-the-line Motorola Edge, this model uses flat Gorilla Glass Victus, which may not look as impressive, but is much more convenient in terms of practicality.
The frame of the ThinkPhone is made of aluminum, while the back is made of aramid fiber, a lightweight yet durable material that is also used in the display covers of ThinkPad laptops and has a similar look.
The main camera unit resembles that of the Motorola Edge 40 Pro, it protrudes slightly from the body and has a glass cover. At the same time, the two camera lenses are additionally protected by a small metal rim.
The power and volume buttons on ThinkPhone are located on the right side, they are thin, metal, have a clear stroke and are easy to distinguish by touch.
But these are not the only buttons on the smartphone body. On its left side is an additional red button that can perform several functions at once.
First, you can assign almost any action to its single press, whether it’s launching a specific app, creating a new note in Google Keep, setting up Wi-Fi, or recording a video on the camera.
Unfortunately, for some reason, you can’t switch the device to silent mode, but there are plenty of options. And that’s not all.
By double-clicking the button, you can assign one of the Ready For software’s functions to start, for example, streaming a specific application to a computer screen or the entire smartphone screen, transferring files, or using ThinkPhone as a webcam. All of this works not only with ThinkPad, but with Windows computers in general.
I would like to see more smartphones with customizable buttons like this. It’s just very convenient.
What else pleases me about the ThinkPhone is, in my opinion, the good dimensions of the case 158.8 x 74.4 x 8.3 mm and the weight of 188.5 grams. The device is more compact than 6.7-6.8-inch models, and noticeably lighter. Not least due to the atypical design of the back cover, which has a pleasant matte finish. Because of this, you don’t want to put ThinkPhone in a case, but it’s worth noting that the aramid fiber can still be scratched with a sharp object, but it generally doesn’t rub off and shows almost no signs of use.
To unlock the ThinkPhone, you use the on-screen fingerprint scanner located at the bottom of the display. It works very quickly, and despite the fact that Motorola used an optical sensor, the scanner is not painful to use. The screen highlights the scanning area, but it does not do so at maximum brightness.
In addition to the USB-C 3.1 port, there is a speaker grill on the bottom of the smartphone, ThinkPhone is capable of playing stereo, but the second speaker is an earpiece. That’s why the device sounds quite loud, but not as voluminous as the best representatives of its class. There is no headphone jack in the smartphone, so you can connect them either via a USB-C adapter (which you need to buy separately) or wirelessly via Bluetooth 5.2.
The ThinkPhone case is IP68-rated for water and dust protection and has passed some MIL-STD-810H tests, including the manufacturer’s claim that the device can withstand a drop to concrete from a height of 1.3 meters.
The smartphone has a 6.6-inch P-OLED display with a resolution of 2400×1080 pixels, 144 Hz refresh rate, maximum brightness of 1200 nits, and an aspect ratio of 20:9. ThinkPhone’s screen fully meets the expectations of a flagship model, providing good color reproduction, excellent viewing angles, and sufficient brightness to read in bright sunlight.
In addition to selecting the refresh rate, the display settings offer only two color display options: natural and vivid. In the first case, the screen displays the sRGB color space, in the second case, DCI-P3. In both cases, the user can independently adjust the color temperature from “cooler” to “warmer”.
I also note once again that the flat display is easy to use and thanks to the more classic 20:9 aspect ratio, the screen is slightly wider and it is convenient to use the on-screen keyboard.
Platform, performance and software
The smartphone is based on the Qualcomm platform, but since it was announced back in January, we have the top processor of the last generation – Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1. It’s still a very fast 4-nanometer chip with Adreno 730 graphics, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of non-expandable internal storage. It provides a good level of performance, but it is already lagging behind the latest flagships with Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. At the same time, a new generation of the Qualcomm platform is expected to be announced early next year.
For comparison, the ThinkPhone scores 1736 points in single-threaded and 4242 points in multi-threaded mode in Geekbench 6, while Motorola Edge 40 Pro scores 2022 and 5265 points, respectively.
The same goes for graphics, Adreno 730 allows you to run demanding games available for Android without any problems. However, it is already slower than the Adreno 740 in the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2.
But it is interesting that in the 3Dmark Wild Life Extreme system stability test, in which the graphics core is maximally loaded for 20 minutes, ThinkPhone showed stability at 70.9%. This is a very good result for a smartphone, and it means that the system does not throttle as much as models with a lower score.
Under such a heavy load, the ThinkPhone case heats up noticeably, but it’s worth noting that in real use, Android games do not create such a load. But still, after 20-30 minutes of play, the case does become noticeably warmer, although not that hot.
ThinkPhone uses a slot for two nanoSIM cards, but there is no support for eSIM. Wireless modules include Wi-Fi 6e, NFC and the aforementioned Bluetooth 5.2.
The smartphone runs on Android 13 (security update as of August 1, 2023), Motorola used the same approach as in its other models, and I am frankly impressed with it.
The company installs almost pure Android with its own inclusions in the form of additional options and customization, which are placed in a separate Moto utility. Thus, the user gets the same experience of “pure” Android experience as on Pixel smartphones, but with additional features. For example, with conveniently implemented gestures that allow you to quickly launch a flashlight by simply shaking the smartphone, or a camera by twisting it in your hand.
Motorola promises three years of operating system updates for this model and four years of security updates. Thus, the device should receive an update to Android 16.
ThinkPhone also offers a set of PC integration features called Ready For. This is not a new concept for Motorola, but a well-known feature that allows users to project smartphone content onto other displays. However, it offers a wider range of functionality than standard Android connected to a PC via Microsoft Phone Link. While the latter allows users to view notifications, send text messages, make calls, and access photos, Ready For provides a more engaging experience.
The main features of Ready For include:
- Streaming smartphone apps directly to your computer;
- Unified clipboard for copying and pasting between devices;
- Drag and drop files from one device to another;
- Mirroring the smartphone display on a PC;
- Using a smartphone as a webcam.
Additionally, while Microsoft Phone Link displays smartphone notifications on the PC, Ready For offers more options. Clicking on a notification allows users to open the corresponding smartphone app on the PC desktop. If desired, users can even take full control of their ThinkPhone’s interface on the computer, just like a remote desktop.
Note that these features are not exclusive to ThinkPad owners. They’re compatible with any computer running Windows 10 or 11 with the Ready For app installed. Moreover, these features are not limited to ThinkPhone. Motorola Edge series smartphones also support them.
It all works surprisingly well, with a single clipboard allowing you to copy text on your smartphone and paste it on your computer and vice versa. This was my most frequent use case. Streaming of the smartphone screen and individual applications to the PC screen generally works well, but when launching applications with video, artifacts may appear at the beginning of playback.
Using the ThinkPhone as a webcam seems like a good idea and works well, but as a laptop user, I’ve found that I’m more comfortable using the built-in webcam as opposed to a smartphone. While it does provide better picture quality, it’s not important enough for me when I’m on Google Meet or Zoom to keep a separate stand for my smartphone or to figure out how to position it better.
For business and enterprise use, the device offers ThinkShield, a platform of hardware and software for data protection, Moto Threat Defense, a separate AI-based threat detection solution, Moto OEMConfig and Moto Device Manager, for remote configuration and device settings by IT departments. There is also a separate Moto Secure app that acts as a hub for security and privacy settings. The smartphone also has a separate Moto KeySafe coprocessor, which is an additional security layer for isolating PINs, passwords, cryptographic keys, etc.
As expected for a business smartphone, cameras were not a major focus during the development of the ThinkPhone, so the model does not offer cameras on par with other flagships. The user can count on three main modules:
- 50-megapixel wide-angle camera with f/1.8 aperture, 1/1.5-inch sensor, phase detection autofocus and optical stabilization;
- 13-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera with f/2.2 aperture, 120˚ viewing angle, autofocus and electronic stabilization;
- 2-megapixel depth sensor with f/2.4
In fact, we have a two-camera system, one of which is well known to us from the Motorola Edge 40 Pro model, this 50-megapixel module allows you to take high-quality pictures in sufficient light, providing a good level of detail and a decent dynamic range. However, when shooting at night, it becomes more difficult for the camera to capture details, the not very large aperture comes into play, the module combining pixels into groups to increase the light sensitivity of the sensor and post-processing algorithms somewhat save the situation. But in general, the detail of night photos will be worse and more dependent on the photographic conditions.
The ultra-wide-angle module allows you to capture more of the scene and takes high-quality pictures during the day, without differing much from the main camera in terms of color reproduction. However, when the lighting deteriorates, the detail drops noticeably, and it’s harder for a module without optical stabilization to compensate for handheld shake, which is also imposed by the small aperture.
In general, the number and capabilities of the cameras in ThinkPhone are inferior to modern flagships, but the main camera of the smartphone can take really good photos, so it’s quite good for a business model.
The front camera is 32-megapixel with f/2.5 aperture and no autofocus. It generally takes high-quality selfies with a sufficient amount of light.
ThinkPhone battery life
Despite the rather thin body, Motorola managed to fit a 5000 mAh battery into the smartphone, which provides a very good level of autonomy. The device survives a day of very active use without any problems and, depending on the load, it can be charged every 1.5-2 days. This is confirmed by the PCMark 10 test, in which the smartphone lasted more than 15 hours.
The ThinkPhone is charged via USB-C 3.1 with support for fast charging up to 65W, and there is also support for wireless charging up to 15W.