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First Impressions: Motorola ThinkPhone Review

First Impressions

Phones designed for business are rarely the most interesting devices, but there is something charming about the ThinkPhone. It’s a smart move to expand such an iconic brand into the smartphone space, even if the device itself is standard fare.

Key Features

  • Fast charging68w charging from the included power brick
  • ThinkPad inspirationSome iconic features from the ThinkPad laptop line, including a red key
  • Durable designIP68 for water resistance and a MIL-STD 810 rating for added durability

Introduction

The ThinkPad is one of the most iconic laptop ranges ever, and now Motorola and its parent company Lenovo are expanding the brand into the smartphone space with the ThinkPhone.

Designed for business users and large companies, the ThinkPhone is a well-specced Motorola Android phone with some additional features for its target market – a focus on security for example.

While the ThinkPhone won’t be widely available for consumer use, I’ve had a chance to spend about an hour with it ahead of its launch at CES 2023.

Screen and Design

  • Shortcut button in bright red
  • Rugged build

The DNA of the ThinkPad line is evident in a few ways with the ThinkPhone. Most obviously, there’s a red shortcut button on the side – a nod to the iconic nub that sits, to this day, in the middle of ThinkPad laptops.

thinkphone button
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

The finish on the back of the phone should also feel familiar to ThinkPad users, while the ThinkPhone branding mirrors what you’ll find on a laptop. It’s certainly fair to say Motorola has done a good job of making this feel like part of the ThinkPad family.

thinkphone branding
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

The rest of the phone is a little more generic, yet I think it looks good in a professional kind of way and that’s really the point here. The sides are flat, almost like an iPhone, while the front is covered with a 6.6-inch display. The body is constructed from aluminium for a rigid structure.

It packs both an IP68 rating for dust and water protection, along with a MIL-STD 810 rating for drop protection. Two welcome features for a device that might be passed around by multiple, possibly clumsy, employees. Don’t expect to find a slot for expandable storage or a headphone jack here, though.

In terms of display tech, the ThinkPhone ticks most of the basic boxes, but doesn’t offer much new. It’s an OLED panel for inky blacks and excellent contrast with a 120Hz refresh rate for smoother scrolling. The resolution sits at FHD+ and there’s basic HDR support, too.

Performance

  • Security focus
  • Not the latest Qualcomm chipset, but still plenty of power
  • 68w fast charging

The ThinkPhone is mostly aimed at businesses, and a lot of the software features have been tweaked to suit that specific market. 

There’s a focus on security, for example, with a feature called ThinkShield working alongside a dedicated security chip to add extra protection to pins and passcodes. Motorola is also promising four years of security updates from Google.

Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Another feature of note is Think 2 Think, a version of the Ready For software available on some of the higher-end Motorola phones. 

This lets you do things like use the phone’s camera as your laptop webcam, create a unified clipboard for easy copy/paste across devices and easily share files. Think 2 Think can also expand your phone screen across a connected monitor, along with sharing notifications with a Windows PC.

Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Powering the phone is Qualcomm’s 2021 flagship 8+ Gen 1 chipset, paired with 8GB RAM and 256GB of storage. There’s of course 5G support, and Wi-Fi 6E for those with compatible routers. 

I only spent an hour or so with the phone and wasn’t able to perform any benchmarking tests, but it should be more than a capable performer. I’ll need more time to properly test battery life, too. What I can say is that you’ll find a 68w fast charger in the box (which can also charge recent ThinkPads at full speed) and there’s slower Qi wireless charging onboard to complete the package.

Camera

  • Same camera array as the Moto Edge 30 Fusion
  • Multiple cameras on the back and one on the front

This is a business-first device, so I doubt the camera was much of a priority, yet there are still multiple sensors dotted around the phone. The setup on the rear of the phone mimics that of the Motorola Edge 30 Fusion, consisting of a 50MP main camera with OIS paired with a 13MP ultrawide and a depth sensor.

There’s also a 32MP camera on the front, which to me feels more important for a device that’ll likely be used a lot more for video calls and the like.

Initial Verdict

Phones designed especially for business use are rarely the most interesting, but there is something charming about the ThinkPhone. It’s a smart move to expand such an iconic brand into the smartphone space, even if the device itself is standard fare.

Motorola ThinkPhone

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A 'hands on review' is our first impression of a product only - it is not a full test and verdict. Our writer must have spent some time with the product to describe an early sense of what it's like to use. We call these 'hands on reviews' to make them visible in search. However these are always unscored and don't give recommendations. Read more about our reviews policy.

Jargon buster

OLED

Organic Light Emitting Diode is panel technology that allows each individual pixel to produce light rather than relying on a backlight. This enables the screen to accurately display blacks by turning off the pixel, resulting in improved contrast compared to conventional LCD panels.

mAh

An abbreviation for milliampere-hour and a way to express the capacity of batteries, especially smaller ones in phones. In most cases the higher the mAh, the longer the battery will last but this isn’t always the case.

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