I tried Motorola's Rizr rollable phone – and it blew my mind

Motorola's rollable concept is better than a flip phone in my opinion, here's why the Rizr blew my mind at MWC 2023

Coming to Mobile World Congress, the largest mobile show in Europe, is always a pleasure for me, as it's a given that some of the best phones of the year will be on show. It's especially exciting when the show reveals total gems like the Motorola Rizr - the company's rollable phone proof of concept.

Okay, so Motorola isn't officially calling this rollable the Rizr, but that is exactly what's written on the device - and I think it's a fun play on the Motorola Razr flip phone's name, irrelevant of whether it means much or not.

I actually knew about this Motorola rollable since summer 2022, when I saw visualisations of it at the company's headquarters in Chicago. However, the papers I signed meant no disclosure about it... until now. So to actually see and handle the handset at MWC 2023 really blew my mind.

Despite being a concept device, the Rizr is fully realised. The device's screen is 5-inch as standard, but a double-tap of the power button makes it extend upwards to a larger 6.5-inch scale (as you can see in my Twitter video above). It does it so smoothly it seems effortless - and it doesn't mess up what's showing on screen, which was a pleasant surprise.

Because the display is rollable, Motorola has implemented it in a wrap-around way, so what's not shown on the main display is visible on the device's rear. Because it's OLED, however, that portion can be deactivated, thus black, or treated as a second display despite being part of the same single panel.

That brings up some clever software possibilities: I've been using a lot of the best foldable phones lately, in particular flip phones, and their presence of a small front display (or cover screen) is accomplished better in this rollable concept format in my opinion, simply because it's a more responsive panel - something the Oppo Find N Flip could learn from, for example.

That's what makes the Motorola Rizr a genuinely viable idea, despite only being a proof of concept at this stage. But prove it very much does - it's blown my mind and I want one already. So here's to 2024, the future of phone tech, and the very real possibility of rollables becoming real products. 

Mike Lowe
Tech Editor

Mike is the Tech Editor at T3.com. He's been writing about consumer technology for 15 years and, as a phones expert, has seen hundreds of handsets over the years – swathes of Android devices, a smattering of iPhones, and a batch of Windows Phone too (remember those?). But that's not all, as a tech and audio aficionado his beat at T3 also covers tablets, laptops, gaming, home cinema, TVs, speakers and more – there's barely a tech stone unturned he's not had a hand on. Previously the Reviews Editor at Pocket-lint for 10 years, he's also provided work for publications such as Wired, The Guardian, Metro, and more. In addition to his tech knowledge, Mike is also a flights and travel expert, having travelled the globe extensively. You'll likely find him setting up a new mobile phone, critiquing the next MacBook, all while planning his next getaway... or cycling somewhere.