Nine years after Lenovo purchased the Motorola brand, the first co-branded phone is hitting store shelves. The Lenovo ThinkPhone by Motorola is available in the US starting today for $699, offering a suite of productivity features designed to work with ThinkPad laptops. But don’t expect to waltz into your wireless carrier’s retail location and find it on a shelf — it’s available first to enterprise customers and then, on April 28th, becomes available unlocked via Motorola.com. That puts it out of consideration for a lot of people, and that’s too bad — in my experience, it’s shaping up to be a really nice phone.
The ThinkPhone has a lot of the same stuff as a mainstream flagship phone, even though it’s priced just below the likes of the $799 Samsung Galaxy S23. It comes with a big 6.6-inch 1080p OLED with up to 144Hz refresh rate. Build quality is quite sturdy with an aluminum frame, Gorilla Glass on the front panel, and Lenovo’s signature textured aramid fiber back panel for a softer touch.
The whole device is IP68 rated for strong dust and water resistance, and it’s also MIL-STD-810H compliant to protect against falls and more extreme conditions. I can personally confirm it will survive a fall from your hand to the kitchen floor, which isn’t part of the MIL-STD-810H standard but is a chief use case for a clumsy person holding too many things.
In addition to the ThinkPad-like look and feel, there’s a red key on the side of the phone in a nod to Lenovo’s classic keyboard nub. You can customize it to a degree: a double-press can be assigned one of the phone’s ThinkPad integration features, while a single-press can act as an app shortcut.
Some apps will even let you launch certain features — mapping it to the “Pay” screen of the Starbucks app could save you a lot of embarrassing fumbling at the register, for example. Not that I’d know anything about that. It’s great, and I want this feature from more phones.
I’m still putting the ThinkPhone through its paces, but I’m impressed by what I’ve seen so far. It feels like the high-end phone I’ve wanted Motorola to make for the past couple of years — something with great build quality, Moto’s great Android experience, and a sensible price tag. You just need to be in the right business to find it.
Photography by Allison Johnson / The Verge