Motorola's Foldable Razr: Epic Phone, Terrible Price

By Tegan Jones on at

We're getting another foldable in FEbruary, and this time it's the size of an actual phone. Motorola has resurrected its beloved Razr to transform is classic clamshell design from being hinged to having a folding screen.

There's a lot to love and it might even surprise some foldable sceptics, but it's really hard to get past the ridiculously high price – only available on EE for now, it'll cost you around £100 a month with a £100 upfront cost. Phew.

I'm a Razr tragic. My little teen heart loved that it was a flip phone, the fact that it could take good photos (a big deal at the time) and that you could hang up on people with a dramatic flare.

Suffice to say, I was pumped that Motorola weren't jumping on the retro bandwagon we've seen over the last few years where brands brought back their classic phones but barely made them smart.

A foldable Razr makes sense and feels like the natural evolution of the device. There's a clear nostalgic element, but the company isn't relying entirely on it to sell devices. Still, I was pleasantly surprised at just how good it seemed during my brief hands-on session. It's what I want from a foldable phone. Well, mostly. But we'll get to that later.

Motorola Razr Specs

Despite being what (I'm assuming) will be Motorola's most exciting phone of the year - the specs are rather middle-of-the-pack. I can't speak to the performance before reviewing it properly, but I have questions. Especially when you take the price into account.

  • Main Display: 6.2-inch plastic OLED (pOLED) display, 21:9 aspect ratio, 2142 x 876 pixels
  • External Display: 2.7-inch OLED display, 4:3 aspect ratio, 800 x 600 pixels
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 710
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Battery: 2510mAh with 15W fast charge
  • Camera: 16MP main and 5MP front-facing
  • Ports: 1x USB-C
  • Sensors: Fingerprint
  • Dimensions: 72 x 172 x 6.9mm open and 72 x 94 x 14mm closed
  • Weight: 205g
  • Colour options: Black

What's good about it?

I only got a chance to play with the Razr for about half an hour during a recent briefing, but I do have some initial thoughts.

The Motorola Razr is comfortable

Perhaps my biggest gripe with Samsung's Galaxy Fold was the size. While great for watching Netflix and some workflow tasks - it was heavy and typing on the folded-out screen was uncomfortable.

Unlike the Galaxy Fold, Huawei's Mate X and even Royole's Flexpai - the Razr isn't trying to be two things. It's just a foldable phone and that absolutely works in its favour.

It feels good to type on, it has a comfortable amount of weight to it and the ergonomics are spot on. Not only that, it actually folds down into a smaller unit that can easily fit into a women's-sized pocket. Praise be.

The Motorola Razr's screen seems good

While using it for more than half an hour is required to come to a proper conclusion - the screen seems great so far.

There were no red flags in terms of movement or sounds while opening and closing. The larger display was incredibly responsive and felt good under the finger. I couldn't test the external display but it is said to have app continuity, like other foldables, and I look forward to putting those claims to the test.

The Motorola Razr is eSIM only

The Razr will be eSIM-only, which is exciting for telecoms nerds such as myself. This means that there is no physical place for a sim card on the device. It's all digital, baby. This is definitely where the majority of devices are heading, so it's cool to see the beginning of that.

It has a retro mode

A simple setting change will transform the main display into the familiar early-90s Razr we all know and love. It's a cute touch.

What's not so good

Motorola Razr's Price

The Razr is exclusive to EE in the UK, which means it can only be purchased with a monthly tariff. The cheapest is £94 a month with a £100 upfront cost. Over two years, that's £2,356. I get that that it's still a new form factor and that innovation isn't cheap, but I do wonder if this makes the barrier to entry too high.

Motorola isn't exactly the most popular handset brand in 2020, even with Razr nostalgia. It's better known for budget and mid-range devices and this feels a little like going from 0-100 without an established trust in the brand as a luxury tech manufacturer. Motorola has positioned itself against giants like Apple and Samsung; the Galaxy Fold costs only £5 a month more (but has a lower initial phone cost – £3o).

Of course, you could argue that the foldable will mostly be of interest to early adopters with the cash to invest in them, anyway. And that's probably true. It's unlikely that foldable devices will hit the mid-range bracket for years, let alone the low-range. And the Razr is the cheapest folding phone right now - though there isn't much competition yet.

Perhaps this will be the device that changes everything for Motorola in the new decade. It seems like a great device, but the price tag still leaves me with doubts.

Motorola Razr's Specs

This is the extremely extra box the Razr comes in. Apparently it actually plays a 'Hello moto' sound when you open it. We will absolutely be stress testing this.

While the specs aren't bad, they aren't what I expect from a phone this expensive. I don't know that a foldable screen is worth the markup when the battery won't last the entire day for power-users (as confirmed by Danny Adamopoulos, General Manager of Sales, APAC for Mature Markets) and there's only 128GB storage.

Comparatively, Samsung's Fold has double the RAM of the Razr, as well as 512GB storage and a 4,380mAH battery.

One the plus side, at least the Razr battery can be charged quickly. According to Motorola, 15 minutes on-cable will get you about 4-5 hours of charge on standby.

The camera is also a bit of a let down with only a 16MP main lens and 5MP front-facing selfie cam. Meanwhile, Samsung injected the same camera hardware into the Fold as its flagship S10 series - a triple rear lens setup (12MP telephoto, 12MP wide-angle and 16MP ultra-wide angle) and dual front-facing cameras (10MP + 8MP). It also threw an extra 10MP cover camera on for good measure.

While some users won't care so much about the processor, battery, storage and camera capabilities matter and it's a shame that they aren't beefier for such an expensive device.

Should you buy it?

I can't make any recommendations based off thirty minutes of top-line testing time, no matter how much I already love this thing. I look forward to seeing how it goes in an extended real world setting, but I'm not sure that I'll get past the price vs specs.

Sure, foldables are new and shiny, which makes for bloated manufacturing costs. But I firmly believe that if a phone is going to cost that much, it needs more than bendy plastic to back it up.

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