Motorola Razr review: It’s one of my favorite phones, but I have concerns

When I picked up the Motorola Razr foldable phone for the primary time I used to be greatly surprised by how heavy it was. Unlike the unique lovable and seemingly indestructible plastic model from 2004, this new Razr is dense. It’s produced from glass, chrome steel and plastic and weighs almost the identical because the 6.55-inch OnePlus 7 Pro. The first time I flicked it open with my wrist in a single movement, that satisfying Razr feeling was again. The motion feels tighter than the OG Razr, however you’ll be able to nonetheless slam it shut after a phone name.

Like

  • Impressively small
  • Groundbreaking design
  • Peek Screen/Quick View show
  • Flipping it open and closed

Don’t Like

  • $1,499 value
  • Midtier specs
  • Concerns over sturdiness

The Motorola Razr is considered one of a handful of foldable phones you’ll be able to truly purchase, which embody the Samsung Galaxy Fold, Royole FlexPai and Huawei Mate X. But it is the primary to bridge a contemporary Android phone and the acquainted clamshell design of the previous. Before the present dynasty of glass slab smartphones, Motorola outlined what a mobile phone was. And this new Razr might assist redefine how we use our telephones.

After every week of utilizing the Razr as my day by day driver, I’ve robust emotions for it and some questions. At $1,499, it would not have the quickest processor, the largest battery or the best cameras. If this phone did not fold in half, it could be a strong midtier Android phone. But the Razr has one thing most telephones lack: persona. And as Jules says in Pulp Fiction, “Personality goes a long way.” The Razr feels extra private than any phone I’ve used.

Every time I flip it open or closed, I see its worth rise. That stated, most individuals should not purchase the Razr, myself included. The true take a look at of its design will happen over the approaching months contained in the pockets of those that do purchase it. This doesn’t suggest Motorola is on the improper monitor: The Razr is a gigantic accomplishment that units the stage for an improved second model.

There’s a lot to go over, however let me begin by answering just a few frequent questions.

Does the Razr squeak or creak?

Yes. My assessment unit squeaks after I fold it. Not like a rubbery sound, extra of a muffled crunching sound. It’s disheartening.

In November, a few of us at CNET spent the better part of a day with three different preproduction Razrs. We had been advised these models had been six months previous. But I do not keep in mind any of these telephones making the slightest creak. If there was a noise, it was quiet sufficient not to attract my consideration. Should you be involved? Of course. At first I believed possibly it was the display and, like a pleasant pair of leather-based boots, it simply wants time to “break in.”

The distinctive hinge system that helps stop a crease within the display is outwardly the supply of a creak on my assessment unit.


Angela Lang/CNET

But this is what Motorola advised me concerning the Razr and its sound. “Its dynamic clamshell folding system is comprised of several moving parts including: a flexible OLED display module, metal support plates and a state-of-the-art hinge system. When folding and unfolding Razr, you may hear a sound, which is natural from the mechanical movement of the phone. Razr has undergone rigorous durability testing, and the reported sounds in no way affect the quality of the product.”

How unhealthy is that this sound? It’s not “record skip” loud, but it surely’s not nice both. If I purchased this phone, I’d assume one thing was improper and wish to swap it.

Does the display have a crease?

Not just like the Galaxy Fold, no. In reality, Motorola designed a special hinge that permits the show to remain curled when closed and subsequently stop a everlasting crease.

When I watch a video, I could make out the perimeters of the metal plates used to bolster the again of the display and maintain it taut within the open place. The center of the display would not have this backing. Imagine protecting the seat cushions of a sofa with a taut mattress sheet and having the ability to make out the house in between the cushions. When I’m scrolling up and down, I can really feel the void behind the center of the display. This would not bitter my expertise. But it’s a reminder of simply how delicate the show is. 

Is the Razr sturdy?

This one’s difficult. Motorola released a video on how to care for the Razr that claims the “screen is made to bend; bumps and lumps are normal.” I have never encountered any bumps or lumps on the display, however bumps and lumps are usually not regular. If you will have a bump or lump in your physique it’s best to see a health care provider.

In the week I had the Razr, it survived snow, two airplane journeys, half a dozen cabs, a resort, varied pockets, a backpack and a home with a cat. It additionally held up whereas being photographed and filmed in a wide range of places. One of the Razr’s options is its Zero Gap hinge, which has a niche about as thick as a enjoying card thick. Several occasions, I opened the phone to find the inside display lined in lint and dirt. 

Its not possible for me to find out in every week whether or not the Razr will probably be sturdy in the long run. The solely option to know is to make use of it for months on finish. The Razr must construct my belief in the identical means the primary smartphones and their glass screens needed to.

Didn’t the Razr break in CNET’s fold take a look at?

Yes and no. A colleague of mine examined how many times he could fold a Razr he had purchased. He stopped the take a look at after the folding machine had hassle folding the phone. The Razr nonetheless labored and opened and closed, however there was one thing off behind the display. I am unable to communicate to his outcomes, however what I can say is that the assessment unit I used did not have any injury by any means after a heavy week of use.

In response to the fold take a look at, Motorola stated, “[The] Razr is a singular smartphone, that includes a dynamic clamshell folding system not like any system in the marketplace. SquareTrade’s FoldBot [the folding machine we used] is solely not designed to check our system. Therefore, any assessments run using this machine will put undue stress on the hinge and never permit the phone to open and shut as meant, making the take a look at inaccurate. The essential factor to recollect is that Razr underwent extensive cycle endurance testing during product development, and CNET’s take a look at shouldn’t be indicative of what customers will expertise when utilizing Razr in the true world. We have each confidence within the sturdiness of Razr.”

I ought to be aware that Motorola gives a good guarantee on the Razr. If your show has defects incurred throughout regular use, Motorola will restore or exchange your gadgets without spending a dime. Otherwise, you’ll be able to have shows changed for $299.

The pleasure of the Razr’s flip

The Razr modified my relationship with my phone. When I’m bored on an odd slab-shaped phone, I discover myself mindlessly scrolling by Twitter or Instagram. But on the Razr, I grew to become extra purposeful about what I did. The slight second it takes to flip the phone open prevents me from always checking social media or “bored using” my phone.

The Razr begs for use one-handed. After a day or so, I used to be in a position to open it with a whip-like flip and shut it one-handed. But Motorola can go additional optimizing the consumer interface. On the 6.2-inch tall display, I usually wanted a second hand to alter a setting or faucet a button on the prime of the display. There’s a shortcut you’ll be able to allow to shrink the show to make one-handed use simpler, however that simply provides one other step to the method. You should swipe on an angle to shrink the show, faucet the button you could not earlier than after which faucet once more to enlarge the show.

motorola-razr-final-5

The Razr’s tall 6.2-inch display generally is a problem to make use of one-handed, particularly in the event you’re making an attempt to succeed in for the highest of the display.


Angela Lang/CNET

I’m a giant fan of Samsung’s One UI and One UI 2, which modifications the way in which we work together with Android on an even bigger display. It’s particularly aimed toward making one-handed use simpler. Motorola ought to re-envision Android’s UI for the Razr if it is severe about permitting folks to make use of the Razr with one hand.

When you maintain it vertically, the Razr’s onscreen keyboard is extra slim than a typical phone. And but, I discovered myself in a position to sort sooner two-handed. Swipe-style keyboards work unbelievable one-handed on the Razr as effectively. Flip the phone horizontally and also you now have a a lot wider keyboard.

Quick View is an excellent option to work together with notifications

The exterior show, referred to as the Quick View show, is maybe one of many greatest improvements on the phone. I discovered myself utilizing it fairly a bit to cycle by notifications, use Google Pay, set off the digital camera and even dismiss emails. It was one other means my regular phone habits modified.

The 2.7-inch show sits below a chunk of Gorilla Glass 3. When it isn’t lined in fingerprint smudges, it appears completely premium. It works in two methods. When the phone is locked, it turns into a Peek Display and allows you to view notifications. When you unlock the display, you get further entry to a mini management panel (brightness, flashlight, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and selfies) and you’ll work together with notifications. Tap and maintain an icon for a fast peek at messages and notifications. It’s splendidly discreet.

motorola-razr-final-9

The Quick View show on the entrance offers you immediate entry to notifications. Just press and maintain the icon to take a peek on the notification.


Angela Lang/CNET

If you faucet, maintain and swipe up on a notification or icon, you get extra performance. For instance, if I get a brand new electronic mail message, I can faucet the Gmail icon and slide it as much as reveal the complete message in addition to have the choice to Archive or Reply.

Motorola ought to have gone additional. I’m not in search of what Samsung did with the Galaxy Fold by making the complete phone usable by way of the exterior show. That’s an excessive amount of. But there’s extra usefulness Motorola can mine out of the Quick View display.

Also, some options could possibly be extra useful. When I cooked dinner, I set a timer for seven minutes on the Razr. And after I checked the hourglass icon on the Quick View show, as an alternative of exhibiting me how a lot time was left, it simply confirmed the phrase “timer.”

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Motorola Razr assessment: It’s a exceptional peek on the future…



12:22

The Razr’s folding display: Lumps, bumps and all

The tall 21:9 facet ratio of the inside display is unbelievable for watching movies shot in a large facet ratio. It reminds of the slender shows on the Sony Xperia 1 and Xperia 5. The Razr’s show high quality is sweet. Colors pop properly and the distinction is crisp with out trying overly sharp. The show has a notch which homes an earpiece speaker and digital camera for video chats. The precise notch is formed a bit like Motorola’s batwing emblem.

I watched Blade Runner and The Dark Knight at their authentic widescreen facet ratio stuffed the Razr’s display end-to-end. The majority of movies you are going to watch, nonetheless, will seemingly be in a 16:9 ratio and go away large black bars on the left and proper facet of the display. You can zoom in, however that may minimize off lots of the video.

motorola-razr-final-18

The total display slides ever so barely behind the raised chin whenever you open the phone.


Angela Lang/CNET

The backside of the display is curved like the unique Razr. Sadly, most apps do not reap the benefits of the complete display and as an alternative there’s ceaselessly a grey void on the backside. This space appears to be crying out for use.

When you open and shut the phone, the show slides up and down (millimeters) behind the raised chin. The chin appears a little bit dated at first: It’s one of many design options that makes it “feel” like an previous Razr. But it has a function past mere nostalgia. It homes the phone’s antennas and makes for an ideal grip whenever you watch movies horizontally.

I attempted utilizing two apps in split-screen mode on the tall show, however once more usability means you have to use each fingers to succeed in the highest app.

The Razr’s small and mighty battery… thus far

There are two batteries, one on both half of the Razr, which supply a mixed 2,510 mAh of energy. While I nonetheless have extra battery assessments to run, I used to be in a position to run a looped video take a look at achieved in airplane mode at 50% brightness. The Razr lasted a good 13 hours, Three minutes. For comparability, the Moto G7 and its 3,000-mAh battery lasted 12 hours, 51 minutes in the identical take a look at.

In day by day use, the Razr received by most of a day, however I discovered myself having to plug in round meal time to prime it off. I’m to see the way it fares in a extra regular week of use as an alternative of throughout a assessment week.

The Razr has a Snapdragon 710 processor and 6GB of RAM. I ran it by a number of efficiency assessments the place it fared in addition to the Google Pixel 3A, Samsung Galaxy A50 (

$270 at Amazon

) and 2018 Huawei Honor 10. See the outcomes under.

3DMark Slingshot Unlimited

Note:

Longer bars point out higher efficiency

Geekbench v.4.Zero single-core

Note:

Longer bars point out higher efficiency

Geekbench v.4.Zero multicore

Note:

Longer bars point out higher efficiency

In on a regular basis use, typically an app would hesitate to open just like the digital camera. It’s simply not as peppy as you’d hope. I used to be in a position to play just a few video games on the Razr, together with Alto’s Odyssey and PUBG Mobile. The phone received heat immediately throughout PUBG, and sometimes stuttered throughout recreation play. The Razr dealt with modifying pictures and movies effectively.

All stated, Motorola discovered power-to-performance ratio with the Razr. Of course it could be nice if it had a stronger processor and much more battery life, but it surely’s all about putting a steadiness.

1 digital camera that is simply OK

There are two cameras, however in actuality you may primarily use the 16-megapixel digital camera with an f1.7 aperture that doubles for selfies and the rear digital camera. It’s first rate, however is not on the degree of the Pixel 4, iPhone 11 (

$699 at Apple

) or Galaxy Note 10. Photos taken in good gentle are sharp with spectacular distinction. But as quickly as you are in medium-to-low gentle issues begin to disintegrate. Without optical picture stabilization, the Razr compensates with an extended shutter velocity, which results in movement blur. Video is there. It’s high quality. No one will probably be making a movie for Netflix with the Razr.

img-20200207-042720181-hdr

This was taken in O’Hare airport in Chicago. The lighting was combined. Overall particulars are delicate, however the Razr’s HDR did job dealing with the scene.


Patrick Holland/CNET

Like different Motorola telephones, the digital camera has AI scene detections that optimize the digital camera for various topics akin to meals, moon and evening scenes. Night Vision gives an enchancment over common pictures taken in low gentle, but it surely’s nonetheless not on par with evening mode on a phone just like the iPhone 11, which prices half the value.

The digital camera doubles as a rear digital camera when the phone is open and a selfie digital camera when the phone is closed. I truthfully do not thoughts the truth that there is a single principal digital camera. I simply wished it was higher, particularly figuring out what Motorola’s One line of telephones and cameras are able to.

The second digital camera has a 5-megapixel sensor that is situated above the inside show. But it is primarily meant for video chats. You can take selfies with it, however the high quality is not nearly as good as the principle digital camera. That stated, the second digital camera has a wider discipline of view, which makes it simpler to border selfies.

Buttons are essential

There’s a fingerprint reader situated on the raised chin under the principle display. When the phone is folded shut, it sits flush with the Quick View show. Above the fingerprint reader is an onscreen residence button that you should use with Moto Actions. It can be nice to have the ability to use One Button Nav instantly on the fingerprint button like you might on the Moto G5 Plus. It appears odd reaching over the fingerprint reader to faucet and swipe the house button.

motorola-razr-final-15

The buttons are well-placed contemplating they should swimsuit each the open and closed positions of the Razr.


Angela Lang/CNET

Motorola confronted a problem discovering a place for the amount rocker and sleep-wake button that works each when the phone is open and closed. They appear to be in location, however the buttons are tiny and typically onerous to tell apart regardless of the wake button’s texture.

When the phone is closed, the buttons are tough to search out with out in search of them. I want they’d extra journey or felt extra clicky.

Random Razr ruminations roundup

  • It’s unique to Verizon within the US and EE within the UK (not less than for now). It’s AU$2,699 in Australia.
  • There’s no SIM card, simply an eSIM.
  • The Razr comes with 128GB of storage and there is not an possibility for extra.
  • It lacks a slot for expandable storage.
  • It has Verizon bloatware. It’s 2020, why is bloatware nonetheless a factor?
  • It launches with Android 9.0 Pie and is anticipated to obtain not less than one Android OS improve.
  • The backside speaker array is loud, however high quality is common. It factors down as an alternative of at you.
  • There isn’t any official IP ranking for water and dirt resistance, but it surely does have a nanocoating for splashes.
  • Be on the lookout for the Retro Razr keyboard. Make certain your quantity is up whenever you launch it.
  • When you are taking an image of an individual, the Razr has a cartoon face on the Quick View show.

Motorola Razr vs. Samsung Galaxy Fold

Both the Galaxy Fold and Razr have folding displays, but they couldn’t be more different. The Razr is a enjoyable two-seat convertible whereas the Galaxy Fold is a big SVU full of the whole lot you might need and extra.

The Razr turns a 6.2-inch phone into one thing pocketable. The Fold takes a small pill and folds it right into a thick however tall phone. You want two fingers to make use of the Fold and one for the Razr. The Fold has premium specs and 6 wonderful cameras. The Razr has two cameras, however actually it is simply the one on the surface that you’ll use.

timberwolf-2019-2741

The Razr is on the left and the Galaxy Fold is on the precise. Two very completely different takes on a phone with a foldable display.


Angela Lang/CNET

Samsung took a Galaxy S10 and turned it right into a folding phone. Motorola took a midtier phone and turned it right into a clamshell full of nostalgia. The outer display on the Razr is small however is extra thoughtfully carried out. It would not attempt to do an excessive amount of and as an alternative gives a minimal option to work together with notifications, controls and responses with out having to open your phone.

The Galaxy Fold’s exterior show is awkwardly proportioned for its dimension and tries to do an excessive amount of. The display truly has the identical 21:9 ratio of the Razr’s inside display, but it surely’s virtually too small to be helpful. On the Fold, you’ll be able to open almost all Android apps on the surface and use them.

The Galaxy Fold prices $1,980 and the Motorola Razr is $1,499. 

Motorola Razr vs. the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip

On Tuesday on the Samsung Unpacked event in San Francisco, the Galaxy Z Flip debuted which additionally has a flip phone design with a foldable display. The Razr and Galaxy Z Flip have as a lot in frequent, like their tall 21:9 ratio screens, as they do completely different, like the truth that Motorola’s foldable display is plastic whereas Samsung makes use of a chunk of ultra-thin glass. The Razr prices $1,499, whereas the Z Flip prices $1,380. In phrases of specs, the Z Flip has a extra highly effective processor, two rear cameras, Android 10, an even bigger battery and twice the storage. The Razr makes use of an eSIM and is sold as an exclusive on Verizon. The Z Flip has a SIM card and can be bought on any major US carrier.

They are roughly the identical dimension, however the Razr feels heavier. When closed, the Z Flip has a sq. form that mimics a Nintendo Gameboy Advance SP. When opened, the Z Flip has a taller 6.7-inch OLED display whereas the Razr has a 6.2-inch show.

For extra on how these two telephones differ, learn Galaxy Z Flip vs. Motorola Razr: How Samsung’s foldable phone compares to the Moto.

Motorola Razr specs vs. Samsung Galaxy Z Flip, Samsung Galaxy Fold, Huawei Mate X, Moto G7

Motorola Razr Samsung Galaxy Z Flip Samsung Galaxy Fold Huawei Mate X
Display dimension, decision Internal: 6.2-inch, foldable pOLED; 2,142x876p pixels (21:9) / External: 2.7-inch glass OLED, 800×600-pixels (4:3) Internal: 6.7-inch FHD+ Dynamic AMOLED; 2,636×1,080-pixels / External: 1.1-inch Super AMOLED; 300×112-pixels Internal: 7.3-inch Dynamic AMOLED; 2,152×1,536-pixels (plastic) / External: 4.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED; 1,680×720-pixels (Gorilla Glass 6) Fully prolonged: 8-inch OLED (2,480 x 2,200) / Folded up, entrance: 6.6-inch (2,480 x 1,148 pixels) / Folded up, again: 6.38-inch (2,480 x 892);
Pixel density 373ppi (inside display) 425ppi (inside) / 303ppi (exterior) 362ppi (inside display) 414 ppi (expanded display)
Dimensions (Inches) Unfolded: 6.Eight x 2.Eight x 0.28 in / Folded: 3.7 x 2.Eight x 0.55 in Folded: 2.99 x 3.44 x 0.62 ~ 0.68 in / Unfolded: 2.99 x 6.59 x 0.27 ~0.28 in Folded: 6.Three x 2.5 x 0.6 in / Unfolded: 6.Three x 4.6 x 0.Three in N/A
Dimensions (Millimeters) Unfolded: 172 x 7 2 x 6.9mm / Folded: 94 x 72 x 14mm Folded: 73.6 x 87.Four x 15.4 ~17.Three mm / Unfolded: 73.6 x 167.Three x 6.9 ~ 7.2 mm Folded: 62.Eight x 161 x 15.7mm ~ 17.1mm / Unfolded: 117.9 x 161 x 6.9mm ~ 7.6mm N/A
Weight (Ounces, Grams) 7.2 oz; 205g 6.46 oz; 183g 9.7 oz; 276g N/A
Mobile software program Android 9 Pie Android 10 Android 9.Zero with Samsung One UI N/A
Camera 16-megapixel exterior (f/1.7, twin pixel AF), 5-megapixel inside 12-megapixel (wide-angle), 12-megapixel (extremely wide-angle) 12-megapixel (wide-angle), 16-megapixel (extremely wide-angle), 12-megapixel (telephoto) Four rear cameras
Front-facing digital camera Same as principal 16-megapixel exterior 10-megapixel Two 10-megapixel, 8-megapixel 3D depth At least one
Video seize 4K 4K (HDR 10+) 4K (HDR 10+) N/A
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 (2.2GHz, octa-core) 64-bit octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Kirin 980 processor
Storage 128GB 256GB 512GB 512GB
RAM 6GB 8GB 12GB 8GB
Expandable storage None TBD No No
Battery 2,510mAh 3,300mAh 4,380mAh 4,500mAh
Fingerprint sensor Below display Side Power button Power button
Connector USB-C USB-C USB-C USB-C
Headphone jack None No No N/A
Special options Foldable show, eSIM, Motorola gestures, splash-proof Foldable show; wi-fi PowerShare; wi-fi charging; quick charging Foldable show, wi-fi charging, quick charging Foldable show, quick charging
Price off-contract (USD) $1,499 $1,380 $1,980 Converts to $2,600 (2,299 euros)
Price (GBP) Converts to £1,167 £1,300 £2,000 Converts to £1,980
Price (AUD) Converts to AU$2,183 TBA AU$2,950 Converts to AU$3,703

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