The Iconic Motorola Razr Is Back with a Foldable Display & Snapdragon 710, but Should You Get It?
November 19, 2019 Andrew Cheng

Even though it has been leaked numerous times, it is finally official now: Motorola is bringing back one of its most iconic devices, the Motorola Razr flip phone. Of course, it has a modern twist to it: not only does it retain the clamshell design, it also has an impressive foldable display now.

Unlike other smartphones with a foldable screen, the Razr’s display doesn’t have any noticeable crease when opened. On top of that, the screen also closes completely flat even though it folds inwards. This feat alone is quite impressive, given that the Samsung Galaxy Fold with a similar foldable display still has a tiny gap when closed.

As for the display itself, it is a 6.2” foldable pOLED – that’s plastic OLED – display with a 2142 x 876 resolution. That’s right, it only has a HD resolution, there’s a wide notch at the top, and the tall 21:9 “CinemaVision” aspect ratio makes the Razr quite a tall smartphone. Then again, this is likely done on purpose to stay (relatively) true to the original Razr’s design.

On the outside of the foldable phone is a smaller 2.7-inch “gOLED” 800 x 600 screen with a 4:3 aspect ratio; the G in the name stands for glass. Motorola dubs this screen Quick View, and even though it’s quite a small screen, it can still show notifications you’ve received. On top of that, you can even use it as a viewfinder to take selfies with the primary 16MP f/1.7 camera.

Naturally, there is also a 5MP f/2.0 front-facing camera right above the main display if you want to take selfie shots with the phone unfolded.

On the bottom bezel of the Razr is a conventional capacitive fingerprint sensor; you are not getting any fancy in-screen fingerprint sensor with this foldable phone. Even though this doesn’t sound very enticing on paper, physical sensors are still superior when it comes to speed and accuracy, so it’s not all bad.

What is “bad” is the chipset powering the Razr. Oddly enough, despite its premium positioning, this is not a flagship device: this phone is only powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 chipset. While this comfortably puts the Razr in the upper mid-range segment of smartphones, you won’t be getting flagship-tier performance out of it.

However, it’s entirely possible Motorola decided to use the Snapdragon 710 instead of a more powerful (and power hungry) chipset: power consumption. See, the Razr only has a 2,510mAh battery, which is quite small for an Android smartphone. Thanks to the power-efficiency of the Snapdragon 710, the Razr may be able to provide good battery life.

In fact, Motorola itself claims that this battery capacity and processor combination is enough to provide all-day battery life. Of course, we will only know for sure once we have the Razr in for review; it’ll be interesting to see just how long-lasting this phone would be.

Rounding out the specifications of the new Motorola Razr include 6GB of RAM, 128GB of internal storage, a USB-C port for charging – it can do 15W TurboPower fast charging – and get this: eSIM support. It’s a very interesting feature, given that this phone has no physical SIM slot.

Having only eSIM support will limit the number of carriers that can potentially work with the Razr, which is definitely not a great thing. In fact, in the US, this phone is exclusive to Verizon. While there’s no telling if the Razr will be locked down in other markets, there’s certainly a good chance of that happening.

Besides the lack of a physical SIM slot, what could potentially deter potential consumers from picking up the Razr is the camera capability. After all, Motorola smartphones of the past few years don’t exactly offer incredible camera performance. On top of that, this phone only has a single camera sensor.

In a smartphone landscape where there are more sophisticated camera systems that are far more versatile – wide angle, zoom lens, you name it – the Razr certainly doesn’t stand out here.

Even if you are willing to overlook its camera performance and lack of a physical SIM slot, you cannot ignore the premium price tag of the Razr. For the US market, this foldable phone is set to go for a whopping $1,499 once it is available there sometime in January 2020. That comes up to about RM6,230.

For that kind of money, the new Motorola Razr only offers the performance of a mid-range smartphone with the Snapdragon 710 chipset, along with the aforementioned (potential) shortcomings above. Sure, the Razr is still a very sleek, unique smartphone with a very impressive foldable display, but you’d have to live with a number of sacrifices just for that.

If you think you can, great: you’ll likely be very happy with the Razr and its handsome looks. For the rest of us, it may be worth it to see how the phone is like to use once reviews are in.