Motorola RAZR foldable smartphone review...
...The Motorola Razr is an inspired effort to liberate the world from the boredom of the dominant glass rectangle phone design. While it does offer a foldable form factor that minimizes its footprint and allows it to fit in smaller pockets, and pulls off some awesome selfies, the phone cuts corners to achieve its diminutive size, with less power, onboard storage, and battery capacity. All told, this would be a serious challenger for the budget flagship crowd; however, it costs 50% more than the leading flagships, putting it beyond all but the most deep-pocketed early adopters.
- Working, eye-catching foldable design
- Neat front mini screen
- Disappears in pockets
The Motorola Razr is a great design concept, but its execution leaves several things to be desired. The ambition and potential are there - and perhaps it will be realized in a successor device - but for now, it’s tough to recommend the Razr at its current high price.
You can say this for the phone: both its perks and its drawbacks are extreme. On the plus side, it’s the first clamshell foldable to market, with an unprecedented format that halves the smartphone’s footprint and cashes in on nostalgia with a design that evokes the legendary original Razr V3, while unfolding to reveal a display the size of a modern smartphone’s.
But the drawbacks are equally apparent, with underwhelming specs and cameras, an older operating system (Android 9) out of the box, and questionable design choices that make the phone somewhat cumbersome to use.
We’re looking forward to seeing a refined interface, display, and specs that match this phone’s design promises, hopefully in a Razr 2; as it is, it’s tough to recommend this Razr to folks who aren’t completely smitten by the physical flip phone flow.
Something to important note in case you plan on popping your old nanoSIM card into this phone: the new Razr doesn’t have a SIM slot, instead relying on an eSIM which is eternally locked to Verizon. This also means that we weren’t able to use it as a primary phone during our short testing period, getting the usual influx of emails and texts from our contacts.
The Motorola Razr is pricier than flagship smartphones, yet is less powerful. While it doesn’t hang or stutter with basic navigation or media watching, its Snapdragon 710 processor and 6GB of RAM are more suited to mid-range phones.
It’s far from inadequate for basic tasks, and even typical games like Call of Duty: Mobile and PUBG don’t struggle. But more intensive tasks will tax the chipset: the phone scored a 1,522 on Geekbench 5’s multi-core test. For comparison, last year’s Samsung Galaxy S10 scored a 2,056 in the same test, while the OnePlus 7 Pro hit 2666. The Razr is far from the fastest on the block.
Where the Razr falls short is the 128GB it packs as the one and only retail storage option. Nor can it be expanded, since the handset doesn’t have a microSD slot. Unless you funnel your overflowing data to cloud options, those who like to shoot a lot of photos and video might run out of room.
The other drawback, performance-wise is the operating system version: the Motorola Razr ships with Android 9 Pie. While it’s not a dealbreaker, it’s an odd choice on Motorola’s part to launch this phone without the latest version, Android 10… which was released in September 2019.
You’ll theoretically miss out on some app compatibility along with universal Android 10 features like the gesture navigation bar and dark mode, though Motorola has its own version of both of those – you’ll just have to get used to its take.
As expected, Moto-brand extras include Moto Gestures, which run the gamut from helpful to niche appeal. Two of them skyrocket in usefulness in this particular Motorola handset, specifically when it’s folded closed: the double-chop flashlight, which is easier to point with the smaller footprint, and the twist-for-camera – the latter is wildly helpful to quickly take selfies
The main 16MP central camera is positioned just below the mini screen, which means you can use it for both regular shots (with the phone flipped open) and for selfies (with the phone closed). It shines in the latter case: combined with the Moto Gesture to trigger the camera (twist twice) and the mini-display previewing the shot, this is by far the best implementation of the Razr’s minimal design philosophy.
Or at least it would be, if clicking the shutter button was easy: you’ll either have to hit either volume button (good luck telling those apart from the lock button) or tap the screen, which is a little awkward.
We also found ourselves shooting a lot more in portrait orientation than landscape. Why? Because the bottom of the phone is heavier, that's where we're gripping it, so it's a bit cumbersome to hold it horizontally
When the rear camera is used for daylight photography, the results are good. Motorola’s decision to drop a second display and amp up the software in the Moto Z4 pays dividends here, as the Razr relies on a single lens for all of its prime photography. Sure, it has a lower megapixel count compared to the Z4 (16MP versus the Z4’s 48MP), but the sensor is much larger (1.22 microns versus 0.8 microns), and the photos are more vibrant with better contrast.
This vibrancy makes daylight images shot on the Razr rival those taken on flagship phones. It’s night photography that suffers somewhat, although the Night Vision mode helps, especially in close-up shots around dinner tables or in bars. Out in the street with mixed light, however, the mode blows out illumination sources for a less natural-looking photo.
The middling camera quality isn’t a big surprise, as Motorola phones have never focused on photography. The interior 5MP selfie lens, should you want to take a photo with the full display open (for video chatting, say), is fine, but obviously less impressive than the main lens; although it does offer more precise focus control (like tap-to-focus) than the main lens, should that be more important.
The Razr packs the assortment of camera modes common to Motorola phones, with software-assisted portrait, spot color, and the brand-labeled Cinemagraph mode among the stronger offerings. Given the lack of zoom, ultrawide or other lenses, this smaller assortment is what you’ll have to rely on for photo variety