Last night, Motorola revealed its resurrected Razr phone. The company is clearly banking on nostalgia of the Razr brand combined with the relative neatness of foldable devices, but at its core, the new Razr is still an Android-based smartphone. That means it has to go toe-to-toe with flagship devices from Google, Samsung, and more (including those coming out of Cupertino).
If you’re the least bit intrigued by this flip-phone-slash-smartphone, here is quick recap of everything Motorola revealed about the new Razr at last night’s big event. Yes, it’s a sexy phone; yes, it will cost you a lot.
It folds (obviously)
Like the Samsung Galaxy Fold, the new Razr can, well, fold. But while the Galaxy Fold collapsed vertically, the Razr’s hinge is horizontal and folds up much like the flip phones of ages past. When its 6.2-inch display is unfolded, the Razr will reportedly be completely flat and using the phone will be just like any other smartphone—but we’ll have to wait for reviews to start rolling in before we know how well Motorola’s attempts at a folding screen will be.
In addition to that 6.2-inch pOLED display (running a resolution of 2,142-by-876 pixels), the Razr will come with a Snapdragon 710 processor for its brains—slower than what you’d find on most flagship phones—and 6GB of memory. You get 128GB of internal storage with no expansion, a 2,510mAH battery, and two cameras: a 16MP rear camera (f/1.7) and a 5MP front-facing camera.
The front of the phone comes with a smaller 2.7-inch OLED display for notifications and various other controls. For connections, you get a single USB-C port (and a 15W fast-charging adaptor in the box). No, the Razr can’t charge wirelessly.
Allegedly, the slower processor was chosen to save on battery consumption, which implies that at least on earlier test hardware battery life may have been an issue. That could indicate one of two very different outcomes: first, that the slower processor has made the finalised hardware more power-efficient or, two, that the battery life is still going to be an issue come release. The phone is rumoured to be able to last a full day, but we’ll see what that actually means when review samples go out.
Release and availability
The new Razr is scheduled to launch sometime in January 2020 in the United States for $US1,499 ($2,210). That’s a steep asking price—especially if the hardware is behind the curve—but not outlandish compared to the Galaxy Fold; these bendy fun-house phones use expensive screens and engineering trickery to achieve the collapsable screens that define them. Still, $US1,499 ($2,210) is more expensive than the recently launched Pixel 4 or iPhone 11, both of which have much better specs (but much less of a wow factor).
Price isn’t the only potential hamstring to widespread adoption of the new Razr, though; Motorola has opted to make the phone a Verizon exclusive. The phone also uses a digital eSIM card, rather than a physical SIM card—which implies there will be no unlocked version of the Razr that can be activated on other carrier networks. That strikes me as a big gamble for a phone that relies so heavily on the nostalgia factor of a 15-year-old phone.
Preorders for the Motorola Razr start on December 26 in the US.