The Motorola Razr was the iconic phone of the pre-iPhone era, the slim clamshell device that the cool kids owned and everyone else wanted. And now, as the phone industry looks to move beyond the iPhone's form factor into the foldable screen future, Motorola is back with the new Razr, featuring a folding screen and a form factor that almost perfectly imitates the original Razr.
Innovation doesn't come cheap, and the new Razr will run you $1,500. Is it worth it? Or is the foldable future still just that — the future? Here's what tech reviewers have to say.
At PC Mag, Sascha Segan marvels at the folding mechanism — and still finds some issues with it:
The device's hinge is ridiculously cool. Two metal plates move under the screen, and when the phone is closed, part of the screen is tucked into the chin at the bottom. The result is a folding phone where it looks like the screen is folded flat in half, when it's not quite really. It's wizardry.
CNET used a machine to flip the Razr open and closed 100,000 times; the phone's hinge showed damage after 27,000. I used my hands, and flipped it open and closed 1,000 times. The screen and hinge didn't show damage after my 1,000 flips. But after a mere 200 flips—and to this moment—the phone now makes a loud creaking noise when it's opened or closed. It didn't do that at the start; it opened and closed quietly and smoothly. Now it practically quacks, to the point that I want to get out some WD-40.
At Input, Josh Topolsky bemoans the folding screen which is, at the very best, "fine":
Let me put this very bluntly. The screen on the Razr is gross. It ripples, it creaks, it moves when you touch it, it very visibly shows creases and bumps when the display is off. Its physicality is pronounced in a way that is simply very different than any other smartphone display on the market. It doesn't feel nice, it feels worrying. But to be clear, it's also fine. It works exactly as any other phone does. It's responsive to touch. Images and videos look crisp and clear, text is easy to read. It is a phone screen. But you're going to be surprised about the way it feels and scared about its longevity. Because of the nature of the folding display and the lack of maturity these kinds of devices naturally exhibit, this kind of wonkiness is probably going to be with us for quite some time. But I want to be clear: it's fine. It's fine! One thing that did bug me endlessly, however: the display never unfolds to completely flat (or straight).
At Android Police, Nirave Gondhia echoes Topolsky's screen concerns, but sees a promising future for the Peek Display on the front of the closed phone:
Of course, if it's just for notifications, you likely won't need to use the main display thanks to the small grayscale Peek Display on the front. It's grown on me as a way of triaging notifications, and I like how it displays a lot of caller information — such as business name or whether it's a spam call — when an unknown number calls you.
To view a notification, you simply press and hold the icon at the bottom of the Peek Display. From here you can take several actions, which depend on the app. Unfortunately, I've found that it's far too easy to accidentally swipe away a notification, especially when trying to scroll through the panes of icons on the front display.
As useful as the Peek Display is, I wish it could do more. The huge battery life difference between using the front and main display means more functionality in the Peek Display could lead to a better overall battery experience (more on that below).
At Tom's Guide, Adam Ismail finds himself unable to look beyond the Razr's many cost-cutting deficiencies — particularly since the Razr still costs $1,500:
Motorola's rebooted Razr is one of the most interesting phones to come along in quite some time, precisely because it has one foot planted in the past, and another in the future. It's a bold gamble from a company that once upon a time took risks like this all the time, but hasn't in the better part of a decade — and, for all this phone's faults, that's exciting to see.
But oh, the faults. Between the Razr's midrange processor, awful battery life, disappointing camera and low-resolution display, Motorola made many difficult, cost-cutting decisions to ensure the Razr could be available at a price that some people could potentially afford — at least more people than the Galaxy Fold.
I'll commend Motorola for its effort. Nevertheless, speedy performance, solid photography and respectable battery life should be table stakes for any $1,500 phone — even one that can pull off a party trick as special as this one
At CNET, Patrick Holland acknowledges the (major) shortcomings but is nonetheless intrigued by the new feeling the Razr gave him:
After a week of using the Razr as my daily driver, I have strong feelings for it and a few questions. At $1,499, it doesn't have the fastest processor, the biggest battery or the best cameras. If this phone didn't fold in half, it would be a solid midtier Android phone. But the Razr has something most phones lack: personality. And as Jules says in Pulp Fiction, "Personality goes a long way." The Razr feels more personal than any phone I've used. Every time I flip it open or closed, I see its value rise. That said, most people shouldn't buy the Razr, myself included. The true test of its design will take place over the coming months inside the pockets of those who do buy it. This doesn't mean Motorola is on the wrong track: The Razr is an enormous accomplishment that sets the stage for an improved second version.
If you don't really care how your phone performs and don't need to take great pictures and really want to wow people with a parlor trick, Motorola has made the perfect phone for you. For everyone else? Move on.