First impressions of Motorola's new foldable Razr smartphone

Shawn Knight

TechSpot Staff
Staff member

Motorola’s original Razr was the first mobile phone that I ever actually desired. I’d owned plenty of handsets before that and even liked some of them – I have a fond place in my heart for the infinitely customizable Nokia 5110, for example – but nothing felt as enticing as what Motorola put out in 2004.

When rumors surfaced suggesting Motorola was considering a modern Razr reboot, I knew it could be a big opportunity not only for Motorola but to further advance the adoption of flexible displays.

For years, I’ve preached that bendable displays were a solution to a problem that didn’t exist. By this, I meant that there was no practical use for them. Adding a curved / bent / foldable display to a phone simply because the technology now exists is no good reason to do it. It has to be practical which is something that Motorola proved with the clamshell design of the Razr 15 years ago.

It also needs to be durable and that’s where I still need convincing that flexible displays are ready for mainstream use.

Motorola’s new Razr features a 6.2-inch folding display that – critically – is made of plastic. Motorola insists that it is plenty durable… but, is it really? What happens if you tap it with your fingernail? What happens if a small piece of debris gets lodged between the screen when you close it?

Another major concern is with the hinge… or more specifically, how the screen bows out when you fold the device in half. Again, what happens when a piece of debris inevitably gets wedged in this space when you close the clamshell? And how about how the bottom of the phone tucks into the chin ever-so-slightly when you close it?

These are just a couple of the many issues that Motorola has put on the table with the new Razr. The $1,500 price tag is another, but I’m even more distressed over the fact that it uses a mid-range processor and has a small battery. The single rear-facing 16-megapixel camera isn’t up to par with today’s flagships, either.

As with earlier foldable offerings, I’d recommend waiting to see what the early reviews have to say before committing to spending on what could ultimately prove to be another prototype.

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Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
"These are just a couple of the many issues that Motorola has put on the table with the new Razr. The $1,500 price tag is another, but I’m even more distressed over the fact that it uses a mid-range processor and has a small battery. The single rear-facing 16-megapixel camera isn’t up to par with today’s flagships, either."

Yeah, like I said before but will now re-adjust my estimate to it's actual value to be around the $300-400 range. This is based on a variety of other Moto phones in that price range that have superior processors, camera's and other features. It appears they are trying to jump back on the old "just like star-trek communicator" phone kick from over a decade ago. Frankly I think this one is going to fall on it's face unless they drastically cut the price .....
 

FF222

TS Addict
"It has to be practical which is something that Motorola proved with the clamshell design of the Razr 15 years ago."
Motorola already had clamshell phones before the Razr, like the StarTAC, introduced in 1996.
 

amghwk

TS Guru
Adding a curved / bent / foldable display to a phone simply because the technology now exists is no good reason to do it.
I couldn't have said it better.

Tech companies are relying on this gimmick to make new sales from current social-media crazy generation.
 

HofyPC

TS Member
Another example of Metooism. No matter how bad the idea, all these companies jump on it like a pack of rabid dogs and beat it to death. Then stand there scratching their heads wondering why it failed.
 

OortCloud

TS Maniac
Read Linus' review (from LTT) of the Galaxy Fold before you are too quick judging something you have all almost certainly never tried... It's based on a few months daily use and he is generally a pretty good judge of good and bad design...
 

Puiu

TS Evangelist
Read Linus' review (from LTT) of the Galaxy Fold before you are too quick judging something you have all almost certainly never tried... It's based on a few months daily use and he is generally a pretty good judge of good and bad design...
I like Linus for many things, but his phone reviews are not one of them :D