Motorola revives its famous Razr phone for 2019

Motorola Razr release
The Motorola Razr is available on limited release. Image: Motorola

Is the Razr worth the hype?

The long rumoured new Motorola Razr handset may look similar to their traditional flip screen phone. The tech behind it, however, is distinctly more modern.

Motorola describe the handset as ‘a design that shatters the status quo‘. The small device is lightweight, with a zero-gap hinge. This protects the screen from damage and effectively halves the size of a traditional single screen smartphone.

There are two display screens. A Quick View screen on the outside responds to prompts and displays notifications. Inside, the Razr has a full length 6.2″ Flex View touchscreen. The plastic OLED screen forms as one complete piece; no bends or folds in sight.

This is credited to the stainless steel frame, which ensures the fitting is sub-flush. Theoretically, this means the Razr won’t start to show a crease over time. This is a common niggle with other folding screen handsets. We’ll have to wait for some further user trials to see if this is true!

Folding screens are on the up. Both the Samsung Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate X use similar constructions. However, the Motorola Razr incorporates a proprietary hinge mechanism. Behind the scenes (or the screens…) there are moving plates which slide into place. This supports the rigidity of the Flex View screen, and is a new innovation in the folding screen world.

So far, so good.

How does the Razr compare to other smartphones?

Motorola say that the folding mechanism will easily last two years for a ‘normal user’. The screen has a nano coating intended to prevent screen blow-out and protect against exposure.

When folded, the Razr is 14mm thick. Perhaps a little bulky in comparison to the slim handsets we are used to, but with the payback of being much smaller in length.

There are some direct comparisons which show the Razr as looking a little low spec. However, the thinner 21:9 aspect ratio and smaller device size perhaps mean it is possible to run more efficiently.

You’ll find less pixels than with some of the flagship models on the market. It looks like this isn’t going to make any difference to the display quality on this screen size. The benefit is of course in better battery longevity.

The Razr comes with two options of 4GB RAM with 64GB storage or 6GB RAM with 128GB storage. Using the Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 platform will enable the Razr to incorporate their Quick Charge 4+ tech, but how fast the Razr will charge we don’t yet know.

There has been a lot of talk about the battery size, which is said to be on the small side at 2,510mAh. However, it is expected that this will be more than sufficient to enable all day use. A smaller handset and more efficient screen display have their plus points!

What’s with all the nostalgia?

The Razr design isn’t a million miles away from the original 2004 flip phone. Motorola are certainly playing up this factor. Their marketing for the Razr describes it as, ‘Razr reinvented; an icon returns with today’s technology‘.

Nokia successfully relaunched the 3310 back in 2017. In quite the same way, they based their smartphone handset on the iconic design we all remember.

Retro design seems to be having a moment. Take a look at the comparisons between the new and old Razr, and the similarities are clear!

Motorola Razr 2004 model
The original 2004 Motorola Razr. Image: Wikipedia

When and where is the Razr handset available?

Motorola launched the new Razr yesterday at their launch event in LA. However, it sounds like there is only a limited release of 200,000 units through US carrier Verizon. This might be an attempt to garner exclusivity, and encourage speculation. With a price tag of around $1,500 being one of the first owners does not come cheap.

We don’t yet know where and when the Razr will be available outside of the US, but we know that it will be exclusively available through EE in the UK.

Also to note, the Motorola Razr will be one of the only new phones that comes with no SIM tray, instead will utilise the new eSIM technology. This opens a whole lot of new questions on network locking and just what carriers can end up offering the new nostalgic device.

There is also the problem of Samsung nipping closely at their heels.

At the Samsung Developers Conference at the end of October, they introduced their own new clamshell design. Although Samsung don’t have that nostalgic hit that Motorola has, their tech capabilities far surpass that of Motorola.

Whilst folding screens have had a few teething problems, if Motorola really have solved them all with the Razr the market is not going to wait too long…

Samsung's clamshell fold mechanism
Samsung’s new clamshell smartphone concept is similar to the Razor bar the humongous Beluga chin. Image: Samsung
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