Motorola Razr 5G folding screen phone review

Image for post
Image for post

Motorola launched Razr in 2004 and revolutionized the mobile phone industry. Almost overnight, the smooth clamshell became a status symbol and gained enthusiastic popularity until Apple’s iPhone and many other smart phones entered the market. Moto briefly brought it back with the flat-panel Droid Razrs series in the early 2010s, and then reassembled it with its reasonable folding shape earlier this year. Although the new Razr certainly attracted people’s attention, after Samsung had problems with the Galaxy Fold, it received mixed reviews (including our own) and skepticism about health. A few months later, the trend of foldable phones showed no signs of stopping, and Motorola launched the Razr 5G ($1,399.99).

Can Razr 5G inspire the same enthusiasm as the OG model? Even Motorola’s Doug Michau said that the shape is not suitable for everyone-until I use the new phone, I have not sold it myself. But Razr 5G is different from most current foldable products because it does not intend to take the double responsibility of tablet or laptop replacements. It solves almost all the problems between us and its predecessor at a lower price. Although it is still quite expensive, at $1,399.99, the price is much cheaper than the $2,000 Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2, which is the only other folding phone we currently recommend.

Bring the classic back

Motorola Razr 5G is a beautiful phone. The square design and sharp edges of the previous model have been replaced by curved glass, aircraft-grade aluminum and a smooth chin stop. In fact, it looks like a flip, unlike the clumsy Galaxy Z Flip, it looks more like Samsung simply threw the hinge and flexible display into an ordinary smartphone.

When folded, the Razr measures 3.6 x 2.9 x 0.6 inches (HWD) and weighs 6.7 ounces. Although we were annoyed by the possibility of fingers being pinched on the hinges of the previous models, this time I deliberately tried to make it happen for more than half an hour. I can say with certainty that this hinge is not pinched.

Speaking of the hinge, Motorola said it made some minor changes to make it look more like a Razr in the early 2000s. It is easy to open with one hand and close with a plump, satisfying snap. Perhaps the best point is that at this point, I have turned the phone on and off at least a thousand times without experiencing the noisy noise that plagued previous models.

It is also worth noting that the hinge of Razr 5G has two positions: open and closed. There is no Flex mode like the Galaxy Z Fold 2, or the seemingly infinite variants offered by Microsoft Surface Duo. You can’t use the Razr 5G as a book, tablet, or ultra-small laptop; this is a phone, simple and clear.

I tested the dark gray model, which does a good job of resisting fingerprints. Of course, you can see some stains in direct sunlight, but it is far less serious than many other glass phones out there.

The power button is on the left side of the phone, and the volume keys are on the right. The ugly fingerprint sensor on the chin of the previous model has been moved to the back, which is a better choice. The USB-C port and speakers are located at the bottom. There is no headphone jack, but there is a USB-C headphone adapter in the box. The lack of stereo sounds like a missed opportunity, especially because Motorola often uses the handset as the top speaker of other phones.

The exterior of the Razr is home to a 2.7-inch, 800 x 600 pixel Peek display and a 48MP camera. The display is basically the same as the previous model, but due to some software modifications, it has more functions. In addition to basic knowledge like date, time, and notifications, you can now access your favorite apps, reply to texts and notifications, and use Google Assistant without turning on your phone.

It is important to emphasize the extent to which these seemingly small additions to Peek Display can improve the overall user experience. In a week of using the phone, I found that I can easily complete 50% to 60% of normal tasks without opening the phone. This is useful for extending battery life (more on that later), but it also provides a more valuable and less obvious benefit: I find myself using my phone more carefully.

In the past six months or so, compared to the days before COVID-19, I used my mobile phone more frequently. Replying to the text message may lead to a quick browsing of Twitter, and the next 45 minutes I know have passed. When using Razr, much less happens because Peek Display is large enough to handle basic operations, but it is too small for blind scrolling.

When you really need to open the phone, you will find a beautiful 6.2-inch, 2,142 x 876 pixel foldable POLED display. It is very bright, accurate in color, and has no visible creases when folded. If you look around, you will notice a small tilt where the hinge mechanism is located, but since it is in the middle of the display, you won’t feel any yielding when typing or performing most routine tasks.

Although all internal components and external access points of Razr have been protected by a waterproof coating, there is no IP rating. Motorola said that the phone can withstand sweat, rain and spray. I have used it more than once in the rain. Even so, when you spend $1,400 on your phone, it is wise to spend more money on a good phone case.

Chili powder performance

Razr is equipped with Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G processor, 8GB RAM and 256GB storage space, of which about 228GB is available. There is no microSD slot for external storage.

The 765G chipset is smaller and more energy-efficient than the 800 series processors in the Surface Duo, Galaxy Z Fold 2 and Galaxy Z Flip, but it is not as fast as the previous or modem speed in terms of system performance. In other words, I currently have 27 applications and 27 Chrome tabs open on Razr, and there is no trouble. I used it to play Alto’s Odyssey for nearly two hours without experiencing any delay or frame skipping.

On Geekbench 5.0, a series of tests measuring raw computing power, Razr 5G scored 616 single-core (SC) and 1,903 multi-core (MC) scores. This has nothing to do with the Galaxy Z Fold 2’s 980 and 3,118 or even the Surface Duo’s 754/2,651 scores. But this is a good example of how benchmarks can be used as an objective measurement tool for comparing similar products and do not necessarily represent daily performance. Yes, those other phones are faster than Razr, but it is possible that you will not notice it during normal use.

Motorola has increased the battery capacity to 2,800mAh (compared to the original 2,500mAh). In our power consumption test, the power consumption was used to stream high-definition video at full brightness via Wi-Fi. With the screen on, the phone lasted 7 hours and 51 minutes. This is about an hour longer than the previous model. Compared to many other phones today, it is not ideal, but remember that this result is an expanded screen. When you use Peek Display regularly, you can usually spend about 30% of the power to spend a day of regular use.

The included 15W Turbo Power charger can increase the exhausted battery to 40% in 30 minutes. Unfortunately, the phone lacks wireless charging.

Good connection

Razr 5G provides global LTE and 5G coverage below 6GHz. Currently, it should get 5G services in 26 countries/regions, but this number will grow. And because it has 3GHz spectrum support, it may be enhanced in the new radio waves that the FCC will auction later this year, although there is no guarantee that it will re-certify for this feature.

Like the Galaxy Z Flip, Razr 5G also lacks millimeter wave connectivity. At present, this is not a big problem, because the results of our fastest mobile network test show that there are few millimeter wave 5G available nationwide. If you absolutely must have a foldable form factor, at the time of writing, the only option in the US is the Galaxy Z Fold 2.

I tested Razr on T-Mobile’s Chicago network and saw a steady speed. After nearly two dozen tests, the average speed dropped by 118.4Mbps and increased by 48.2Mbps. The top speed I saw dropped by 186.2Mbps and increased by 56.3Mbps.

The call quality is stable. I made several calls and the transmission was clear and clear. The noise cancellation effect is very good, and the maximum earpiece volume is 86dB, which is large enough to be heard outdoors.

The speakers on the bottom port are OK, but not surprising. It peaks at 90dB and does not produce noticeable distortion, but due to its location, it sounds a bit square. Conference calls and streaming video are great, and the Moto Audio app allows you to customize the sound for different situations.Support Bluetooth 5.0, dual-band WI-Fi and NFC

Surprising camera

The phone has a 48MP camera with f/1.7 aperture and laser autofocus on the outside, and a 20MP camera with f/2.2 aperture on the inside. No, it does not have a triple external sensor like the Galaxy Z Fold 2, but the price is also $600 cheaper.

Both the 48MP and 20MP sensors have excellent light. In the test lens, I found the image is clear and the depth of field is excellent. Motorola’s color science uses a more conservative approach than many other phone manufacturers, so unless you shoot in Pro mode or modify settings, you won’t see super bright and over-saturated colors.

Portrait mode works well in most situations, although when I stand in front of a background that is almost the same color as the hat, the depth mapping becomes a bit fashionable. Spot color (controlling how much color is in the photo) and cinematography (animating part of the photo while keeping the rest still) modes work well.

In low light conditions, when set to night mode, the 48MP lens performs well. I took a lot of tricky photos and Razr has achieved impressive results every time. Background details have been lost, but not worse than Galaxy S20 Ultra and iPhone 11 Pro.

The 20MP sensor is okay in low light conditions, but I can’t think of a good reason to use it on a 48MP camera.

Software

Razr comes with Android 10 and Motorola’s My UX software extension. For those who are just starting out, Motorola offers an almost stock Android version that contains some really useful features that you can turn on and off.

Moto Audio allows you to adjust the sound settings, while Moto Game Time allows you to customize the game’s notification and performance settings. Moto gestures allow you to enable the following functions: turn your phone upside down to mute it, or twist your wrist to turn on the camera.

Motorola promises to carry out at least two Android upgrades, and provide software support twice every two years, and the update will become very fast.

Motorola’s Razr 5G is a welcome antidote to the monotony of ordinary glass sandwiches. It has been improved in every aspect, with faster performance, better camera, longer battery life, 5G and more. With Motorola’s enhancements to Peek Display, it may truly change the way you use your phone.

Razr is not as powerful as the Galaxy Z Fold 2, but the price is much cheaper, making it closer to people who want to spend $1,000 on their phones. It is worth pointing out that Samsung’s Galaxy Note 20 Ultra offers faster performance, millimeter wave 5G and a really useful stylus at the same price as Razr. But it will not fold. If you consider using this style of folding phone, it is likely that you are not in the market. Therefore, although Razr 5G may not have the same cultural atmosphere as the original product, it may make some rich and nostalgic users very happy.

Digital Nomad

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store