Motorola announces a new foldable Razr smartphone with 5G and better cameras
Motorola officially joined the small club of OEMs with foldable hardware with the launch of the first-generation Motorola Razr last year, transforming the iconic Razr clamshell flip phone into a foldable smartphone. Banking heavily on nostalgia, the Razr’s futuristic design and unique hinge mechanism generated a lot of buzz in the tech circle. But at the same time, the phone was also criticized for its lackluster hardware and mediocre camera performance, which many believed was unacceptable for a phone that cost $1,499.
Nine months since the launch of the first Razr foldable, the Lenovo-owned company is introducing a new Razr phone to perfect the original vision. The new Motorola Razr 5G addresses many of the shortcomings of its predecessor and brings along a more durable design, a beefier SoC, a bigger battery, and an improved rear camera in the same foldable form factor.
Motorola Razr 5G: Specifications
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At first glance, the new Motorola Razr 5G looks like a carbon copy of its predecessor, and while that’s true to some extent, Motorola has made many small changes to the overall build and design. The first striking change is the relocation of the fingerprint reader from the front to the back, now nestled inside the Moto Batwing logo. In terms of build materials, the 2020 Motorola Razr offers a glass back with Gorilla Glass protection and a matte finish. The tapered chin is made out of 7000 Series Aluminum Alloy while the hinge uses stainless steel.
Motorola is also addressing durability concerns with its second-gen Razr. The company claims the hinge of the Razr 5G can withstand up to 200,000 flips. According to data collected by Motorola, the average user flipped the first-gen Razr foldable about 40 times a day while the average power user flipped it about 100 times a day. To put these numbers into perspective, it would take 5 years for an average power user to flip the phone nearly 200,000 times. The hinge is designed such that it ensures the teardrop display can fold flush with zero gap.
The primary and external display panels are unchanged from the first-gen Razr. There’s a 6.2-inch 2142×876 plastic OLED main display and a 2.7-inch 800×600 Quick View glass OLED display. Unlike Samsung’s foldables, Motorola isn’t using a layer of Ultra-Thin-Glass. A representative from Motorola told us in a briefing that the company did evaluate the use of UTG but wasn’t entirely confident in the solution just yet. For what it’s worth, the inner display does have a coating that protects the display against accidental spills and splashes. There are also metal support plates that provide a flat surface and tension to make the display feel sturdy while also being able to shift to give space for the teardrop display.
On the inside, the Motorola Razr 2020 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G SoC, a step up from the Snapdragon 710 in the last model. RAM and storage also see a bump with the device now packing 8GB RAM and 256GB of flash storage compared to a relatively modest 6GB RAM and 128GB storage of its predecessor. Since the Snapdragon 765G comes with an integrated modem, Motorola was able to save some internal space to cram in a bigger camera sensor and a larger battery. That integrated modem is the Qualcomm Snapdragon X52, and with it, the Motorola Razr 5G is able to support sub-6GHz 5G networks, with the phone packing 4 antennas throughout its body. Whereas the first Razr could be provisioned only via eSIM, the new Razr supports both eSIM and a traditional nanoSIM.
Poor camera performance was one of the major complaints with the Razr, and Motorola is attempting to get it right this time with a new 48MP sensor. The camera module features OIS along with a ToF sensor for advanced laser autofocus. The front camera also sees an upgrade from 5MP to 20MP. Furthermore, the Razr 5G comes preinstalled with Motorola’s brand new camera app (called Moto Camera 3.0) that brings along a revamped camera UI and includes unique features designed to take advantage of the Quick View display. Some of those unique features include camera cartoon, a feature that plays an animation on the Quick View display to keep the subject focused, Instant Review, which shows a preview of the photo on the Quick View display so you can quickly see selfies without flipping the phone open, and External Preview, which mirrors the viewfinder on the Quick View display so subjects can see their photo before it’s taken. The new Moto Camera 3.0 software launches first on the new Razr but will be available on future devices from the brand.
The Motorola Razr 5G packs a larger 2,800mAh battery and charges via a 15W charger that comes inside the box. Motorola says, based on the usage pattern data they obtained from the first-gen Razr, users tend to interact more frequently with the Quick View display compared to the inner display. Since the outer screen requires less power, Motorola reasons the 2,800mAh cell should work out just fine.
The Razr 5G runs a near-stock version of Android 10 with Motorola’s handful of software customizations on top. Motorola’s My UX app, first introduced with the Motorola Edge, comes preinstalled; it’s a one-stop-shop for all of Motorola’s various system apps like Moto Actions, Moto Display, and new theming options including fonts, icon shapes, accent colors, etc. The software on the Quick View display is seeing a big upgrade, with support for showing a nav bar at the bottom, the ability to swipe right to access the camera, and the ability to swipe left to access favorite your contacts and an app tray. Motorola says they preselected 8 apps to appear in the app tray, but they’re giving users the option to add any app of their choice. The only caveat is that apps have to be optimized for the Quick View display’s 4:3 aspect ratio and low 800×600 resolution in order to look great. Not many third-party apps are optimized for that layout, but Motorola says they collaborated with Google to ensure their apps work well on the Quick View display. Plus, all the other improvements that came to the first-gen Motorola Razr with its Android 10 update will also be available on the new Motorola Razr 5G.
Motorola commits to providing 2 major Android OS updates and 2 years of bi-monthly security updates for the Razr 5G. That’s the same length of software support the company is providing for its other flagship phone, the Motorola Edge+.
Pricing and Availability
In the U.S., the Motorola Razr 5G will be available this fall from AT&T and T-Mobile but not from Verizon, which exclusively carried the first-gen Razr — likely because the new Motorola Razr 5G lacks the mmWave bands needed to support Verizon’s Ultrawide Band Network. Meanwhile, the unlocked version will go on sale this fall on Best Buy, B&H Photo, Amazon, and Motorola for $1,399. The Motorola Razr 5G comes in three colors: Polished Graphite, Liquid Mercury, and Blush Gold. In terms of after-sales support, Motorola says they will offer a service to cover damages under warranty and supply discounts on display repairs. The company is also partnering with case vendors like Tech21 and CaseMate to manufacture cases that cover the top and bottom halves of the phone for some added protection.