The most impressive collapsible to date comes in the form of a clam. The re-imagining of the Motorola Razr v4, about 15 years after the original, is not only a nostalgia play, but it is a fully formed flip phone with a flexible OLED display, along with a second Quick View display to the front. However, the camera and battery life can be questionable – we will have to wait and see.
Few phones can claim to be iconic. However, the Motorola Razr is such a phone. It was the mobile to establish the flip phone as a truly memorable piece of technology. And almost 15 years after the original, the Razr phone came back for a new generation.
The launch of this new Motorola has struggled a lot. Not only does it show that the company is focusing on a more premium market, it is offering some creative design ideas by hand that others have not yet successfully implemented.
But is it all rosy nostalgia or does the new Motorola Razr cement this flip phone asking in the world of collapsible products? We tackled the new device at the Los Angeles launch event to see what it’s all about.
Moto Razr v4 is a flip phone
Foldable clamp design with patented hinge mechanism
Stainless steel and glass construction
Fingerprint scanner in ‘chin’ section
If you think about any smartphone you’ve had in your pocket for the past decade, this is likely to be a one-screen solution. It’s a pretty logical approach to get what you need on a screen. But over the years, the dimensions of such devices, due to larger screens, have sometimes increased to huge proportions.
|Image credit: Motorola|
Then, give the idea of flexible screens, and choose the current offering to double the screen size – there’s the Samsung Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate X – making for a more tablet-like scale folded into normal phone proportions. It does not leave the growing real estate agent on screen.
The Motorola Razr essentially flips it on its head (even if it’s been done before): this design is a half-sized phone, which (hence the name) is thrown into a fully formed device. Since it uses a POLED screen (it’s plastic OLED), no two screens are needed: it’s one panel that is flexible and folds in the middle without leaving a crease (and it really doesn’t – we followed it up very closely from every angle to try and capture it).
There is a reason for the absence of a shrinkage. Unlike the other flexible display devices, the Motorola uses a stainless steel frame that secures an under wash accessory. There is also a distinctive hinge mechanism with which moving plates move behind the screen in place, which maintains stiffness and shape. As the screen is held more tightly than other flexible devices would mean it will remain free of the dreaded crease, the theory continues.
Motorola does not say how many times it has tested the folding mechanism, but that it believes that two years of using a normal user would be no concern. That fit and a nano-coating were designed to ensure that the screen couldn’t be exposed to the elements as well – which is a problem Samsung found with the first folding device – to ensure no screen breakout occurs.
Are two screens better than one?
Main screen: 6.2-inch POLED (plastic OLED)
2142 x 876 pixels, 21: 9 aspect ratio
Front screen: 2.7 inch GOLED (glass OLED)
800 x 600 pixels, 4: 3 aspect ratio
However, POLED has one inherent problem: it is plastic coated and therefore reflective. You might think that any glass-covered screen would be just as bad, but there is a certain quality to the Razr’s main screen that, in strong direct light, really catches the light. Of course, this is not unforgivable, it is just one fact of such devices.
Hardware specification, performance forecast of Motorola Razr v4
Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 processor, 6 GB RAM
2510mAh battery capacity (combined)
15W TurboPower fast charging
ESIM only, 128 GB storage
However, with all this engineering, there has to be some kind of compromise. The Razr can be argued in two ways: the processor is the middleweight Qualcomm Snapdragon 710, not the latest and greatest on the market; while the total of 2510mAh batteries is significantly lower than many flagships.
|Image credit: Motorola|
Cameras: Ace or Reflection?
16MP camera, f / 1.7 aperture (selfie flip and main camera)
5MP internal camera (for unlocking faces and attentive displays)
A remarkable specification is the Motorola Razr’s somewhat diminished camera setup. The main lens, which protrudes slightly from the body, houses a 16-megapixel sensor. It’s not that it’s not lacking in resolution, but with the Moto One lineup pushing camera settings to ninth grade, it’s a surprise not to see something of greater importance in the Razr, like a 48-megapixel solution (as you would in a phone a third of the price).
First impressions of Moto Razr V4
The re-imagining of the Razr, about 15 years after the original, is not just a play on nostalgia, it is a fully formed flip phone with a host of fun and functional features.
Certainly, the processor is not the best, the cameras are not a very prominent feature, and the battery life may be questionable (we can’t say for sure yet).
But for us, the 2019 Razr is the most complete foldable phone so far, one that solves screen wrinkle problems and builds quality in a proper and convincing way. We’d rather get it over the Samsung or Huawei solutions every day of the week.
Indeed, the Razr is perhaps the most exciting phone to launch in 2020 – and that’s before we even entered that year. Welcome back to the big league, Motorola.
The Motorola Razr is available from January 26, 2020 for a pre-order of $ 1499.99 (or $ 62.49 per month on Verizon’s 24-month contract) in the US, with a February 4 release date. In the UK, pre-orders start on January 22, with the phone an EE exclusive (a range of plans available from £ 94-104 / month), with a release date on February 19.