Australia is about to get another foldable, and this time it's the size of an actual phone. Motorola has resurrected its beloved Razr to transform is classic clamshell design from being hinged to having a folding screen.
There's a lot to love and it might even surprise some foldable sceptics, but it's really hard to get past the $2,699 price.
Motorola released a whole slew of YouTube videos Sunday about its new Razr, a revamped throwback to its mid-2000s flip phone of the same name, in celebration of the phone’s pre-order launch. But with them came a disclaimer about the foldable phone: 'Screen is made to bend; bumps and lumps are normal.'
I'm a Razr tragic. My little teen heart loved that it was a flip phone, the fact that it could take good photos (a big deal at the time) and that you could hang up on people with a dramatic flare.
Suffice to say, I was pumped that Motorola weren't jumping on the retro bandwagon we've seen over the last few years where brands brought back their classic phones but barely made them smart.
A foldable Razr makes sense and feels like the natural evolution of the device. There's a clear nostalgic element, but the company isn't relying entirely on it to sell devices.
Still, I was pleasantly surprised at just how good it seemed during my brief hands-on session. It's what I want from a foldable phone. Well, mostly. But we'll get to that later.
Motorola Razr Specs
Despite being what (I'm assuming) will be Motorola's most exciting phone of the year - the specs are rather middle-of-the-pack. I can't speak to the performance before reviewing it properly, but I have questions. Especially when you take the price into account.
- Main Display: 6.2-inch plastic OLED (pOLED) display, 21:9 aspect ratio, 2142 x 876 pixels
- External Display: 2.7-inch OLED display, 4:3 aspect ratio, 800 x 600 pixels
- Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 710
- RAM: 6GB
- Storage: 128GB
- Battery: 2510mAh with 15W fast charge
- Camera: 16MP main and 5MP front-facing
- Ports: 1x USB-C
- Sensors: Fingerprint
- Dimensions: 72 x 172 x 6.9mm open and 72 x 94 x 14mm closed
- Weight: 205g
- Colour options: Black
What's good about it?
I only got a chance to play with the Razr for about half an hour during a recent briefing, but I do have some initial thoughts.
The Motorola Razr is comfortable
Perhaps my biggest gripe with Samsung's Galaxy Fold was the size. While great for watching Netflix and some workflow tasks - it was heavy and typing on the folded-out screen was uncomfortable.
It feels good to type on, it has a comfortable amount of weight to it and the ergonomics are spot on. Not only that, it actually folds down into a smaller unit that can easily fit into a women's-sized pocket. Praise be.
The Motorola Razr's screen seems good
While using it for more than half an hour is required to come to a proper conclusion - the screen seems great so far.
There were no red flags in terms of movement or sounds while opening and closing. The larger display was incredibly responsive and felt good under the finger. I couldn't test the external display but it is said to have app continuity, like other foldables, and I look forward to putting those claims to the test.
Motorola has officially announced its brand new Razr for Australia. It has taken the iconic flip phone and updated it for a modern audience by making its screen bendable. Here's everything Australians need to know.
The Motorola Razr is eSIM only
The Razr will be the first eSIM-only device in Australia, which is exciting for telco nerds such as myself. This means that there is no physical place for a sim card on the device. It's all digital, baby.
This is definitely where the majority of devices are heading, so it's cool to see the beginning of that. But how many MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) carriers this will block people from using? Telstra, Optus and Vodafone all offer eSIM, but the same can't be said for smaller Australian operators.
Motorola has promised us a list so we'll let you know which ones will be compatible soon.
It has a retro mode
A simple setting change will transform the main display into the familiar early-90s Razr we all know and love. It's a cute touch.
What's not so good
Motorola Razr's Australian Price
In Australia the new Razr will set you back $2,699.
I get that that it's still a new form factor and that innovation isn't cheap, but I do wonder if this makes the barrier to entry too high.
Motorola isn't exactly the most popular handset brand in 2020, even with Razr nostalgia. It's better known for budget and mid-range devices and this feels a little like going from 0-100 without an established trust in the brand as a luxury tech manufacturer. At $2,700 Motorola has positioned itself against giants like Apple and Samsung; the Galaxy Fold costs only $300 more.
Last month the $2,999 Samsung Galaxy Fold was announced for Australia. Once it went on sale some Australian reviewers who received the Fold only had a couple of days with the product to accompany the short embargo period. This has been due to a lack of supply.
And it's not like customers will be able to soften the blow much by buying through a telco. Telstra is the only launch carrier and while it hasn't released its Razr plans yet, we can guess what they'll look like. At an absolute minimum they will be the cost of a Small ($50/month), Medium ($60/month), Large ($80/month) or Extra Large ($100/month) plan plus the cost of the device divided by either 24-months or 36-months.
Of course, you could argue that the second foldable to hit Australia will mostly be of interest to early adopters with the cash to invest in them, anyway. And that's probably true. It's unlikely that foldable devices will hit the mid-range bracket for years, let alone the low-range. And the Razr is the cheapest folding phone in the country right now - though there isn't much competition yet.
Perhaps this will be the device that changes everything for Motorola in the new decade. It seems like a great device, but the price tag still leaves me with doubts.
Motorola Razr's Specs
While the specs aren't bad, they aren't what I expect from a $2,699 phone. I don't know that a foldable screen is worth the markup when the battery won't last the entire day for power-users (as confirmed by Danny Adamopoulos, General Manager of Sales, APAC for Mature Markets) and there's only 128GB storage.
Comparatively, Samsung's Fold has double the RAM of the Razr, as well as 512GB storage and a 4,380mAH battery.
One the plus side, at least the Razr battery can be charged quickly. According to Motorola, 15 minutes on-cable will get you about 4-5 hours of charge on standby.
The camera is also a bit of a let down with only a 16MP main lens and 5MP front-facing selfie cam. Meanwhile, Samsung injected the same camera hardware into the Fold as its flagship S10 series - a triple rear lens setup (12MP telephoto, 12MP wide-angle and 16MP ultra-wide angle) and dual front-facing cameras (10MP + 8MP). It also threw an extra 10MP cover camera on for good measure.
While some users won't care so much about the processor, battery, storage and camera capabilities matter and it's a shame that they aren't beefier for such an expensive device.
Should you buy it?
I can't make any recommendations based off thirty minutes of top-line testing time, no matter how much I already love this thing. I look forward to seeing how it goes in an extended real world setting, but I'm not sure that I'll get past the price vs specs.
Sure, foldables are new and shiny, which makes for bloated manufacturing costs. But I firmly believe that if a phone is going to cost that much, it needs more than bendy plastic to back it up.
The new Motorola Razr is $2,699 and is available for pre-sale now. it will be available from Motorola, JB Hi-Fi and Telstra from February 24.