The Moto Razr of old was a much-loved phone, specially in America. It was launched in 2004 and sold 130 million, according to Motorola. They now say they want to live up to that legacy. A bit difficult.
Motorola certainly did the smart thing by reviving the Razr brand and even retaining a bit of the signature look in the bargain. First of all it comes out of some unbeatable packaging with the box eventually a forming a sort of stand for the phone and even amplifying some of its sound. Other than that, the new Moto Razr 2019, is now a flip phone with two screens and feels no less premium than the Samsung Z Flip. It’s larger and chunkier, but still very good to hold — and even better to flick open and snap shut. With the Z Flip snapping at its heels, the Razr can hardly escape comparison.
It so happens that the Moto Razr is quite differently designed from the Z Flip. It has a slightly rounded bottom edge like the 2004 Razr, which also sticks out a bit and manages to act like a grip when you hold the phone. If you really miss the old Razr there’s a retro mode that makes one half of the screen a virtual keyboard.
Above the chin, which houses many components, is the little gap which you flip open to get to the full tall 6.2-inch screen. That’s when it becomes a normal Android phone, running almost stock Android, except that it’s still Android 9. It opens up and away from you and you can’t see the hinge, but the thing is, you can hear it. It creaks audibly and somewhat scarily, though Motorola has an explanation for it and says it’s something to do with how the plastic OLED display traverses over the hinge, which they say they have worked on for years and tested thoroughly. They said the creak is safe enough, but reviewers have greeted it with quite some dismay. It also rather spoils the show-off factor. What’s the fun of opening up a fancy new gadget only to hear it creak in apparent objection? But the one nice thing is that although there is a crease, you can’t see it that much and certainly not as much as on the Z Flip.
When folded up, the outer screen of the Moto Razr is much more useful than the Z Flip’s tiny outer screen which however does look like something different. You can use it as the front camera, answer messages on it, take calls, see notifications and the time. As an opened up and full fledged handset through, there are lots of things you’ll have to contend with. It uses the Snapdragon 710 with 6GB of RAM and 128GB storage. No external card slot. In fact, no SIM slot — it uses an ESIM. It also has a tiny 2510mAh battery — it’s a long time since one has seen that on an expensive phone. In India, we haven’t actually seen the Razr for a full review but going by what reviewers in the US say, the cameras are all average as well.
While the Moto Razr is good for basic tasks and more, the problem is that the asking price is way above what it offers. True, it’s innovative, but sometimes innovation comes with its own inconveniences and on top of that to charge more than flagship prices is bound to make it less than compelling. On top of that, there’s the question of fragility of the new materials folding phones are made of.
Price: $1,500 (Indian price to be announced)