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Motorola RAZR The Flip Phone Reborned: For and against the clamshell smartphone

Reminiscence of the cutting edge and iconic flip phone from over a decade ago, the new Motorola RAZR is not very different from the RAZR V3 released back in July 2004, until you unfold the phone. Here we explore the reasons for and against buying the new RAZR focusing on new and extraordinary features.

No mobile phone made such a great impact on the market back in 2004 than the Motorola RAZR. Remember, the first iPhone wasn’t launched until 2008. Flip, slide and candy bar phones were the flavour of the day. With a ground breaking and ultra sleek design, the RAZR has a super thin profile, reassuring and reliable hinge, and every bit a design icon. It brought the Motorola cell phone division back to black, with more than 130 million units sold over the next four years.

Motorola RAZR

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The New Motorola RAZR

Fast forward to the future, we have another ground breaking design with the rebirth of Motorola RAZR. This time, the clamshell phone features a foldable display, with no seams and no break. You get one tall, uninterrupted OLED screen when you unfold the device. There is another display on the shell making it not only a smartphone with folding display but dual screen too. This breaks away from the standard candy or chocolate bar profile used by many smartphone makers.

Motorola Razr Aspect View

Basically, Motorola took the old RAZR and applied tonnes of fresh new tech without compromising on thickness, design or quality. It still spots that ultra thin, albeit slightly thicker profile and the unmistakable look. Let’s jump straight into why you would consider the new RAZR as you next phone and our reservations.

Motorola Razr Side Profile Folded and Unfolded

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Motorola RAZR For and Against

Reasons why we like the new Motorola RAZR:

1. Design is top notch: Amazing hinge and folding display execution without seams or break in the display. The new hinge design allows the single film-like foldable OLED touchscreen to unfold completely. This reveals a totally flat and horizontal display.

2. Wider and prefect for streaming media: Hold the phone in landscape mode and the 21:9 ratio 6.2-inch OLED Flex View display is just perfect for entertainment. It offer a cinematic wide screen to rival that on Sony Xperia. It’s the same ultra wide view used by the film industry. Motorola calls this the CinemaVision display.

3. Seamless and reliable hinge: As you would expect, the phone flips open and shuts with the same reassuring mechanics. It has however been redesigned to accommodate the main display and modern smartphone gubbins. The attention to detail is prevalent with the zero gap design allowing the clamshell phone to close perfectly flush with no holes or gaps.

4. Two Displays vs One: We talked about the single OLED main display when the phone is unfolded. There is another smaller display on the shell, called the Quick View display. This touch-enabled 2.7-inch 800 x 600 display is super sharp for its size and lets you access basic features with the phone folded. This includes checking on text, calls, music, emails, take selfies with live preview and respond to notifications. It is also clever enough in that, what you see now on the Quick View will automatically move to the main Flex View when the phone is unfolded.

Motorola Razr Touchscreen Quick View Display

5. Pocketable design: Not a fan of having your smartphone sticking out of your jeans pocket, with the RAZR, you won’t have that problem. With its super small footprint, it will stay completely hidden inside your pocket. Unfold it and it is still no bigger than today’s massive smartphones. The long and tall touchscreen display is only a bit longer than the iPhone 11’s display.

6. All day battery: Motorola claims all day battery life from its smaller than average battery at 2510mAh capacity. Only time will tell but if you don’t have to open your phone every time there is a notification and relies on the smaller and more energy efficient front display, it may just be able to take you through the day without needing to charge.

7. Small and Lightweight: Measuring only 171.53 x 71.9 x 6.9 mm when unfolded, and both palm and pocket friendly when folded, this is all the reason why one would end up buying the phone. It also weighs a lot less than your average smartphone at 205 grams.

8. Gesture Support: Last but not least, the RAZR supports various gestures. These gestures work in both closed and unfolded using on board gyro sensors. Among other things, chopping motion activates the flash light and wiggle motion to open the camera while the phone is folded. The AI powered camera also senses smiles in selfies and group photos to automatically captures a photo when everyone in the frame is smiling.

The nostalgic clamshell design is enough to convince those who owned the original flip phone to switch to this all new Motorola RAZR smartphone. Exclusion and premium fashion and design will trump over high specifications, multiple camera setup and the conventional rectangular slab of todays smartphones.

Motorola Razr Unfolded

Reasons against the new Motorola RAZR:

Not all is bright and rosy with the new RAZR, here are some of our reservations about the phone.

1. Not the faster chipset: To keep the size, power consumption and heat manageable in a small package such as the RAZR, Motorola has opted for the more efficient Snapdragon 710 chipset vs going to town with a super fast flagship chipset like the Snapdragon 955. This helps prolong the life of the battery, keeps heat in check and enable the design team to squeeze everything into the innovative design.

2. Lower resolution main display: The 6.2-inch display has a resolution of 876 x 2142. It may be a premium and flagship device as reflected by its price tag, the display is not as sharp as some of the other flagships in the market. Still, it is a high definition display despite the big notch on the top of the screen and the slightly oblong bottom.

3. Flexible Screen: When running your fingers on the touchscreen near the hinge, you can still feel the bumps and bits beneath it. What impact this has on long term use is yet to be seen but it is a small price to pay to enjoy one continuous and unobstructed display.

4. Single 16MP camera: The single camera on the clamshell acts as both a selfie camera with the phone folder and the main camera with the phone unfolded comes with Night Vision support to take vivid photos even in the dark with Pro-level and AI enhancements. It isn’t the best camera on a smartphone. It is also unlikely that you are buying this phone for its camera. For mobile photography, you want a multi-lens setup. There is still a front facing camera when the phone is unfolded, more on this later.

Cinematic Vision

5. Bulge: The iconic mouth piece or bulge is still here which can evoke a love-hate relationship with todays smartphone users. Again, this is a small price to pay for having not only a foldable display but a super slim one at that. The battery and smart phone bits have to go somewhere. Plus, it also houses the home button.

6. No headphone socket, no microSD storage expansion, limited storage: The phone uses eSIM, and as such there is no microSD card slot or even SIM card slot for that matter. This means you are stuck with the storage you get after OS and basic apps from its 128GB storage.

7. The 5MP front facing camera: There is a front facing camera for web chat located in the notch at the top of the display. This is used when the phone is unfolded and for video chat applications as well as to take selfies. However, for the latter, we would recommend the main 16MP cameras with live preview on the Quick View screen. 5MP is not going to take brilliant stills but use it in conjunction with main camera, shooting and switching from the main camera to the front facing camera when flipping the phone open adds an extra dimension to the way the cameras can be used.

8. No wireless charging. Motorola makes up for the lack of wireless charging with support for quick charging using 15W TurboPower wall adapter.

There you have it, the reasons for considering and against buying the RAZR smartphone.

If you had to design a folding phone, the tried and tested RAZR design is good as any. The new RAZR is a must have to evoke that sense of nostalgia. Here is the return of the noughties fashion tech icon.

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Other Foldable Smartphones

Samsung Galaxy Fold

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