It’s back. Motorola’s world-famous Razr smartphone, the same one that sold over 130 million units 15 years ago, has been resurrected, and it’s making quite the comeback.
The new Razr is gonna cost $1,500 when it launches this January. That’s a lot of money, especially since flagship phones nowadays typically start around $900 or $1,000. But the Razr is different. In fact, it’s extremely different, so different that I wouldn’t even call it a flagship. Sure, it’s Motorola’s “flagship” by the definition of “flagship” (“the ship in a fleet which carries the commanding admiral”, a.k.a. Moto’s most important phone), but it isn’t a flagship by everyone else’s definitions.
Yet, Motorola was able to make us all just as excited about this phone, and it all has to do with the design.
Design & Display
The 2020 Razr carries the same clamshell-style design as flip phones of the past. But with this Razr, opening it doesn’t present one tiny screen at the top and a physical set of buttons at the bottom. Instead, you’ll find an elongated 6.2-inch 2142×876 21:9 display that stretches from the top to the bottom of the device.
It uses a flexible OLED panel to achieve the bend that meets the stainless steel hinge. Motorola says it isn’t worried about the durability of the hinge or its screen despite the panel being covered in plastic. To hear that after watching Samsung’s Galaxy Fold suffer serious durability issues, it feels quite reassuring.
Early hands-on impressions from various publications and outlets have a similar reaction: it feels super nostalgic. Being able to open the screen with your thumb to answer a phone call has people going back to the days of $600 flip phones. Plus, it makes you feel cool to flip open your phone, especially one with a giant screen inside.
Full disclosure: I haven’t played with a Razr yet. I’m reading these reactions from other publications. It just has me more hyped about eventually getting my hands on one.
An essential part of the original Razr was the secondary screen on the front to show the time, call logs, and other information. That same screen is back on the new Razr in the form of a 2.7-inch 800×600 “Quick View” panel. Since this phone runs Android, you can do a ton of stuff with this miniature panel like send texts, take photos, and open apps. When you don’t need the big screen, the tiny one is there to serve you.
The Razr was also infamous for including a large chin at the bottom, and the same goes for the new Razr. This is to serve a few purposes.
- To achieve the same look and feel as the original Razr.
- To house antennas (but not 5G antennas, unfortunately).
- To give the company somewhere to put the fingerprint scanner.
Looks alone would’ve been enough justification to include the chin. Without it, would it even be a Razr?
My impression of this device involves both nostalgic aspects of the Razr as well as some questionable choices. Unfortunately, the entire spec sheet falls under the latter.
Here’s what you get when you buy a 2020 Razr phone:
- Snapdragon 710 processor (a mid-range chip that’s fast, but not 855 fast)
- 6GB RAM
- 128GB storage (no microSD card expansion, no higher-specced model)
- Single rear 16MP camera
- Single front-facing 5MP camera (lives in a notch at the top of the screen)
- 2,510mAh battery (ew!)
- USB-C port (*sigh of relief)
- Android 9 Pie (why?)
That spec list is weird. The processor is dated, the battery is tiny, the camera system isn’t special, and the phone comes with a nearly two-year-old operating system.
You pay for a 2020 Razr
To charge $1,500 and get this list of specs in return, it can feel like Motorola is being completely unreasonable. But specs aren’t what you’re paying for. You’re paying to get a modernized version of the classic Motorola Razr. It uses bleeding-edge technology to achieve all that, and Moto is completely aware of the fact they focused way more on design than on specs.
It feels like the Razr was never intended to be a spec king, and it’s certainly not a phone that’s built to compete with something like an iPhone 11 Pro. It isn’t even really designed to compete with the other big name foldable, the Samsung Galaxy Fold. That phone has all the flagship specs you could ask for, but as we discovered, it could’ve used a more refined design. Plus, it costs almost $2,000, while the Razr costs $500 less.
If you want to own a Razr again just to flip your phone when you get a phone call, Motorola will gladly sell it to you. And at the end of the day, that’s the purpose the 2020 Razr is here to serve.
Where can you buy one?
The new Razr will launch exclusively on Verizon on January 9th. Like I’ve said throughout this article, it’ll cost $1,500. It’ll go up for pre-order on December 26th, so Motorola will miss the holiday shopping season by literally one day. We’ve heard no mentions of an unlocked model or the Razr being sold on other carriers, so it looks like you’ll have to buy it from Verizon if you want one of the most nostalgic phones to ever reach the market.
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