Yesterday I got a chance to have a play with the Motorola Razr built for a new generation, featuring an exceptional folding display.
With pricing rumoured to be upwards of
£70 £99 per month on a 24-month contract when it goes on sale exclusively with EE in the new year, is the phone going to be a wise investment?
What do you think?!
As I said recently when Motorola first unveiled the Razr in the US, Motorola has a long and respected history of releasing stylish, cutting-edge, phones.
In every case they’ve come at a premium, and people have been willing to pay to enjoy them.
While some of you will laugh at the pricing of this phone, and even question whether there’s a need for it at all, absolutely nobody can deny Motorola has been bold and brave in bringing this phone to market.
Personally I feel there is going to be a large market for the phone, even at its high price. There are many people who yearn for a large screen, but also want to carry something small.
There are also a lot of people who don’t seem to have noticed years of austerity and economic downturns.
Currently they can opt for smaller screen phones, which can impact on usability, as well as reducing the enjoyment of photos and video.
Perhaps skewed a little more towards a female market, the new Razr will make an ideal ‘night-out phone’ when you are armed with no more than a clutch bag.
The Razr also allows everyone to benefit from a screen that is protected when the phone is closed, while its external display is big enough to allow many things to be done without flipping it open.
Believe it or not, clamshells were massively popular before devices became more about media consumption, and the form factor had many benefits.
Oh and then there’s the coolness factor.
There I said it.
If you want to stand out amongst a crowd, there’s not much else out there that will get you the same attention or admiration.
Does this put vanity above common sense? Sure, but that’s why we have a fast moving fashion industry, and big-name brands can convince you to part with more money because of a label.
As they say, deal with it.
Motorola isn’t doing anything outlandish, and is giving people another option. If it isn’t for you, there are plenty of other traditional form factor smartphones Motorola will sell you instead.
And while the phone is expensive today, you can be sure that in 12-18 months the high-street will be full of similar devices.
Pricing will fall, but it comes down to whether you want to be involved at the start of the journey, or sit things out and wait until they become more common.
Into the fold
Will it last?
Let me make it clear, this is not a review. I had a chance to use the phone for less than an hour, so I cannot make a judgement on what the phone would be like after many months of usage.
I can however give my first impressions, which I think will help give you a good idea of what to expect.
Firstly, the devices we were able to use (and Motorola had many) were ready to go. We aren’t being shown prototypes or concepts, but retail-ready phones just a matter of weeks away from going on sale.
Secondly, when you first get the phone in your hand you will notice the substantial weight of the phone, despite its size. It’s a good weight (205g).
There are two batteries inside, so you’ll actually have a good chance of it lasting a whole day (the combined battery capacity equals 2,510mAh), and the whole chassis is rock solid.
The phone is quick too, putting paid to fears that the use of an older-generation Snapdragon chipset (SD710) would make the phone slow and clunky.
It operates just fine, and with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage it stands alongside other phones far better than the original Motorola V3 did compared to its competition back in 2004.
The V3 went on to sell over 130 million units worldwide, so clearly not everyone is worried about flagship specifications.
However, if the Razr does do well then we’ll likely see a newer variant during mid to late 2020 that adds 5G support and bumps up the CPU and GPU specs, most likely using Qualcomm’s Snadragon 765g chipset.
It’s fine to have concerns, even if unfounded
Following Samsung’s issues with the Galaxy Fold, it’s natural that people will be worried that the Razr may have the same issues.
The company insists it has done extensive testing and come up with a design that puts the least amount of stress on the screen when being folded and unfolded, while keeping the screen completely flat when fully opened.
Design-wise, it’s quite a marvel of engineering. The phone becomes extremely rigid when fully open, so it never flaps around or wobbles.
You can tell straight away why this phone is expensive, and if there’s to be any concern about folding phones it will be about the reliability of the many cheaper clones that are certain to come in the next year or two.
With no noticeable crease on the screen, Motorola has done something that neither Samsung or Huawei has been able to achieve with its take on the folding phone. Of course, the screen here is smaller.
Motorola isn’t trying to turn a normal phone into a bigger one, but the exact opposite.
There’s going to be a market for both usage cases, but they will clearly be quite different.
The Razr is going after the fashion market, whereas Samsung and Huawei are going more for business users.
Whatever camp you fall in, it is now clear that folding phones are now a thing. There will be more devices shown or launched next year at Mobile World Congress, and while you’ll still need to invest a lot of money and possibly adapt to using a phone with a plastic screen, it is not going to be insurmountable to adapt.
I hope to have a review device early next year and put it properly to the test, but even in a short time I am filled with confidence that – if you can afford it – you’ll be perfectly satisfied with the new Motorola Razr.
Pricing and availability
- The Motorola Razr is scheduled to go on sale at the start of 2020, most likely late January.
- It will be exclusive to EE and the phone uses an eSIM so cannot be purchased SIM free as yet to use on other networks.
- EE has hinted that pricing is likely to be upwards of £70 per month on contract, perhaps with a small upfront cost. Exact pricing will come in 2020.
- UPDATE: I’ve been told that the price could be as much as £99 per month on a 60GB plan and £109 per month for unlimited data.
More info: Motorola Razr