The Motorola Razer (2019) was very impressive when it first arrived, especially thanks to the nostalgia-conjuring design. It reminded us of the days when the flip phone reigned supreme, but that's about all it was good for.
The phone had issues with battery life, a disappointing camera, and generally lacked a lot of the police that you'd expect from a $1,500 smartphone. Thankfully Motorola went back to the drawing board, improving on the original Motorola Razr while retaining the original design.
That's certainly a good thing, especially with all the big changes that have happened on the inside. Not only have the changes addressed a lot of complaints we had about the original phone, and packs in the ever-important 5G connectivity.
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Price: $1,499 MSRP, $999 on sale
Internal screen: 6.2 inches
External screen: 2.7 inches
CPU: Snapdragon 765G
Rear camera: 48MP (f/1.7)
Front camera: 20MP (f/2.2)
Battery size: 2,800 mAh
Size: 6.7 x 2.9 x 0.31 inches (Unfolded); 3.6 x 2.9 x 0.63 inches (Folded)
Weight: 6.77 ounces
The only question is whether the Motorola Razr can stand up to Samsung's Galaxy Z Flip range. Everything we've seen about the Razr 5G is that Motorola has done a lot to make a good second impression. That said with the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 now here, and no word on a third generation Razr, Motorola is falling behind its biggest (and only) foldable rival.
New Motorola Razr price and availability
The Motorola Razr 5G is out now, with a $1,399 phone MSRP if you buy unlocked from Motorola , though it can also be purchased at the likes of Amazon, Best Buy, and B&H Photo. AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile.
The $1,399 price tag for the 5G Motorola Razr is $100 less than what Motorola charged for the original Razr, as well as a $50 discount on the Galaxy Z Flip 5G. The phone has dropped down to as low as $999 at times, which is nearly a third off the normal price
Unfortunately Motorola will has some stiff competition on the pricing front. While the Galaxy Z Fold 2 remains the priciest of the foldable phones at $2,000, the newest wave of Samsung foldables isn't quite so hard on your wallet.
In fact the clamshell Galaxy Z Flip 3 starts at just $999. While that's the same as the Razr 5G's new price, Samsung wins on account of it being one year newer, and coming with all the resulting hardware upgrades. That includes a newer Snapdragon 888 processor, and a larger 3,300 mAh battery.
New Motorola Razr design changes
Not to put too fine a point on it, but we didn't care for the feel of the original Razr, which didn't offer a design that lived up to its lofty price tag. The phone was very difficult to open with one hand, and a noticeable gap appeared between the flexible display and chassis as you opened and closed the device. The hinge made a faint creaking sound, and the screen had bumps, lumps and noticeable creases.
There are some visible improvements to this version. Start with the phone's chin, which is more tapered and not as chunky as it used to be. That's because it's no longer home to the phone's fingerprint sensor; Motorola moved that to the back of the Razr, housing it under a Motorola logo. It's a definite improvement, at least visually.
Motorola says it uses a teardrop folded display on the new Razr. It's a significant design move because it allows both sides to be perfectly flush when the Razr is folded shut. A new hinge design also eliminates the gaps that plagued the first foldable Razr. This change should also make the phone easier to open with one hand, something we really struggled to do with the original Razr.
As for durability, Motorola claims the hinge can stand up to 200,000 flips. By Motorola's math, only the most obsessive of users opens their Razr 100 times a day. (The average is about 40 opens.) That means you should be able to open and close the new Razr for five years before you reach the outer limits of the hinge's durability.
Motorola has also used polished 3D glass on the front and back of the phone along with 7000 series aluminum around the frame to give the Razr a more stylish look. That's an improvement over the original's predominantly plastic construction. You'll be able to get the phone in Polished Graphite, Liquid Mercury, and Blush Gold.
New Motorola Razr Quick View improvements
If there's one aspect of the Razr that seems to have gotten the most attention, it's the 2.7-inch Quick View display on the outside of the phone. The Quick View screen had its uses on the original Razr — you could use it to glance at notifications or interact with the Google Assistant. It also made a handy view finder for taking selfies. But you can do a lot more with the Quick View screen on the new Razr.
For starters, the exterior touchscreen now supports gesture controls. Swiping right summons the camera app, while a couple leftward swipes bring up your favorite contacts. You can then tap on one of those contacts to place a phone call — all without ever having to flip open the Razr. You can also bring up the home screen and the app tray on the Quick View screen with swipe gestures.
Placing phone calls isn't the only new trick the Razr's Quick View display has learned. You can now respond directly to the incoming messages you've received without having to open up the phone. You have the option of dictating a reply through speech-to-text, tapping on smart replies or tapping out a message on the new full-screen keyboard that can appear on the Quick View display.
You can also run apps on the Quick View display, and some — like Google Maps and its turn-by-turn directions — have been optimized for the compact screen. Motorola also mentions Spotify, YouTube Music and Pandora as apps with playback controls well suited to the Quick View display.
There's a perfectly reasonable explanation for why Motorola has lavished this much attention on the smaller of the two displays on the Razr. In talking to its customers, the phone maker found that the Quick View screen was a major reason why they bought the Razr.
Like the Galaxy Z Fold range and its newfound focus on productivity, the Quick View display also offers Motorola a chance to exploit the unique attributes of a foldable phone. And there's also a contrast to be drawn with the Galaxy Z Flip 3, which has just a 1.9-inch exterior display that is, on paper, more limited than the Razr's.
New Motorola Razr specs
Motorola has upgraded the chipset in the new Razr from a Snapdragon 710 to the Snapdragon 765G. That should give the Razr a performance boost over its predecessor, but the more appealing addition from the new system-on-chip is its included 5G modem. That allows the new Razr to connect to 5G networks without having to change its sleek design.
Motorola equipped the Razr with four 5G antenna — two in the phone's base and another two traversing the hinge on the flip side. The idea is that no matter how you're holding the phone, you should be able to get a signal if one's available. The Razr connects with 5G networks built on sub-6GHz spectrum, so it works fine on the nationwide networks of AT&T and T-Mobile; Verizon's mmWave-based 5G won't work at all on this phone, though.
The camera lens on the outside of the Razr can double as a rear-facing shooter and a selfie cam, depending on how you're holding the phone and whether its screen is flipped open. You're shooting with a single 48MP camera that relies on quad-pixel technology and uses optical image stabilization for better shots in low light. Alongside the camera, there's a time-of-flight sensor that also features laser auto focus so that the camera is ready to shoot more quickly. When you open the phone, there's a 20MP quad-pixel camera that primarily comes in handy for video chats.
Battery life was a big bugbear with the original Razr, as that phone's 2,510 mAh battery conked out after a little more than 6 hours on our battery test. The 2,800 mAh battery in the new Razr isn't that much bigger, but aided by the power efficiency of the Snapdragon 765G silicon, the Razr 5G should last a little longer on a charger.
Motorola Razr 5G or Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3?
While the Motorola Razr 5G had some of the specs to stand up to the Samsung Galaxy Flip 5G. the Galaxy Z Flip 3 is a whole other phone. The Z Flip 3 is newer, has better hardware, and starts at just $999 — the same as the Razr 5G's best sale price.
Of course the Z Flip 3 and Razr 5G both fall down when it comes to battery life, with both phones achieving little more than six hours on a single charger. Likewise the Razr 5G has a larger 2.7-inch cover display, while the Galaxy Z Flip 3's is just 1.9-inches in size.
That said Samsung has clearly taken some inspiration from Motorola, and made the cover display a much more productive tool. So in both cases you could, in theory, use both phones without ever having to unfold them.
However the Z Flip 3 also comes with a boosted display, offering 2640 x 1080 resolution and 120Hz refresh rate, vs the Razr 5G's 2142 x 876 and 90Hz refresh rate. Likewise the Z Flip 3 has the power of the new Snapdragon 888 chipset, rather than the less-impressive Snapdragon 765G.
The only major advantage the Razr has is that it offers 256GB of storage as standard, whereas the Z Flip 3's 256GB option is $50 more at $1.049. So it doesn't look great for the Razr, though that's primarily down to the fact that it's older. Sadly there have been no rumors of an updated version, which doesn't bode well for the brand's short-term future.
New Motorola Razr outlook
Specs only tell you so much about a foldable phone. You really have to use this kind of device on a daily basis to see whether its form factor can stand up to regular use and if the design fits in with how you use your phone. So we're limited in just how much we can evaluate the new Motorola Razr at this time.
But the design changes Motorola is touting suggests the phone maker has a pretty good idea on what it needs to do to fix the mistakes of its first foldable effort. And the newfound capabilities of the Quick View screen indicate that the Razr 5G is going to be a more practical phone than before. We'll learn just how much it's improved when we get a chance to test this new device.
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Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.