The Motorola Razr may have a big battery life problem

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The Motorola Razr has won kudos for its eye-catching design since the foldable phone was unveiled late last year. But a lingering concern has been battery life — can a smartphone with a 2,510-mAh battery provide enough power for a full day of use?

It doesn't look good.

The Razr has started landing in the hands of reviewers before it arrives on retail shelves tomorrow (Feb. 6). And the early word about the foldable phone's battery is not encouraging.

The most extensive look at the Razr's battery comes from Android Central, where Nirave Gondhia has been putting the phone through its paces. The verdict: don't expect all-day battery life from the Motorola Razr.

Total battery life — defined as how long the phone lasts on a charge — hasn't impressed so far. According to the Android Central review, the phone's total battery life is roughly 30% of the Galaxy Fold, another foldable device but one with a much larger 4,380 mAh battery. The Razr's total battery life is about half of that of a leading Android flagship phone.

A series of tweets by Gondhia showcase the problem. In the first tweet at 8:08 a.m., the Razr's battery indicator is at 97%. In a tweet 2 hours, 49 minutes later, the battery indicator is down to 51%. That's before the Razr was used for power-intensive tasks like gaming and photography.

Android Central's finding jibe with another early Razr review, this one posted on YouTube by Phone Battles. In a head-to-head comparison with the iPhone 11 Pro, both fully charged phones are left to stream YouTube for 2.5 hours. The Motorola Razr is down to 73% on its battery indicator after that test, while the iPhone 11 Pro is still at 88%.

If there's a silver lining, according to Android Central, it's that the Razr's screen-on time — the actual time spent using the phone — is roughly on par with other smartphones. That said, the Razr's screen-on time is toward the bottom of the typical 4-to-6 hour range that Android Central's observed when testing other phones.

These are early reviews, of course, and we're still waiting to get some time with a Razr review unit. When we do, we'll put the Razr through the same Tom's Guide Battery test we use when evaluating other phones — continuous web surfing over LTE until the phone runs out of power. The average smartphone lasts around 10 hours on that test, with the longest-lasting phones producing times of 11 hours or more. We're eager to see how the Razr stacks up.

Just looking at the specs, the Razr's battery is extremely small, especially for a phone with a $1,500 price tag. The iPhone 11 Pro, for example, has a 3,046 battery, which is on the small side when flagship phones regularly sport 3,500 mAh and larger power packs. Even then, the iPhone 11 Pro held out for nearly 10.5 hours on our battery test.

Until then, though, the first impression appears to be that while it's impressive that Motorola converted a classic flip phone into a new-age folding device, battery life seems like a big tradeoff.

Philip Michaels

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.