Updated, 10:03 p.m. ET: We've added a comment from Motorola.
The new Motorola Razr went on sale yesterday (Feb. 6), so early adopters will now be able to try out the fully modernized foldable version of this classic flip phone. However, a new durability test raises serious doubts about the longevity of this $1,500 phone.
CNET used an automatic folding machine to see how much punishment the Motorola Razr can take. Unfortunately, it seems like it can’t withstand a lot, as the Razr became nearly impossible to fold around the 27,000 fold mark, which is not very many.
The site also performed the same test on the Samsung Galaxy Fold last year, except it managed 120,000 folds before showing signs of damage.
As Engadget points out, a study reported in the New York Post says that Americans check their phones on average of 80 times a day. Assuming you opened the Razr that often, you’d only manage 337.5 days of ownership before it started misbehaving. Of course, the Razr does have an external screen you can check for certain information without opening the hinge, meaning that you could probably squeak over the one year mark.
It’s worth bearing in mind how the characteristics of this test are pretty much bound to make the phones break faster than they should. The “FoldBot” used for testing repeatedly opens and closes the phone, causing a significant build-up of heat that will cause more damage than the same number of folds done over a longer period of time, like it would be in real life. The FoldBot also hasn’t been fully modified for use with the Razr, but CNET is still confident that its test is useful.
In a statement provided to Tom's Guide, Motorola said the FoldBot machine was not designed to test something like the Razr. "The Razr is a unique smartphone, featuring a dynamic clamshell folding system unlike any device on the market. SquareTrade's FoldBot is simply not designed to test our device," Motorola said. "Therefore, any tests run utilizing this machine will put undue stress on the hinge and not allow the phone to open and close as intended, making the test inaccurate.
"The important thing to remember is that Razr underwent extensive cycle endurance testing during product development, and CNET’s test is not indicative of what consumers will experience when using Razr in the real-world. We have every confidence in the durability of Razr.”
The phone maker also pointed us to a video showing how Motorola tests the Razr.
The Razr could have other issues, beyond its folding and unfolding. Some have found that the hinge’s is making strange noises and another anecdotal test found that the Razr has relatively short battery life.
We will be testing the Razr ourselves to bring you our own final verdict, so stay tuned.