Is it a throwback, or a cutting-edge stroke of genius?

That’s the question potential buyers are asking about Motorola’s new Razr folding phone, which is now finally available in the UK after months of waiting. 92 years old today, Motorola is responsible for some of the most innovative phone designs to date.

Motorola certainly has gone out on a limb with this product. It’s the first foldable clamshell device to hit the market, so it automatically harkens back to the good old days—depending on your point of view—when flip phones ruled the cell phone universe.

But that’s part of the point, sort of, in the sense that the Motorola Razr 5G isn’t a flip phone—it’s actually smartphone hiding behind a nostalgic concept, the advantage being that it’s about half the size of a typical glass-case smart phone.

motorola_razr_clamshell_open

All of which would be tremendously innovative and daring under normal circumstances, but as usual with this kind of product there’s a significant catch: the price.

In the US the Razr can be bought outright from Motorola for $999, or via Verizon at a pricey payment plan of $62.49 per month.

In the UK, direct from Motorola UK it’s £999 for the non-network price, or you can buy on contract via Vodafone

  • Vodafone on contract from £71/month with £29 up front (TCO £1733 over 24 months).
    On Vodafone currently you get a lifestyle bundle included with purchase adding a Lenovo Tab M10 HD and Lenovo Yoga Active Noise Cancellation Headphones

Ouch.

Do the features justify the price? Um, not really. Both the phone specs and the camera are old-school underwhelming, and the older Android 9 operating system already feels as antiquated as some aspects of the phone’s design.

There’s another issue, too—the new Razr doesn’t have a SIM slot, which means you can forget about sliding your nano-SIM card into this phone. Instead it uses an eSIM, which is perpetually locked into Verizon. Hmm.

There are only two colours available, a shade that Motorola calls “noir black”—get the old school connotation?— and a blush gold hue.

We’re assuming the blush doesn’t refer to what the price will make potential customers might do, but beauty is in the eye of the buyer, after all.

Samsung, in turn, has countered with the Galaxy Z Flip, which undercuts the intro price of the new Razr by $120. Welcome to the latest nostalgia war for a new phone in a mature product category!

All of which raises the obvious question of what all of this is about, competitively-speaking. Simply put, the Razr is designed to compete with Samsung’s Galaxy Fold, which has an even pricier display.

The Razr test run also revealed a number of potentially disturbing issues. Start with the display, which began making slight creaking noises while bending inward, according to one reviewer.

motorola_razr_clamshell_hand

And there’s more. Evidently, flipping the phone open isn’t exactly easy—there’s a resistant hinge, which means you have to jab a finger in between the two sides to pry it open. Kind of counter-intuitive in a flip phone, but there you go. Add in the fact that the lock buttons and rock volume are hard to tell apart and hard to press, and you start to get the feeling that this isn’t exactly the kind of nostalgic feeling Motorola is after with the Razr.

There are some potential issues but we need extended hands on time with the phone to determine how real these actually are. In the meantime, the Razr 5G is beautifully designed and supremely pocketable for those of you fed up with bulging pockets! The specification is great and if the hardware holds up the phone will last you as long as any candy-bar traditional format phone.

Motorola Razr 5G Specifications

  • 6.2″ foldable pOLED Cinemavision display 21:9; and 2.7″ gOLED external display
  • Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 710 processor at 2.2GHz
  • Android 10
  • 6 GB of memory and 128 GB of storage
  • 48 MP camera with OIS
  • 2510 mAh, non-removable battery
  • 5G Ready
  • Unfolded: 72 x 172 x 6.9mm – Folded: 72 x 94 x 14mm
  • Splash-proof with water resistant nanocoating
  • Bluetooth® 5.0
  • USB 3.0 (Type C) connector

Written By: Mark Debenham

I do marketing and tech things. Despite my profile picture, I don't live my life in Instagram