I remember back in the day, my ex-brother-in-law was all about the Motorola Razr. That cell phone, in 2003, was the shizzle. It was the hottest thing to be had in a pre-smartphone world. It was the thinnest, lightest and most powerful pre-smart, mobile phone on the market… 16 years ago.
Back int he day, the phone cost $500, new, from your carrier of choice (that equates to nearly $700 in 2020, adjusting for inflation). That was a lot for a phone that really did nothing more than answer phone calls. Yes, you could send and receive text messages with it, but you were stuck with T-9 input on the phone’s dial pad.
The device was exceptionally thin (especially considering the generally available technology of the day), had 2 different displays (its main display under the clam shell and an outside display that showed you who was calling when the phone rang, the current time, etc.
Today’s Motorola Razr shares the same iconic design as its analog and digital service predecessors; but that’s about it. Today’s phone runs Android 10, and its secondary screen does a lot more than just display caller ID information and the current date and time. It’s also a lot bigger and brighter. Having looked through a number of different reviews, it’s clear that the phone offers the following reasons to select it as your next daily driver:
- Second display’s enhanced functionality
- Iconic design
- Improved processor (over 2019 model)
- Improved camera (over 2019 model)
There’s a compelling draw to the device. Foldable phones are cool, especially since the simple idea of folding a phone in half and then unfolding it – and you’re still able to use it – kinda borks the mind. The second screen, on the top, back of the device is kinda cool, especially when folded in half. It does allow you to do a little more than just view caller ID info and view the current date and time. It also allows you to see and read text messages, emails and respond to invitations, etc. The second screen is pretty innovative, and future versions should be able to do more than it currently can.
However, the device has more than a few drawbacks and challenges. These should give potential buyers serious pause when considering this device.
- Undeniably and outrageously expensive for what it is
- POLED screen is reflective and difficult to view in direct sunlight (or any other very bright, reflected/reflective light)
- Screen not perfectly flat. There’s a dip near the center hinge
- Folding display creaks, uneasily
- Fingerprint scanner still poorly placed
- Though better than expected, battery life isn’t great
- Wireless Qi charging NOT supported
- Back glass easily scuffs
- Poor camera performance in low-light
Final, Preliminary Thoughts
I’m trying to secure a device for review here on iTechGear.org. The site is small, so I’m not certain if I’m going to be able to pull that off. We’ll have to wait and see…
I’m moving to final thoughts, because anything of detail, I’d like to save FOR a review, should I get one sent to me. However, if the Motorola Razr 5G 2020 is on your short list for the holiday, you should be aware of the following:
- It seems to be a mid-range phone at best. The phone’s specs aren’t horrible, but they aren’t in the flagship range, and its performance isn’t stellar.
- The hinge is innovative but presents the user with a few issues and problems. The hinge creaks uncomfortably. There’s a dip in the center of the screen at the point of the hinge. I’m not certain how or what kind of challenges that will introduce as the device ages over a standard two – three year use period. POLED may provide some power savings, but its got visibility issues in bright light.
- The device is still tethered to a power cable. Wireless charging is NOT supported. That may be due to the secondary screen and the fold in the device. There simply may not be enough space in the bottom half of the device to ALSO include wireless charging technology. This could be a deal breaker for many in this age of wireless charging.
- The 48MP main camera doesn’t handle low-light shots very well. This is a problem for a camera that has such a high megapixel rating; and for a device that costs as much as it does. The camera should have much better performance in ANY lighting situation given the cost of the device
- The cost of the device is prohibitive. At a retail price of $1399.99, the purchase of the device is hard to justify given all of the issues I’ve outlined. Even at the $999.99 price tag that both Amazon and B&H Photo currently have for the device, it’s easier; but it’s still not a slam dunk. A thousand dollars for a mid-range phone with a wavy screen, a camera that doesn’t perform well in low light and no wireless charging doesn’t appear very forward thinking.