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Return of a classic: Motorola Razr in hands-on – as cool as then, but …

Last updated on March 9, 2021

The Motorola Razr V3 flip phone is considered a milestone in technology history: the mobile phone with two screens impressed in 2004 with its thin profile and the sensational folding mechanism.

Now the US manufacturer Motorola, which now belongs to the Chinese technology group Lenovo, dares a new edition. The current as a modern Android smartphone to fold.

Prior to Motorola, three folding smartphones from Asia have already made headlines: the Samsung Fold, the Huawei X and the Royole FlexPai. These are tablets that can be folded into a chubby smartphone. The new Razr, on the other hand, is a surprisingly flat (6.9 millimeters), ultra-compact device that folds out into a sleek smartphone with a 6.2-inch display.

When unfolded, the Motorola Razr is an Android smartphone in 21: 9 format.
Photo: Christoph Dernbach / dpa-tmn

Intelligent folding mechanism without curves and gaps

In contrast to the competition are in Motorola Raz r the screen surfaces in the folded state without gap flat on each other. Motorola does not bend the display around a joint, but places the folding screen between two outboard hinges. When folded, the display expands in a teardrop-shaped arc at the kink in the housing.

During a demonstration in London, where journalists from Europe spent several hours trying out the Razr, the folding mechanism made a mature impression. Apparently, Motorola could benefit from the experience in the parent company Lenovo, the four-year foldable tablets and notebooks with some extremely sophisticated hinges in the program.

Beyond the clever folding mechanism Motorola is quite unspectacular. Inside, the Snapdragon 710 tinkers with a midrange chip. There are 6 gigabytes of main memory (RAM) and 128 GB of data storage available, which unfortunately can not be extended.

Instead of the previous buttons and the top display, the new Motorola Razr now only has a large display with touch controls.
Photo: Christoph Dernbach / dpa-tmn

Slender design brings with it restrictions

The flexible main display comes to a resolution of 2142 x 876 pixels, which is not even on Full HD. Do not disturb it. The aspect ratio of 21: 9 is ideal for playing movies in Cinemavision format without dark stripes on the edge of the screen. The smaller second display on the outside comes to 600 x 800 pixels.

A smartphone, two states: The Motorola Razr once worked and once open.
Photo: Motorola / dpa-tmn

The Razr’s narrow housing left little room for power. Inside the case are two batteries, which together come to a meager 2500 mAh (mAh) capacity. How long that goes in everyday life, could not be tested in London. There is not even room for a conventional SIM card. The Razr must be operated with an eSIM. This restricts the provider selection, because many discounters do not yet offer eSIM profiles.

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Also interesting: The cult mobile Motorola Razr v3 in a retro-test

The camera does not keep up with current top models

For photos, there is a 16-megapixel camera from Sony. This main camera can also be used for selfies when the smartphone is collapsed. The 5-megapixel camera on the inside is actually only needed for video chats.

With top-of-the-range photo smartphones, the Razr can not match the first impression. But you can with the Razr activate the camera with a twist: If you turn your smartphone twice quickly with your wrist back and forth, the camera app starts. That’s really handy.

Important for the market success of the Razr will be the question of how sensitive the Razr is in everyday life. Like the Faltsmartphones of Huawei and Samsung, it is not dust and waterproof. It feels, however, much more robust than the competition.

The outer display of the Motorola Razr is good as a make-up mirror or viewfinder for selfies in the folded state.
Photo: Motorola / dpa-tmn

Lifestyle product with a proud price tag

Of course, the price will play a role in the purchase decision. It should cost 1600 euros. This is just below the price that Apple requires for the large iPhone 11 Pro Max with 512 GB. However, Samsung demands much more for the Galaxy Fold with 2100 euros. Ultimately, the Razr is an interesting compact device and a real eye-catcher – and it fits in even the smallest trouser or handbag. Unfortunately, you have to cut back on the camera and probably synonymous with the battery.

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Anyone who is looking forward to the resurrection of the classic flip phone in Germany has to wait a few more months. Motorola wants to bring the Razr first on the home market USA, in Europe, first the customers in the UK and Italy turn to it. In Germany, the flap should eventually fall in the third quarter of 2020.