The new 5G iteration of the flip phone Razr boasts a 48-megapixel camera, a beefy Snapdragon processor, healthy battery life, and an external display. But it comes at a high price.
Motorola has unveiled its latest 5G device as a pocketable flip phone designed for users who want the latest cellular technology in a compact package. Equipped with 5G, the Motorola Razr 5G is small enough when opened and fully accessible. But when closed, the phone shrinks to an easily pocketable form complete with an external Quick View display that lets you send messages, make video calls, and open your favorite apps.
Compared with the likes of Samsung and Chinese vendors Huawei and Xiaomi, Motorola hasn't been a major force in the Android mobile world. But the company has been trying to win over customers this year by launching a lineup of 5G phones.
SEE: Motorola Razr 5G: Cheat sheet (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
The new Razr 5G follows the unveilings of the Motorola Edge and Edge+, the Moto G 5G Plus, and the Motorola One 5G. This time, Motorola is blending the small form factor of its Razr phones with the latest cellular technology.
But you will pay a premium price for this type of innovation. In the US, the Razr 5G will sell for $1,400. Even as smartphone prices have climbed past the $1,000 threshold over the last few years and are now nearing the $1,500 mark, Motorola is clearly testing the limits of what a consumer is willing to pay. And will they pay? That's the key question.
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What is the Motorola Razr 5G?
The Motorola Razr 5G is the company's attempt to put 5G connectivity into a small and compact flip phone. In an era when so many phones are increasing in size, Motorola's Razr prides itself on staying small and easily pocketable but still usable when closed. When open, the Razr measures 2.85" x 6.6" x 0.31". But when folded, it measures just 2.75" x 3.6" x 0.63".
SEE: Special report: How 5G will transform business (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
Quick View display
The 2.7-inch touch screen Quick View display that appears when the Razr 5G is closed offers access to an array of features. A navigation bar mimics the gestures found in Android 10, so you can get to the home screen by swiping up on the display. Swiping right from the home screen triggers the camera, while swiping left takes you to the new app tray where you'll find your favorite apps. Swiping left again brings up shortcuts where you can call or text specific contacts.
The new display offers a full keyboard, so you can type your messages without having to open your phone. But it also supports speech-to-text, so you can simply dictate what you want to say. If you're navigating in the car, the screen displays turn-by-turn directions from Google Maps. From the Quick View display, the phone's built-in NFC technology also allows you to use Google Pay to pay for items in stores and share pictures, videos, and other content with nearby devices.
The Quick View display includes easy access to eight preselected apps: Camera, Messages, Calculator, Keep, Google News, Google Home, and YouTube. But you can customize the feature so that the apps of your choice run on the display with your phone closed.
SEE: How to find out if your city has 5G right now (TechRepublic)
When opened, the Razr offers a 6.2-inch Flex View display touch screen. The hinge design that lets you open and close the phone uses a zero gap closure designed to protect the internal screen. Motorola said that it gathered feedback from Razr owners and conducted internal stress tests to see how flipping the phone via the hinge would measure up.
Based on feedback, the average user flips the Razr 40 times a day, while a power user flips it 100 times a day. Based on the stress testing, the new Razr is built to handle up to 200,000 flips, a level that would take a power user five years to reach. To further protect the phone, the display comes with a special coating to guard against scratches. A water repellent barrier inside the phone defends it against rain and spills.
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The built in 5G NR (New Radio) is sub-6GHz capable. The phone's chin design reduces its overall size but also enhances the 5G performance by incorporating two of the four 5G antennas. The phone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G processor designed to offer superior performance. Despite the addition of 5G, the 2800mAh battery is geared to last all day without recharging, according to Motorola.
SEE: Future of 5G: Projections, rollouts, use cases, and more (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
For snapping photos, the Razr 5G comes with a rear 48MP camera with Quad Pixel technology designed to offer four times the usual low-light sensitivity. The camera's optical image stabilization aims to offset blurred photos and videos to deliver a sharper image. The laser autofocus technology for the camera's time of flight sensor helps to achieve a quick focus on the subject.
For selfies taken through the front-facing camera, the Razr 5G offers creative camera modes such as Group Selfie, Portrait Mode, and Spot Color.
The camera delivers some unique options even through the Quick View display. When the phone is closed, a feature called Camera Cartoon maintains focus by showing a fun animation on the display. An Instant Review previews the photo after it's taken. And an External Preview mirrors the viewfinder on the Quick View display so the subject of your photo can see it before it's captured.
The video camera is capable of several different modes, including UHD (30 frames per second) at a 16:9 or 21:9 aspect ratio, FHD (60/30fps) at 16:9 or 21:9, slow motion FHD at 120fps, and slow motion HD at 240fps.
SEE: Managing and troubleshooting Android devices checklist (TechRepublic Premium)
Specs for the Motorola Razr 5G
- Operating System: Android 10
- Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G, Adreno 620 GPU
- Memory: 8GB
- Storage: 256GB
- Dimensions: Unfolded – 2.85" x 6.6" x 0.31" (72.6 x 169.2 x 7.9 mm); Folded – 2.75" x 3.6" x 0.63" (72.6 x 91.7 x 16 mm)
- Weight: 6.77 oz (192g)
- Internal Display: 6.2" foldable touchscreen display
- External Display: 2.7" touchscreen display
- Battery: 2800mAh
- Charging: 15W TurboPower charging
- Water Protection: Water repellant design
- Networks: 5G NR Sub-6GHz, 4G LTE (DL Cat 18), 3G UMTS/HSPA+, 2G GSM/EDGE
- Rear Camera: 48MP Quad Pixel for 12MP output, f/1.7 aperture, optical image stabilization, laser autofocus (TOF)
- Front Camera: 20MP Quad Pixel, f/2.2 aperture
- Video Capture: UHD (30fps) at 16:9 or 21:9, FHD (60/30fps) at 16:9 or 21:9, Slow motion FHD (120fps), Slow motion HD (240fps)
- SIM Card: Dual SIM (1 Nano SIM + 1 eSIM)
- Connectivity: Type-C port (USB 3.1)
- Bluetooth Technology: Bluetooth 5.0
- Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n/ac, 2.4 GHz+5 GHz, Wi-Fi hotspot
- Speakers: Bottom-ported loudspeaker
- Microphones: 4 Microphones
- NFC: Yes
- Biometric security: Fingerprint sensor
- Location Services: GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, Galileo
- Sensors: Accelerometer, Magnetometer (compass), Gyro, Barometer, Ultrasonic, Proximity, Ambient Light, SAR
- In-box Accessories: TurboPower 15 charger, USB Type-C cable, 3.5mm headset jack adapter
- Colors: Polished Graphite, Liquid Mercury, Blush Gold
- Price: $1,400 in the US.
SEE: IT pro's roadmap to working remotely (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
What are the Motorola Razr 5G's main competitors?
As manufacturers rush to deploy 5G phones, the market is becoming more saturated. All of the major Android makers now have 5G phones either out the door or in the works, including Samsung, LG, Sony, OnePlus, Xiaomi, OPPO, and others. Expected to be out before the end of 2020, Apple's new iPhone lineup reportedly will come with 5G connectivity. All of that gives consumers who want 5G a wide array of choices.
Even Motorola itself offers other 5G phones such as the Motorola Edge and Edge+, the Moto G 5G Plus, and the Motorola One 5G.
Should I buy the Motorola Razr 5G?
The Razr 5G provides one feature you won't find in most 5G phones—a flip capability. Using the familiar and old-style Razr design, the Razr 5G can switch between an open and closed position. But even in a closed position, the phone provides an enticing host of features via the Quick View display.
But other manufacturers have been trying their own spins on flip style or dual-screen devices. Microsoft's Surface Duo is a large device with two screens that can operate as one or independently. Samsung's Galaxy Fold is a hinged device with two screens.
The main question: Is the Razr 5G worth its $1,400 price tag? Even with the phone's impressive specs and clever flip design, most consumers will find better value with more budget-friendly 5G phones. Still, these new flip style and dual-screen devices are coming with premium prices. Microsoft's Surface Duo sells for $1,400, while the latest Galaxy Fold goes for almost $2,000.
As smartphone prices continue to reach these stratospheric levels, $1,400 may not sound as exorbitant as it would have just a year or two ago. However, the Razr 5G still has to prove itself in the real world to see if it actually comes close to being worth that amount of money.
When and where will the Motorola Razr 5G be available?
In the US, the Razr 5G will be available universally unlocked this fall at Best Buy, B&H Photo, Amazon.com, and Motorola.com for $1,400. Additionally, the new phone will be available through AT&T and T-Mobile this fall.
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