Motorola’s second-gen foldable Razr adds 5G, better cameras, and a chance at redemption
Earlier this year, Motorola relaunched the Razr, modernizing the iconic flip phone brand with a flashy foldable display, Android, and a $1,500 price tag. But it fell short in a number of ways, with a creaky hinge, poor cameras, and lackluster battery life. Now, Motorola is trying to redeem its first foldable with a second-generation Razr, which adds 5G support, better cameras, and more useful software.
The overall design of the new Razr looks fairly similar to the original foldable. There’s a 6.2-inch, 21.9:9 foldable display on the inside of the phone, while a 2.7-inch OLED “Quick View” display on the outside allows for access to notifications and other basic functionality. Also the same: the high price tag, which, at $1,399, is just $100 less than its predecessor.
Inside, there’s a number of changes. The processor is a faster Snapdragon 765G (which helps add 5G support), the RAM has been increased to 8GB (from 6GB on the original), the internal storage has been doubled to 256GB, and the battery is a larger 2,800mAh (which should hopefully help solve the battery life issues).
The more noticeable hardware changes are the shifting of the fingerprint sensor to the back of the phone (off of the “chin,” where it was located on the original) and completely overhauled cameras.
The original Razr’s cameras were, to put it simply, bad, with a 5-megapixel selfie camera and a 16-megapixel main camera that was effectively only good for shooting in direct sunlight. The updated model looks to change that on both fronts. The internal camera is a 20-megapixel sensor that shoots quad-pixel 5-megapixel stills (presumably at a better quality than the original), and the rear camera jumps up to a 48-megapixel sensor with a newly added laser autofocus time-of-flight sensor and optical image stabilization. Thanks to the Razr’s external display and foldable nature, you’ll be able to use that more powerful main camera for selfies, too — although we’ll have to see whether Motorola has actually succeeded in improving the performance, especially in low-light situations.
The other big addition is 5G, but it’s less interesting than Motorola is making it seem, especially for a $1,399 phone. The new Razr will only support sub-6GHz networks, not the faster mmWave variant. It’s something that we’ve already seen on other foldable devices, like the Razr’s most direct competitor, Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip 5G, but it’s still disappointing to see, especially given that mmWave speeds are so much faster than sub-6GHz deployments today, at least in the US.
Motorola is also making the new Razr much more accessible. Where the original was a Verizon exclusive in the US, the new model will be sold unlocked as well as through AT&T and T-Mobile. (Verizon is notably missing this time around, likely due to the lack of mmWave support.)
Lastly, Motorola is emphasizing software improvements it’s made on the new Razr, with expanded functionality for the external display (something Motorola already started to offer on the original Razr with a software update earlier this year). The new software works more like regular Android and offers access to a variety of apps, including Google Maps, YouTube, games, and the ability to respond to text messages without having to open the phone.
The biggest thing missing from the announcement is any definitive improvement to the hinge system, which was one of the biggest concerns with the original model. Motorola says that it has “collected feedback from Razr owners,” and the new model should last up to five years of daily use from even a power user who flips their phone open and shut 100 times a day. But there’s no mention of specific improvements to the durability or strength of the hinge or display.
The second-generation Razr will be available unlocked later this fall for $1,399.99 at Best Buy, B&H Photo, Amazon, and Motorola’s website. It’ll also be sold through both AT&T and T-Mobile.