Moto Razr 5G first impressions: It flips, folds but lacks finish

The Moto Razr 5G has good design and specifications but its foldable display technology isn't quite there yet.


What is it about flip phones that makes you feel like you got this? Personally, I think flipping a phone shut is mood-equivalent to slamming a door at the end of a fight. The sound of the flip is what gives you the satisfaction! I know this, because years ago when I was in school, flipping my Moto Razr shut was how I ended conversations.

All of these early 2000s Moto Razr memories quickly came rushing to me when I received the 2020 Moto Razr 5G for a quick hands-on. It wasn’t the design that was the reminder, but the name of the phone that kicked the nostalgia into gear.

Motorola Razr 5G. Image: Tech2/Nandini Yadavv

Motorola Razr 5G. Image: Tech2/Nandini Yadavv

Would I buy the Moto Razr 5G for nostalgia’s sake? Does it feel like the Razr has really made a comeback? Is it better than the 2019 Moto Razr flip phone (the original comeback Razr)? Here’s what I felt about Razr 5G in the few hours that I used it:

Design

The Moto Razr 5G bears barely any resemblance to the OG Moto Razr, barring the Motorola logo, which is also not in the front anymore. It sits at the back, and doubles up as the fingerprint sensor.

Moto Razr 5G sports a fingerprint sensor at the back. Image: tech2/Nandini Yadav

Moto Razr 5G sports a fingerprint sensor at the back. Image: tech2/Nandini Yadav

The 2020 Moto Razr has a curvier design. It is, in fact, very similar to that seen on the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip (review).

The Razr’s body is a sandwich of Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and back and aluminum on the edges and on the hinge. The glass certainly lends the phone a very premium look. Also, it allows the device to be NFC-enabled, and you can also charge it wirelessly.

Moto Razr 5G sports a Gorilla Glass 5 + aluminium body. Image: tech2/Nandini Yadav

Moto Razr 5G sports a Gorilla Glass 5 + aluminium body. Image: tech2/Nandini Yadav

Over the 2019 Moto Razr, Motorola claims to have also redesigned the chin, which is curvier but smaller this time. When I briefly used the device, the chin did not bother while typing on the phone, but it often got in the way when using swipe gestures.

Additionally, the Moto Razr 5G sports a P2i coating, which makes it dust and splash resistant, which is always good to hear.

Hinge

The hinge on the Moto Razr 5G has been redesigned as well. Motorola says that this time, it uses a “zero-gap design” for the hinge – meaning, when you flip the phone shut, there is almost no gap between the two folded sides. This gap was a big issue with the 2019 Moto Razr.

Moto Razr 5G sports a

Moto Razr 5G sports a "zero gap" hinge. Image: Tech2/Nandini Yadav

While the gap has certainly been reduced and looks flush, the hinge itself does not feel perfect, still.

I used the Moto Razr 5G for just a few hours and I am sure that the device that was sent to me hadn’t been used too many times, but every time I flipped the phone open, the hinge made a very unpleasant creaky sound, like an old door.

Also, the hinge hasn’t been well-concealed considering the design of the phone. When you unflip the device, it’s almost as if there are two gears on either side of the phone. An aesthetic oddity.

Display and UI

The Moto Razr 5G runs on Android 10 and uses a near-stock user interface. The Razr’s UI has a thin layer of “My UX” on top, which brings all the standard Moto gestures like ‘chop chop’. In the brief time I spent with the device, the UI looked well-optimised for the flip phone.

Similar to the Galaxy Z Fold 2, the Moto Razr 5G offers app continuity from the main display to the external quick view display. This means, if you are watching a YouTube video on the main display and you shut the phone, the video will continue playing and you can view it on the external display.

Moto Razr 5G offers seamless app continuity. Image: tech2/Nandini Yadav

Moto Razr 5G offers seamless app continuity. Image: tech2/Nandini Yadav

This brings me to one improvement on the 2020 Moto Razr that I really appreciate – the quick view display. On last year’s version of the Razr, the quick view display outside was just that. You could view notifications, answer calls, maybe a few more functions, but that’s it. The external display always forced you to unflip the device to do anything substantial.

However, this time, the Moto Razr 5G sports a 2.7-inch G-OLED display on the exterior. The tiny display can be customised with your most viewed/used apps. You can swipe right on the display to use the camera. You can swipe down for the control panel, and swipe up for shortcuts. Basically, you can watch a video, play games, write an email, etc on the external display.

Moto Razr 5G sports a 2.7-inch G-OLED display outside. Image: tech2/Nandini Yadav

Moto Razr 5G sports a 2.7-inch G-OLED display outside. Image: tech2/Nandini Yadav

Now, I know the display is a tiny one, and why would anyone play games on a 2.4-inch display? But the fact that you have a choice and that you don’t feel forced to unflip the phone, is what I like about it.

When you unfold the device, the phone reveals a 6.2-inch P-OLED display. The colours on the primary display are great and even in bright sunlight, legibility was maintained. However, the foldable display still failed to impress because of the many creases on it. While the middle crease is understandable because that's where the phone folds, the rest of the display also had a crease or two, almost as if it hadn’t been stretched out properly.

The Moto Razr 5G's display looks like it hasn't been properly stretched out. Image: tech2/Nandini Yadav

The Moto Razr 5G's display looks like it hasn't been properly stretched out. Image: tech2/Nandini Yadav

Camera

The Moto Razr 5G sports a 48 MP camera on the rear and a 20 MP camera on the front. The front camera sits in a notch on the display. In the few hours that I used the phone, I clicked a bunch of pictures from the phone. I used the phone during the daytime, so in bright daylight, the pictures were very good.

Moto Razr 5G comes with a 48 MP rear camera. Image: Tech2/Nandini Yadav

Moto Razr 5G comes with a 48 MP rear camera. Image: Tech2/Nandini Yadav

Like on most Motorola phones, the images clicked had higher saturation than usual, which made your greens and reds brighter than natural. For Instagram, the image output won’t disappoint.

The Moto Razr 5G sports a 20 MP camera for selfies. Image: tech2/Nandini Yadav

The Moto Razr 5G sports a 20 MP camera for selfies. Image: tech2/Nandini Yadav

Also, when the device is flipped, the rear 48 MP camera can be used for selfies and the quick view display works as your viewfinder. This could really be helpful for vloggers.

Battery and performance

The Moto Razr 5G features a 2,800 mAh battery. I could not test the battery life of the phone, but I wonder how long it would last with two OLED displays on-board.

 

Moto Razr 5G uses a type-C port for charging. Image: tech2/Nandini Yadav

Moto Razr 5G uses a type-C port for charging. Image: tech2/Nandini Yadav

The flip phone is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 765G chipset. Again, it’s hard to comment on the device’s performance in such a short period of time, but I did face a few lags while switching apps on the phone. That, however, could possibly be a bug fixable by a software update.

Overall, on both the primary and the quick view display, the apps worked pretty well and seemed well-optimised.

Conclusion

With the Moto Razr 5G, the nostalgia of a flip phone really works if you are a ‘90s kid. However, the phone still feels like a prototype and needs some work. The fact that that a lack of finish was evident even a brief hands-on was a put-off. For me, the combination of the creaky hinge and creased display was the deal-breaker, and it made it really difficult to consider the improvements that have been made to the device.


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