If there ever was an icon in the mobile phone world, the Razr could share the pedestal with the original iPhone. No other phone has had such a profound effect on an entire generation and continues to intrigue.
For 2020, Motorola has really amped up the nostalgia along with added functionality that brings it not only up to speed with the current crop of folding phones but even goes above and beyond in certain aspects.
Old but new
Although the profile is unchanged, there are changes, both big and small, both inside and out. Most visibly, the chin-mounted fingerprint scanner has now moved to the back panel in a more traditional round form and is more ergonomic to use, at least when you flip it open. Of course, it’s ready to work on any global 5G networks and there’s new antenna design to improve regular 4G cellular network reception too, but for all practical reasons, no one in 2020 is going to buy a 5G phone for it...well...5G capabilities. Thankfully, the Moto Razr 5G brings in other improvements that actually are useable. There are new cameras on the exterior as well as interior, to begin with. A sizeable 48MP f/1.7 Samsung-sourced unit doubles up as a selfie cam when the clamshell is shut and the main camera when it’s open. It also gets OIS and digital zoom along with better low-light performance. Daylight pictures were quite detailed and rich in dynamic range but indoor pictures tend to smoothen a lot of surfaces, essentially applying too much de-noise in an effort to keep blurred edges at bay. Still, it is a huge improvement over the 2019 model which made the camera seem like an afterthought. If you’re an avid phone photographer, you might miss multiple lenses but for everyday use, the different modes like Group Selfie, Portrait Mode, Spot Color, and more should be entertaining enough.
The 20MP selfie camera on the inside is new too with an f/2.2 and again, it’s an improvement over the 5MP snapper on the earlier gen model, making the 5G version a lot more up-to-date. Other changes include an all-glass and aluminium design, so gone is the textured plastic back. But with the glass back, it doesn’t offer any form of wireless charging. You do get an 18W turbo-charger included in the box and the 2800mAh capacity battery may sound puny compared to other phones in this price range, but thanks to the 2.in QuickView screen on the outside, you really don’t have to flip open the Razr that many times in a day anyway. With a lot of new functionality built into this screen, you can add and manage apps, double-flick your wrist to open the camera and even use it to reply to texts or emails with a proper QWERTY keyboard that works with SWYPE and is surprisingly handy for quick replies or even to search YouTube videos. Like before you can decide to continue on the bigger screen inside but not all apps support this function yet.
Motorola has kept things mostly stock in this version of Andriod 10, relegating all of its customizations under a single app that is both well presented and can add genuine value to your experience. It’s a pleasant experience and although the 6.2in P-OLED screen has bezels that are thick for 2020 and the resolution is neither QHD nor the refresh rate peaked at 90Hz, it isn’t a concern for day to day use for most people. It’s bright, sharp and the Qualcomm 765G processor keeps things moving along rather swiftly. This processor was mainly chosen for its 5G SoC architecture and space, as you can guess, is at a premium in a phone of this form factor.
The 765G is also great at heat management and power efficiency, giving the Razr 5G an edge over the previous iteration and the difference is palpable. It doesn’t feel like a compromised experience just so you can enjoy a unique form factor. The folding mechanism itself feels a lot more robust and secure now with the zero-gap hinge tech that really does feel snug. Motorola claims it’s impossible to slide a sheet of paper even, between the folded screens. A tall claim, but real-world use shows that it is extremely easy to flip open with one hand, allowing you to enjoy endless moments of looking cool. There’s is barely a perception of the sliding metal plates under the screen when it’s blacked out or off, but nothing that is honestly troublesome.
The clamshell experience really has been refreshed with software that feels like it belongs in 2020 too and Motorola has done a good job of integrating it into one package. Albeit, still a very expensive package at ₹1,14,999 for something that sports numbers like 8GB/256GB, single-lens camera and no wireless charging. Like always though, if you’re succumbing to the charm of the Razr phone, it’s not because it boasts of the most cutting-edge performance, it’s because it looks like the most cutting edge gadget out there. And that, it delivers in spades.