The Motorola Razr 5G is supposed to combine a retro feeling with modern technology – at a price of 1500 euros. Our test reveals whether this works in everyday life.
Smartphones are the control center of our everyday life: We use them as a family calendar and to pass the time while waiting for the bus. We buy digital tickets on them and use them to take holiday snapshots. And the larger the screen, the more conveniently these things can be done. The fact that many of the modern telephones just barely fit in your trouser pockets is perhaps still easy to get over. But with small hands you can quickly reach your limits when it comes to the technical chunks.
This is why foldable smartphones – so-called foldables – are considered the future of the phone in the industry. You should solve the dilemma by collapsing the huge screens. A few years ago that was still considered science fiction, but after a few teething troubles, it is now technology ready for series production. It was largely driven by Huawei and Samsung, but other companies are now also involved.
Razr 5G: Motorola lures with retro charm
One of them is Motorola. The US company, which was bought by Lenovo in 2014, tries to make modern technology compatible with the masses with a “do you remember back then” feeling: Last year the launch of a new Motorla Razr caused a sensation that looks at first glance like the iconic Razr V3, which became a bestseller shortly after the turn of the millennium. Now there is a new version, but at 1500 euros it is twice as expensive as the original from 2004.
Like the original, the new top-of-the-range smartphone can be opened horizontally like a shell. You can’t do that with one hand as lively as it did back then, but the hinge construction is too thick and robust. But as soon as the screen stretches across the full 6.2-inch diagonal, you are sure to see everyone at any party. Since it is an OLED panel, the screen scores with good contrasts, deep black tones and strong colors.
The Class 5G is unquestionably an eye-catcher. Almost everyone is flabbergasted that the display of a smartphone can be folded in and out and that there is no visible kink when stretched out. Everyone wants to try this out at least three or four times. According to the manufacturer, this is not a problem: the folding mechanism should withstand at least 200,000 folding processes. If you open your phone four times an hour between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. (64 times a day), you can get there around 3100 days, or the equivalent of 8.5 years. At least.
What can the outside screen do?
There is a mini display on the outside of the Moto Razr 5G so that you don’t have to open the folding phone every time. Despite the modest size of 2.7 inches, you can do a few things there, such as reading incoming messages or making video calls. Other apps also run on it. But it can be doubted that someone watches YouTube videos in the mouse cinema. After all, the XXL screen is only an opening process away.
When folded, the phone is very compact (dimensions: 91 x 73 x 16 millimeters) and fits into even the smallest corner of the handbag. The handiness is the real plus point of the folding construction, if you need it. However, the Razr 5G is also slippery, so careful use of the smartphone should not be an afterthought.
The Moto Razr 5G is unlocked with a fingerprint scanner, which works flawlessly, but is unfortunately not in the ideal location. I struggled at least a few times in the course of the test to hit the scanner without dropping the phone. As an alternative, there is a face scanner, which is not so secure, but more convenient to use.
5G and not a brand new processor
The Moto Razr 5G supports – the name makes it abundantly clear – the new 5G cellular standard. Provided the appropriate tariff is available, it offers significantly faster download and upload speeds and minimal delays under ideal conditions. Good to know: the Motorola smartphone also supports the new 5G frequencies around 2,100 and 700 megahertz, which are mainly used in Germany. In contrast to the Razr from 2019, the 5G model now not only has an eSIM, but also a physical SIM card slot.
Apart from the innovative folding mechanism and the 5G support, the Moto Razr 5G is a normal smartphone of the upper middle class. Motorola uses Android 10 as the operating system with slight adjustments; an update to Android 11 has been announced. The memory is generous with 256 gigabytes, but not expandable. The speaker on the bottom sounds mediocre at best.
The Snapdragon 765 chip is completely sufficient for everyday services such as Netflix and surfing. However, other smartphones already offer more modern and efficient processors for less money. It is a shame that Motorola has not installed the latest chip here. The battery life is okay, with average usage you can make it through the day. The phone can be recharged in a little under two hours using the 18-watt power adapter provided.
Camera not first division
While the competition relies on huge camera bars with three or more lenses, the Razr 5G has a single main camera. This takes good, if not outstanding, photos with a resolution of 12 megapixels. The images are rich in detail, especially in daylight. In dim light, however, the camera quickly reaches its limits and the colors are then usually too bright. Here, too, other smartphones cut a better figure for less money.
In addition: the camera is not nearly as versatile as with Huawei, Samsung or Apple. There is no ultra-wide-angle lens or optical zooms here. The main camera films in 4K, but the quality lags behind the photos.
The front camera is a significant upgrade compared to the first generation phone. However, it is advisable to fold the phone up and use the main camera for selfies as the pictures are better in every way. The selfie cam is more suitable for video calls, but Full HD (1080p) ends here.
Moto Razr 5G: Exciting concept with compromises
The Motorola Razr 5G is an exciting phone that is particularly eye-catching with its form factor. The combination of a small outside and a large inside screen works well in everyday life. However, you have to make some compromises in terms of performance and camera, which is why I cannot recommend the device for the price of 1500 euros. For most users, the product category of the clamshell phone will probably only become relevant when it falls below the price limit of 1000 euros.
Motorola has ironed out numerous first-generation weaknesses in the second Razr, so we can look forward to the (hopefully coming) third generation. Clamshell phones whet the appetite for the future, but right now they still feel like advanced concept studies that aren’t ready for prime time.
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