Motorola Razr 5G Review: Expensive nostalgia

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The Motorola Razr is as iconic a smartphone as they get. It’s a rarity to find someone who hasn’t owned or didn’t know about the devices back in the day. Well Motorola wants back in and feels that technology has come a long enough way to guarantee a smartphone experience in the shape of the Razr from over a decade ago. This brings us to the Motorola Razr 5G.

Earlier in the year, we saw the first iteration of the Motorola Razr come to the UAE. It was the first foldable smartphone in the region but wasn’t able to make its mark with consumers.

Oh the pleasure of holding a Razr device again!

Motorola Razr 5G

The Motorola Razr 5G comes to the UAE will a whole lot of improvements but are these enough to get users on board?

Body and Displays

Folding display

The hinge on the Motorola Razr 5G sees much appreciated updates from its previous iteration.

The display on the Motorola Razr 5G is the same as its previous iteration. The soft plastic feels a bit ‘dated’ after having experienced Samsung’s UTG displays on the Z Flip and Z Fold 2. The issue is more of feel and durability rather than clarity or colour. Soft plastic can easily be damaged by a key or a nail which kept me worried my whole time using the Razr 5G.
As a display, the screen is a 6.2″ P-OLED folding display. It’s not bad but it doesn’t have that pop that you see on other smartphones. It’s just about does the job. Watching content on the screen is very much acceptable and colour is decently accurate.
When the displays is switched off you can very much see the points at which the plates below the display push the up causing a sort of triple crease. Like all creases on foldable phones, these too are barely visible once using the phone.

Hinges and Plates

If you look closely at the display you can see three creases on the display (from the plates below the display and the fold) but this completely disappears when you’re using the display

Speaking of the plates, the body of the new Motorola Razr 5G is strikingly beautiful. When opened, its an edge-y phone, giving you those retro-Razr vibes in the hand. Opened up the phone at its thinnest point is just 7.9mm. The phone has curves on the sides giving an extremely comfy hold. Folded the Razr is 16mm thick and is pretty nice and pocketable.
The Razr 5G comes in with a welcome few upgrades compared to its predecessor. The hinge gets covered up, the back becomes glass (but no wireless charging) and the chin gets a little slimmer. The chin on the bottom is the most important part to maintain nostalgia but also ruins the look and feel of the display.

QuickView Display

When closed you get to see the outer display of the Motorola Razr 5G. The outer ‘QuickView’ display is obviously glass and comes with updated functionality. There’s a lot more you can do with display now. Reply to a WhatsApp message, watch a video on YouTube or even quickly glance apps like Twitter or Instagram.

The QuickView display is definitely a massive plus point on the phone. Compared to the Samsung Z Flip , which offers almost no interactivity when the phone is folded shut, the Razr 5G gets so much done with the smaller display.

On the back of the phone we find the 48MP rear camera as well as the QuickView display

Camera

The Motorola Razr 5G comes with just two cameras. A 48 MP, f/1.7 lens on the back of the device and a 20 MP, f/2.2 on the the inside. While the rear camera is a decent attempt, it doesn’t come with the all the bells and whistles that most smartphone cameras come with. Unlike something like the Google Pixel, the Motorola Razr doesn’t really successfully provide a great camera experience with just a a single lens. The photos it produces are decent when the scenario is well lit. Colour accuracy is off and details aren’t evident.

The new 20MP front camera is a big improvement from the previous Razr’s 5MP sensor.

Here are some samples from the smartphone:

MY UX

Now the Razr 5G comes with Motorola’s My UX on top of Android 10. Now while it might be the ‘Motorola skin’, My UX is one of the most vanilla experiences you can find on an Android smartphone. While brands have concentrated on the look and feel of their skins, Motorola has merely added some pretty neat functionality to the device. Usual gestures such a twisting the phone in your hand to launch the camera or a chop-chop action to launch the flash are much more useful than you think.

The P-OLED display on the Motorola Razr 5G remains unchanged from the previous iteration

Apart from that everything is clean and vanilla. The phone uses Google Photos as its primary gallery, google calendar as it primary calendar and so on. Vanilla Android lovers will definitely love seeing this on the Motorola Razr 5G.

Processing and Power

The Motorola Razr 5G comes powered by the extremely capable Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G supported 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. During my testing of the phone, I didn’t particularly find any glitches or slow down of the phone. It blazed through every task I put forward. Replying to emails or video were not an issue at all. For testing purposes I tried a bit of multitasking and it wasn’t an issue.

Gaming is pretty much a no-go on the device. I tried playing Call of Duty and Asphalt 9 on the phone. Now the games did work but with a decent amount of lag. The body of the phone doesn’t really allow comfortable two-hand landscape usage of the phone.

The phone comes powered with a larger (compared to the previous Razr) 2800mAh battery. The battery survived a full day for me with ease but that being said if you push hard this quickly reverses itself. The phone supports 18W charging which is nowhere close to what competition is offering but still does the job of charging the phone in just over 90 mintues.

5G shouldn’t be a massive factor in considering the Razr 5G right now but will definitely come into play if you keep your phone for over a year. With the rapid pace at which 5G is growing in the UAE, it is nice to that the Razr 5G is slightly future proof.

Should you buy the Motorola Razr 5G?

No, because…

The Motorola Razr 5G is currently available for Dh5499 at Etisalat, Du and a few other retail and online stores. At this price, I expect much more from the Motorola Razr 5G.

While the new device does have 5G (which still isn’t widely available all across the UAE), it’s current competition, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip (released at the beginning of the year) offers way more at a much more affordable price of Dh2929. A better UTG display, dual cameras, a much more familiar display experience without 5G. In the now, these features are way more useful than 5G. Specially when we’re spending so much more time at home using Wi-Fi.

At 5499, the Motorola Razr 5G just doesn’t offer that flagship experience I expect. It doesn’t have a flagship processor, it’s display isn’t the latest in folding display technology and it’s cameras are not properly optimised. If the phone were in the Dh3500 category, it would have still been suggestible but at this price Motorola can’t expect users to shell out money for features that aren’t even the newest in the market.

Compared to the Motorola Razr from earlier this year, the Motorola Razr 5G is definitely a step in the right direction. It does have improvements but just not enough to compete with what’s int the market. Maybe the next version is the one we’re waiting for?

On the back of the phone you find the fingerprint sensor embedded in the Motorola logo. A useful addition but in a very odd position. Its much lower than the natural placement of fingers when holding a device.

Yes, because…

The Motorola Razr 5G is a beaut to hold in the hand. It handles the average joe’s everyday smartphone usage with ease and gives you that extra pizzazz when you snap the phone shut after a call.

If you’re a user who needs a good looking phone which does the minimum expected from a smartphone and obviously have over Dh5000 to spare, the Motorola Razr 5G might be a phone for you.