The new Motorola Razr 2020 refines key shortcomings of its predecessor, crucially eliminating the worrisome gap when the phone was folded closed. The new Razr folds flush, and even has a sleeker look thanks to design tweaks shaving down the chin. But is it enough to finally convince consumers to flock to the clamshell foldable?
Aside from the design refinements, the phone differs from its predecessor in a few other ways: its Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G chipset enables 5G connectivity, storage and RAM have improved, the rear camera has been boosted to 48MP, and the external QuickView mini-screen has new photo preview features to show subjects what you’re capturing – or a cartoon face for kids to focus on while you’re photographing them. The battery is even a bit bigger, too.
But other parts of the phone are the same, like the 6.2-inch POLED (plastic OLED) display. It’s unclear if the folding parts of the phone have been reinforced given some complaints about the original, but Motorola has made the actual mechanism quieter to ease owner concerns about noisy folding sounds.
Which is to say the Razr 2020 refines on most aspects of the original but doesn’t drastically depart from the Razr 2019’s vision. The company doubled down on its clamshell foldable design and perhaps the refinements – incremental, but multitudinous – will soothe reservations consumers had for the original model.
Motorola Razr 2020 price and release date
The Motorola Razr 2020 was announced on September 9, 2020, but doesn’t have a firm release date – Motorola only noted it will be out ‘this fall’ (Q3 2020). The Razr 2020 comes in three colors: the matte black Polished Graphite, gray-and-black Liquid Mercury, and Blush Gold.
The Motorola Razr 2020 costs a bit cheaper than its predecessor at $1,399 / £1,399 (around AU$1,922). In the US, it will be available unlocked at Best Buy, B&H Photo, Amazon.com and Motorola.com, and on T-Mobile and AT&T later this year.
In the UK, where the phone is called the Motorola Razr 5G, folks can buy it in one color (Polished Graphite) from O2, Vodafone, Tesco, John Lewis, Amazon, Carphone Warehouse, and on Motorola.co.uk. The other colors (Liquid Mercury and Blush Gold) are only available on Motorola’s website.
Design and display
The Razr 2020 functions much like its predecessor – a clamshell foldable that’s about the size of a typical smartphone when unfolded, and takes up about half that footprint when folded closed. That enables it to pull off some neat tricks that typical smartphones cannot, but mostly, the Razr’s advantage lies in its pocketability, fitting in smaller spaces than your average tall and narrow phone.
The Razr shares this advantage with the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip, though the latter can be opened to any angle between closed and flat. Motorola’s phone spring-loads to be fully open and can’t really rest between unfolded and folded. That’s intentional: the Z Flip has a tiny 1.1-inch external screen for basic functionality, but the Razr 2020’s larger 2.7-inch QuickView display lets users compose text messages and use apps even when the phone is folded shut.
That’s a design philosophy inherited from the Razr 2019; the physical changes to this year’s model are mostly aesthetic.
Most noticeably, the fat ‘chin’ has been shaved down to a teardrop shape, tapering down to the end. With the Razr 2020 folding flush, the phone looks sleeker than its predecessor.
With less chin area, the fingerprint sensor has been moved to the back of the phone. The volume buttons stay on the right side of the phone, but the lock/power button has been moved to the left side, to make it easier to differentiate between them.
And while the phone may not look much different, there’s been a lot of rearranging under the hood to make room for a larger-capacity battery and the four 5G antennas – yet the new Razr is lighter than its predecessor, dropping from 205g to 193g.
As previously mentioned, the 6.2-inch POLED main display hasn’t changed from the original Razr 2019. That’s about as long as a typical smartphone, but it ends up being narrower, with an HD Plus resolution (2142 x 876) that’s slightly less sharp than the Full HD of other phones, including the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip (2636 x 1080).
The 2.7-inch QuickView display (800 x 600 resolution) is likewise unchanged from its predecessor, and inherits some of the neat perks that Android 10 brought to the Razr 2019 – including full keyboard texting and limited app functionality. These come native on the Razr 2020.
There’s a little more functionality to the new phone’s QuickView, mostly related to the camera – like mirroring the main screen’s photo preview, or showing a cartoony face for kids to focus on while photographing them.
The Motorola Razr 2020 has upgraded both of its predecessor’s two cameras (one on the back, and one on the inside above the main screen).
The main camera on the rear of the phone is a 48MP shooter (up from the 16MP rear on the Razr 2019) with OIS. Thanks to the clamshell folding format, this can be used to take selfies when the phone is folded shut: the QuickView screen shows a preview of the shot with a tappable shutter button, though either volume buttons can be pressed instead.
The inside camera, located above the main display, has been improved from 5MP to 20MP. While you won’t use it too much given the ability to take selfies with the main camera, the inner-display camera is useful for voice chatting.
Performance and battery
The Motorola Razr 2020’s specs are notably improved from its predecessor. While the 6GB of RAM in the Razr 2019 has been upgraded to 8GB in the new phone, it’s the storage – expanded from 128GB to 256GB – that fixes the biggest shortfall in the first version of the phone.
The Razr 2020’s Snapdragon 765G is virtually identical to the Razr 2019’s Snapdragon 765 chipset, with one crucial exception: it supports 5G. Most models of the new Razr will work with sub-6 5G networks only, though one version for Verizon customers will work with its sub-6 and mmWave frequencies.
The Razr 2020 packs a 2,800mAh battery, up from a 2,510mAh battery in its predecessor that will hopefully result in more hours before recharging. We managed to get around a day of use with the Razr 2019, but it depended on how much we flipped the phone open to use the inner screen. Motorola claims that original Razr owners used the QuickView outer display for mundane tasks (instead of flipping open the phone) often enough that it extended battery life.
It’s hard to tell how much more battery life that gives the Razr 2020, especially if phone owners end up downloading a lot of data over 5G. What could help with battery life? Using the small front screen instead, which Motorola claims extended battery life in the original Razr.
The additional QuickView functionality enabled by Android 10 (which comes in the Razr by default) means users can perform more simple tasks without needing to flip open to access the inner display. Answering texts with a full keyboard, accessing a handful of apps in a shortcut drawer, and making calls is all easy enough on the smaller screen.
And the Razr comes with Motorola’s usual overlay and custom settings – including Moto Actions, the fan-favorite gestures that quickly open certain features like double-chopping to turn on/off the flashlight and twisting the phone to open the camera app. The latter was especially handy with the original Razr 2019 to swiftly snap a selfie.