Raz is back, but now it's an Android smartphone that can be folded in half. Motorola has officially announced its very audible (and very leaky) modern spin on the iconic flip phone. The 2019 Console retains the same overall form factor, but replaces the T9 keyboard and small LCD with a 6.2-inch foldable plastic OLED panel and Android 9 Pie. When it arrives in January 2020, it will cost $ 1,499.
The new Razr is fundamentally different in terms of the folding phones we've seen so far: instead of turning a modern phone into a smaller tablet, it turns the conventional smartphone into something much smaller and smaller.
This is not the first time Motorola is attempting to bring back the iconic RAZR brand. A few years ago, there was a whole line of pretty common Droid RAZR phones that Motorola just slapped with the name, hoping to remind customers of its former glory. (You may remember Motorola styling the old RAZR logo in all capital letters. For this new model, Motorola does the opposite with the small "dec" button. Since I'm human, I'll use "Razr" from now on to see the new model. )
But the new Razr is much more than just a familiar brand name. It's a true successor to the original flip phone, with a design that was heavily inspired by its predecessor since 2004, down to the large, curved chin at the bottom (which now also hosts a more modern fingerprint sensor and USB-C charging port).
But this is not just a modern comeback, hoping to win nostalgia, as we have seen from the resurrection of HMD on classic Nokia hardware lately. This is Motorola's attempt to build a modern flagship phone that has not been tried for years.
The core of the phone, of course, is the display. This is a 6.2-inch 21: 9 plastic OLED panel that folds in half along the horizontal axis. Expanded, it's not drastically bigger than any other modern phone, and the extra height is something that the Android interface and apps adapt to far better than the tablet-sized screen. The screen has a top notch for speaker and camera and a curved edge at the bottom, which takes a little getting used to, but after a minute or two you barely notice.
There is also a second, 2.7-inch, glass-covered OLED display outside, which Motorola calls the display for quick viewing. It can display notifications, music controls and even a selfie camera mode to take advantage of the better main camera. Motorola is also working with Google to allow apps to seamlessly switch from front display to main display.
There are some concerns about the durability of the foldable display, especially after the Samsung Fold problems for the Galaxy Fold. But Motorola says it has "full confidence in the durability of the Flex View display," claiming that its research shows that it "will last the average life of the smartphone." It has its own cover that makes the panel "impact-resistant," and there is an internal nano coating for spray resistance. (Don't take it for a swim.) Motorola says the entire display is made with a single cut, with the edges completely closed by a stainless steel frame to prevent debris from entering. The company also points to its years of experience with plastic OLED panels (going back to 2011), noting: "We will not go out there and say, 'users should be careful about how they use the phone. "
Part of that confidence has to do with the hinge Motorola is working with Lenovo to make. It uses a sophisticated mechanism of multiple hinges and sliding panels to fold and unfold the phone. More importantly, it does seem to live up to Motorola's promise: the device folds down to a completely flat panel, with no visible or tactile creases, and then folds completely. (In fact, it's exactly the same thickness folded as the original RAZR.) If you hold the folded Razr to the sun, you can see a crack in daylight that shines through, but otherwise the gap is barely noticeable. Also impressive is the current high watermark of the still-expanding market.
With all this, what does it look like to actually use the new Razr? The answer is great. It's been years since there was a truly viable, high-end phone, and it's easy to forget how enjoyable this phone experience is. Taking on the new Razr immediately returns you.
It's definitely a little difficult to get used to folding it with one hand. I have bigger hands than most, and it's still a bit of an act of juggling to get it to fold exactly. It is easier to open, though it does take a lot of maneuvering to insert your thumb between the two screens (which I suppose is a proof of how flat it folds). Once you open it partially, you can just press it to open the rest of the way with your thumb, as you used all the time with the original RAZR.