Motorola Razr 2019: Price, release date, specs and all the latest rumours
Remember the legendary Motorola Razr? Of course you do. Well, 15 years on, Lenovo is reportedly on the verge of resurrecting the iconic flip phone, but as a cutting-edge foldable smartphone that everyone’s calling the Motorola Razr 2019.
Read on for everything we know about the new Razr so far, including rumours, leaks and stunning renders.
Motorola Razr 2019 − Release date and price
Citing “people familiar with the matter”, The Wall Street Journal reported in January that the hallowed Motorola Razr could make a (-nother) comeback in February, though this plan “isn’t yet final and could change”. The handset was reportedly being tested at the time of publication, and the report claimed it could go on sale in the US in February as a Verizon exclusive.
We were disappointed when February came and went, and our hopes remained unrealised. Fortunately we’ve heard plenty of rumours about the Razr since then to keep our dreams alive.
In late February, Motorola’s VP of global product Dan Dery told Engadget: “We started to work on foldables a long time ago. And we have been doing a lot of iteration,” adding that the company has “no intention of coming later than everybody else in the market”.
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The Fold was announced back in February 2019 − but of course, after severe technical problems the planned April release date was quickly postponed, and no new release date is in sight. The Huawei Mate X is also yet to make it to the market.
There’s every chance that the new Razr has been delayed as a direct result of the miserable Galaxy Fold saga.
If it does eventually come out, it’s not going to come cheap. According to the WSJ it will have a starting price of around $1500 (~£1170), making it far more expensive than any of the famously affordable Motorola smartphones that are currently available, such as the bargain Moto G7. Just for context, Motorola is currently selling the Motorola Razr V3 on Amazon for considerably less than £200.
Unfortunately, a Bluetooth certification filed in mid-April (that shows the phone will support Bluetooth 5.0) suggests the Razr 2019 will initially be a Verizon exclusive. We haven’t yet heard whether the device will be tied exclusively to one network in the UK.
Read more: Folding phones
Motorola Razr 2019 − Design and display
The reason that the Motorola Razr has attracted so much interest is almost entirely down to its distinctive design. The original kicked off a whole era of clamshell phones that came to an end with the advent of the iPhone. The 2019 version will apparently combine the latest foldable touchscreen technology with the classic clamshell form factor, as a tribute to its noughties-era predecessors.
The fan render in the embedded video above, which was created by Waqar Khan and based on a genuine patent filed by Motorola, makes a very strong first impression: it shows off a genuinely innovative device that seems to combine form and function seamlessly.
An early March leak from XDA Developers claims the phone, which is apparently code named ‘Voyager’, will have dual display design. The first display will be a larger one that folds down on itself when the phone is closed. The second will be an external facing front screen for quick actions and alerts.
Let’s hope it will run Android Q, which is set to introduce a Screen Continuity feature to enhance a smooth software experience when you’re switching between the two screens on foldable device.
In a bid to stop unoptimised apps ruining the user experience the new Razr will apparently restrict some functions “access [to the] display on flip”. The only confirmed apps that will run on the phone’s closed flip mode display are reportedly Motorola’s own Moto Display, Moto Actions, and Moto Camera app.
When folded, the internal display will apparently work as a trackpad, for doing things like scrolling through menu screens. It will reportedly also be able to display “up to” six quick settings tiles to commonly used apps and services.
And a Lenovo patent spotted by LetsGoDigital in April backs this up.
None of this, we must stress, has been confirmed by Motorola, but if it’s true the Razr could boast a far more elegant interface than the Galaxy Fold, which feels like a first-generation design compromise. When closed the Galaxy Fold has an insanely small screen with an atypical aspect ratio, and after trying it out (before the Foldgate debacle) we thought it would take a while for consumers to readjust to the small 4:3 ratio screen even for basic tasks.
The Razr’s clamshell design could also solve our biggest concern about the Mate X: the fact the screen is permanently exposed on both sides. Huawei’s not confirmed how scratch resistant the screen is, but we can’t help but worry that without protection, the Mate X might be prone to picking up scratches fairly quickly.
Tellingly, Motorola’s Dan Dery has said that while the outer-screen design adopted by Huawei (and partially by Samsung) is “the nicest and the purest” approach, it will likely lead to damaged and scratched displays.
“We have been testing a plastic OLED device with plastic film on top,” he said. “The fact that you’re touching [that kind of display] with your nails is scratching it. It has a short life right away; it starts dying the day you unpack it. But it’s beautiful. That first day, it’s beautiful.”
He says Motorola’s “intention would not be to put the display outside. When you know the scratching issues you would be facing, you will have something that is very rapidly not usable.”
As mentioned above, back in August, a patent was discovered by Mobielkopen, showing a phone with the same iconic flip-phone form-factor. However, rather than combining a screen on one half with a T9 keyboard on the other, the new design features a single touchscreen, which can fold in the middle to fit the phone in your pocket.
Related: Huawei Mate X vs Galaxy Fold
An in January, a World Intellectual Property Organization listing was spotted by 91Mobiles, showing a mobile phone that’s recognisable as a Razr handset, albeit with a slightly tweaked design and dual screens.
Like the legendary Motorola Razr V3 from all the way back in 2004, the device shown off in the patent is a flip phone that features one external secondary display and another internal primary display.
However the new Razr’s main display appears to be notched and flexible, stretching almost all the way from top to bottom and folding across the centre (leaving the risk of a noticeable crease right in the middle of the display). There is, of course, no physical keypad. Beneath the screen is that chunky wedge we’re all so familiar with, which will house the microphone and speakers.
From the outside, the device shown off in the patent looks almost identical to the classic Razr, with a camera sensor and a small secondary display (for quickly checking notifications) both visible; in other words, this concept design expertly balances the old and the new. Designer Sarang Sheth has created Motorola Razr 2019 concept renders (below), based upon the leaks we’ve seen so far − and we seriously like the look of them.
Sheth’s vision features a single-lens camera beneath the display on the outward-facing portion of the folded handset.
The potential design could have already proved influential across the industry as a whole. Android Police has reported that Samsung’s next foldable device will also resemble a clamshell with a tiny one-inch outer screen.
Motorola Razr 2019 − Specs and features
Little else is currently known about the 2019 Motorola Razr, but WSJ’s report describes it as a “high-end” phone, and claims that Lenovo plans to manufacture 200,000 units due to its high sales expectations.
For the price quoted above, we would expect high-end features and all the trimmings, including Qualcomm’s top of the line Snapdragon 855 processor, a strong camera and — perhaps most importantly for potential buyers of this particular handset — a very slick design indeed. But we must confess that the rumours reaching us so far have left us distinctly disappointed.
According to XDA-Developers, the Motorola Razr 2019 will be powered by the Snapdragon 710, a mid-range processor that features on the Xiaomi Mi 8 SE − a budget version of the Xiaomi Mi 8. That’ll reportedly be paired with 4GB or 6GB of RAM, and be joined by the Adreno 616 GPU and either 64GB or 128GB of internal storage. We’d expect it to be running the latest Android Q operating system by the time of its release.
The handset is also said to feature a 2730mAh battery (possibly with Motorola’s 27W TurboPower fast charging), a 6.2-inch, 2142 x 876 main display, and a 800 x 600 external display. Its size is not yet known. According to the report, the Motorola Razr 2019 will be available in white, black and gold colour schemes.
While specs aren’t everything, we had been expecting the new Razr to have a slightly more ‘premium’ feature set, especially if the price is as high as has been rumoured. We’ll have to wait and see how it performs in our review after release to see if it really lives up to the spirit of its era-defining predecessors.