Motorola Razr 2019: Price, release date, specs and all the latest rumours
Ahhh, the Motorola Razr. We all remember the Razr. The iconic handset flipped over traditional mobile phone design − literally, and it’s about to make a comeback. In an era of black glass slabs, we can’t wait to see what the Motorola Razr 2019 will bring to the table.
Read on for everything we know about the new (and hopefully improved) Razr so far, including rumours, leaks and plenty of stunning renders.
Motorola Razr 2019 − Release date and price
A January report from The Wall Street Journal tentatively claimed that the Motorola Razr could make a (-nother) comeback in February 2019 as a Verizon exclusive in the US. That of course failed to materialise, but we understand that the long wait could soon reach a satisfactory conclusion.
About half a year later, in August, Dutch publication LetsGoDigital reported that the new Razr would launch in the US “within a few months”, where it could cost a whopping $1500. The report, which cited an anonymous source, added that the phone would land in European markets in either December 2019 or January 2020. We’re hoping that one of those European markets is the UK.
A September report from Cnet claimed that Motorola had intended to unveil the Razr in the summer, but now aims to launch the device before the end of the year.
In late February, Motorola’s VP of global product Dan Dery explained the delay to 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”.
It’s certainly not the only foldable to experience delays to its launch schedule. The Samsung Galaxy Fold was infamously flawed upon initial release and did not resurface (in revised form) until around six months later, while the Huawei Mate X is also expected to launch later than scheduled. We’re expecting the folding Surface Duo to ship at some point in 2020 too.
Let’s hope that Motorola has used its time wisely to ensure that the Razr has got the design right first-time.
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 flip phones that sadly 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 based on a genuine patent filed by Motorola, makes a very strong first impression: it showcases a device that breaks the mould and manages to combine form and function seamlessly.
An early March leak from XDA Developers claimed that the phone, which is apparently code named ‘Voyager’, will have dual display design – the first will be a larger one that folds down on itself when the phone is closed, and the second will be an external facing front screen for quick actions and alerts. This sounds a little like a Samsung Galaxy Fold with a horizontal, rather than vertical, crease.
We expect that it will run Android 10 out of the box, as the new operating system introduced a Screen Continuity feature that’s designed to make the software experience smoother when you switch between screens or use multiple windows on foldable devices.
In a bid to stop unoptimised apps ruining the user experience the new Razr will apparently restrict some functions “access [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; this was supported by a Lenovo patent spotted by LetsGoDigital in April.
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.”
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 February report described it as a “high-end” phone, and claimed 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 underwhelmed.
LetsGoDigital has reported that the Razr 2019 will not be equipped with a high-end processor, and it will also feature a smaller battery than the Samsung Galaxy Fold and the Huawei Mate X.
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 10 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.