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Fast Charge: Why you should buy an old Motorola Razr instead of the new one

Motorola launching a modern version of the iconic Razr flip phone has brought joy to a lot of tech nerds. There’s no denying that the Motorola Razr 2019 is a beautiful device, but once you look past its wondrous, nostalgia-rousing design… it’s a mid-range smartphone that costs $1499.

For most people, that’s just not affordable. And for those who can stump up that sort of money, the biggest attraction isn’t that clever hinge mechanism or its creaseless display − it’s the warm, fuzzy feeling that comes over all of us when we drift off into memories of the past.

By all means buy the new Razr if you really want it. Just be aware that, once that special glow wears off, you won’t be any younger and you might not be over-awed by what you’re left with: a phone with a tiny battery and fairly ordinary cameras.

I don’t think it’s too controversial to suggest that most people are in love with the idea of the Razr rather than the handset itself.

Related: Read our Motorola Razr review

But once you get a sense of that longing, it can be hard to shake off. If you’re in deep, you can try to satiate it by spending a fraction of the money that the new Razr would cost you.

Yes, I’m talking about buying an old, noughties-era Razr. Why not? You can get one off sites like Amazon and eBay for less than $100 and, you never know, actually getting your hands on the folding icon might just fill the void that Motorola so cruelly opened.

And if that doesn’t work, well, you won’t be massively out of pocket, and you can always try returning it (depending on the seller, of course).

Not convinced? As a sort of tribute to the new Razr, some people seem to be doing exactly this.

Over the past week or so I’ve managed to dig up a handful of posts on Reddit and Twitter, from people either claiming to have started using an old Razr as their second phone, or people intending to do as much.

I wish I could report that they’re happier than they’ve ever been… but I can’t. In fact, this entertaining post is a good reminder of how the classic Razr V3 wasn’t quite as perfect as many of us remember it to be.

The new Razr is clearly a massive step up from the V3, but it won’t be anywhere near as big a commercial hit as the Razr of old. Nor is it intended to be.

“The price is an obvious barrier at present, early adopters interested in a more pocketable smartphone experience will be interested, but at this stage I don’t think that expectations are high in terms of volume of sales,” Roberta Cozza, a senior director analyst at Gartner, told Trusted Reviews.

“With time price around these foldable products will come down … for now it is more about showcasing that Motorola has actively invested in this new technology, and this will be good for its brand.”

The same also applies to the Samsung Galaxy Fold, but it hardly needs pointing out that the Razr already looks like a far superior take on the folding form factor than the South Korean firm’s flipping disaster.

And it’s this − making future folding phones better − that is this new Razr’s true calling. Save your money, because a hit of nostalgia doesn’t have to cost $1500. This is hopefully just the start of our new Razr journey, and there should be better and more affordable things to come.

Fast Charge is our weekly mobile-focussed column where we delve deeper into the world of smartphones, wearables and more. Find it on Trusted Reviews every Saturday morning.

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