The Motorola Razr 5G 2020 – version two of this iconic flip phone is back. Motorola has addressed many of the V1 issues and is now a worthy competitor in the Flip space. It oozes style and functionality.
There are only three words to describe the Motorola Razr 5G 2020 – drop-dead desirable. And before you say to me, it is a $2299 phone let me remind you of what Warren Buffet, the world’s most successful investor says. “Price is what you pay for it. Value is what you get”.
So I am going to ignore the price. Because if you can afford to buy any expensive phone, you will do so regardless of what reviews say. That includes the Samsung Galaxy Flip 5G (256GB $2149), Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 5G (256GB $2999), Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max (512GB $2369), or the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G (128GB $1999).
A note on Motorola Razr 4G V1.
No review would be complete without reference to the ill-fated V1 – let’s call it a ‘proof of concept’. All agreed that the form factor was excellent, but this Flip was a flop.
It did not help that Samsung released a Flip soon after that was more powerful and at a lower cost.
Indeed most Australian IT journalists were not given more than a fleeting briefing, let alone review units. No, the Razr V1 was just like the Ford Edsel – a car of the future that lost Ford over US$250m in its brief two-year life. The world was not ready for a premium price/featured Edsel.
Which reminds me of a terrific and very apt media comment about an early 80s Toyota Celica that I loved the looks of (and nearly bought). “Looks of a Wilkinson Sword. Performance of a blunt razor.”
Lets just say V2 has the looks and performance to match.
So back to the Motorola Razr 5G 2020.
You are going to buy it because of its looks. It has all the functionality that you expect from any premium Android phone. Even though it has a mid-range Qualcomm SD756G 5G SoC – it is more powerful than you need.
I need to remind myself, and readers, that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. With the Razr V2 – don’t focus on individual specs but the end product.
Australian review: Motorola Razr 5G 2020 Model XT2071-4
We use FAIL, PASS or EXCEED against all test paradigms.
First impression – EXCEED with care
I love the Polished Graphite – or at least the highlights on the frame and chin as the front and back panels are black.
Yes, it is a slippery little phone, and a fingerprint magnet so make sure you buy a grippy cover. I have nearly dropped this more times than I care to tell Motorola about. It is slippery for two reasons. First, it is small, and second, when closed, Gorilla Glass 5 provides no grippy surface.
My advice is to hold it in your palm and open the Flip with the other hand. The volume and power buttons provide just enough protrusion to enable this. BTW there is a small issue with gripping the buttons – you can inadvertently turn the volume up/down or power off.
No matter how dexterous I am and how hard I try, I can’t get it to flip open thanks to the magnetic catch. And frankly, I am afraid that it will go flying across the room and Motorola would not be happy.
PS – After lots more attempts I can get it to flip open once I have levered the screen up a few millimetres. And I must say it is very satisfying in a control freak way to flip the phone down to hang up.
Screen – PASS+
Internal : 6.2″ External: 2.7″
Flip with internal 60Hz p-OLED (plastic OLED) and external g-OLED (glass OLED)
Internal: 2142 x 876 External: 800 x 600
Internal: 373pp1/21:9 (tall and thin) External: 146ppi/4:3
Colours Brightness Contrast Gamut Delta E
RGB adj Temp adj HDR
16.7m 600 nits max (tested to 400 typical and 545 max) Infinite 98% sRGB approx 6 (<4 is best) – Natural, Boosted and Saturated are not adjustable No No – sits at the cold end of the scale 7000+° kelvin Test software indicted it decodes HDR10+ and downscales to HDR
Daylight AOD Dark Blue light
Very reflective internal screen limits daylight readability External screen. Yes No – screen is a cold white
Widevine L1 and HDCP 2.3. Test: 720p SDR (not HDR) streaming on Netflix, YouTube and Prime
Most games at up to 30fps are fine but beware of potential pOLED touch durability
Internal: is pOLED and due to the fold cannot have a toughened glass screen protector External: GG5
6/10 – no screen fill flash
This is a tall, thin screen. Out of the box, the font size is a little small for me (I wear 2x glasses). I kept upping the font a step at a time to the maximum setting to read the screen perfectly.
But the catch 22 is that the on-screen Gboard keyboard is still a little small for my normal-sized fingers. Motorola warns that the keyboard may not work as expected with larger font sizes – they are right. I suspect Moto will need to develop something other than the Gboard it comes with.
And the question everyone will ask – can you feel the crease in the screen?
It is not a 360° fold but a clever hinge and a moving pOLED screen. This means the fold has a lesser radius. You can feel a centre dip with two quite hard ‘plates’ on either side. It is not an issue in use.
But the screen is either open or closed – no halfway L-shape which we feel is a missed opportunity for Google Duo and video conference use.
The front screen is quite useful, subject to the font size/keyboard caveat. It is more of a notification screen, but you can use the Gboard on it. After a week of solid use, I found that I did not need to open the phone nearly as much.
Processor – PASS+ – it is the right choice for this design
Qualcomm SD765G 7nm 1 x 2.4Ghz, 1 x 2.2Ghz, 6 x 1.8Ghz
Adreno 620 Compute Open CL: 1236
While the processor and GPU are capable of low-to-mid frame rates, the pOLED screen response is a little slow and perhaps a bit fragile for excessive game touch
No (but you can use external Flash drives) Unlimited, high-quality photo storage for free with Google Photos
Geek Bench 5
Single: 614 Multi: 1931 It is in between the Qualcomm SD845/855
Max: 154792 GIPS, Average: 133,430 25% loss over 15 minutes. It is not a FAIL so much as limiting factor for power users. CPU temp reached 50°
Gamers note that this is not for you. Apart from the screen response times, the device throttles from 154,792 GIPS right down to 111,759 GIPS. This is a thermal issue associated with a small form factor to prevent overheating.
Without doubt, naysayers are going to point to a mid-range SoC for a premium price. But I think they forget the phones raison d’être. It is a foldable phone that has to manage the delicate balance between adequate power, heat and battery life. To put a Qualcomm SD865+ in this device would make it a three-legged dog in so many other ways.
I think Motorola has the right balance for Android phone, productivity and media functions.
Comms – PASS
Wi-Fi 5 AC, 2×2 MIMO (Qualcomm WCN 3990) Signal Strength 5Ghz – distance from ASUS AX1100 router – 2m: -29dBm/866Mbps – 5m: -64dBm/468Mbps – 10m: -72dBm/17Mbps (unusable but falls back to 2.4Ghz 120Mbps)
Dual L1 and L5 4m for fast turn-by-turn navigation
USB-C 3.1 We were unable to use a USB-C to HDMI adaptor to support ALT DP video out. You can screen-cast at 1080p. It will support an external Flash Drive – 128/256GB tested However, it does not appear to support an external HDD or SSD – downstream power seems to be the issue
Combo LSM6DSO Accelerometer/Gyroscope (this makes it very touchy for auto screen rotate – turn this off) Magnetometer – eCompass Barometer Bosch BPM380 altitude tracking Ambient Light Proximity
The Wi-Fi strength reflects the necessary miniaturisation of components to fit the form factor. It is fine for office and home use.
But we noticed a distinct strength drop when we held the device instead of placing it on a desk. This is an antenna design/placement issue.
LTE and 5G – PASS
Single sim and eSIM (one active at a time although software update for dual active is mentioned) 5G and eSIM are registered to Australian carriers and must be activated here. No restrictions on the sim.
VoLTE – carrier dependent – generally yes Wi-Fi calling – Yes
Ping: 44 DL: 13.1Mbps UL: 6.6Mbps By comparison, a Samsung S20 Ultra 5G has 40ms/25/15Mbps
n78 sub-6Ghz enabled for Australia Other bands may be enabled later by OTA update
-102dBm/63fW in a 3-bar reception area (average) Found next tower at -115dBm/7.9fW (unusable)
The 4G DL/UL speeds appear low due to new test software. The old test was unreliable and often mixed Wi-Fi and LTE appearing to be about 4x faster.
We have started measuring antenna receiver power in Femto (fW) and nanowatts (nW). This enables us to determine the best use location. It is a city phone having about 70% reception strength of a Blue-Tick Telstra approved rural use phone.
Battery – PASS
2800mAh total (2845 measured)
Motorola Turbo Power – 5V/3A/15W, 10V/2A/20W or 12V/1.67A/20W Tests: Provides all voltages to maximum rated amperage Discharge: 300-500mA for 10-15 days standby Charge: 40% – 30 minutes Charge: 100% – approx. 1.75 to 2 hours It does not charge faster with a USB-C PD 3.0 higher wattage charger
Tests 60hz screen
Video Loop test: 720p/50%/aeroplane mode – 10.24 hrs Typical use 4G, Wi-Fi Test – 8 hrs MP3 music test: 50% volume played from storage – 15+ hrs 100% load Battery drain – 7 hrs screen on T-Rex – 349.9 minutes and 3266 frames
Sound – PASS
Mono earpiece and down-firing speaker*
Single Cirrus Logic CS35KL41 5.3W 1%THD
Codecs are SBC (standard), LDAC (Sony), aptX/HD (Qualcomm), FLAC, ACC (Apple) etc.
Four – Noise cancelling and very effective
No, but a 3.5mm to USB-C cable/DAC and Denon premium 3.5mm buds. The buds were quite good with a mid-sound signature ( bass recessed, mid boosted, treble recessed).
Tests dB Anything over 80dB is excellent
Media – 75-80 Ring – 80 Alarm – 81 Earpiece – 65 (excellent and clear) Maximum music volume – 80dB minimal distortion Handsfree calls are excellent
L/R sound stage
Nil as it is mono
The BT 5.0 drove our reference Sony WH-1000xM4 in SBC, AAC, aptX HD and LDAC modes and provided good clear sound and plenty of volume.
* It is not fair to measure the sound signature of a mono speaker system. The primary use is for clear voice. It is not for music or movies with no bass or mid before 100Hz and no treble after 10kHz.
And what about the so-called sound boost box? It was no louder, but it completely ruined what was fairly pleasant sound for a mono device.
Sound signature – PASS
We measured it although it is not accurate as a mono device. It is a bright vocal for clear dialogue – as we expect it to be.
Deep Bass: 20-40Hz
Middle Bass: 40-100Hz
High Bass: 100 to 200Hz
High Treble: 6-10kHz
Dip to avoid harshness then flat
Dog whistle: 10-20kHz
Flat to 15kHz then off the cliff
Build – PASS+
Unfolded: 169.2 x 72.6 x 7.9mm x 192g Folded: 91.7 x 72.6 x 16mm
Motorola quote 200,000 actuations – 110 cycles a day x 4.98 years
Glass pOLED Frame: 7000 series Aluminium Hinge: Stainless Steel Back: GG5 over gOLED
Water repellent design – no IP rating
In the box
15W charger USB-A to USB-C cable 3.5mm to USB-C DAC adapter Denon Premium buds
And the Box
The box is a large Obilisque shape that dwarfs the folded Razr. It also contains a sunglass-sized case for the accessories It contains a rubber sleeve to sit the opened phone in to use the bottom half of the box as a passive bass radiator. The only issue is that you can’t charge while it is in the stand.
Motorola has nailed the hinge design – it is an engineering marvel. I am not sure how pOLED stands up to that many folds, but let us assume it is beyond the phones natural life cycle.
And its time to comment on the flip form factor. I like it. At 192g it is not to heavy in the pocket (or purse if that is your wont) and it is not much bigger than a pack of cards.
But – and here is the biggy – don’t put it in your pocket/purse open because on the Mohs hardness scale anything more than a fingernail (2.5) can mark it. Typically a Gorilla Glass screen will be at least 7/10.
Android 10 – PASS+
Google Android 10 Security patch date: 1 August 2020
My UX (Motorola’s new UI) Personalise: Styles, Wallpapers, Layout Moto Display: Peek Display, Attentive Display Moto Actions: Quick capture, Fast flashlight, Three-finger screenshot, Pick up to silence, Screenshot toolkit, Media controls Moto Gametime Moto Audio
All standard apps, Google Lens and Assistant. Dedicated Google Assistant key.
Nil apart from Facebook – not removable!
At least Android 11 and 12 Security patch – Note that security updates will be handled by Google in Android 11 onwards.
Rear fingerprint reader well placed for convenience when closed but not so much when it is open
Once upon a time, Motorola used Pure Android, and it gained extra points because of its easy upgrade and update path. A UI adds additional time and complexity to those things.
After writing about and reviewing so many phones (over 120 articles and reviews this year), you get a real feel for Pure Android OPPO ColorOS, realme UI, vivo FuntouchOS, Motorola My UX, Samsung One UI, LG UX Thin Q, …
For example, most UIs these days are quite light touches over Pure Android. They limit tweaks to improvements in things like screen, camera, sound, games modes, gestures, apps etc. These generally exploit the hidden features of the hardware.
Missing – PASS – depends on what you feel is important
At its price, you may see this as as a deal-breaker
USB-C OTG supports flash drives and possibly external SSDs
No, but comes with a USB-C to 3.5mm DAC converter and a nice set of Denon buds
Mono means this is not a music consumption device
Again at the price, some may want more protection
Moto may lack lens flexibility, but it effectively uses computational photography like the Google Pixel.
In all, I feel these are minor compromises for the Flip format and its only a matter of time as Moore’s Law comes into play and the Flip will have a kitchen sink too.
Motorola Razr 5G 2020 camera – PASS
As a single lens, it relies on computational photography for most of its tricks. It does an excellent job!
Creatives, purists and photographers however will look elsewhere.
Shot optimisation, Auto smile capture, Gesture selfie, Smart composition, Burst Shot, Auto HDR, Timer, Active photos, High-res zoom, RAW photo, Professional, Portrait, Spot colour, Cinemagraph, Panorama, Live filter, Night Vision, Google Lens
Auto smile, Gesture selfie, Smart composition, Burst Shot, Auto HDR, Timer, Active photos, RAW photo, Professional, Portrait, Spot colour, Cinemagraph, Group Selfie, Live filter, Night Vision, Google Lens
The best way to describe the rear camera is quite competent. Again the Flip format makes it hard to shoehorn in more lenses. The Samsung S5KGM1 sensor combined with the Qualcomm SD756G and its AI does a great job taking 12MP shots.
But as you will see, it lacks the hardware for wide, ultra-wide and telephoto shots and the ToF sensor has its limits. BTW the rear camera becomes a selfie camera when closed, and the external screen is a great viewfinder.
The internal camera is a 20MP binned to 5MP. Its main purpose is 1080p teleconferences as selfies tend to be too soft.
Where Motorola was Pure Android, it now overlays My UX. That has an improved camera app 3.0 that offers more access to ‘computational’ photography.
Indoors Office Light (400 lumen)
Low light (room <40 lumen)
The internal camera is great for video conferences (although lacking an L-shape screen) – just put it in the rubber sleeve in the box. But despite a 20MP/binned to 5MP sensor it simply lacks any auto-focus, the dynamic range seems limited and f/2.2 makes it poor for low light shots. We found it tended to overly soften selfie features. Lack of screen fill flash is an issue too.
The external camera is superb for selfies providing sharp detail (if you want that), good colours and can be used for group selfies.
Bokeh is achieved via a ToF (Time of Flight) sensor that measures how long the IR light signal takes to return from the subject and background. But here is the catch 22. It needs to detect a human face to separate it from the background.
As you will see from our standard toy dog photo, we were unable to detect a face so no bokeh. This is the first time in hundreds of smartphone tests this has happened. It means you cant do bokeh with an intimate subject.
[email protected] video is below average. Its quite stable having Gyro EIS and OIS (in all modes) but it lacks ‘dynamism’. We know the sensor/lens capability is up to the task so can only assume the SD765G SoC and GPU are not quite doing the post processing job. Fortunately this is a software issue that Motorola can address.
[email protected] or 60fps shows a better dynamic range. And the two rear mics provide excellent recorded sound.
Because it uses computational photography you can edit to achieve the result you want.
GadgetGuy’s take – Motorola Razr 5G 2020 – a fashion symbol more than a phone
I owned and loved several original Razr flip phones. Back then, I did not care about bands, screen brightness and the hundreds of other specs that I test today. I just wanted it.
So I appreciate what Motorola is trying to do here. It is for people with deep pockets that don’t have deep phablet-sized pockets.
Having not reviewed the V1 all I can do is present findings on the Motorola Razr 5G 2020. It seems to have addressed most issues leveled at V1.
It does everything that any other mid-range 5G Android phone does. The only compromise is the 21:9 screen is a little narrow for large text and the Gboard, but you get used to that.
Naysayers will point to the lower-powered processor and single-lens camera. Sure you can get tri/quad for a fraction of the price, but you can’t get it in a Flip. They may also point to battery life. Yes, it is a daily charge phone, but that too is Flip.
The Motorola Razr 5G 2020 exists because some want a clam-shell flip phone. It is not for everyone, even if it were half the price.
As this is the end of the review, I went back to the review I did on its serious competition – the Samsung Galaxy Flip 4.4/5 that is now $2149 for the 5G 8/256GB version.
Why? I wanted to use it as a baseline to compare. The Motorola Razr 5G 2020 has narrowed the gap and in some ways exceeded it.
Main Screen: Samsung 6.7” and Razr 6.2”
Second screen: Samsung 1.1” 300×112 and Razr 2.7” 800×600 ‘Peek Display’
Rear Camera: Samsung 12+12MP FF and Razr 48MP binned PDAF
Front camera: Samsung 10MP and Razr 20MP binned
USB: Samsung 2.0 and Razr 3.1 Gen 1
Size: Samsung 167.3 x 73.6 x 6.9-7.2 x 183g and Razr 169.2 x 72.6 x 7.9mm x 192g
So it comes down to style and there it is ahead.
As usual, a PASS mark is 4/5, and we add more for EXCEED and vice versa.
You are going to see Neanderthal reviewers giving it 2 or 3/5 stars. I say ignore that because they compare everything to an iPhone Pro Max. Apples ain’t Flips. That is not a fair comparison.
It is all about comparing the phone to the right paradigms. If you want a Flip, the Motorola Razr 5G 2020 meets or exceeds what you can reasonably expect.
Flip phones give you a larger screen real estate in a smaller package. But you must accept any screen fold issues or compromises made to miniaturise the tech.
Price – $2299 is eye-watering, but if you have to ask then you can’t afford it. For those that want a Flip and can afford it – this is perfect.
Colours: Polished Graphite (there are other colours in other markets)
From: Motorola online and leading CE retailers including JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman, The Good Guys, Officeworks
Elevator pitch: Big screen, small body, flip out
Warranty: 2-year warranty
Country of Manufacture: China
Company: Lenovo (Est 1984) is a multinational technology company with its main operational headquarters in Beijing and Morrisville, North Carolina. It is the world’s largest PC maker. It purchased Motorola Mobility from Google in 2014. Most of Lenovo’s smartphone business is now under the Motorola brand, and it has grand plans to become a ‘top five’ smartphone maker.
We issue the standard warning that you must buy the genuine model with Australian firmware as it works on Australian Telco carrier 5G and LTE bands and can make a 000-emergency call (not 911) without a SIM.
As this is a 5G sim plus eSIM, its IMEI is registered to Australian Telcos for the 5G sub-6GHz band. You have to activate the eSIM here first before OS use.
We have named and shamed the major grey marketers here. If you are going to spend this much money, get a genuine ‘Made for Australia’ model.
Value for money
Ease of Use
Iconic Razr design
Style – you want to flip over a folding phone
QuickView display is very useful
Battery Life – 1-day but that is all you can expect
Addressed main issues of the original 2019 model
Not easy to one-hand flip open
Very reflective fingerprint magnet screen
Lack of IP rating could be a deal-breaker fro a phone this price