Motorola sharpens Razr with cutting-edge folding screen
Image credit: Motorola
Motorola has unveiled a new version of its Razr 'flip phone', featuring a foldable screen incorporated into the classic ‘clamshell’ form factor.
Motorola's Razr flip phones, first introduced in 2004, quickly became one of the most iconic and popular gadgets of the 2000s, with the V3 model selling over 130 million units. The phones were instantly recognisable on account of their comparatively sleek clamshell design, which placed a hinge between the screen and keyboard.
More than a decade after their first appearance, the Razr is set to make a return as a modern smartphone with a folding screen, known as the Razr V4. Its classic clamshell form factor contains a single screen which folds out to fill the whole of the inside of the phone.
The Razr V4 uses a flexible OLED screen and can close with both sides perfectly flush, allowing for a thin and compact design. It also includes a small 'Quick View Display' on its upper screen which can be viewed externally, allowing users to view and respond to notifications while the phone is closed. The user can transition “instantly” between the smaller and larger display simply by flipping open the phone. The Razr V4 will have just one camera (with a resolution of 16MP), unlike most modern smartphones that have both front and rear-facing lenses. The product's press statement says that the new Razr camera is armed with night vision and AI for “shot optimisation, portrait lighting, smart composition, auto smile capture and gesture capture”.
The Razr V4 will be available for pre-order in the US with Verizon for $1,500 (£1,170) from 26 December 2019, arriving in shops and online on 9 January 2020. It will be available in the UK later in 2020, exclusively with EE.
The updated clamshell design sets the Razr V4 aside from other folding phones, which mostly open through a vertical hinge to reveal a screen the size of a small tablet. Samsung launched the premium Samsung Galaxy Fold in September following a botched April pre-release, during which numerous reviewers complained of their sample handset screens breaking after just hours of use. Samsung’s technical issues led competitor Huawei to delay the launch of its own foldable phone (the Huawei Mate X) for more thorough testing. Chinese electronics manufacturer TCL has also teased a foldable phone launch in the near future, which could use an unconventional form factor.
Rumours of a Razr revival have been swirling throughout 2019, with the Wall Street Journal reporting as early as January that Motorola was planning to release a $1,500 version of the classic flip phone with Verizon. A leaked image of the foldable Razr was leaked at the end of October.
Ru Bhikha of uSwitch.com told the Press Association: “The original Motorola Razr was such an iconic design that, even now, when you think of a foldable phone, you are automatically reminded of a classic flip phone of the mid-Noughties. But the cost of developing the folding screen makes the Razr V4 a high-end smartphone likely to cost over £1,100 in the UK: more than the iPhone 11, but less than the Samsung Galaxy Fold.
“The Razr can’t compete with the performance of similarly priced rivals, boasting only a single 16MP rear camera […] the device is also less powerful in the CPU and battery departments [than rival products] due to the restrictions of the design.”
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