Master & Dynamic MH40 Wireless headphones review

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Master & Dynamic MH40 Wireless headphones

“Combining high style and good sound, the MH40 Wireless update a classic with wireless convenience.”

  • Gorgeous design
  • Comfortable
  • Top-quality materials
  • Clear and detailed sound
  • Very good call quality
  • Short battery life
  • You can’t listen while charging
  • Not a lot of bass

Five years ago, Master & Dynamic entered the audio world with its first product, the MH40 headphones. Their elegant and unique design captured people’s attention, as did their sound quality. But five years ago, Apple and other smartphone makers hadn’t yet issued the death warrant for the headphone jack.

As such, the MH40’s wired design was still appropriate. But times have changed considerably. We now live in an era of full wireless audio, whether you prefer to get your tunes from wireless headphones or true wireless earbuds. With this in mind, Master & Dynamic (M&D) has re-introduced its freshman offering as a wireless set of cans: The $299 MH40 Wireless.

All of the touches that made the MH40 a breath of fresh air remain, like the undeniably cool retro-aviator design and premium materials. But make no mistake: These aren’t just the original MH40s without the wire; they’ve been fully re-thought for travelers in 2019 and beyond. Let’s take a closer look.

Light, airy, and elegant

You simply can’t discuss M&D’s products without spending some time discussing their design. In a headphone market that is largely dominated by hulking black plastic earmuffs, the MH40 Wireless manage to exude classy sophistication, ruggedness, and lightness all at the same time. They combine leather, metal, aluminum, and lambskin to create a sense of luxury.

Considering the almost total absence of plastic, these cans are surprisingly light. At just 267 grams, they’re almost a third lighter than the original MH40s and almost as light as Sony’s featherweight WH-1000XM3. The use of metal earcup slider posts instead of the more conventional adjustable headband adds to the retro vibe without making it look like you’re wearing antennas — something I found was the case on the similarly-styled House of Marley Exodus ANC.

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The one thing I wish was here: The folding hinge that M&D introduced on its MH30 headphones. The MH40 Wireless aren’t big, but they would take up less room in your bag if they could fold.

While not as streamlined as some of the more integrated headphones from Sony or Beats, the MH40 Wireless make a style statement before you even switch them on.

Comfort with caution

The over-the-ear MH40 Wireless have memory foam earpads, which I found very comfortable. They’re magnetically latched to the earcups — a convenient feature should you ever need to replace them. When seated around your ears, they do a good job keeping out unwanted sounds.

However, I struggled a bit with their tendency to shift around on my head unless I sat perfectly still. It took me a while to figure out why, but I believe it’s a combination of the earpads’ profile (there’s only a small amount of contact surface), the mass of the earcups (all of the weight sits quite low), and the small amount of tension provided by the headband.

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I should note that my head is much smaller than average for a man, so this may not be an issue for you, but nonetheless, I wouldn’t count on using the MH40 Wireless at the gym.

On the upside, the smaller shape of the earcups makes them way more comfortable when worn around the neck — for what that’s worth.

Scintillating sound

Are you a fan of deep bass that you don’t just hear, but actually feel as a reverberation through your skull and internal organs? If yes, don’t read any further; the MH40 Wireless are not for you.

Tuned for precision, not power, these headphones are wonderfully detailed but they will disappoint bass fans. Perfect for discovering nuances in your favorite jazz, classical, or folk tracks that your previous headphones couldn’t reveal, the MH40s shine when delivering vocals too. That crystalline quality is amazing as long as you don’t ask it go too low.

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What exactly does that mean? Let’s take David Guetta’s Titanium as a case in point. In the opening minute of the track, we get the introductory notes with Sia’s vocals. It’s rendered with beautiful clarity and the MH40s revealed a depth to Sia’s voice I hadn’t heard before. It gave me goosebumps. As it builds toward that first crescendo, your expectation builds as well — toward that beat drop you know is coming.

Except that it never quite does. As delicious as the soaring highs and detailed midrange are, the lack of depth in the lows might leave you wanting more.

Take the call

Call quality may not be the biggest factor in choosing a set of wireless headphones, but you won’t need to worry about it with the MH40 Wireless. During some brief testing both indoors and outside, my callers had no problem hearing me, saying they found my voice perfectly clear.

Talking to Siri proved equally accurate. Unfortunately, with no pass-through mode, my own voice sounded muffled to me, increasing the likelihood of yelling. Very few non-noise-canceling headphones have this feature, but it sure would be nice if they did.

Quite a pair

Setting up the MH40 Wireless and getting them paired was quick and painless. They showed up quickly in both iOS and Android Bluetooth menus and paired almost instantly. Better yet, the wireless connection remained highly stable, even when I wandered several floors away from my iPhone — something that other wireless headphones and earbuds have struggled to do.

You get a pair of cables with the MH40s — a USB-C for charging and a USB-C-to-analog for wired listening. That cable is highly unusual in the wireless headphone space, as most companies simply equip their cans with a standard 3.5mm or 2.5mm headphone jack. The MH40 just has the single USB-C port and uses it for both duties.

Though it works just fine, there are two drawbacks to this arrangement: You may have trouble replacing the audio cable if you lose or misplace it, and you can’t listen to the headphones while recharging them.

Speaking of recharging, if you’re planning on a flight half-way around the world, take a battery pack: The MH40 Wireless last only 18 hours between charges — a surprisingly small amount of time when compared to the monster lifespans on offer at the same price. Still, you can get half of that time back with only 30 minutes of charging, so it’s not too much of a burden to bear.

Our take

The Master & Dynamic MH40 Wireless take all of the best parts of the original MH40s and make the package a whole lot sweeter for just $50 more. They’re at their best when you’re sitting in a comfortable chair and you’re able to appreciate the impressive detail and clarity these headphones offer. As long as you’re not a big-bass addict, they’ll delight the senses and set you apart from the plastic-cans crowd.

Is there a better alternative?

Yes. You’ll find a number of over-the-ear headphones that outperform the MH40 Wireless and sometimes for less money. Sony’s excellent WH-1000XM3, which routinely show up on sale for less than $300 offer lighter weight, greater comfort, better sound, longer battery life, and even class-leading active noise cancellation. But let’s be honest, the Sonys are about as boring in the style department as you can get. The M&D MH40 Wireless are like a classic sports car — you choose them because they sound great and they make a statement.

How long will they last?

Materials and build quality on the MH40 Wireless are very good. I expect that with the appropriate amount of care, they’ll last for many years. One thing I can’t vouch for is the rechargeable battery. It’s not user-replaceable (which is typical of wireless headphones) but M&D provides the following guidance: If you only recharge the battery when it’s almost empty, you should be able to use the MH40 Wireless for 8 hours a day for up to six years before battery life starts to noticeably drop.

Should you buy them?

Yes. They may not pack the kind of value you’ll get out of other wireless headphones, but they sound great, they’re comfortable to wear, and their unique design is undeniably cool.

Editors’ Recommendations

Google to Offer ‘Smart’ Checking Accounts

Google plans to launch consumer checking accounts next year through a project code-named “Cache,” The Wall Street Journal first reported on Wednesday.

“We’re exploring how we can partner with banks and credit unions in the United States to offer smart checking accounts through Google Pay, helping their customers benefit from useful insights and budgeting tools, while keeping their money in an FDIC or NCUA-insured account,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement provided to the E-Commerce Times by Craig Ewer, Communications Manager, Shopping & Travel.

“Our lead partners today are Citibank and the Stanford Federal Credit Union, and we look forward to sharing more details in the coming months,” the spokesperson said.

The accounts will carry Google’s financial institutions partners’ brands, and the company will leave “the financial plumbing and compliance” to its partners, Caesar Sengupta, who leads Google’s efforts in payments, told the WSJ.

For example, Google will deliver the interface, and the Stanford Federal Credit Union will support the accounts.

“We believe our partners’ regulatory and financial know-how is a great complement to our experience in building helpful tools and technology for our users,” the Google spokesperson said.

This approach “is smart, as it should keep them out of the gunsights of the regulators who have been pissed about Facebook’s cryptocurrency,” commented Rob Enderle, principle analyst at the Enderle Group.

Entering directly into banking “would be catastrophic for Google and would likely fuel the effort to break them up,” he told the E-Commerce Times.

Antitrust regulators at the European Union are investigating Facebook’s plans to launch its Libra cryptocurrency, and United States lawmakers have raked CEO Mark Zuckerberg over the coals in Congress.

Consumers using Google’s service will access their checking accounts through Google Pay.

The Google Pay team “has been working for years to help make money simple and accessible for our users, in close partnership with banks, credit unions, and the existing regulatory and financial systems,” the company’s spokesperson said.

Google has not yet decided whether it will charge a fee for the checking account service, Sengupta noted.

Business and Consumer Benefits

“Consumers will likely get better access to payment technologies, so there’s a convenience benefit,” suggested Tim Erlin, VP, product management and strategy, at Tripwire.

People who need banking services but do not have them may find the Google service “better and safer than cash,” Enderle observed. “This should be particularly useful for those that are tired of using cash for things like legal marijuana.”

Businesses will get more potential customers and see the need for cash reduced, Enderle said.

Google’s move might help the banking industry, which “needs to find a way to stay relevant as fintech revolutionizes it,” Erlin told the E-Commerce Times. “Partnering with Google on an effort like this provides one such opportunity.”

Big tech firms have been pushing into the banking industry to leverage their digital prowess, Fannie Mae’s third quarter 2018 National Housing Survey (NHS) indicates.

Thirty-six percent of Americans signed into third-party payment apps — such as PayPal, Venmo, Apple Pay and Google Pay — to conduct financial transactions, the survey found.

People between 18 and 34 were statistically more likely to trust their favorite tech company with their financial activities, based on the survey results.

“Strategically partnering with innovation in the payments evolution is critical to remaking relevance and meeting consumer expectations,” stated Joan Opp, the credit union’s president and CEO.

The US$3 billion credit union, which serves the Stanford community and employees of many Bay Area tech companies, focuses heavy on providing digital services to meet the expectations of its tech-savvy members.

The Thorny Issue of Privacy

Google will not sell checking account users’ financial data, Sengupta pledged.

“I believe this is true,” said Ray Wang, principal analyst at Constellation Research.

“I also believe that Google will end up with richer consumer profiles used for its ad engine,” he told the E-Commerce Times.

Checking account data itself is not important for that purpose, Wang explained. “The activity and engagement data paired with the rest of Google’s operations make it a very powerful data-driven digital network for ads.”

The penalty Google would incur from selling checking account users’ data “would exceed any likely financial benefit,” Enderle observed. Google “may have no attention span but they aren’t stupid.”

It is worth asking what other data Google might have access to and how that would benefit it, Tripwire’s Erlin noted. “It’s also worth asking what benefit Google might derive from the data directly, without selling it.”

Google needs to pay very careful attention to privacy.

“Any time you give access to data there are privacy and security issues,” Erlin cautioned. “The question is whether the benefit derived by the consumer is worth the risk.”

It’s in Google’s best interest to obfuscate the potential risk in order to ensure that consumers see only the benefits, he said. “Any time data is aggregated, it makes for a bigger target for attackers.”

Project Cache is not Google’s first foray into the financial sector: It previously launched, and later shut down, the Google Wallet debit card; the Pony Express service, to allow bill pay through Gmail accounts; and its online shopping comparison site, Google Compare, which let consumers compare auto insurance quotes, credit cards, banking products and mortgage products in the United States and the UK.


Richard Adhikari has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2008. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile technologies, CRM, databases, software development, mainframe and mid-range computing, and application development. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including Information Week and Computerworld. He is the author of two books on client/server technology. Email Richard.

Disney+ to launch in India, Southeast Asian markets next year

Disney plans to bring its on-demand video streaming service to India and some Southeast Asian markets as soon as the second half of next year, two sources familiar with the company’s plans told TechCrunch.

In India, the company plans to bring Disney+’s catalog to Hotstar, a popular video streaming service it owns, after the end of next year’s IPL cricket tournament in May, the people said.

Soon afterwards, the company plans to expand Hotstar with Disney+ catalog to Indonesia and Malaysia among other Southeast Asian nations, said those people on the condition of anonymity.

A spokesperson for Hotstar declined to comment.

Hotstar leads the Indian video streaming market. The service said it had more than 300 million monthly subscribers during the IPL cricket tournament and ICC World Cup earlier this year. More than 25 million users simultaneously streamed one of these matches, setting a new global record.

The international expansion of Hotstar isn’t a surprise as it has entered the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. in recent years. In an interview with TechCrunch earlier this year, Ipsita Dasgupta, president of Hotstar’s international operations, said so far the company’s international strategy has been to enter markets with “high density of Indians.”

In an earnings call for the quarter that ended in June this year, Disney CEO Robert Iger hinted that the company, which snagged Indian entertainment conglomerate Star India as part of its $71.3 billion deal with 21st Century Fox, would bring Star India-operated Hotstar to Southeast Asian markets, though he did not offer a timeline.

Disney+, currently available in the U.S, Canada, and the Netherlands, will expand to Australia and New Zealand next week, and the U.K., Germany, Italy, France and Spain on March 31, the company announced last week.

Price hike

Disney, which debut its video streaming service in the U.S. this week and has already amassed over 10 million subscribers, plans to raise the tariff of Hotstar in India, where the service currently costs $14 a year, one of the two aforementioned people said.

A screenshot of Hotstar’s homepage

The price hike will happen towards the end of the first quarter next year, just ahead of commencement of next IPL cricket tournament season, they said. The company has not decided exactly how much it intends to charge, but one of the people said that it could go as high as $30 a year.

In other Southeast Asian markets, the service is likely to cost above $30 a year as well, both of the sources said. The prices have yet to be finalized, however, they said. Even at those suggested price points, Disney would be able to undercut local rivals on price. Until recently, Netflix charged at least $7 a month in India and other Southeast Asian markets. But this year, the on-demand streaming pioneer introduced a $2.8 monthly tier in India and $4 in Malaysia.

Hotstar offers a large library of local movies and titles syndicated from Showtime, HBO, and ABC (also owned by Disney). In its current international markets, Hotstar’s catalog is limited to some local content and large library of Indian titles.

The arrival of more originals from Disney on Hotstar, which already offers a number of Disney-owned titles in India, could help the service sustain users after cricket seasons. The service’s monthly userbase plummets below 60 million in weeks following IPL tournament, according to people who have seen the internal analytics.

In recent quarters, Hotstar has also set up an office in Tsinghua Science Park in Beijing, China and hired over 60 engineers and researchers as it looks to expand its tech infrastructure to service more future users, according to job recruitment posts and other data sourced from LinkedIn.

Motorola throws back to the future with a foldable Razr reboot

The rebirth of the Razr has been rumored for several months now. And honestly, such a product is a bit of a no-brainer. The Lenovo-owned company is embracing the burgeoning (if sputtering) world of foldables with the return of one of its most iconic models.

While it’s true that Motorola’s kept the Razr name alive in some form or another well into the Android era, everything that’s come since has failed to recapture the magic of the once mighty brand.

From the looks of things, however, the newly announced Razr is a lovely bit of symmetry. The product, which was announced earlier today in Los Angeles, leans into the lackluster criticism that foldables are simply a return of the once-ubiquitous clamshell design.

Motorola Razr

Motorola Razr

According to Motorola, the company has been toying around with flexible technology for some time now. Per a press release: “In 2015, a cross functional team, comprised of engineers and designers from both Motorola and Lenovo, was assembled to start thinking about how we could utilize flexible display technology.”

The device swaps the horizontal design of its best known competitor, the Samsung Galaxy Fold. The vertical form factor looks to be a match made in foldable heaven. Certainly it loses some of the uber-thin design that made the original Razr such a hit so many years back, but makes the ultra-wide (21:9) 6.2-inch screen compact enough to fit in a pocket.

As with the Galaxy Fold, there’s another a small display on the front for getting a glimpse of notifications and the like. It’s another design feature that mirrors the O.G. Razr. Predictably, the device runs Android — Android 9 (for now), to be precise.

For full throwback appeal, there’s also a “Retro Razr” mode, that mimics the original metallic button design for the bottom half of the screen. It’s a skin that does, indeed, double as a number pad, usable with Android messaging app. Motorola clearly put a lot of love into the design and it shows. If nothing else, the new Razr could go a ways toward proving that retro handsets can be more than just nostalgic novelty for bygone tech.

After the whole Samsung kerfuffle, you’d be right to question the device’s durability, though Motorola says it’s less concerned, citing an “average” smartphone timespan for the product. Only one way, to find out, I guess. Also like the Fold, price is a pretty big obstacle to any sort of mainstream adoption for this first-gen product. The Razr will run $1,499 when it launches in January of next year.

Motorola Razr hands-on review: A $1,500 blast from the past

The Motorola Razr is back. Even if you don’t have the nostalgia for iconic flip phones that some of us do, this new Razr brings a compelling design that looks both futuristic and familiar.

We’ve seen foldable screens in a few devices like the Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate X, but while those are meant to double as tablets, Razr’s here to bring the more pocketable clamshell form factor back to the modern smartphone era.

With any foldable screen design, execution is key. By all appearances, this is a well-crafted, futuristic device, that’s still evocative of the early 2000’s flip phone from which it takes its name. Yet digging deeper into the new Razr leaves me wanting more for the phone’s steep $1,500 price.

The return of an icon

Motorola insists the new Razr wasn’t an attempt to bring the company’s Razr V3 flip phone back from the dead, but came about organically based on user polls and research showing that people wanted a more pocketable phone.

Frankly, I’m not convinced. As a 90’s kid whose first phone was a flip phone, I saw many Razrs “back in the day,” and it is a neat bit of nostalgia to open and close a phone old-school. Especially one that looks so much like the Razr V3.

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Riley Young / Digital Trends

From its external display, to the Razr thinness, and even the distinctive chin which now houses the antenna and a speaker, the new Razr is reminiscent of the classic when closed.

Open up the device, though, and a 6.2-inch OLED display unfolds. The 21:9 screen has a resolution of 2142 x 876. It boasts excellent contrast and deep blacks, as OLEDs often do. Motorola wouldn’t disclose who it partnered with to create this display, but the company says it has developed plastic OLEDS since 2011.

While the overall look is rather seamless, durability is my main concern.

It truly looks like Motorola gutted the insides of an old Razer phone and slapped a big, beautiful, foldable display in its place — one, I might add, that shows no creasing when unfolded, with minimal exposure of the hinge. That doesn’t mean I’m ready to give the phone a pass, though. Folding phones haven’t proven durable (looking at you, Galaxy Fold!), so I’ll need an extended test before I’ll call it reliable.

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Riley Young / Digital Trends

The screen has a nano-coating for splash-resistance, but there’s no IP rating on the Razr for dust or water resistance. It’s made of stainless steel and glass with a resin back, which feels solid in hand, but the hinge and screen are where I want to see protective measures.

Motorola has taken some, but they’ve declined to specify how many flip cycles, or open and close motions, the Razr can handle. That worries me a bit, and makes me think I might want to limit how often I open the screen, as I have no reference for how many cycles it can go through.

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Riley Young / Digital Trends

The company did describe the hinge’s bi-stable, “zero-gap” design, which Motorola says it aimed to make “assistive, reliable, and durable.” The moving pieces in the hinge make the Razr feel stable when closed and when open. It never felt like the Razr would open when I didn’t want it to, and I never felt it would close without deliberate effort.

It’s everywhere in between that range of motion that could use some work, though. Flipping it open, you’ll need to flick hard or have gravity on your side. Otherwise, you’ll be using your thumb to push it along through a significant portion of the flip. This is where I’d like to have more “assist” so that opening the Razr feels light and snappy, rather than weighted and floppy.

An interactive outer screen

When closed, the Razr sports a 2.7-inch OLED touchscreen display called the Quick View display. This screen has a 600 x 800 pixel resolution and can offer quick bits of information when alerts come in.

Certain notifications, like text messages and emails, can be handled with quick replies or voice dictation without opening the Razr. Most built-in apps allow for “seamless transitions” which let you start using an app on the outer screen and flip open to the larger display to continue where you left off.

For now, these seamless transitions will be limited Google apps, but Motorola is intent on working to bring this to as many experiences as possible.

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Riley Young / Digital Trends

Aside from notification handling, the outer screen can also field Google Assistant prompts, take selfies with the 16 MP main camera, and even conduct video calls. Last but not least, you can control music playback from the Quick View display. I’m curious to see how third-party apps will do with this new functionality.

Mediocre internals

The new Motorola Razr is a design-first device; that’s clear from the outset. In the name of making a thin, Razr-esque modern smartphone, some sacrifices were made with the internals.

In terms of silicon, we’re looking at Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 710 processor paired with 6 GB RAM and 128 GB internal storage, which isn’t expandable via MicroSD card. There’s actually two batteries inside which together give the Razr “all day” battery life, a metric Motorola declined to specify further. The included 15-watt TurboPower charger should at least power things up quickly, though.

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Riley Young / Digital Trends

According to the company, a 700-series Snapdragon processor was chosen to achieve this “all-day” battery while maintaining the thin profile. In other words, this was a concession made to fit the Razr form factor.

Flicking around the OS still seemed responsive with the minimal stress I was able to put it under, but gaming and intense multitasking might tell a different story. We’ll have to put this through its paces to see what the full experience belies. Still, given the phone’s price, to see anything but the latest Qualcomm processor is a bummer.

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Riley Young / Digital Trends

Things don’t get better when you look at the camera either. Another case of form over function, the Razr has a single f/1.7 16 MP camera in a world where three cameras is par for the course, especially at this price. There’s nothing much new to report on the camera software front, either. You still have features like Moto’s Night Vision, portrait modes, and AI working to fix up your photos.

Without any significant feature additions of improvements, it looks to be a mediocre camera. I’m hoping more time with the Razr will prove me wrong.

Wrap Up

Motorola’s Razr revival looks incredible, but I hope a second-generation will bring it closer to parity with other phones you can get at this price. Motorola’s foldable screen technology and a hinge that maintains the screens integrity allows for a seamless look when the Razr is opened up.

Otherwise, it’s essentially a regular smart phone in a Motorola Razr form factor that looks different and nostalgic, while also achieving a bit of a futuristic look. Fold it up, drop it in your pocket, and now you’re  in the future.

Yet with a hefty price tag, internals that underwhelm, and no other groundbreaking features to speak of, the Motorola Razr relies a lot on design and nostalgia to win over fans.

Pricing, availability, and warranty

The Motorola Razr will be available for $1,500 exclusively on Verizon, but will be sold at Best Buy, as well. Pre-sales start December of this year with orders shipping in January 2020. A robust one-year warranty is included which offers 24/7 chat support and free repairs or replacements. After the first year, Motorola will also offer screen replacements for $300.

In the box, you’ll receive a set of Denon earbuds, a braided cable, and a cradle that can hold the Razr and amplify the sound.

The U.S. launch will be followed by an international release in Europe, Latin America, and more to come.

Editors’ Recommendations

The foldable Motorola Razr makes big phones less of a handful

Are foldable phones the future? The Samsung Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate X are two examples of what future smartphones could look like, with tablet-sized screens hidden beneath a fold. But what if the future doesn’t mean making even bigger screens, but instead shrinking down the size of our existing displays?

Motorola has revealed the new Motorola Razr, and it’s a foldable phone with a twist. Borrowing heavily from the classic Motorola Razr V3‘s design, the new Motorola Razr asks why we can’t simply make big phones smaller again by folding a 6.2-inch screen into a smaller package. Here’s everything you need to know about the foldable Motorola Razr phone.

Design and display

The new Motorola Razr doesn’t just borrow the Razr V3’s name — it calls back to that phone’s classic clamshell design too. The Razr folds vertically, folding the top of the display into the bottom, leaving a hefty bottom chin that protrudes to sit flush with the folded display. You’ll find the phone’s fingerprint scanner on this chin too.

But Motorola didn’t just adopt the clamshell fold to appease rosy-eyed retro-enthusiasts — turns out it’s the most favored design for a fair amount of consumers. Motorola tested over 20 prototypes with different designs, and it was the clamshell that won out for providing the perfect mix of portability and the large screen we’ve all come to love. Some serious engineering was required to bring the new Razr’s fold to life, and it’s led to Motorola creating the first zero-gap hinge where the folding screen can sit flush with each other. The mechanical elements of the hinge move to either side of the fold, closing the gap entirely, and protecting against dust and dirt ingress while closed.

That cutting edge engineering is complemented with some top-notch build materials too. The new Motorola Razr is made from a stainless steel body and 3D Gorilla Glass, and those premium materials add to the device’s heft. At 205g it’s a weighty phone, and that weight will add to the satisfying feeling from closing the phone to end a call. Yup, the Razr’s iconic “close to hang up” feature is back, though you can turn it off if you’re not a fan. Unfortunately, there’s no IP-rated water-resistance except for the usual Motorola splash-proofing.

The inner Flex View display is a 6.2-inch POLED running a 2142 x 876 resolution in a super-long 21:9 aspect ratio. While we appreciate the long, Cinemawide aspect ratio, the comparatively low resolution is something of a disappointment. Expect to see pixels if you lean in close.

But there’s more to get excited about here than just the inner display — there’s a display on the outside too. Once again calling back to the original Razr V3, the new Razr features a 2.7-inch GOLED Quick View display running an 800 x 600 resolution on the outside of the phone. While you’re unlikely to settle down to watch any Hollywood blockbusters on the external display, don’t discount the Quick View’s usefulness. You’ll be able to quickly check your notifications, reply to messages and emails, use Google Pay, change music tracks, and even call upon the Google Assistant — all without flipping your phone open. Once you do flip your phone open, app continuity means you’ll open to whatever you were looking at on the Quick View display.

Specs and battery

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With the Motorola Razr being something of a design and engineering pioneer, you might expect the similarly high-end specifications. Unfortunately, anyone hoping for the latest in smartphone hardware is going to be disappointed, as Motorola has opted for midrange hardware. But even with that caveat, there’s still a lot to love here.

Key Specs

  • CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 710
  • Memory: 6GB
  • Storage: 128GB
  • MicroSD storage: None
  • Screen size: 6.2 inches (internal Flex View display), 2.7-inches (external Quick View display)
  • Resolution: 2142 x 876 (internal Flex View display), 800 x 600 (external Quick View display)
  • Connectivity: USB-C, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC
  • Battery: 2,510mAh
  • Size: 172 x 72 x 6.9 mm (unfolded), 94 x 72 x 14 mm (folded)
  • Weight: 205g (7.2oz)
  • Operating system: Android 9.0 Pie

Motorola hasn’t been one for using top “flagchip” processors in its flagship phones in recent years, and the new Razr is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 710, a premium midrange chip from 2018. It’s slightly disappointing the newer Snapdragon 730 wasn’t used, but unless you’re playing the latest 3D games you shouldn’t notice a huge performance gulf compared with flagship phones.

6GB of RAM is definitely a more acceptable stat to see on the sheets, alongside 128GB storage as the one and only option. That’s a good amount, but it’s the only storage you’ll get, as there’s no MicroSD card for further expansion. In fact, there’s no SIM card tray at all, since the new Razr uses eSIM exclusively.

The new Razr is powered by a 2,510mAh battery, which seems a little underpowered at first glance. However, that’s only if the 6.2-inner display is being used often — liberal use of the 2.7-inch outer screen for most day-to-day tasks and the midrange specs could well mean the battery lasts for longer than you’d initially expect. We’ll be sure to put that theory to the test in our full review. There’s no wireless charging, but it does come with Motorola’s 15W Turbopower charging as standard.

Software and special features

new motorola razr foldable phone launched 2019

We’ll hit you with the worst news first: The Motorola Razr won’t be launching with Android 10. Instead, it’ll launch with Android 9.0 Pie. Expect Android 10 to follow later, but it won’t be ready for launch, unfortunately. Thankfully, Motorola has never favored heavily customized Android interfaces, so your Razr experience will be close to stock Android, making it an attractive prospect for purists.

Motorola will be including its Moto Actions in the phone though, so you’ll be able to make various gestures with the phone to activate specific functions. Examples include the double wrist twist to open the camera, or making a double chopping motion to toggle the flashlight. Once you get used to them, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without them.

Camera

new motorola razr foldable phone launched 2019

Unlike other folding phones, you’ll only find a single lens on the front and back of the new Motorola Razr. The rear-facing lens is a 16-megapixel lens with an aperture of f/1.7 and electronic image stabilization (EIS). Around the front, you’ll find a 5-megapixel selfie lens with an aperture of f/2.0. Based on stats alone, it’s fair not to expect the Motorola Razr to be entering our list of the best camera phones.

But it’s not bereft of camera fun, as Motorola has added some tricks involving the external Quick View display. Take a quick selfie by showing the external screen your palm, and it’ll take a selfie after a short countdown. When you’re using the phone unfolded, the external display will show any active shot timers, as well as showing a preview of the shot once you’ve taken it — letting your subject take a look. If you’re taking a picture of a child or animal, the Quick View display can play a fun animation to snag their attention.

Release date and price

Like most foldable phones, it’s fair to say the Motorola Razr is unlikely to be for everyone, but if you’re sold on it, then you’ve probably only got two questions. How much, and when? Unfortunately, we’re not sure — yet. Expect the phone to release before the end of 2019, but also don’t expect it to come cheap. Despite the relatively low-spec hardware on offer, the Motorola Razr is a cutting edge device with a razor-sharp design. $1,500 seems like a good place to start.

Editors’ Recommendations

Motorola’s new Razr is the first foldable smartphone worth getting excited about

The Razr is back. 

Fifteen years after launching the iconic flip phone, Motorola is showing off its highly anticipated reboot: a $1499 smartphone with a flexible display that folds up when you’re not using it.

I got an early look at the new Razr at a press event in Los Angeles on Tuesday, and I can safely say that it looks like it was worth the wait. 

Motorola’s new Razr isn’t the first smartphone with a foldable, flexible display, but it’s the first such phone I’ve actually been really excited about — and not just because it stays true to its flip-phone roots. 

Razr, rebooted

The most striking thing about the Razr is how much it looks like the original. While other foldable phones use dual-screen displays that are awkwardly wide, the new Razr preserves the original clamshell design of its namesake. 

The Motorola Razr's 2.7-inch "Quick View" display.

The Motorola Razr’s 2.7-inch “Quick View” display.

Image: karissa bell / mashable

The 16MP camera is the rear camera when unfolded, and the front camera when folded.

The 16MP camera is the rear camera when unfolded, and the front camera when folded.

Image: karissa bell / mashable

Yes, it’s a bit wider and bigger than the original, but it will look very familiar to anyone who owned (or coveted) a Razr in the early aughts. When it’s folded up, there’s a 2.7-inch “Quick View” display, where you can preview your notifications, use a handful of apps, or snap a selfie. One nice touch: the camera on the front is the same 16 MP that’s the rear-facing shooter when the phone is unfolded (there’s also a 5MP front-facing camera for selfies when the phone is unfolded.)

Motorola Razr (left) and iPhone 11 Pro (right)

Motorola Razr (left) and iPhone 11 Pro (right)

Image: karissa bell /mashable

When you unfold the phone, it opens up into a 6.2-inch display “FlexView” OLED display. It’s a bit narrower than other smartphones, which might look a bit odd, but makes it much easier to use one handed. I was easily able to get my right thumb into the top left corner of the display, which I’m not able to do easily with my iPhone X.

Another feature that’s instantly recognizable from the original: the massive “chin” on the bottom edge of the phone. Motorola executives said during a press event Tuesday that this was both an intentional callback to the original flip phone, which had a similar ridge on the bottom, and a practical necessity. In addition to a fingerprint sensor, the chin also holds the phone’s antennas and speakers. 

The bottom section holds a fingerprint sensor, antennas, and the phone's speakers.

The bottom section holds a fingerprint sensor, antennas, and the phone’s speakers.

Image: karissa bell / mashable

That chin, though.

That chin, though.

Image: karissa bell / mashable

In my time with the phone, I didn’t find the bulky bit awkward — it actually makes it a little easier to hold the curved glass in your hands — but I can easily see it being a controversial choice to some.

Folding is the new flipping

Okay, let’s talk about that fold-up flippable display. 

Motorola designed a unique “zero-gap” hinge system to accommodate the display. There’s no space in between the two halves of the phone when it’s folded up. When it’s unfolded, the hinge is just barely visible at the edge of the phone. And, unlike Samsung’s Galaxy Fold, there isn’t a visible crease where the display folds. 

If you look closely over the hinge, there is a slight gap between the hinge and the display, which allows it to fold. It’s not a crease, but you can definitely feel that there’s some space there. I was even able to get my fingernail between the plastic display and hinge, much to the horror of a nearby Motorola executive. 

The fold.

The fold.

Image: karissa bell /  mashable

The hinge.

The hinge.

Image: karissa bell / mashable

But it still felt quite sturdy, and the display seemed completely unaffected by my attempts to move it around. 

A Motorola executive told me it’s designed to prevent debris from getting stuck in that gap, which was a big issue with the Galaxy Fold, though I’d have to spend more time with the phone to confirm. 

There’s also something that’s just really, really satisfying about having a flip-phone-like design again. I was a little bummed that the new Razr isn’t quite as easy to flip open one-handed, and it doesn’t have quite the same thwack when you close it, but it’s pretty damn fun to be able to fold up a phone and use multiple displays again.

Whether all that is enough to make the new Razr a hit for Motorola, though, is unclear.

I’ve only spent about an hour with the phone, but it’s already the only foldable phone I’ve actually been excited about, and not just because of my flip phone nostalgia. By taking cues from the original, Motorola seems to have come up with a dual-screen, foldable concept that actually makes sense: a big phone when you want it, a small one when you don’t.

That said, the phone is nearly $1500 and there is reason for some caution. I do have some potential concerns about the hinge system and whether the display can stand up to everyday use and abuse. Motorola execs seems pretty confident that it will, but if Samsung’s Galaxy Fold fiasco taught us anything it’s that there’s a whole lot more that can go wrong with flexible displays. 

But even so, it’s the first smartphone to make me think that flexible displays might actually amount to something more than a gimmick.

Motorola's revived RAZR is a fashion-forward foldable

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Few phones were as iconic and as ubiquitous as the original Motorola RAZR. Celebs used them constantly, fashion houses cooked up designer mashups, and it wasn’t long before friends, family members and co-workers all started carrying them, too. The RAZR was, in other words, an absolute phenomenon, and now it’s back.” data-reactid=”20″>Few phones were as iconic and as ubiquitous as the original Motorola RAZR. Celebs used them constantly, fashion houses cooked up designer mashups, and it wasn’t long before friends, family members and co-workers all started carrying them, too. The RAZR was, in other words, an absolute phenomenon, and now it’s back.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="As countless reports and leaks have confirmed, though, it isn’t the RAZR you grew up with. This new version, which will sell for $1,500 when it launches on Verizon next month, is Motorola’s first foldable smartphone, and unlike any other foldable we’ve played with this year. It doesn’t unfold into a small tablet. It doesn’t pack loads of cameras or flagship components. It is, by Motorola’s admission, a "design-first" kind of phone. That might sound concerning to some, and after a bit of hands-on time in sunny Los Angeles, people who demand peak smartphone performance or superior battery life might be a little disappointed.” data-reactid=”21″>As countless reports and leaks have confirmed, though, it isn’t the RAZR you grew up with. This new version, which will sell for $1,500 when it launches on Verizon next month, is Motorola’s first foldable smartphone, and unlike any other foldable we’ve played with this year. It doesn’t unfold into a small tablet. It doesn’t pack loads of cameras or flagship components. It is, by Motorola’s admission, a “design-first” kind of phone. That might sound concerning to some, and after a bit of hands-on time in sunny Los Angeles, people who demand peak smartphone performance or superior battery life might be a little disappointed.

That’s OK, though. Motorola’s priority here was to build the kind of foldable device that regular people would want to use, and despite some compromises, I think the company might be onto something.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="

A classic design, revived

When Motorola set out to build its first foldable, it went through 26 prototypes of different shapes, sizes and screen configurations before deciding to re-embrace the RAZR’s iconic design. To me at least, that’s the best decision Motorola could have made. While I was testing the Galaxy Fold earlier this year, I was surprised by the number of people who didn’t find it nearly as fascinating as I did. Turns out, that was because the people who weren’t thrilled by it didn’t particularly want to use a small tablet, regardless of whether it could fold in half. Those people, according to Motorola’s research, really just wanted a full-size smartphone that could shrink down into a sleek package when they were done using it. So that’s what they built.

When the RAZR is closed, it’s very nearly the same thickness as the original: about 14mm. You’ll find a big hump up front housing a 16-megapixel main camera and a 2.7-inch glass OLED display for quick interactions (more on those later), while the back features a textured, grippy finish. It’s honestly not much to look at all folded up like this, but that’s beside the point: The RAZR took up very little space when I slid it into my pocket, and it’s even small enough to fit into the very tiny pants pockets women have to deal with.

Of course, the real engineering magic becomes apparent when you open the thing up. What can I say — it feels really nice. It doesn’t snap open the way the original RAZR did, but the motion of the hinges feels fluid and fully in control as the screen swivels into place. I really can’t overstate how good a job Motorola did on this hardware; my only real gripe is that the RAZR can be difficult to open with one hand.

When it is open, this thing looks like a proper RAZR, right down to the hefty chin where the phone’s fingerprint sensor, cellular antennas, USB-C port and surprisingly loud four-speaker array all live. You probably won’t be spending much time marveling at that throwback design flourish when there’s a 6.2-inch, 21:9 screen sitting in front of you. It’s a bright, punchy panel that handles widescreen videos especially well, but it’s not nearly as crisp as screens on other phones — the resolution tops out at just 2,142×876. That’s just one of many compromises Motorola had to make here, but we’ll get to the rest in a bit.

In any case, Motorola still deserves serious credit for its engineering work here. The RAZR’s folding mechanism is particularly ingenious: Rather than use a single big one like the Galaxy Fold, the RAZR has two smaller hinges, along with a series of sliding plates that give the plastic screen some extra stability. That design choice also means that the creases in that screen are much less noticeable than on the Galaxy Fold; they’re there if you really look for them, but they’re functionally invisible the rest of the time.

More importantly, that complex hinge design allows the two halves of the RAZR to fold completely in half, with no gaps to let potentially deadly pocket debris inside. Well, almost no gaps. The RAZR’s two halves are pressed right up against each other when closed, but if you start to close the phone very slowly, you can see the super-thin display start to lift away from the phone’s body. The gap that forms then looks pretty concerning, and it’s not hard to imagine something squeezing in there and wreaking havoc. Whether that becomes an actual problem remains to be seen, though; that gap never seemed to appear when I was just closing the phone normally. We’ll have to see how well this screen holds up, but for now at least, the RAZR still feels like the most durable foldable out there, despite how thin it is when open.

Motorola is best known for its line of affordable, mid-range smartphones, and it’s been only recently that the Lenovo subsidiary has started to get more experimental. I mention this because, well, Motorola phones tend to be pretty boring. From a technical standpoint, the RAZR is anything but. I had completely forgotten the company was capable of engineering this precise, this exciting. That the company pulled off a design like this is tremendously impressive, but it does also mean the company couldn’t go crazy with the components inside it.

What’s inside

Let’s just get one thing clear here: The Motorola RAZR is a $1,500 marvel of design, not a high-powered flagship smartphone. The RAZR uses an upper-mid-range Snapdragon 710 chipset with 6GB of RAM because anything more powerful would’ve presented issues with heat management and power consumption. It was plenty fast in our hands-on testing, though: Launching apps, multitasking, loading videos and generally putzing around in Motorola’s clean Android 9 build all went off without a hitch.

Your Galaxy S10 or Pixel 4 will still probably run circles around this thing, but on the whole, there’s more than enough raw power here to keep most people satisfied. Ditto for storage: There’s 128GB available to users from the get-go,

More concerning are the RAZR’s batteries — one lives in each half of the phone, and combined, they have a total capacity of 2,510mAh. That’s quite small compared to, well, every other smartphone I’ve tested this year. For what it’s worth, Motorola promises people will still get a full day’s use out of the RAZR, and the phone comes with one of the company’s 15W TurboChargers for quick refueling sessions.

I get that Motorola really wanted to nail the RAZR’s sleek design, but the company is definitely aware that people like big batteries. We’ll have to test this thing more thoroughly to say anything for sure, but if the RAZR struggles to last as long as the phones people already have, that just might make it a non-starter.

The RAZR experience

I haven’t said much about how the RAZR works so far because, for the most part, it acts just like a regular smartphone. That alone makes it more conservative than the other foldables we’ve already tested, but there’s something to be said for the kind of clarity the RAZR offers — unlike the Galaxy Fold, there isn’t much of a learning curve here. You just open it, and start using it.

That said, the RAZR does have a few — and I mean a few — neat app continuity tricks. Remember that small external display? You can use it to view your incoming notifications, control your music, authorize NFC payments and frame up selfies. When you open the RAZR while you’re in the middle of any of those tasks, the full app instantly appears on that big internal screen so you can pick up where you left off. After a bit of playtime, I’ve come to appreciate the sorts of quick interactions this little front-facing screen allows for, and the way corresponding apps spring to life when the RAZR is opened is a helpful touch.

Even so, I can’t help but wish Motorola had cooked up a few more ways to get things done on a RAZR without having to open it. That external screen is too small to fully display apps, so that’s out, but I’d love to access quick controls for say, my Hue lights, or sift through the first few tweets in my timeline. In fairness, though, Motorola says it’ll continue to evaluate which apps could be coaxed into working well on that secondary screen, and that’s really all I can ask for. Foldables are still so new that companies don’t have a crystal clear sense of how people will actually want to use them. In other words, expect a lot of trial and error across the industry for a while.

So far, the camera seems pretty decent too: It has an f/1.7 aperture so it handled even low light without much fuss, and you can use it to shoot standard photos and selfies when the RAZR is closed. (If you insist on shooting selfies while looking at the full-size screen, there’s a 5-megapixel camera above it that’ll get the job done.) I haven’t been able to review any of my sample photos on a bigger screen so I’ll hold off on the judgment, but let’s face it: If you really care about getting great smartphone photos, this probably isn’t the way to go.


By now, it’s clear that Motorola’s first foldable has its share of limitations, perhaps too many for some people. $1,500 is a lot of money to ask for a phone that won’t deliver the latest and greatest performance or battery life or cameras, after all.

Even with all that said, I can’t help but feel optimistic about Motorola’s work here. The RAZR is the first foldable I’ve ever used that I could hand to my parents or my non-phone-nerd friends and feel good about it. Its design is first-rate. It’s easy to understand. It’s more durable than I expected it to be. And perhaps most important, Motorola’s take on foldable design seems more broadly appealing. (Samsung seems to think so, too.) We’re not looking at a smartphone that morphs into a tablet; it’s just a more pocketable kind of smartphone. Who wouldn’t want one of those?

At the end of it all, it’s too early to tell whether Motorola’s attempt will be the first to really make foldables A Thing for people. If nothing else, though, the new RAZR is proof that Motorola still has what it takes to make ambitious, iconic hardware, and with any luck, its foldable plans won’t end here.

” data-reactid=”23″>

A classic design, revived

When Motorola set out to build its first foldable, it went through 26 prototypes of different shapes, sizes and screen configurations before deciding to re-embrace the RAZR’s iconic design. To me at least, that’s the best decision Motorola could have made. While I was testing the Galaxy Fold earlier this year, I was surprised by the number of people who didn’t find it nearly as fascinating as I did. Turns out, that was because the people who weren’t thrilled by it didn’t particularly want to use a small tablet, regardless of whether it could fold in half. Those people, according to Motorola’s research, really just wanted a full-size smartphone that could shrink down into a sleek package when they were done using it. So that’s what they built.

When the RAZR is closed, it’s very nearly the same thickness as the original: about 14mm. You’ll find a big hump up front housing a 16-megapixel main camera and a 2.7-inch glass OLED display for quick interactions (more on those later), while the back features a textured, grippy finish. It’s honestly not much to look at all folded up like this, but that’s beside the point: The RAZR took up very little space when I slid it into my pocket, and it’s even small enough to fit into the very tiny pants pockets women have to deal with.

Of course, the real engineering magic becomes apparent when you open the thing up. What can I say — it feels really nice. It doesn’t snap open the way the original RAZR did, but the motion of the hinges feels fluid and fully in control as the screen swivels into place. I really can’t overstate how good a job Motorola did on this hardware; my only real gripe is that the RAZR can be difficult to open with one hand.

When it is open, this thing looks like a proper RAZR, right down to the hefty chin where the phone’s fingerprint sensor, cellular antennas, USB-C port and surprisingly loud four-speaker array all live. You probably won’t be spending much time marveling at that throwback design flourish when there’s a 6.2-inch, 21:9 screen sitting in front of you. It’s a bright, punchy panel that handles widescreen videos especially well, but it’s not nearly as crisp as screens on other phones — the resolution tops out at just 2,142×876. That’s just one of many compromises Motorola had to make here, but we’ll get to the rest in a bit.

In any case, Motorola still deserves serious credit for its engineering work here. The RAZR’s folding mechanism is particularly ingenious: Rather than use a single big one like the Galaxy Fold, the RAZR has two smaller hinges, along with a series of sliding plates that give the plastic screen some extra stability. That design choice also means that the creases in that screen are much less noticeable than on the Galaxy Fold; they’re there if you really look for them, but they’re functionally invisible the rest of the time.

More importantly, that complex hinge design allows the two halves of the RAZR to fold completely in half, with no gaps to let potentially deadly pocket debris inside. Well, almost no gaps. The RAZR’s two halves are pressed right up against each other when closed, but if you start to close the phone very slowly, you can see the super-thin display start to lift away from the phone’s body. The gap that forms then looks pretty concerning, and it’s not hard to imagine something squeezing in there and wreaking havoc. Whether that becomes an actual problem remains to be seen, though; that gap never seemed to appear when I was just closing the phone normally. We’ll have to see how well this screen holds up, but for now at least, the RAZR still feels like the most durable foldable out there, despite how thin it is when open.

Motorola is best known for its line of affordable, mid-range smartphones, and it’s been only recently that the Lenovo subsidiary has started to get more experimental. I mention this because, well, Motorola phones tend to be pretty boring. From a technical standpoint, the RAZR is anything but. I had completely forgotten the company was capable of engineering this precise, this exciting. That the company pulled off a design like this is tremendously impressive, but it does also mean the company couldn’t go crazy with the components inside it.

What’s inside

Let’s just get one thing clear here: The Motorola RAZR is a $1,500 marvel of design, not a high-powered flagship smartphone. The RAZR uses an upper-mid-range Snapdragon 710 chipset with 6GB of RAM because anything more powerful would’ve presented issues with heat management and power consumption. It was plenty fast in our hands-on testing, though: Launching apps, multitasking, loading videos and generally putzing around in Motorola’s clean Android 9 build all went off without a hitch.

Your Galaxy S10 or Pixel 4 will still probably run circles around this thing, but on the whole, there’s more than enough raw power here to keep most people satisfied. Ditto for storage: There’s 128GB available to users from the get-go,

More concerning are the RAZR’s batteries — one lives in each half of the phone, and combined, they have a total capacity of 2,510mAh. That’s quite small compared to, well, every other smartphone I’ve tested this year. For what it’s worth, Motorola promises people will still get a full day’s use out of the RAZR, and the phone comes with one of the company’s 15W TurboChargers for quick refueling sessions.

I get that Motorola really wanted to nail the RAZR’s sleek design, but the company is definitely aware that people like big batteries. We’ll have to test this thing more thoroughly to say anything for sure, but if the RAZR struggles to last as long as the phones people already have, that just might make it a non-starter.

The RAZR experience

I haven’t said much about how the RAZR works so far because, for the most part, it acts just like a regular smartphone. That alone makes it more conservative than the other foldables we’ve already tested, but there’s something to be said for the kind of clarity the RAZR offers — unlike the Galaxy Fold, there isn’t much of a learning curve here. You just open it, and start using it.

That said, the RAZR does have a few — and I mean a few — neat app continuity tricks. Remember that small external display? You can use it to view your incoming notifications, control your music, authorize NFC payments and frame up selfies. When you open the RAZR while you’re in the middle of any of those tasks, the full app instantly appears on that big internal screen so you can pick up where you left off. After a bit of playtime, I’ve come to appreciate the sorts of quick interactions this little front-facing screen allows for, and the way corresponding apps spring to life when the RAZR is opened is a helpful touch.

Even so, I can’t help but wish Motorola had cooked up a few more ways to get things done on a RAZR without having to open it. That external screen is too small to fully display apps, so that’s out, but I’d love to access quick controls for say, my Hue lights, or sift through the first few tweets in my timeline. In fairness, though, Motorola says it’ll continue to evaluate which apps could be coaxed into working well on that secondary screen, and that’s really all I can ask for. Foldables are still so new that companies don’t have a crystal clear sense of how people will actually want to use them. In other words, expect a lot of trial and error across the industry for a while.

So far, the camera seems pretty decent too: It has an f/1.7 aperture so it handled even low light without much fuss, and you can use it to shoot standard photos and selfies when the RAZR is closed. (If you insist on shooting selfies while looking at the full-size screen, there’s a 5-megapixel camera above it that’ll get the job done.) I haven’t been able to review any of my sample photos on a bigger screen so I’ll hold off on the judgment, but let’s face it: If you really care about getting great smartphone photos, this probably isn’t the way to go.


By now, it’s clear that Motorola’s first foldable has its share of limitations, perhaps too many for some people. $1,500 is a lot of money to ask for a phone that won’t deliver the latest and greatest performance or battery life or cameras, after all.

Even with all that said, I can’t help but feel optimistic about Motorola’s work here. The RAZR is the first foldable I’ve ever used that I could hand to my parents or my non-phone-nerd friends and feel good about it. Its design is first-rate. It’s easy to understand. It’s more durable than I expected it to be. And perhaps most important, Motorola’s take on foldable design seems more broadly appealing. (Samsung seems to think so, too.) We’re not looking at a smartphone that morphs into a tablet; it’s just a more pocketable kind of smartphone. Who wouldn’t want one of those?

At the end of it all, it’s too early to tell whether Motorola’s attempt will be the first to really make foldables A Thing for people. If nothing else, though, the new RAZR is proof that Motorola still has what it takes to make ambitious, iconic hardware, and with any luck, its foldable plans won’t end here.

Party like it’s 2004 with the new Motorola Razr’s secret ‘Retro Razr’ mode

Motorola is bringing the Razr back in the form of a foldable Android phone, but that doesn’t mean that the company is leaving the classic design of the original behind. As a neat tribute to the OG RAZR, Motorola has included a secret “Retro Razr” mode that turns the $1,499 modern smartphone into the spitting image of its 2004-era predecessor.

The mode is basically a glorified skinned Android launcher that faithfully re-creates the original RAZR UI through software, right down to the classic boot animation. But Motorola has put in some serious work here: the skin is fully functional. Click the button for messaging, and it’ll launch the Android messaging app. Click right to open settings, and the settings app will launch. The best part is dialing a phone number, which features the same pop-up UI as the original, including the sounds.

And while the entire 2019 Razr is a giant touchscreen, Motorola made the retro mode as authentic as possible. The only way to navigate it is by using the (software) buttons on the keypad. (You can’t simply tap on the address book icon.)

Photo by Chaim Gartenberg / The Verge

The throwback mode is hidden away in Android’s quick setting menu. To find it, you’ll have to edit which items show up in the drop-down menu and then drag the Retro Razr button into the menu. Once it’s there, just swipe down like you’d normally do to activate Airplane Mode or adjust the brightness and tap the newly revealed Retro Razr button instead to launch the Easter egg.

Is it useful? Not really. But it’s a cute and clever way for Motorola to pay homage to the original RAZR, even as it moves boldly forward with this new, modern version. (Also, never underestimate the power of nostalgia.)