Flip Phones Are Making a Comeback

The iconic snap of a Razr flip phone captured hearts in the 2000s, and Motorola released its nostalgic successor at the start of 2020. Joined by the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip, which followed closely behind the Razr's release, these smart flip phones are bringing back a beloved style of technology — but way smarter than before.

Devices like the Samsung Galaxy Fold and the Huawei Mate X paved the way for flip phones with their foldable-screen tech, but something about that setup left us eager for a phone more reminiscent of the classic design. The new Motorola Razr answered the call. So how is this modern Motorola flip phone different from its predecessors, competitors and other smartphones? Well, there's a lot to that question, so let's dive in.

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The Look

Nostalgia is ever-present in the design of the new Razr. When folded up, it's the same width as the old one and features the telltale "chin" at the bottom, a wild concept for those of us familiar with modern, flat screens. The chin serves a few purposes, aside from contributing to the design as a blast from the past. It houses speakers, a charging port and a space for fingerprint ID. Other notable design features include a notch in the top of the screen and the curved edge along the chin. The phone is available in Noir Black and Blush Gold.

The Razr handles well but it isn't as easy to open up as its predecessor was. One-handed folding takes some strength. While the snap isn't quite the same as the old Razr, it is still a very satisfying way to end a call. The weight of the phone is well-balanced between the two sides and overall is pretty close to other smartphones. For comparison's sake, the iPhone 11 weighs in at 194 grams and the Galaxy S10+ at 175, while the Razr is 205 grams.

While other foldable phones have been looking to expand into large, tablet-sized devices, the Razr becomes smaller. It folds down to almost half the size and easily slips into your pockets or a bag. Being folded also protects that main inner screen from scratches and pressure.

A significant part of the hype surrounding the Razr is in its screen design. There are two to talk about — the front and the main screen.

  • Main screen: When unfolded, the Razr's OLED screen reaches 6.2 inches in size. It isn't much larger than most phones but it is a little narrower, giving it a theatrical 21:9 aspect ratio that Motorola dubs "CinemaVision." This ratio might add black bars to the edges of some online videos or crop them awkwardly if you fill the screen, but it does create a cinematic view. Since the phone is narrower, it also gets some added height, which could be a problem for anyone without large hands. Fortunately, Motorola addresses this issue well, with apps and a layout that adjust for the height to offer smooth one-handed usage. Stay in awe of the earth from the city. Not everyone has the opportunity to visit local green spaces, especially if you live in an urban area. You can still appreciate nature by watching a sunset, going stargazing, taking a walk during your lunch or planting some flowers inside.

  • Front screen: This screen is made up of glass OLED and spans 2.7 inches. It has an always-on display for a pared-down approach to notifications. You'll see the more important information, like notifications, the time, reminders, battery life and other things you may deem essential. You can interact with these messages in a limited way, such as dismissing emails, controlling your music or directing an app to open in the full-screen display.

    One of the downsides that many foldable phones have been trying to address is the hinge on the main screen. Typically, folding phones can't close completely flat without damaging the screen, so they leave a small gap at the hinge where the phone folds open, making a space that can gather debris and just doesn't look good. The Razr, on the other hand, created a new hinge design that almost eliminates the gap, creating a flush closing design. This hinge also allows the phone to lie completely flat when unfolded. Of course, with such a novel screen design and issues with other foldable phones, some users have concerns.   

  • Pressure
  • Easy Scratching
  • Peel off the plastic coating
  • Debris underneath the screen

Screen Design Concerns 

The most novel element of the foldable phone is the screen. A lot can go wrong there, as many reviewers found when they tested the initial versions of the Galaxy Fold. They found problems with:

  •  Pressure: Samsung had to warn users not to be too hard on their phones as the screens appeared to be extremely fragile. They could crack and break under normal use. 
  •  Easy scratching: The display also turned out to be very easy to scratch, even with something as inconspicuous as your fingernail. 
  •  Peeling off the plastic coating: There is a layer of plastic protection on the phones that many mistook for a screen protector. Some removed it when they opened the phone. Without this plastic layer, the screen is much easier to damage, as many users experienced.
  •  Debris underneath the screen: Dust and debris would commonly find their way underneath the screen, making it both annoying to look at and limiting functionality.

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip shared problems with screen durability and dust entering the phone. 

With all that in mind, foldable phone designers are looking for ways to avoid those problems. Motorola took several measures to address issues that the initial run of the Galaxy Fold had.

First, they enlisted the help of a harder plastic coating. Folding phones use a plastic coating to enable them to bend, rather than glass as most smartphones do. Motorola has had skin in the game a little longer than most manufacturers. In 2011, they released their Droid Razr line, for which they developed a special plastic coating and adapted for the new Razr. It's something they have more experience with and have fine-tuned for longer. Another step they took was to add steel plates behind the plastic OLED screen, to help support it when folded out.

Overall, Motorola is much more confident in its screen design than Samsung. Its hinge design is very impressive, with sliding plates that leave no visible crease. The edges are contained within a stainless steel frame so it doesn't pop out or get dust under it like the Fold. Motorola doesn't say that customers should baby this phone like Samsung directed its users to do. Instead, they've made the screen stand up to the demands of normal use.


Looking under the hood, the new Motorola Razr sports a Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 processor, which is a tad surprising, given the fact that their flagship phones run on the newest version, the Snapdragon 855. The decision to go with the older processor offers savings on battery life. The older processor is still fast but won't pull as much juice from the already low-capacity power source included in the Razr. Working with an OLED screen also helps to conserve battery life.

Speaking of the battery, the phone actually uses two of them — one on each side of the phone. This separation is to balance out the weight when you flip the phone — something they did a good job on. Altogether, it has a 2,510 mAh battery capacity. While that's nothing to write home about, the choices regarding the screen and processor should make this enough to last you the day. And of course, it comes with a fast-charge option to help if you guzzle up all that power before the day ends.

Storage-wise, this phone is non-expandable and comes with an internal 128 GB of storage, which is still plenty for most people. If you're working with a lot of HD video or programs, it may be an issue. The phone also lacks a swappable SIM card as it uses eSIM instead. eSIM cards are embedded in the device and are only supported by a few carriers.


The camera on the Razr is one of the less-impressive points. It offers a solid 16MP rear camera, which doubles as a selfie camera when the phone is folded up. It's a nice, functional use for the flip factor. The images are better than what you can get with the internal 5MP camera.

Neither of these is crazy low, but they're also not as high in resolution as you may expect considering the stats of many flagship phones. Part of the reason for this resolution may be due to the hinge design, and the need to leave more space. After all, things like zoom and ultra-wide lenses take up more room in the phone. 

The support system for this device lies in Android 9 Pie, but the interesting thing is the way that the phone adapts to its narrow design.


The support system for this device lies in Android 9 Pie, but the interesting thing is the way that the phone adapts to its narrow design. It features new display options and a way to keep apps and buttons toward the bottom, making one-handed use completely doable.

Aside from general usage tweaks, the Motorola flip phone comes with all the details we'd expect from a modern smartphone. It works with GooglePay, Bluetooth devices, GPS, LTE networks and more. Plus, this Razr is water-resistant. 


With any kind of new technology, nerves can run high, which is why Motorola paired their phone with an excellent warranty. It helps provide peace of mind that you're not forking over $1,499 to be left in the dust if it breaks.

In the U.S., Motorola provides 24/7 chat support and direct access to an agent 14 hours a day with device analytics. If the device or display fails, customers get 24-hour turnaround and advanced exchange support. Display defects from normal use are repaired or replaced for free through their standard warranty. Outside of these circumstances, display replacement would cost $299. 


The new Motorola Razr is an exciting phone with and adventurous design. It tests new concepts and, while it may not be for everyone, it's certainly a great way to experience a high-end flip phone.



The new Motorola Razr is an exciting phone with and adventurous design. It tests new concepts and, while it may not be for everyone, it's certainly a great way to experience a high-end flip phone.


The Verdict 

With flip phones making a comeback, Motorola has stepped up for a big opportunity. By nailing the design and fixing the issues that Samsung had, they have a chance to bring back the raging popularity of the Razr, which was basically synonymous with flip phones 15 years ago. It seems that they're on the right track.

While the phone features midrange specs, it is more consistent than other foldable phones. You don't have to baby it to avoid damage due to impressive build quality and a fine-tuned protective covering. It isn't as worrisome to own.

The biggest downsides to this phone are its: 

  • Midrange specs: The Snapdragon 710 isn't the latest and greatest, and the 2,510 mAh battery won't keep you moving for days on end either. Still, they're not terrible.
  • Camera quality: Again, the camera isn't bad, but it's not outstanding either. This phone sacrifices the bells and whistles for other design features. 
  • Price point: For $1,500, most people would expect higher-end specs. With this phone, you're paying more for the novel design than a fast processor or a nice camera. 
  • Limitations with Verizon: The Razr is exclusively available through Verizon service. To swap it, you need to wait 60 days after activation and ensure you transfer to a carrier with eSIM compatibility. There are other limitations with moving carriers that could significantly affect you if you're against using Verizon. 

Despite these issues, Motorola gains an edge in many places that its competitors are lacking.

  • Screen design: Without the same problems as many other foldable phones, the Razr stands out as a more reliable option. Plus, with its flush closure when folded and near-undetectable crease, it outperforms on aspects that many manufacturers are still working on.
  • Warranty: Motorola's warranty surpasses its competitors and provides more support for people considering this new tech. 
  • Software adaptations: With a narrower phone design, the need to access apps and keyboards one-handed can have a big impact on the experience, and Motorola addresses it well. 
  • Front-screen functionality: By zeroing in on the important stuff, the notifications you receive on your front screen are an excellent addition to the phone, akin to the functionality of a smartwatch but built into the phone. Being able to dismiss them and control certain apps from the screen is also a nice way to speed up use and minimize the need to open the phone for every little thing. 

With everything the Razr has going for it, it's still a relatively cheap flip phone. An unlocked Galaxy Fold goes for $1,980, while the Z Flip runs $1,380. Of course, it's still more expensive than many other flagship phones like the iPhone or Galaxy S lines.

The new Motorola Razr is an exciting phone with an adventurous design. It tests new concepts and, while it may not be for everyone, it's certainly a great way to experience a high-end flip phone. Smart flip phones are totally new, and updating the classic flip phone is definitely an interesting idea. Whether you want to dwell on the nostalgia of it all or show off your cool foldable phone, the new Motorola Razr is proving to be an excellent device for many. 




Upgrading to the Motorola Razr

If you think this new flip phone is for you, you can get some extra cash toward that purchase by trading in your old device at an ecoATM kiosk. It can help you offset that steep price tag and protect the environment at the same time. Trading in your device keeps dangerous electronic components out of landfills and away from wildlife or places where it could harm people.

To find out what your device is worth, price your device online. Then, find a kiosk near you to trade it in and get one step closer to ending calls with that iconic Razr snap again.