Motorola’s foldable Razr phone has officially landed to much fanfare. The Lenovo-owned company has produced a truly unique – and truly foldable – phone that’s wildly different from rival Samsung and Huawei devices.
Whilst the design is stealing the show, the specification list opens the door to some serious questions. It’ll be a few weeks (when review units become available) at least before we know how serious an issue that small battery is, or how capable the camera is.
For now, though, the Razr has some clear advantages over Samsung’s Galaxy Fold.
Foldable phones are ushering in a new generation of smartphone technology, but they’re also changing attitudes towards responsibility and repairs. Samsung offers Galaxy Fold owners one screen replacement for $149 should it fail, alongside a heavy-handed training session for new owners.
Motorola has gone one step further. There’s a free “24-hour turnaround service” if the display fails. If there are other problems with the display “during normal use” then it will be repaired or replaced, too. For display or damage that occurs outside of this guarantee, replacements will cost $299. Motorola tells me that the full terms and conditions, which will include how many times owners are entitled to repairs, will be available when the device goes on sale.
Motorola has clearly heard the calls for smartphone manufacturers to embrace a new warranty and repairs philosophy. That’s especially true for foldable phones, which still have big durability question marks.
I suspect over the next year or two we’ll see increasingly generous warranties and repair/replacement offers become a key battleground for foldable phones – but this is a good place to start.
The race begins
My colleague Ian Morris messaged me as soon as the Razr news dropped and said “that Motorola makes PERFECT sense”. He’s right, it does.
I would’ve loved to have been a fly on the wall during one of Samsung’s Galaxy Fold design planning meetings, because I can’t figure out why it went for that clunky – book-shaped – design which doesn’t fold completely flat.
Motorola has done that rare thing of living up to expectations. The design does, indeed, make perfect sense. Why? It solves a common, modern, problem of smartphones being simply too big. Too big for pockets, too big for bags and too big for hands.
A device that folds to half the size of a traditional smartphone – and does so in some style – is an instant vote winner. As I’ve mentioned I’m sceptical about the specifications of the device, but form-factor alone makes up for a lot of other potential issues.
Motorola has said this is the beginning of a suite of foldable phones, so I’m looking forward to how it can improve from here. The launch of the Motorola Razr, to me, is where the true foldable phone race begins.
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