There are several things I like about the Motorola Razr, starting with the price: its MSRP is $699, which already makes it the least expensive modern flip phone you can buy in the US. It’s currently knocked down to $499, and discounts will likely be easy to find throughout its life, too.
I’m a fan of my review unit’s handsome green “vegan leather” finish, too. And in theory, I like the concept of the small external display. It measures just 1.5 inches on the diagonal, so it’s only really designed for checking notifications or glancing at the next event on your calendar. You get the essentials and nothing more, so you can read a text or check the weather without getting dragged into an unplanned scrolling session. When you really need to get into something, you simply unfold the Razr, and there’s your regular phone screen — sounds great!
But here’s what I don’t like: doing almost anything with the Razr requires you to open the phone up, which largely defeats the purpose. In daily use, you quickly reach the limits of what you can use the outer screen for, and its prompt to “flip open to continue” when you want to read more than the subject line of an email gets tiresome.
The thing is, using a teeny-tiny screen just to check your notifications actually takes more work in some cases than a standard slab phone. You have to scroll up and down the tiny letterbox display to see them, and if you want more context, you need to tap through multiple screens. It’s a lot less efficient than just glancing at a lock screen, expanding notifications when you want to read more, and quickly dismissing the ones you want to ignore. I was often tempted to leave the phone unfolded on my desk when I wasn’t using it so I could catch up more quickly, which again, defeats the purpose of the phone folding in half.