Motorola’s new foldable Razr phone is pretty neat. Not only is it a pretty impressive feat of engineering, it packs a nice dose of nostalgia for those of us old enough to remember the days when the original Razr flip phone reigned supreme. There’s just one thing that, at least on paper, raises a red flag. That 2,510 mAh battery.
Well, technically it’s two batteries—one in each half—that add up to 2,510 mAh. To put things into perspective, that’s tiny compared to every other smartphone released in 2019. Samsung’s Galaxy S10 has a 3,000 mAh battery, while all the new iPhones top 3,000 mAh, with the 11 Pro Max boasting a 3,969 mAh battery. The Pixel 4 is probably closest with a 2,800 mAh battery—and in our testing delivered mediocre results, puttering out at around 10 hours, 38 minutes.
In Verizon’s press release, not much was said about battery life, other than it being “all-day” with “TurboPower charging.” But all-day battery life has, and always will be, a vague term that conveniently leaves a lot of wiggle room. All-day for someone who only checks a few messages every couple hours, versus someone who identifies as a power user are two different things.
To be fair, the Razr makes more than a few concessions in the pursuit of design. Notably, it opts for a weaker Snapdragon 710 processor. According to the Verge, Motorola says this was a deliberate choice to lengthen battery life, enable its super-thin design, and prevent heating issues. And while most hands–on tests with the new Razr haven’t had too many issues with loading apps or performance, no one’s had this thing long enough to see test just how far that teeny battery can go.
But the small battery is just indicative of the greater cognitive dissonance when it comes to the Razr. Running down the specs, it’s clear Motorola had to compromise with midrange components just to keep the thin design—except at $1,500 it’s certainly not priced like a mid-range phone. What you’re paying for is a premium on nostalgia, and the privilege of getting your hands on an experimental design. Plus, this thing is shipping with Android Pie, long after Android 10 has been launched—with no promises of Android updates from Motorola. Chances are you want your new phone to last at least two years; it seems not terribly promising to trust a tinier-than-average battery and a weaker processor to be futureproof in the slightest way.
It might seem premature to side-eye the new Razr or zero in on battery life without having handled the phone. Admittedly, only time will tell how well it holds up under real-life circumstances. Except, if you’re going to plunk down $1,500 on a brand new spanking phone with so-so specs and old software, lasting an entire 16 hours seems like the very least it could do.