Folding phones are officially here. If you long for the feeling of having to fold out the phone to answer a call and can snap it back on-hook, you have not only one but two vertically folding phones to choose from. These are the Motorola Razr, launched in late 2019, and the brand new Samsung Galaxy Z Flip earlier this month.
Both are strikingly stylish, but there are many big differences that separate the two. If you are in the market for one of these folding phones, you need to pay attention to it.
Both devices have in common that style and topicality are not cheap. The Galaxy Z Flip costs an unbelievable $ 1,380, while the Razr is available for a whopping $ 1,500. You have to be pretty committed to buy one of them.
Still here? Both phones justify their high price differently.
The Galaxy Z Flip makes the high-end flagship price easier to bear. While it doesn't contain the best specs for 2020 – that's saved for the latest Galaxy S20 series – it does contain at least last year's flagship specs. You get very nice 256 GB of memory, 8 GB of RAM, Snapdragon 855+ from last year, but the latest Android 10. The battery remains weak at 3,300 mAh.
The Motorola Razr leaves a lot to be desired with its high price. The specification list is at best that of a middle-class device: Android 9.0, Snapdragon 710, 128 GB memory and 6 GB RAM. The battery is a sad 2,510mAh. For normal users who only use their phone to surf the Internet and watch videos, you probably won't feel much of a difference. But its specifications are a shock to a device that costs so much.
The screen is why we are here, so it deserves its own category.
We like what Motorola did with the Razr screen, a foldable 6.2-inch P-OLED screen with a density of 373 ppi. There's even a second 2.7-inch external display on the front, which works a bit like a smartwatch and allows you to quickly access apps and view notifications.
The Galaxy Z Flip remains true to the mastery of Samsung screens with a dynamic AMOLED screen with 425ppi density and HDR10 +. This is even better, but you will immediately notice that the terrible crease cuts right through the middle. If you thought the Galaxy Fold was bad, it would cut right through your text and videos. There was still the option to place apps side by side on the fold, separated by the fold.
Motorola circumvents this by creating a screen that retracts when closed. The screen does not fold, but bends on the hinge to reduce the severity of the fold. You will notice that the Razr's screen around the bottom bezel is a little loose, as it has room for the drop-like fold there. That also means it's weaker than the Galaxy Z Flip's screen, but it's a price we have to pay now to get around the fold.
Those who are used to the high-quality, slim glass of telephones today have to get used to folding telephones a little. To bend, the Razr had to use plastic. Although it is now unlikely to break, its softness means that it is even more likely to dent. A long fingernail or contact, or accidental folding against a set of keys, can cause scratches on the screen, similar to a plastic screen protector. Speaking of screen protector: they don't work with these screens.
In comparison, Samsung's folding screen is far more stable. They call it the world's first flexible glass display, but that's just a name. It comes with a very, very thin layer of glass that gives it its rigidity. But on top of that, your fingers touch the soft protective plastic, which means that it can still dent and wrinkle. However, this is also an improvement over the Razr and the Galaxy Fold.
The main difference between the hinges is that one wants to stay open and the other leaves the choice. As with the classic Razr, the phone opens as soon as you open the screen over 90 degrees. The Z Flip does not click into place, but lets you open it at any angle like a laptop. Some apps even use it because you can now put it on a table for convenient viewing or as a kind of camera tripod.
Samsung is clearly the winner here. You'll get a 12-megapixel camera and an ultrawide camera like those found on the flagship phones of the Galaxy S10 2019. These are no longer the best in class, but it is more than acceptable.
Anyone hoping for nice pictures with the Razr will probably be very disappointed. His 16-megapixel main shooter tells only half the truth, since poor image processing means that photos are flat and look like something that was barely acceptable three years ago.
Since it is foldable, you can take selfies with the main camera while the phone is closed. The phone's external displays act as a handy little viewfinder, although the Z Flip's tiny 1.1-inch external display is really tiny.
Purists will be happy to know that the Razr is approaching the clean Android that you get on Google Pixel phones. There are no weird skins here and the app looks what we expected. And that's fine, considering that the 6.2-inch display isn't much bigger than the phones we're used to.
On the other hand, the 6.7 inch Z flip is a bit large for most hands. The Samsung version of Android, OneUI, is useful here thanks to the optimization for one-handed operation. Rearranging buttons so that they are accessible is exactly what it takes, although the look is a hit or miss.