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Motorola Razr’s first folding durability test was pretty disastrous

Published Feb 7th, 2020 6:50AM EST
Motorola Razr 2020
Image: Verizon

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iThe Galaxy Fold has been a notorious disaster for Samsung, and a forewarning that the cutting-edge tech needed to create foldable handsets isn’t quite there yet. Samsung had to postpone the launch of the Fold by five months last year to redesign critical aspects of the screen and hinge to prevent the handset’s display from dying on arrival. Early users discovered that the gaps around the hinge facilitated the entry of debris, which could destroy the fragile plastic display. A second problem concerned the screen’s outer layer, which looked like a user-disposable screen protector. When forcefully removed, the plastic cover broke the screen as well. Samsung fixed all that, but the Fold’s display is still fragile and prone to accident, and the redesigned hinge can still ingurgitate tiny particles. The phone, however, is usable, and Samsung can move to its next-generation of foldable handsets. However, Samsung isn’t the only company making such phones, and the newest arrival might have a problem of its own, one we haven’t seen on the fold. The Motorola Razr’s hinge mechanism might give in a lot faster than you’d think, according to an early test.

A folding test from CNET last year showed the Fold could withstand some 120,000 folds before the screen broke. That’s a lot less than the 200,000 folds that Samsung mentioned, but still a great performance for the phone. The figure indicated that you’d be more likely to upgrade the phone before the folding mechanism destroyed the screen.

CNET used the same test for the Motorola Razr, and the hinge stopped working after just 27,000 folds. The screen wasn’t damaged, but the robot wasn’t able to fold the device anymore, as you’ll see in the clip at the end of the post. The testers were still able to fold and unfold the handset manually, although the hinge showed some resistance, and produced annoying creaking sounds.

Checking the phone between 80 and 150 times a day means this Razr unit could have failed after between six and 12 months of use. It’s unclear how many folds the Razr can withstand before the screen breaks, however, but it doesn’t really matter if you can’t fold it shut anymore.

Also, the test isn’t perfect, as the machine was calibrated using known specs rather than an actual phone. Even so, things aren’t necessarily looking good for a phone that costs $1,500. And for that price, you get mid-range specs inside the folding Razr.

CNET’s video that shows when the Razr hinge stops working follows. We’ve also added a few other Razr videos, including a teardown that shows how thin the Razr’s display is and a clip that demos that Razr hinge noise on a unit that hasn’t seen anywhere as many folds as CNET’s test phone.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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