The Motorola RAZR has a lot of things that might attract your attention, including the front display, folding main screen, and the cool form factor. However, look beneath the surface features, and the 2510mAh battery is likely to cause some concern.
Can a phone with two screens, and a form factor that means you'll open the main screen many times per day, survive a whole day with a battery that's smaller than the iPhone 8? I've been using the Motorola RAZR for a little over four days, and here are our first impressions on its battery.
Curb your expectations of the battery life
If you're expecting all-day battery life, you should curb these expectations. Despite advances in software optimizations and processor efficiencies, there's no substitute for physics, and a smaller capacity means smaller battery life. That's not to say it's worse than any other phone, however.
The Motorola RAZR feels a lot like the Pixel 4 in terms of battery life and usage. Google's smaller flagship has been rightly lambasted for its small 2800mAh capacity, which results in reduced battery life. The Motorola RAZR is the same, which is unsurprising given there's a lot of similarities between the specs on the two devices.
Actual battery life can be categorized in two ways: total battery life, including standby, and screen-on-time reflecting the time it's being used. Each of these displays a very different side to the Motorola RAZR.
Total battery life is very disappointing
There's no way around it: the total battery life on the Motorola RAZR is bad. With light to moderate usage, it averages 13 hours total, plus or minus an hour. With heavy usage, this drops by an hour or two. Regardless, this is very bad, and largely due to the capacity, which is limited by the design factor.
The choice of going for a flip design, versus the elongated fold with the Galaxy Fold, and the thin design of the phone when opened means the 2510 mAh was probably the largest battery that Motorola could fit into the RAZR.
#MotorolaRAZR battery life update. 51% remaining. Still haven't been heavily using it for camera or gaming which will be the real test. pic.twitter.com/detNwtFQp3#MotorolaRAZR battery life update. 51% remaining. Still haven't been heavily using it for camera or gaming which will be the real test. pic.twitter.com/detNwtFQp3— Nirave 尼拉夫 (@nirave) February 3, 2020February 3, 2020
The total battery life is about 30% of what you can expect from the Galaxy Fold, which has a 4500mAh battery. It's also about 50% of what you can expect from the full suite of Android flagships, including the Galaxy Note 10+ and OnePlus 7T.
We've come to expect smartphones to last a full day, but with the Motorola RAZR, you have to curb your expectations.
Screen-on-time is about average
While the total battery life is disappointing, the actual usage is almost on par with most Android phones. Most phones offer between four and six hours of screen-on time (SoT) on a full charge, and the Motorola RAZR does, albeit while trending at the very bottom of that range.
During the past four days, I've averaged around the four-hour mark for screen-on-time. The maximum has been four hours and 42 minutes, while the lowest has been three hours and 42 minutes. Thankfully, it's trended up as the adaptive battery features have begun to learn how I use the phone, and I'm slowly eking out a few extra minutes of usage.
Where things get interesting is in the software, as heavy usage like gaming or using the RAZR camera extensively doesn't have a large impact on the battery life, but usage that relies on a data connection does. Take, for example, a game like World Series of Poker. An hour of playing this with the screen on full brightness barely registered on the battery stats, but the constant data connection and Google Play Games usage during that hour drained 12% of the battery.
Motorola says an update is scheduled for tomorrow when the RAZR goes on sale, so it'll be interesting to see if this improves the battery in any way.
You'll be charging the RAZR often
Coming from the Galaxy Fold and iPhone 11 Pro, the Motorola RAZR battery life has ultimately been very disappointing. Compared to most Android phones, it's plain bad, but if you're a Pixel 4 user, you'll be used to some of the compromises you need to make.
These primarily include always keeping a charger on you. Thankfully, TurboPower makes it really easy to charge the phone quickly. In about an hour, you can mostly charge it to full (we're still testing the exact time it takes to charge from empty to full). Motorola says a few minutes of charging can get you all-day battery life, which is surprising given the phone is incapable of lasting a full day.
Software plays a large part in battery life, however, and while it's unlikely, it's possible that Motorola will discover a way to improve the battery through software optimizations. Until they do, however, the Motorola RAZR battery life is sacrificed with this unique foldable form factor.
Poor Battery Life
Poor battery life will dampen your enthusiasm
The Motorola RAZR borrows the worst parts of the original RAZR, including poor battery life. While it will deliver you four hours of screen-on-time, this is almost always only over 12 hours. As a result, all-day battery life probably doesn't match your expectations.
Nirave Gondhia has been writing about the mobile industry for over a decade and began his career selling and fixing phones in the UK. He's used every flagship smartphone over the past five years and carries at least two phones at all times - currently, he's using the iPhone 11 Pro, [Samsung Galaxy Fold and Motorola RAZR. Say hi to him on Twitter at @nirave.