Thinking of splashing a lot of cash on the Moto Razr? You might just want to take the repairability aspect into consideration for what will be a pretty expensive foldable phone. As it turns out, the Moto Razr is pretty close to impossible to repair. This is not good news after it was recently established that the Moto Razr’s hinge starts to give up after 27,000-fold cycles, even though Moto has defended that in a way akin to shooting the messenger.
The good folks over at iFixit have done a teardown of the new Moto Razr and given it a repairability score of 1 out of 10. Yes, that is 1. One. “Motorola’s nostalgia-stoking Razr officially wins the award for most complicated phone-based contraption we’ve ever taken apart,” they say, before adding, “It won’t win any awards for serviceability, but just bringing this impossible gizmo into existence was such a tall order that we’re not surprised serviceability didn’t make it into v1.0.” Some of the takeaways from that rather complex teardown seem to include that there is a lot of glue holding the Razr together, the charging port is soldered on to the mainboard which means it cannot be simply replaced if it stops working and there are a whole bunch of cable booby-traps waiting for someone gutsy enough to attempt a repair of the Moto Razr.
There is one slightly worrying observation in the iFixit teardown which you might want to pay attention to.
The teardown reveals that there are small gaps between the phone's hinge and display on each side. They say these gaps appear only mid-way through the fold action. The iFixit team also says that it is a gap such as this which resulted in the issues with the early units of the Samsung Galaxy Fold, before the Korean company went back to the drawing board and returned with all issues resolved. So maybe it's safe? But at $1500 USD, it's a potentially expensive "maybe"—that is how iFixit describe this.
Earlier this month, the folks over at CNET had put the Moto Razr through a test that was designed to determine the longevity of the Razr’s hinge mechanism. For this, they used a FoldBot machine, which they also used to test the Samsung Galaxy Fold last year. The result wasn’t pretty—the Razr’s hinge gave up after 27,000 folds.
What does that mean in terms of time? Tech company Asurion says that Americans check their phones 96 times a day. If that is the exact measure of daily usage for someone who buys a Moto Razr, it will mean that the fold hinge mechanism will last just a bit more than 281 days. CNET had done a similar test with the Samsung Galaxy Fold last year, and that lasted 120000 fold cycles before giving up.
At the time, Moto had responded claiming the FoldBot didn’t exactly know what it was doing because it isn’t made to test the Moto Razr. And that all is well with the Razr. Clearly, the Moto Razr doesn’t come close to the robustness you would expect from a phone that costs so much money. Not even remotely.