If you buy a new Moto Razr 5G, it might not seem all that “new” when you get it. A very interesting note (first spotted by The Verge) is at the bottom of the Amazon product description, which says that your Moto Razr will be opened before it gets to you, it’s going to be folded, and, oh, we’re sorry if there are some fingerprints:
NOTE: originally, RAZR was meant to be shipped in the unfolded position. However, to better protect the display, we have folded your RAZR – it’s safer but may not look as elegant as we hoped. We apologize if you see fingerprints on your device. We assure you your RAZR is brand new.
Motorola’s foldable reboot of the Moto Razr has had a tough time surviving in the real world. While the modern take on a classic smartphone looks beautiful, it has also proven extremely fragile, with the trick hinge system and soft, plastic flexible display being prone to damage. (Ours died after one day!) The original released in February 2020, but a sequel with better specs, the Moto Razr “5G,” already came out at the beginning of October. Already, it has been decided that the box isn’t good enough.
The Razr 5G box looks just like the original Razr reboot box, and it doesn’t follow your typical smartphone box design. The bottom half of the box is designed to double as a functional phone stand, and it actually amplifies the sound coming out of the speaker. The phone sits in the bottom of the box vertically, opened up, and tilted back slightly. The top “half” of the box lowers down over top of the phone stand assembly, and a very large foam block presses against the phone display, keeping the phone in place.
Shipping the phone with the screen exposed like this, and pressed against a big foam block, is apparently causing problems. We contacted Motorola after seeing the listing and some of these reports, and the company sent along a statement
Motorola is packaging the new razr in its closed form at the factory level. Once the device leaves our facilities it is not reopened. Motorola places strict requirements on handling with gloves and sanitation procedures along with shipping protocols aimed at providing a great out of box experience. As with all products, we’ll continue to closely monitor and make additional adjustments as needed to give the best consumer experience.
So Motorola apparently had last-minute second thoughts about its box design and admits it has decided to ship the Razr folded instead of unfolded, which is how it is pictured in the press shots. This isn’t limited to Amazon, and a few of the comments to the Amazon reviews claim to have received folded Razrs from other stores, like Best Buy and Motorola directly. Motorola’s last-minute box rework is pretty strange, since the company has almost a year of experience under its belt with this box design. This is the second generation of the Moto Razr, after all, and the first generation had what looks like an identical box.
In the Amazon review section, customers seem pretty unhappy about the state of their phones when they arrive. Customer Adolfo A. Sandoval Berro provided photos of a sliced-up box and writes in their 1-star review that “The phone was not brand new…There was not [a] protector film on the inner screen, the protector film on the outer screen was offset really bad, and the device came folded inside its packaging.” They continue: “Last but not least, when inspecting the lid of the box I could notice that someone did some hand cutting inside in order to make the lid fit with the phone folded.”
The foam block is definitely going to be a problem. It’s meant to press firmly against the open, flat display, and secure the phone. Trying to close the box when the Razr is folded up (and therefore double the thickness) doesn’t really work, because now the foam block will be too thick. The solution to this, according to this reviewer, is to slice a big chunk out of the foam block so the box will close.
Another anonymous 1-star reviewer writes, “Unbelievable. Received the phone in the same conditions as described in other reviews. Folded, with no film on inside screen and crooked film on outside screen. The screen shows very distinct marks from foldings. But besides packaging issues, the primary reason that convinced me to return the device, that I haven’t so far read in other reviews, is that the screen squeaks when opening and closing.” Besides all the packaging issues, it’s nice to know that Motorola still hasn’t fixed the alarmingly squeaky hinge mechanism. Several other reviews describe the “new” phone as arriving “used.”
Motorola’s statement that Razrs are being packaged with “strict” sanitation procedures doesn’t line up with the fingerprint warning on the official Amazon listing, or with numerous customer reports that claim the phone arrived in what is described as a “used” state. After a follow-up question about the fingerprint warning, Motorola told Ars “We are aware of this issue and are implementing steps to prevent this from happening moving forward.”