The long-term durability of folding phones remains in question following the original Galaxy Fold's issues. Last year SquareTrade put the redesigned version of that phone to the test, with CNet later live-streaming 100,000 automated "folds" without damaging the device. This time it's the new Motorola Razr facing scrutiny, and CNet is again live-streaming its attempts to wear the folding mechanism down.
Last year it ran its tests for over 11 hours, with the redesigned Galaxy Fold surviving just over 100,000 folds without any problems. Of course, these were precisely controlled, essentially sterile tests, reproducing exactly the same motion over and over in what amounts to a cleanroom. That's not exactly a seal of approval for general use, since the real world is filled with pesky things like dust and lint, and your hands aren't doing exactly the same thing every time you close your phone.
Still, if you're into watching gadget snuff, there's always the chance the Moto Razr being tested could break, and that is bound to be a moment of sheer glee for the live chat. What else were you planning on watching tonight anyway?
CNet's machine broke the hinge after 27,000 folds
It looks like the Moto Razr wasn't able to last anywhere near as long in CNet's test as the old Galaxy Fold did. The phone "broke" after just 27,000 folds. After developing a clicking noise when folding, it developed a "hitch," with the hinge appearing to fall out of alignment, and the automated folding machine was unable to close the device correctly. However, the screen on the device is still working. Failure, in this case, is a relative metric — it's not like the phone exploded.
CNet's video hosts admit they used the phone somewhat before recording to test that everything was working correctly with the automated machine, so that may have had an effect. Even so, Moto's folding phone could have fared better, and these results don't speak well for the phone's potential durability.
A Motorola spokesperson provided us with the following statement regarding CNet's testing:
“razr is a unique smartphone, featuring a dynamic clamshell folding system unlike any device on the market. SquareTrade's FoldBot is simply not designed to test our device. Therefore, any tests run utilizing this machine will put undue stress on the hinge and not allow the phone to open and close as intended, making the test inaccurate. The important thing to remember is that razr underwent extensive cycle endurance testing during product development, and CNET’s test is not indicative of what consumers will experience when using razr in the real-world. We have every confidence in the durability of razr.”
The company also sent us the following video, meant to illuminate how Motorola tested the mechanism: