Razer Phone Review: The Difficult Balancing Act Of A Gaming Smartphone

What arrange of smartphone do gamers wish in 2017? For many years a answer was suspicion to be same to a Nokia N-Gage, a device that looked some-more like a gaming console than a smartphone. As mobile gaming altered to turn some-more in line with smartphones that relied on hold screens some-more and symbol submit less, a thought of a gaming focused smartphone became a harder sell.

Now comes a new self-titled Razer Phone, entrance as it does from a association that is heavily invested in delivering products to a PC gaming community, that is looking to move a smartphone to marketplace that is focused on a needs of gamers in 2017.

Ewan Spence

Razer Phone (Image: Ewan Spence)

The evident impact of a phone comes from a design, that is a heartless form factor. The well-spoken edges and corners that are dear by other manufacturers are transposed with a rectilinear boxlike structure.

This of march echoes a demeanour of 2016’s Nextbit Robin. Given that Razer purchased a association in January, this should not come as too many of a surprise. Razer has changed divided from a several tone choices to hang with a black that matches a laptop and peripherals range. If you’re informed with a Razer styling afterwards this phone is now recognisable. It’s also recognizable as a intensity Robin 2, that is pleasant connection of styles.

What is blank from a Razer parasite box is the Chroma lighting system. Almost any Razer marginal has a ability for a tradition LED glow, while a laptop keys are away illuminated in customisable patterns. The engineering to make a Razer lizard trademark on a behind of a Razer Phone have a Chroma outcome would concede other tools of a smartphone package, so we get an etched trademark in grey (or one of 1337 singular book handsets with a Razer trademark in a corporate immature color).

When we also cruise a cold inlet of a steel box and a ensuing boost in weight, this is a handset that ignores a series of a complicated beliefs of smartphone design. It really feels some-more like a tiny laptop than a large smartphone.

Ewan Spence

Razer Phone (Image: Ewan Spence)

Also echoing a Razer ethos are a specifications. They have been incited adult as distant as is probable for a blurb smartphone. The SnapDragon 835 is flattering customary today for a high-end Android device, though it’s interconnected adult with a class-leading 8 GB of RAM. That allows some-more applications to stay ‘in memory’ when we switch between apps that will assistance with loading times on your favorite games, and gives a interface some-more room to work in comfortably.

There’s been a lot of work finished on a screen, and I’d disagree this is a pivotal offered indicate of a Razer Phone. Its 5.7 in. LCD shade with 2560×1440 fortitude – numbers we competence see on other inclination – though a celebration pretence is a modernise rate. This can go as high as 120 Hz, that formula in impossibly well-spoken graphics, and transitions with a miss of artefacts. The shade modernise rate is also synced to a graphics co-processor, that means that any support is drawn and sent to a shade in time to be entirely redrawn on a screen.

Ewan Spence

Razer Phone (Image: Ewan Spence)

That’s not generally useful for a likes of Facebook, though on a fast-moving pulling diversion such as Gear Club, a disproportion is noticeable. And when do switch to Facebook, we can use Razer’s Game Booster program (one of a few first-party Android apps on a Razer Phone) to stifle behind a shade modernise rate, a CPU speed, and a shade fortitude to save on battery power. This can be set on an app by app basis, and allows a user a ability to change out a use of a high specs opposite their battery power.

The modernise rate is high, though a shade is still a large empty on a battery. It’s not as splendid as competing handsets, so you’re going to be regulating a backlight during a many aloft turn than we competence expect. While LCD is always going to be reduction colourful than a OLED displays of a iPhone X and a Samsung Galaxy S8, a Razer Phone’s shade feels a small bit some-more cleared out than we would wish for. Neither of these are deal-killers, though a Razer Phone’s high-end specs are entrance in during $699 so something has to give and i consider it’s a screen.

The twin stereo speakers are also on uncover during landscape gaming. Mounted possibly side of a shade a speakers (each of that have their possess amp) are THX certified, and use a Dolby Atmos system. These speakers are loud, subjectively some of a loudest speakers I’ve listened on a mobile device. The sound is chuck directly brazen from a screen, your fingers and thumbs don’t retard a speaker, and while we will have to tweak a graphical equalizer we can get adequate drum out of these to feel some tender appetite when playing.

Top of a line processors, quick and sensuous graphics, shining audio… make no skeleton about it, if your usually care is core specifications, afterwards purchasing a Razer Phone is an easy choice.

But it’s not perfect.

Ewan Spence

Razer Phone (Image: Ewan Spence)

The biggest repudiation for me is a 3.5 mm stereo headphone jack. While a USB-C adaptor is finished in a box, if you’re going to representation your handset as “the ultimate in mobile entertainment” we consider that omission one of a many widely used ports for audio outlay (and arguably audio submit as well) is a mistake. There is looking to a destiny and pulling new standards though a Razer Phone is some-more about ‘what works best right now’ and for me carrying a apparent connector hang outward a framework on a unnecessary dongle is a wrong approach.

I’ll bonus regulating bluetooth here. While it might be excellent for song and media, a latency and bandwidth during gaming, generally P2P gaming with voice comms, is not what we need for a device focused on delivering gaming performance.

And while it’s zero to do with gaming or media, a miss of waterproofing on a phone is disappointing.

Then there’s a battery. At 4000 mAh it’s one of a incomparable smartphone batteries now available. Which is since I’m astounded that it feels many smaller in my week of regulating a handset. Yes it gets by Android’s customary ‘working day’ from morning by to a finish though we approaching more. The shade modernise is energetic to assistance safety battery life, a screen’s rise liughtness is reduce than competing handsets and a SnapDragon 835 should be a famous quantity. Hopefully firmware updates can boost a fit use of a beast battery inside a handset.

Finally, a Razer Phone is an Android device that needs to infer itself in one other critical regard. The Razer Phone ships with Android 7.1. Although a refurbish to Oreo is approaching early in 2018, and I’ve no reason to doubt Razer’s intentions, there has to be a doubt symbol over a ability to consistently broach program updates and confidence patches. Until these physically start to seem over a atmosphere it’s unfit to contend either a handset will sojourn as adult to date as a competition.

Ewan Spence

Razer Phone (Image: Ewan Spence)

I consider a tip to bargain a Razer Phone comes down to bargain a phone is approaching to broach for a company. At a illusory bottom of Mazlow’s Hierarchy Of Smartphones, we wish power. The Razer Phone delivers that in one of a many manly Android smartphone packages I’ve seen in a prolonged time.

Above that comes those looking for as many opening out of their apps as possible. For some that could be battery life, though a Razer Phone is for people who wish a additional appetite to be means to play smartphone games.

But this is not a handheld gaming device like a PS Vita or a Nokia N-Gage. This is an Android device that pushes a specifications and hardware inside a comparatively unadventurous shell. There are no earthy controls, d-pads or sticks on a handset, there’s no ergonomic fit for your hands for prolonged gaming sessions, and we are limited to Android’s apartment of games – that with a best will in a universe will frequency compare adult to home consoles or PC rights.

The hardware inside a Razer Phone, generally a 120 Hz screen, can lift adult a opening of many mobile games, so a handset does broach a plain boost though perfectionist anything from a diversion developer. Developers can of march formula apps to use a 120 Hz screen, though we consider those will be developers that have a attribute with Razer or enticed to pull a envelope. we don’t design this choice to be standard.

Pure gaming machines need torpedo games. And a torpedo games for Android don’t always need a torpedo specs that a Razer Phone offers.

Ewan Spence

Razer Phone (Image: Ewan Spence)

So who is a Razer Phone for? It’s not a gaming phone, though it is a phone for gamers. There is a difference. Gamers need a smartphone in their slot only like everybody else, and it will be in their inlet to lift a phone that offers a best knowledge of Android games.

For me a answer lies not in a gaming part, or a phone part. It likes in a Razer part. This is a smartphone that represents a ethos of a association behind it. This is a phone that sits alongside Razer’s peripherals that are designed to emanate a best sourroundings for personification games. It’s a Razer marginal in accurately a same was as the Man O’War headset, a Mamba wireless mouse, and a Ornata keyboard. If you’re partial of a Razer village (and there are rather a lot of them) and you’re in a marketplace for a new smartphone, purchasing a Razer Phone is an easy preference to make.

Razer has an existent attribute with this community. The village trusts a Razer name and sees it as a select choice as good as a devoted manufacturer. That creates offered a niche smartphone (and a Razer Phone is clearly a niche smartphone) an appealing proposition. Razer has a built-in audience, it gains knowledge in a smartphone marketplace while obscure a risk and exposure, and if it gains any new fans since of a specifications and a prominence of a phone, so many a better.

This is a handset for a true and a shortly to be converted.

Now examination my examination of Razer’s challenger to a MacBook Air, a Razer Blade Stealth…

Disclaimer: Razer supposing a Razer Phone for examination purposes.

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