Razer Phone: First look at a serious device geared towards mobile entertainment

Android / Gaming / Mobile
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Every feature of the Razer Phone was designed to bring users the ultimate in mobile entertainment from gaming and audio to streaming.

Unfortunately, some of this is old news by now considering yesterday’s leak of the upcoming Razer Phone — news we decided here at Techaeris not to publish due to having the actual embargoed info on hand. That out of the way, we had the chance to chat with Razer’s Erin Lin, Product Marketing Manager of Razer’s Mobile Business unit a couple weeks ago and get the low down on their upcoming mobile device. Without further ado, let’s check out what the Razer Phone has in store for gamers, power users, and those who consume mobile entertainment!

Why now?

Of course, in this crowded smartphone market, the questions are why now and do we really need another smartphone OEM? If you take a look at Razer’s track record, they tend to enter any hardware space — whether it be laptops, consoles, or other devices — when that hardware platform is considered a gaming platform. Given the explosion in mobile gaming from multi-platform Hearthstone tournaments to Vainglory and games like Honor of Kings in China which has 80 million daily mobile players, there may just be room for a gaming-centric smartphone.

Razer Phone

When Razer acquired Nextbit, the creator of the Robin smartphone, rumours were quick to surface as to why and what the company would be doing with the acquisition. After recent rumours, confirmation, and leaks, the Razer Phone is now official — and has some pretty beefy specifications which are sure to delight not only mobile gamers but power users as well.

“It’s common knowledge that I’m obsessed with my smartphones, I play a ton of games on them, and they’re my go-to for  streaming content,” said Razer Co-Founder and CEO Min-Liang Tan. “We have wanted to make a phone with gaming-level tech for years, and the Razer Phone delivers in every way we imagined.”

The device takes some elements of the Nextbit Robin as well as the Razer Blade laptop series. The same colour as the Razer Blade, the aluminum unibody smartphone was designed from the ground up to be used in landscape mode first and portrait second. That’s not to say it won’t function as any other smartphone will in portrait mode, there have just been some design considerations that favour landscape mode use. One of these being the placement of the power button which is centered on the side of the phone and also doubles as a fingerprint sensor.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the official specifications of the Razer Phone which includes a couple of firsts for a smartphone.

  • Processor: Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 835 Mobile Platform with Adreno GPU
  • System Memory: 8GB dual channel (LPDDR4, 1600MHz)
  • Storage
    • Internal: 64GB UFS
    • External: microSD (class 10, 2TB max.)
  • Display
    • 5.72-inch IGZO LCD 1440 x 2560
    • 120 Hz UltraMotion, Wide Color Gamut (WCG)
    • Corning Gorilla Glass 3
  • Rear Cameras
    • 12MP AF f1.75 Wide
    • 12MP AF f2.6 Zoom
    • Dual PDAF
    • Dual tone, dual LED flash
  • Front Camera: 8MP FF f2.0
  • Sound Stereo
    • Front facing speakers
    • Dual Amplifiers
    • Audio Adapter with THX certified DAC
  • Power
    • 4000 mAh lithium-ion battery
    • Qualcomm QuickCharge 4.0+
  • Wireless
    • 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
    • Bluetooth 4.2
    • NFC
  • Bands
    • GSM: Quad-band GSM
    • UMTS: B1/2/3/4/5/8
    • LTE: B1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/17/19/20/25/26/28/29/30/66
    • TDD LTE: B38/39/40/41
    • TD-SCDMA: B34/39
  • Size: 158.5 x 77.7 x 8 mm 6.24 (3.06 x 0.31 in)
  • Weight: 197g
  • Android Version: Nougat 7.1.1 (Android Oreo slated for spring 2018)

At a glance, the Razer Phone seems pretty standard — a 5.7″ QHD screen, Snapdragon 835, dual 12MP rear and 8MP front cameras, and so on. But what stands out is the 120Hz Ultramotion display, whopping 8GB of DDR4 RAM, 4,000mAh battery, dual front-facing Dolby Atmos certified speakers, and Qualcomm QuickCharge 4.0+. Definitely beefy specs for any smartphone, but more than adequate for some heavy duty mobile gaming.

Every feature of the Razer Phone was designed to bring users the ultimate in mobile entertainment:

  • Watch: Enjoy movies the way they were meant to be seen. Feast your eyes on a big screen with crisp details and the smoothest motion, complete with true-to- life vibrant colors. Add loud, riveting sound to complete the cinematic experience right in your hand.
  • Listen: Go ahead and turn up the volume—everything sounds amazing. Expertly tuned audio delivers all the highs and lows of your favorites tracks whether you listen through the stereo speakers or your favorite headphones. Don’t suffer in silence, there’s enough battery power to keep your tunes streaming all day long.
  • Play: From your everyday commute to playing in a tournament, experience buttery smooth gameplay and lightning-fast performance thanks to top-of- the-line components. Dial in your graphics to optimize your experience no matter what game you’re playing. And with a larger battery size, you can indulge in the latest games without worrying about running out of power.
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Watch, listen, and play anywhere with the new Razer Phone.

World’s first 120Hz Ultramotion™ Display 

While there has been a mobile device in Japan with a fixed 120Hz refresh rate, the Razer Phone is the first with a variable refresh rate which drops as low as 20Hz. Most phones are fixed to 60Hz refresh rates and with the 120Hz UltraMotion display, games that have been enhanced for the Razer Phone can be locked to the framerate of the GPU to eliminate tearing and jaggies. While Razer utilized the acquired Nextbit team for some of the tech on their first smartphone, some of the other tech is the same tech used on their Razer Blade laptops.

Beefy Specs, Thermal Engineering

There are a few other phones sporting the Snapdragon 835 processor, but there aren’t many that have 8GB of DDR4 RAM. To put it into perspective, today’s Macbook Pro laptops ship with 8GB of RAM so you’re getting a lot of memory in this device. Once again, Razer has implemented more tech from the Blade team. In order to help keep the phone running smoothly and with minimal slowdown, thermal engineering technology from the Blade laptops has been integrated into the Razer Phone. What this means is that it can go longer before it needs to throttle performance, and when it does throttle it doesn’t need to throttle as much.

Big Battery

Big specs mean nothing if the battery can’t keep up. In current smartphones, you’re lucky to get a 3,000 mAh battery with some of the 8GB devices on the market sporting 3,300mAh batteries. Razer is upping the bar here and the Razer Phone will come with a 4,000mAh battery for all day power. Not only that, it is also the first smartphone featuring the Qualcomm QuickCharge 4.0+ technology.

Cinematic Audio

Sound is always a key concern for gamers and there aren’t many phones with dual front-facing stereo speakers these days, not to mention ones with dual dedicated amplifiers. On top of that, the Razer Phone is Dolby Atmos certified, and the company has included a USB-C audio adapter with a 24-bit DAC that is THX certified while using headphones. Whether you’re using the onboard speakers or your favourite pair of headphones, the sound — Razer claims — will be one of the loudest out of any smartphone currently on the market.

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Whether it’s through the dual-stereo Dolby Atmos speakers or the THX-certified USB-C adapter, you can expect great sound.

Customization

The Razer Phone will ship with Android 7.1.1 and is slated to be updated to Android Oreo in the spring of 2018. The phone ships with Nova Launcher Prime and Google Assistant integration, allowing for users to easily customize their home screens and other aspects of their Razer Phone. In addition, the Razer Theme Store will allow users to further customize their wallpapers, icon packs, and colours with custom ringtones and themes inspired by popular gaming titles.

Mobile Gaming

So just what does this mean for mobile gaming? Razer has partnered with top gaming companies like Tencent and Square Enix to bring optimized games to the Razer Phone which feature support for the UltraMotion display and 120fps frame rates. The major “launch title,” so to speak, will be Arena of Valor from Tencent Games, a western version of Honor of Kings.

“The future of gaming is rapidly expanding to mobile devices, and both Razer and Tencent are at the forefront of fast-tracking development,” said Vincent Gao, global marketing director at Tencent Games. “Arena of Valor brings gamers a fast-paced, competitive experience, and the Razer phone was built to handle the visuals, sound and quick-reflex mechanics of the game. This partnership sets the standard for the next generation of mobile screen play.”

In addition, Chapter 1 of Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition, a mobile version of the console version of Square Enix’s game, will be released alongside the Razer Phone. Razer is also working with other top-tier game developers and publishers to optimize their games further for the Razer Phone.

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Mobile gaming, of course, is a key feature of the new Razer Phone.

Other gaming partnerships include:

  • Final Fantasy® XV Pocket Edition from Square Enix
  • Gear.Club from Eden Games
  • Lineage 2: Revolution from Netmarble Games Corporation
  • Old School RuneScape™ from Jagex Limited
  • RuneScape™ from Jagex Limited
  • Shadowgun Legends™ from Madfinger Games
  • Tekken™ from BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Europe
  • Titanfall™: Assault from NEXON Co., Ltd. and Particle City, Inc.
  • World of Tanks Blitz from Wargaming Group Limited

Pricing and Availability

The Razer Phone can now be pre-ordered from the online Razer Store for $699USD/€749.99/£699.99 and will be available in North America and Europe on November 17th. For a Snapdragon 8345/8GB equipped phone (not to mention the other various features), that’s definitely a great price point. The Razer Phone will be an in-store exclusive at Three in Europe, and a special limited launch day edition — limited to 1337 units — with the green Razer logo will be available in select stores and online. If pre-orders aren’t live in your region now, they should be soon.

With any luck, we’ll be hopefully reviewing the Razer Phone at some point down the road to put it through its paces. It definitely sounds like a beast on paper and only time will tell if gamers and power users alike will embrace this new entry into the crowded smartphone market.

Now that the beans are officially out of the bag, what do you think of the new Razer Phone? Is it something that interests you as a mobile gamer or a power user? Let us know in the comments below or on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook.

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