Even if you are a gamer that loves Razer products, we all know a lot of design cues won’t carry over that well from something designed for the desktop onto a mobile device (here’s looking at you Predator 8…) So in terms of design form factor, some would say the Razer Phone is very much straightforward and even looks boring but no, we are not complaining here. To be honest, less bezels and curved screens can also be really sexy but let's not forget that the most important thing for a smartphone that labels itself as "gaming first" is always more about its performance than looks.
If you think the Razer Phone shares a lot of physical similarities to the Nextbit Robin then you are not far off from the target. Razer actually acquired Nextbit about a year or so ago with the intention for them to build the Razer Phone, and dare we say, the Razer Phone does look like a bigger and is possibly a more badass grown-up version of the Robin.
For starters, the Razer Phone comes in a monolithic but sleek black aluminium shell with 158.5 x 77.7 x 8 mm dimensions, weighing 197 g. The 5.7-inch 16:9 screen is flanked by dual front top-bottom speakers, with a front-facing single camera and a dual camera set up on the back. Buttons are minimal on the Razer Phone, with volume rockers on the left side of the chassis, and a power button/thumb scanner on the right. Some might complain the lack of a normal headphone jack or a USB-C port but we think the design eccentricity might have something to do with the making of the hardware layout for a better mobile gaming-centric device maybe or are they just trying to keep up with THAT annoying Apple trend? shrugs
Out of the box, the Razer Phone is driven by Android Nougat, with Android Oreo 8.0 expected to be added sometime next year. On the surface, the Razer Phone has decent specs. The device is driven by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Mobile Platform processor, 8GB of dual channel RAM, 64GB of storage with a microSD slot for expansion, a dual 12-megapixel rear optical zoom camera (f/1.8 wide shot + f/2.6 telephoto) and 8-megapixel front camera and will be powered by a very generous 4,000 mAh battery for all your gaming needs.
The icing on the Razer Phone are the much talked about 5.72 inch 120hz display and a THX-certified Dolby Atmos audio system. Now let's explore these further...
So what will a 120HZ screen do for your gaming experience? Plenty, if bad frame rates and sprite ghosting has been plaguing your mobile gaming experience. The 5.7-inch IGZO LCD 1440 x 2560 Wide Color Gamut display running at 120 Hz UltraMotion refreshes super-fast for smoother scrolling and animation/movement in games so you can pull off faster bullet dodges or quicker attacks. Don't worry if you are not a gamer, the screen is beautiful and functions very well in day to day use. The colours on-display are bright, precise and the details are sharp. The display also has adaptive variable settings that can ramp up the framerates for gaming or bump it down for videos, on the fly.
To date, not many mobile games will be able to support a 120HZ frame rate and a gaming device is only as good as the games that supports it. Razer has got that part sorted out by working with selected popular developers to optimise their games to fully utilise the 120HZ refresh rate on the display.
We all know that speakers on phones are usually rubbish but the Razer Phone might have just up the ante with their dual THX-certified Dolby Atmos thumpers. We are not kidding when we say the speakers here are loud, the overall sound quality is very good and the magical touch of Dolby Atmos is clear in both speakers and headphones modes for videos and music, and especially gaming.
For the audio fanatics, the Razer Phone comes with a THX-certified audio dongle to attach headphones for 24-bit audiophile-quality sound.
True to their company tagline: For Gamers, By Gamers, the Razer phone does give very satisfying gaming experiences by bringing together the best of handheld gaming and a smartphone technology but does it function better than a standalone gaming device like the PSP or NDS? No, not really. If you are looking for pure gaming experience, nothing beats a handheld game console but if you want a device that merges solid smartphone capabilities and strong portable gaming potential (with a few minor compromise on both sides of the fence), then the Razer Phone is the device you should get your gauntlets on.
The thing is, gamer or not, we feel that the Razer Phone is a good Android phone that comes in cheaper than many other mobile flagship devices. You do a lot of photography? There’s a good dual optical camera setup here. You like listening to music or watching videos on the go? The Razer Phone comes with amazing THX-certified audio. You want awesome battery life? 4,000 mAh here for you to blaze through.
Unfortunately we all have to wait because the Razer Phone is slated for an unspecified Asian market release at a later date. The overseas prices are currently US$700 in US/ €750 in Europe/ £700 in the UK and if you can’t wait, the Razer Phone can be purchased directly from Razer’s online store or Amazon.com.