Razer launches first smartphone, targets gamers

An unimpressive phone with a solid spec sheet

Everyone’s making a smartphone these days. Most of them aren’t really impressive. We’ve known Razer has been working on its own phone this year. The Razer Phone has been officially announced and we’re all but a little confused by it. Obviously it’s a fully gamer-centric phone, not that all flagship devices can’t be great gaming devices, but that’s Razer’s thing and the brand tends to do it well. Let’s dive into what the Razer Phone holds for gamers.

Inside the Razer Phone

Its screen is a 5.72-inch IGZO LCD with a resolution of 2,560 x 1,440. It has variable refresh rate and a massive 8GB of RAM with 64GB of internal and expandable storage going up to 2TB. Sounds like one of my first PC builds back in the day. The sound set-up is an enviable one, with Dolby Atmos stereo front-facing speakers. Anything less than 4,000mAh of battery power just wouldn’t have cut it, and Quick Charge 4.0 technology is a great inclusion. At the heart of it all is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 processor. The Razer Phone has a dual 12-megapixel camera setup on the back, similar to the new iPhone set-up. One camera has an f/1.8 aperture lens for wide shots and the other is a telephoto f/2.6 shooter.

The phone lacks a headphone jack (cue groans from gamers everywhere) but comes with a THX-certified audio dongle that lets you hook up headphones and promises 24-bit “audiophile-quality” sound. A phone made “for gamers” lacking a headphone jack is quite ridiculous. Wireless earphones and headphones are becoming ubiquitous but you’ll seldom see a gamer with a wireless headphone set up because the quality and pricing of such headphones just aren’t being made in the wireless world.

Design

I’ve been using Razer for a long time now. It’s my go-to accessories brand. When I heard it was making a phone, I was excited, more than anything, about how it will look. Boy, was I disappointed. It’s a rectangular brick of a phone with more bezel than I’ve seen in some time. Just because it’s a Razer product, it automatically has to come with the tagline “made for gamers” but it’s hard to distinguish here what exactly was made specifically for gamers. The specs of the phone are off the charts, no doubt, but it’s hardly anything out of the ordinary. Except for maybe the battery life, the rest of the specs can be found on any flagship phone. Even 8GB of RAM isn’t unheard of.

Software

On the software side of things, Razer includes a feature called the Game Booster app. It functions like a secondary settings menu. With it, you’ll be able to prioritise system resources for games, specify your desired resolution, and do a few other tweaks that mostly feel like superfluous effort. PC gamers will understand the need for tweaks in settings but how far it’ll be relevant on mobile gaming remains to be seen.The only other gamer-focused setting included is a dedicated gaming mode allowing you to switch off notifications and any other disturbances while in-game. The Razer Phone comes with Android Nougat out of the box and Google Assistant functionality. Expect Android Oreo update to come in only next year.

Price and availability

The device is priced at $700 (Dh2,571) and sold directly from Razer’s online store. Shipping date is November 17 with online reservations opening today. No word yet on when it will be officially available locally.