New Razer Phone Promises No-Compromise Mobile Gaming – Forbes

This evening at London’s Science Museum in South Kensington, Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan announced Razer’s entry into a brand new market. The manufacturer knowing for high-end and stylish gaming laptops and accessories launched its first smartphone, the self-titled Razer Phone.

In a departure from most Android handsets but familiar to portable gamers the world over, the Razer Smartphone is designed to be used in landscape mode. The ‘chin and shoulder’ bezels in portrait mode may look out of place alongside ‘all-screen’ handsets with minimal bezels such as the Galaxy Note 8, but in landscape mode these become ‘safe’ spots to rest your thumbs and hold the handset while playing games.

It ships with a relatively huge battery that offers 4000 mAh. According to Tan this will allow users to watch 12.5 hours of video, 63.5 hours of music, or play Hearthstone non-stop for seven hours. Charging is through the USB-C port and the latest version of Qualcomm’s quick charge will see the handset go from empty to 85 percent in one hour.

The Razer Phone ships with stock Android. At launch this will be version 7.1 , but Oreo will be delivered in Q1 2018. Although it is stock Android, a special edition of Nova Launcher Prime will be bundled inside each handset as an optional app launcher that brings the Razer brand to the Android screen.

Also in terms of add-on software, Razer’s PC based Game Booster will make its Android debut with the Razer Phone. This allows you to fine tune hardware configurations to allow for the best gaming experience, so you can set CPU speed, resolution, frame rate and anti-aliasing on a game by game basis.

As you would expect from Razer, the specifications on the new smartphone are some of the highest in the current market. Powered by Qualcomm’s SnapDragon 835 partnered by 8 GB of RAM and 64 GB of internal storage extendable by microSD. Tan took great delight in pointing out his gaming phone has the same amount of RAM as the current MacBook Pro specifications.

Tan Min-Liang, the Singaporean co-founder and chief executive officer of Razer (Photo: Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images)

This also explains why Razer has put a significant focus on heat management. With self-proclaimed best-in-class thermal engineering, the handset should be able to operate at higher performance levels for longer than the ‘standard’ Android handset (if such a thing exists).

But the standout feature may be in the screen technology.

The Razer Phone has a 5.7 inch Sharp Igzo LCD display running at Quad HD levels. It comes with a 120Hz Ultramotion display. The increased refresh rate means no shuttering, no lag, and no motion blur. Meanwhile the marketing tag of ultra motion syncs the GPU signals to the refresh rates of the display, which creates a smoother image with no lag. It also adapts to circumstances in terms of refresh rates to extend battery life.

Sound is also a key part of Razer’s offering. The handset’s audio comes with Dolby Atmos, and in a first for a smartphone is certified by THX. The speakers are front facing stereo speakers. The speakers are mounted so you can hold the handset in the gaming orientation without blocking the speakers. To boost the sound each speaker also has a dedicated amplifier.

Unfortunately headphones are going to have to be plugged in to the USB-C port via a dongle adaptor, which is included in the retail packaging.

For optics, the Razer Phone dual-lens camera is equipped with two 12 megapxel cameras, one wide-angle and one zoom lens. There is seamless switching between the two lens as you zoom in and out. Many features such as slow motion and recording at 120 Hz are not available at launch,so Razer will follow a similar strategy to Apple and update the camera with the new features through software updates over the next few months.

Any gaming machine will be defined by the games. Android has an immense stock of games, but the Razer Phone’s specifications will need to be untapped by specific programming. A number of titles are expected to be optimised for the 2K 120Hz screen, with Arena of Valour, Tekken, and Final Fantasy 15 Pocket Edition trailed at the launch.

As for availability, pre-orders are open now at Razer’s website, and with network partner 3 in the UK, Ireland, Denmark and Sweden. Shipping will commence on November 17th. Pricing is confirmed as $699 in the US.

The Razer Phone extends the lifestyle brand of the US/Singapore company. It’s still unclear just how ‘game-y’ the handset is, and whether high specifications and branding is enough to sell an Android smartphone in today’s competitive market. Following its success with gaming peripherals and laptops, the mobile sector is Razer’s next mountain to climb and one that its loyal fan base is eager for it to conquer.

That said, we’re still waiting for the Razer Toaster.

Now read more about Razer’s first ultrabook, as I review the Razer Blade Stealth…

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