The first phone to come from the Razer computer company is appropriately named the Razer Phone. It’s the company’s very first attempt at a smartphone. I ordered this device off Amazon to test it out and share my thoughts with all of you.
The packaging is very minimal and it gives off the illusion that whatever is inside is of high quality. After we peel off the plastic wrap and lift open the top of the box, we’ll first find a note from Razer’s CEO kind of hyping up the device and highlighting some of its key features. Underneath that, we’ll find the Razer Phone itself cradled in a compartment. I’m just going to set this phone off to the side for now. Underneath the Razer Phone, there’s just a bunch of accessories that are each packaged away in their own comaprtment. There’s a lot of packaging here relative to the competition. First we’ll find a pouch containing a Razer SIM card ejector tool and some paperwork. Next we have a USB-C to 3.5mm headphone jack adapter included in the box because there is no headphone jack in this smartphone as is the case with the charging cable. This adapter has a nice braided cable so it should last a long time, assuming you don’t lose it. Next we’ll find the braided USB-C to USB-C charging cable itself. Finally, we have the quick charging for fast charging Razer branded US wall wart with a female USB-C port.
Now we can unwrap the Razer Phone from its plastic coating and take a look at the design. This is where things get interesting. The design language of this smartphone is almost the opposite of the design language used in the iPhone X, Galaxy S8, V30, and pretty much every other flagship smartphone of 2017. You have this very boxy design with flat sides, thick bezels around the display because there are dual front-facing stereo speakers. The build consists of anodized aluminum and it feels really smooth to the touch. I do like that aspect but the phone overall feels massive coming from the iPhone X and Pixel 2 XL and it just looks outdated despite being released last month. You won’t notice a fingerprint scanner on the front or back of the phone because it’s actually located on the side and it doubles as the power/sleep on/off button.
There is a 5.7-inch LCD display with a QHD resolution and 120Hz refresh rate and 16:9 aspect ratio. What’s so great about this display isn’t so much the vibrancy or contrast because an AMOLED panel will deliver superior results in these areas. What’s so special and unique is the 120Hz refresh rate, which I believe is the very first in a mobile smartphone and that’s the rate that you will find on high quality TVs. They make content appear more smooth. And since the phone is running a very pure version of Android Nougat, you get an extra buttery smooth experience with the addition of this higher refresh rate. I can’t say that I would prefer this refresh rate over an AMOLED panel or even a display with thin bezels. But it is pretty nice to see and it does make this phone run very smoothly.
The Razer Phone is certainly one of the fastest smartphones on the planet, at least in terms of specifications. It features the Snapdragon 835 chipset with 8GB of RAM. In my limited testing, I have found zero instances of lag. The only lag I am presented with is when a page has to load data and it has to do more with the Wi-Fi speeds than the actual processing power. If you’re a heavy mobile gamer, this phone should greatly appeal to you with the 120Hz refresh rate and 8GB of RAM. That is insane.
Razer has adopted the dual camera setup. There are dual 12-megapixel cameras: an f/1.7 wide-angle sensor and 2x telephoto sensor. The specs look promising but the real world performance paints another picture. I mean, based off first impressions, photo quality just doesn’t appear to be up to par with the competition. It just doesn’t.
Now possibly, my favorite feature with the Razer Phone is the massive dual front-facing stereo speakers that flank the display. There’s really no overlooking them. They sound great for a smartphone and they get really loud. They’re probably the loudest smartphone speakers I have ever tested. There’s no headphone jack supposedly to make room for these speakers. But if you use the included adapter, there is a THX certified deck built in; which is pretty nice and should help improve sound quality when listening to content via headphones.
Under the hood, Razer has included a large 4,000mAh battery to help you game for long periods of time. If you enable the 120Hz refresh rate, it will use up more battery so it’s good to see there is a big battery included here. Some other features include a microSD card slot for expandable storage, once again, a very appealing feature if you are a gamer. There’s also 64GB of internal storage.
So for $700, I don’t consider the Razer Phone to be too terribly overpriced but the price is pretty hard to justify considering the price drop of the Essential Phone and the recently announced OnePlus 5T. I don’t like the look and feel of this smartphone. And I wouldn’t recommend it if the design is important to you. But if you’re a gamer, you should like the power and performance that this phone offers.
You can expect a full review in the coming weeks so make sure you’re subscribed, if you haven’t already.