Razer makes a serious jump into the mobile gaming space; following the acquisition of Nextbit, they’ve launched a phone designed for gamers.
The Razer Phone checks all the right boxes for what a typical gamer would like in a phone: brooding matte black metal body, angular lines, and huuuuuge. The Razer Phone won’t win points for being ergonomic – in fact, it can get a bit uncomfortable to use as phone no thanks to its size. Unlike most phones these days, Razer went for a ‘traditional’ 16:9 instead of the now-fashionable 2:1 aspect ratio. The result is a phone that’s not so comfortable when used one-handed in portrait mode. Two-handed use is mandatory, but it comes into its own when used in landscape mode. It doesn’t make it any less comfortable to hold, but I’m much happier using it that way because everything looks so good.
The Razer Phone also eschews fashionable OLED for an IPS display (albeit a high-quality IGZO one). Still, the Razer Phone nails it when it comes to visuals. Coupled with the right games that support 120Hz refresh rates, the definition, colour, and smoothness are beyond compare. The accompanying stereo speakers hidden behind grilles pack a powerful sonic punch despite their size and it’s safe to say there is no better gaming experience – visually and audibly – on a mobile phone.
The reliable Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 keeps things buzzing, and a relatively clean Android OS makes day-to-day usage smooth and lag-free. The battery life is excellent if you aren’t constantly gaming, and easily lasts a day and a half at least. It really feels premium and it looks like Razer has knocked it out of the park. Or has it?
There are bound to be some downsides, and in this case, the major buzzkill comes in the form of the camera. If you are very particular about photos in general, then you’ll find the Razer Phone’s camera rather inadequate. It’s okay in broad daylight, but in every other situation the image gets noisy, and it looks rather unbecoming from a flagship phone. Still, it’s serviceable, but it is a big gap between them and the S8s and iPhones of this world. And the camera, for most people, is an important part of the equation.
So is this any good? You can profer the argument that you can buy a Nintendo Switch with this money, but we’re looking at it as an all-in-one device. Despite its handicap (which can be fixed over time provided it gets regular software upgrades and updates), the Razer Phone is nonetheless a well-made device. Due to the shortage of 120Hz-capable games plus the relatively minor gains (to a non-gamer, especially) in the gaming experience, the Razer Phone is not a must-buy. But if it’s the best Android gaming experience that you’re looking for, then this wins it by a country mile.
There’s no sugarcoating the fact that the camera is lacklustre. But everything else works great. As such, the Razer Phone is perfectly made for consuming content thanks to the superlative audio and visual experience. But Razer’s products are about pushing the envelope, regardless of practicality, and as such, bonkers is awesome.