Razer Phone comes with smooth screen and powerful speakers
Posted: Nov 02, 2017
"You use this for a week and then go to any other iPhone SE parts, you're going to be upset," says Tom Moss, Razer's head of mobile.
He's talking about the Razer Phone. (From Razer, the company you might know from mice, headsets or laptops.)
It's real. It's sitting in my hand. It's unlike any phone I've held all year.
Because where most new flagship phones are shiny rounded rectangles with curved screens, Razer's first phone is unabashedly a black brick. It flaunts sharp 90-degree corners instead of curved edges. You can even stand the phone on end. The 5.7-inch, 2,560x1,440-resolution screen is flat as a pancake, and you'll find giant bezels above and below that screen, too -- just when we thought bezels were going out of style.
The Razer Phone is not exactly what you'd call stunning, and the phrase "breath of fresh air" doesn't really feel right either, even if the phone is pretty different from anything else on the market.
But there's another trite phrase that might accurately convey the Razer Phone: "It's what's on the inside that counts."
When the Razer Phone ships Nov. 17 for $699 or £699 -- no plans for Australia at launch -- the company says it'll be the first phone with a display that refreshes 120 times per second, like a high-end PC gaming monitor or Apple's iPad Pro. And combined with a dynamic refresh technique Razer's calling Ultramotion (think Nvidia G-Sync), it can mean beautiful, butter-smooth scrolling down websites and apps, and glossy mobile gameplay.
That's what Tom Moss is talking about when he says I'm "going to be upset." He believes that after using this phone with its 120Hz screen, other phones will feel terrible. And while I haven't used the Razer Phone for a week yet -- only 15 minutes or so -- it definitely feels incredibly smooth. I'm already a fan of the side-mounted power button, with the fingerprint sensor built right in, too.
Then there are the speakers. Remember those giant bezels that flank the screen? There's a reason they exist: they house a pair of front-facing speakers that get louder than you'd imagine a phone has any right to be. When Moss fires up the Dolby Atmos app in a big ol' conference room in Razer's San Francisco offices, I can't believe how well they fill the room. (Do they actually sound good? We'll need to do some testing.)
As we run down the spec sheet, it's clear that Razer focused on meeting or exceeding the competition in other ways as well. It's got 8GB of RAM. There's a 4,000mAh battery. A 12-megapixel dual camera with both a wide-angle lens and 2x optical zoom. Two years of guaranteed software updates -- though it ships with last year's Android 7.1.1 Nougat, with Oreo coming next spring -- and 64GB of storage by default, with a microSD slot to add up to 2TB more.
And though the phone has the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip you'll find in most of today's flagship iPhone SE spare parts, Razer claims theirs will perform better than the competition -- by borrowing some of the thermal engineering know-how the company uses for its high-end laptops, including an actual heatpipe (admittedly not a first for phones) to draw heat away from the chips.
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