7.7 Awesome

The Razer Phone is the first smartphone that has launched with a 120Hz display and it has one of the best stereo speakers. It is made for gamers though it does not have a cool design but it definitely serves the purpose. Its lag free and silky smooth. You can get better devices in the same price range with great utilities overall. The TechSeer will give it an 8.5 out of a solid 10.

  • Design 7
  • Display 8.8
  • Performance and Gaming 9.0
  • Camera 6.0
  • Battery Life 8.2
  • Value for Money 7.0

Razer Phone was launched in 2017 but it was not available in some countries up til now. Most of us know, this phone is made for gamers. When it comes to gaming people think of gamers as someone who will be sitting in front of a gaming laptop or desktop from past several hours. Who thought there’d be an era when mobile gaming industry could get a boom especially with games like Fortnite, PUBG, and Clash of Clans.

Razer Phone Review 2018

The Razer Phone has one of the best Dolby Atomos-tuned stereo speakers and the performance is silky smooth due to the 120Hz refresh rate. Yes, we are talking about a phone which has a 120Hz refresh rate. Razer has taken a bold step to make its first step into mobile gaming. Let’s see how our tech specialists have reviewed it.

RAZER PHONE SPECS

  • Screen size: 5.7 inches
  • Resolution: 1440 x 2560
  • CPU: Snapdragon 835
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 64GB
  • Rear camera: 12MP + 12MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 4,000mAh
  • OS: Android 8.1
  • Dimensions: 158.5 x 77.7 x 8mm
  • Weight: 197g

Price and availability

  • Launch price: US $699 (£699.99 or AU$1,099)
  • Release date: Nov 2017

The Razer Phone has a starting price of US $699 (£699.99 or AU$1,099). This is almost equal to latest Chinese brand flagships such as Oppo Find X and Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro.

You cannot compare this smartphone with top flagships such as Samsung Galaxy S9, LG G7 ThinQ or HTC U12 Plus because they are almost double in price comparatively.

You can check out your closest vendors. Have a look at Best Buy and Amazon if you are in the US. In Australia, you can check out JB-Hifi, Kogan or Amazon Australia. You can grab plenty of good deals from eBay as well. The Australia version of Razer Blade was launched on 30th of June, 2018. The Middle East and the Indian subcontinent have no availability at the moment.

Design

  • Not so cool old fashioned squared/boxy design
  • No headphone jack
  • Not water resistant

Razer Phone has a very typical design, unlike the latest flagships. There are no rounded corners and no fancy back glass. We weren’t much surprised because their target audience is gamers and gamers don’t really go for looks as long as the hardware is robust and promising. It comes only in matte black color which surprisingly does not attract fingerprints. The logo on the back looks like a cheap Razer sticker. The design is all metal with antenna lines well hidden.

It has larger bezels around the display. This is to ensure that you will have a perfect experience when playing games in landscape mode. However, it is difficult to hold it in portrait mode due to squared edges which used to come in old Sony phones. At 8mm thick, this Razer Phone weighs 197 grams which makes it one of the heaviest smartphones in the market.

The buttons are a bit small and sometimes annoying as well. We had problems using double tap camera button. There is a fingerprint reader on the power/lock button which is on the right side and is used to unlock the phone. On the left side, there are 2 circular volume control buttons just like what we used to see in old iPhones. There is a USB-C port on the bottom.

Even though Razer Phone is not water resistant but it still lacks the headphone jack. Gamers would usually love to play their games with the headphones on but with this Razer Phone lacks headphone jack. You need to keep an audio-adapter with you. The good thing is Razer provides this adapter with no extra cost and you can find an audio adapter with a built-in 24 bit DAC with Dolby Atmos support in the box.

There is also a fanless cooling technology inside the Razer Phone which is also used in RazerBlade laptops to prevent the device from overheating during gameplay. The technology helps the heat distribute evenly across the metal body which prevents overheating specific areas such as the back of the phone which is one of the very common issues in iPhone X especially when you use it for a Wifi-Hotspot.

Display

  • First smartphone ever to feature 120Hz refresh rate
  • 5.7-inch LCD IGZO QHD (1440 x 2560)

You will find a 5.7-inch LCD IGZO QHD (1440 x 2560) on the front side of the phone. It is protected by Gorilla Glass 3 which is kind of outdated now. It would have been difficult to put up an OLED panel equipped with 120Hz refresh rate so Razer chose to go for LCD technology for gaming.

120Hz refresh rate together with 120fps capable screen means your performance will be very smooth. Most of the gaming laptops go at 120Hz and this is the first time a smartphone has featured this option. You can change 120Hz to 60Hz or 90Hz from settings if you want to save your battery. The more the refresh rate is, the better your performance will be when are scrolling the browser or going through your Facebook feeds.

You can also improve the battery life by changing your screen resolution from 1440 to 1080p through settings. Still, the screen looked crispier and brighter when we lowered the resolution and refresh rate together.

Speakers

  • One of the best speakers we have reviewed so far
  • Dolby Atmos standard quality with THX-certified

Speakers are the second best thing that has happened to this Razer Phone. There are dual front-facing speakers on the phone, both of them have their own amplifiers. They are THX certified and tuned to Dolby Atmos standards. You can feel the same sound from the front and the back of the phone. They are pretty loud when we compared them with the iPhone X and Samsung Galaxy S9.

You can enjoy movies with a crisper screen and good-bass sound quality or you can play your games without attaching an external speaker. To be honest, we could not be able to use full volume during our game, we had to lower it down. You will feel low distortions even with full volume.

Gaming

  • Made for Gaming
  • Game Booster app unique features
  • No recording option

Gaming is the competitive edge of Razer Phone here. Currently, there are limited mobile games but this is going to change in 2018 and onwards. There are no dedicated apps for this on the mobile as well so you need to use Google Play store for now. Most of these games are fps locked but some are not and we hope this will change in the future.

By default, most of the game have fps locked at 60Hz but you can change it through Game Booster app and play titles like Pokemon Go at 120Hz. But you cannot do that to every game since most of the mobile games don’t really take much graphics, refresh rate or GPU. You can also change the resolution and GPU settings from Game Booster app. Be careful that higher settings will lead your battery to consume faster. We have played the latest titles such as Final Fantasy 15 and Tekken on the mobile phones with no lags.

You will have 4 pre-installed games on this Razer Phone.

  • Arena of Valor
  • Titanfall Assault
  • Gear Club
  • World of Tanks

The gameplay on Razer smartphone is excellent. You don’t need to worry about your smartphone being overheated or any kind of lags. Razer is currently working with other developers and companies to bring more games in 2018 and 2019.

One main point we want to focus here is this Razer Phone is made for gamers. Normal or casual gamers may not feel any difference if they are playing games on this smartphone compared to other flagships. The difference is minor but true gamers can easily differentiate it.

There is one major flaw in this smartphone. Currently, it does not offer screen recording. With today’s technology, most of us play games with our friends. We stream, share and record our games. Of course, you can do this with a third party app but Razer Phone really needs its own app. We are hoping they are going to introduce this app in the next update.

Performance

  • SnapDragon 835 chipset
  • 8GB RAM

Razer Phone is equipped with a Snapdragon 835 chipset along with 8GB of RAM. We can see the same combo on OnePlus 6 and Oppo Find X but their chipset is upgraded to Snapdragon 845. There is not much of a difference between both chipsets.

We thought 8GB would be more than enough for a gaming mobile given that there are still variants of Alienware laptops that comes with 8GB but OnePlus 6 followed the same trend and now we think that yes with Androids one should expect 8GB of RAM since they go slow with time due to all the viruses on the phone.

There is just 64GB storage option available on Razer Phone. You can increase it with your own microSD card up to 2TB.

We could not be able to find any lag and the performance was silky smooth on this mobile. You can do multitasking and run plenty of apps together and still would be amazed by how good it performs.

Camera

  • Below average rear cameras
  • Average 8MP front camera

The Razer Phone is equipped with a dual 12MP rear camera with a wide-angle f/1.7 and it also supports telephoto f/2.4 lens. The camera does not offer a manual or pro mode. You can only click and shoot just like old school phones. The auto-focus and shutter speed is slow. You can enable HDR mode but it would make the camera go slower.

Color accuracy is below average and you are not the only one who does not like the camera with this price tag. The company may upgrade the camera and its software with their future updates but for now, it is below average. Razer has told its consumers in various occasions that they are working on this issue and it will soon be resolved. You can also download a different camera app from Google PlayStore which may work better comparatively.

The Razer Phone works well in sunlight and zoom in and out smoothly but it’s not a camera which you would want to use in low light. There is just not enough clarity.

One the front you will find an 8MP camera for taking selfies which is also pretty average for a phone with this price tag.

Battery life

  • Huge 4000mAh battery
  • 120Hz refresh rate significantly drains the battery

Razer Phone is one of the heaviest phones in the market. It could be due to its large 4000mAh packed battery. You will get about one day on average use. Our testing showed 4 hours of gaming on this smartphone and still, we were left with 23% of the battery. This is pretty impressive given that we were playing our games at 120Hz.

You need to change the default 90Hz refresh rate from settings if you want to play high-end titles. We won’t recommend you to change it 120Hz permanently because your battery will drain fast.

If you are worried much about the battery and not getting much out of it then you can put the phone on 60Hz which will extend your battery life. You can get about 1 and a half day on normal usage on 60Hz. You can also play games on 120Hz mode while keeping the rest of the apps and interface on 60Hz with the help of Game Booster app.

Our video testing showed that it lasted 8 hours and 50 minutes on full brightness at 90Hz which is pretty good. You can charge the phone from 0 to 100% in 1:25 hours. This fast charging is due to Qualcomm Quick charge 4+ technology. You will get the fast charging plug with the Razer Phone free of cost.

Operating system and interface

  • Now comes with pre-installed Android Oreo 8.1
  • Free Nova Launcher for a customized interface
Unlike Xiaomi and Oppo flagships, you will get a stock android in this phone. This means there will be less bloatware and the interface will be clean comparatively. However, this stock android will not be 100% same. You will get an additional Nova Launcher on the Razer Phone. You don’t really have to learn much about this unlike what we faced with Xiaomi MiUi software. With the new Android 8.0 Oreo, you will now get it pre-installed if you purchase the phone after April 2018 or you can also upgrade it to Android 8.0 if you have purchased it before.
You will get a bunch of other licensed contents from the store because of the Nova launcher which is not free itself if you purchase it from another Android device. You can customize the device according to your needs for changing themes and wallpapers. There are additional features like double tap on the screen to wake and lift the phone to turn the screen on.

Verdict

The Razer Phone is the first smartphone that has launched with a 120Hz display. It is made for gamers though it does not have a cool design like most of the flagships out there but it definitely serves the purpose. Its lag free and silky smooth. You can change the refresh rate according to your needs. The downside is you will get a squared design with no headphone jack and below average camera.

We cannot say this is the answer to your gaming addiction because let’s be honest here. The mobile gaming still needs time. There are popular titles like Fortnite and Clash of Clans but gamers would want more. And this smartphone still needs some upgrades in terms of hardware as well as software. You can get better devices in the same price range with great utilities overall. The TechSeer will give it a 7.7 out of a solid 10.

 

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