Built for gamers, but you don’t need to be one – Razer’s first phone is a stand­out An­droid hand­set for any­one

Australian T3 - - CONTENTS -

Razer’s first hand­set has 3D sur­round sound and is per­fect for me­dia

$1,099 raz­er­zone.com

The Razer Phone clas­si­fies it­self as a gam­ing phone, but it’s also the per­fect de­vice for en­ter­tain­ment, whether that’s watch­ing movies or lis­ten­ing to mu­sic, thanks to an amaz­ing screen with tech­nol­ogy not seen in a phone be­fore, bril­liant speak­ers, and a de­sign that makes it easy to hold in land­scape mode.

Tak­ing in­spi­ra­tion from Razer’s range of gam­ing lap­tops, the phone is crafted from matt-black alu­minium, giv­ing it the ap­pear­ance of a stealth jet. The rear cas­ing fea­tures a con­trast­ing black Razer logo on the back giv­ing away its iden­tity (a limited-edi­tion launch model will fea­ture a ven­om­green logo). It still man­ages to be un­der­stated, though, and should ap­peal to gamers and non-gamers. The slab-like de­sign isn’t as sleek or el­e­gant as the iPhone X or Sam­sung Gal­axy S8, but it’s cer­tainly unique and it does make the body easy to grip and hold for long pe­ri­ods of gam­ing or video. The large bezels top and bot­tom might look a lit­tle un­gainly, but they have a pur­pose: to al­low you to grasp the phone eas­ily with­out touch­ing the dis­play.

It’s a con­sid­ered de­sign, then, but there are a few omis­sions that could prove irk­some. The first of these is a lack of wa­ter­proof­ing, which we re­ally ex­pect at this price; and the sec­ond is no head­phone jack, though you do get a USB-C to 3.5mm adapter in the box.

You won’t find a fin­ger­print sen­sor on the front or rear of the Razer Phone - in­stead it’s hid­den in­side the side-mounted power but­ton. Un­lock­ing is light­ning fast, and it feels per­fectly lo­cated for your thumb.

Un­sur­pris­ingly, as a gam­ing hand­set, one of the main high­lights on the Razer Phone is the stun­ning Quad

HD 5.7-inch LCD panel. It’s bright and colour­ful, al­though not quite as vi­brant as the OLED pan­els found in the S9 or iPhone X. Razer has gone with LCD tech­nol­ogy be­cause it of­fers a higher re­fresh rate. Dubbed the ‘Ul­tramo­tion’ dis­play, it’s one of the first de­vices to fea­ture a dis­play with a 120Hz dis­play, like Razer’s lap­tops.

Razer-sharp screen

When you’re whizzing through the in­ter­face or play­ing games at 120fps, things look silky smooth. Razer has been work­ing with de­vel­op­ers to cre­ate 120Hz-op­ti­mised games, in­clud­ing some big-name ti­tles, such as Are­naofValor, Tekken and Fi­nal Fan­ta­syXV, though only Are­naof Valor was avail­able at time of test­ing. There are 120Hz games on the Play Store al­ready, but be­cause they’re not sign­posted, they can be tricky to find.

It’s not just gam­ing that ben­e­fits from the Razer. You’ll even see an im­prove­ment scrolling through apps like Twit­ter, or surf­ing the in­ter­net. Once you try it, it’s hard to go back.

Flank­ing this beefed-up dis­play are two large speak­ers, each with a ded­i­cated amp. There’s also sup­port for Dolby Atmos and THX, of­fer­ing an im­mer­sive 3D au­dio sound­scape like no other, with sounds pro­jected in front and be­hind of you. Hands down, the Razer Phone has the best speak­ers on any phone cur­rently avail­able - they’re loud, rich and clean. They work best with Dolby Atmos con­tent, but you’ll also get the spa­tial ef­fect in any kind of video or au­dio. And when you’re on the train, you can avoid pub­lic ridicule by us­ing the Dolby Atmos-en­abled au­dio adapter to plug in your reg­u­lar head­phones, giv­ing you the same en­hanced sur­round sound, in pri­vate. Nat­u­rally, you’ll see the ben­e­fit what­ever you’re us­ing the phone for - whether it’s gam­ing or watch­ing the lat­est movies.

Keep­ing all this im­pres­sive tech tick­ing along nicely is a Qual­comm Snap­dragon 835 pro­ces­sor and a mon­u­men­tal 8GB RAM - the same amount you’ll find in a 13-inch MacBook Pro. We’re not sure a phone needs 8GB RAM, but in use it did al­low us to run mul­ti­ple in­ten­sive apps with no lag or slow-down. Ob­vi­ously the fo­cus here is gam­ing, but we could see this pow­er­ful phone used for on-the­fly video or photo edit­ing as well.

Else­where the Razer Phone packs a hefty 4,000mAh bat­tery which will com­fort­ably last a full day, though not in 120Hz mode. The Game Booster app is use­ful here be­cause you can set games to run at 120Hz, while keep­ing the rest of the An­droid in­ter­face run­ning at 60Hz or 90Hz. Handily, it’s the first phone to sup­port Qual­comm 4+ Quick Charge, al­low­ing you to charge to 85 per cent in only an hour.

It has an 8MP front cam­era, and a dual 12MP sys­tem with a wide-an­gle lens and a tele­photo lens on the back. Sadly, this is its weak­est fea­ture. In day­light it takes ac­cept­able shots, but things quickly head south when the light­ing gets darker. The cam­era app is also slow, es­pe­cially in HDR mode.


ABOVE LEFT There’s a sim­ple de­sign hon­esty to the square lines and chunky top that we re­ally like

ABOVE RIGHT The dual cam­eras sadly aren’t up to the stan­dard of its big phone ri­vals

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