We’ll kick things off with the design, where the Razer Phone takes cues from the Nextbit Robin, but adds its own flair. The Robin’s signature circular motif is present in the buttons on the side, and the front of the phone is reminiscent of the Robin as well. To add their own flair, Razer opted for a black finish on the rear, as well as green icons, giving the phone a look in keeping with other Razer products. There’s also an exclusive launch colorway comprising a black finish with a green Razer logo, that’s available for a limited time only.
The rest of the design is rather straightforward. The phone’s 16:9 display is flanked by dual front-facing stereo speakers, each with their own dedicated amplifier. These speakers use the same grille design found in Razer laptops and are designed to provide consistency and coherency between the company’s product ranges.
Like Razer’s laptops, the Razer Phone uses the best technology to offer high performance. The Razer Phone specs include a 5.7-inch QHD IPS Sharp IGZO display which is the same type of IPS LED found in the company’s laptop range.
The display is where the magic of the Razer Phone starts to happen. It incorporates two key pieces of technology from Razer’s computer range. The first is the key reason behind using the IGZO display: the Razer Phone is the first smartphone to offer a variable refresh rate of up to 120 Hz.
The second is Ultra Motion, which is the mobile version of NVIDIA’s Gsync feature for desktop computers. This allows the GPU to synchronize with the refresh rate and instruct the display when to render a new frame. This should make the phone great for gaming and it also means the Razer Phone offers the silkiest scrolling we’ve seen on an Android phone.
The phone also comes with a handy counter on the screen to display the current refresh rate. Its position is a little weird, but it can be disabled if needed (it might have been better in the status bar). During our brief time with it, we saw the refresh rate range from 10 Hz on the home screen all the way to 121 Hz while gaming and the result was always a fantastic experience.
120 Hz is a new feature for smartphone displays, and as a result, not all games will support the higher refresh rate. Game developers have the option to cap the refresh rate to support all displays, and for these games, the Razer Phone will only run them at their max refresh rate. The company is working with select developers to optimize popular games such as Shadowgun, Arena of Valor and Final Fantasy XV Mobile Edition to use the full 120 Hz refresh rate available on the display.
A great display experience is often let down by a sub-par audio experience, but the Razer Phone takes a different approach. The phone comes equipped with Dolby Atmos for Mobile and I think the speakers are incredible. At higher volumes, there is no distortion and the overall audio experience is simply fantastic. Granted this is just a first impression, but I left wanting this on all smartphones.
Like other 2017 flagships, the Razer Phone doesn’t come with a headphone jack, but a USB-C audio adapter that includes a THX-certified 24-bit DAC is included in the box. For those who would rather not use an adapter, Razer isn’t including headphones in the box, but will offer standalone Hammerhead USB-C headphones with a 24-bit DAC that are available for purchase separately at a cost of $79.99.
The Razer Phone is powered by a flagship specs list that includes a Snapdragon 835 processor, Adreno 540 GPU, 64 GB of expandable storage (with adoptive storage for the microSD card) and 8 GB of RAM. The Razer Phone makes all 8 GB usable by the user, unlike other devices, which tend to reserve a percentage of RAM for system processes. The processor can also be overclocked above the out-of-the-box speed, for those who want to really push this phone to its limits.