After teasing a big announcement in October, Razer on Wednesday has made its first smartphone official.
The Razer Phone is a device built for gamers, not gaming, according to Razer’s product marketing manager, mobile business unit, Eric Lin.
ZDNet spoke with Lin prior to Wednesday’s announcement, where he shed some light on why Razer is entering the ultra-competitive and crowded smartphone market.
Lin is a former Nextbit employee who stayed on at Razer after the company acquired the smartphone startup in January. The acquisition was the result of Nextbit and Razer already working together on the Razer Phone when the two companies decided it’d be better to join forces.
Nextbit’s design influence is apparent when looking at the Razer Phone. The large speaker grilles on top and bottom of the screen, along with a fingerprint sensor inside the power button are reminiscent of the Nextbit Robin.
The similarities stop there, however, with the $699 Razer Phone targeting the higher end smartphone customer who wants a high-performance device.
Here are the Razer Phone’s specifications:
- Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
- Storage: 64GB, with microSD support up to 2TB
- Memory: 8GB of RAM
- Display: 5.7-Inch IGZO LCD, 1440×2560, 120Hz
- Rear Cameras: Dual 12-megapixel cameras
- Front Camera: 8-megapixel
- Battery: 4,000 milliamp-hour
- Size: 158.5 x 77.7 x 8 mm/6.24 x 3.06 x 0.31-inches
- Operating System: Android Nougat 7.1.1
When designing the phone, Razer leveraged its experience in designing gaming laptops, according to Lin. For example, because most gaming on smartphones is done by holding the phone in landscape orientation, the power button and volume buttons are centered on the phone. This will eliminate accidentally hitting any of the buttons during gameplay, which is something that happens all too often on other smartphones.
Razer also implemented its own cooling system to ensure the phone doesn’t overheat, as well as stereo, front-facing speakers. Again, the placement of the speakers is a specific design choice, so that when holding the device a user isn’t covering them up and muffling sound.
Razer has worked hard to make it easy for developers to optimize games for its phone. Games built with the Unity Game Engine only need to check two boxes, and the software takes care of the rest.
Also included is Razer’s Game Booster program normally seen on its gaming computers. When in use, the software will optimize the phone for gameplay.
On paper, the Razer Phone sounds like a gamer’s dream phone. It’s still a niche device but to a segment of users who are incredibly passionate about gaming and the devices used for it.
With launch titles like Gear Club, Final Fantasy XV Chapter 1, and Arena of Valor, it’s likely gamers will find more than just the logo on the back of the phone appealing.
At $699, the unlocked Razer Phone is cheaper than flagship devices from Samsung or Apple but is limited to GSM carriers.
Pre-orders for the Razer Phone open November 1, with availability in Europe and North America to follow on November 17.
Previous and related coverage
The announcement is scheduled for November 1.
Last year Nextbit launched the innovative Robin Android smartphone. It has just been acquired by Razer and will continue to operate as an independent entity within the larger company.