This is the Razer phone

This is the Razer phone

It’s no big secret that Razer (the company best known for building gaming peripherals and laptops) has been building a phone. The company bought fledgling smartphone maker Nextbit earlier this year, and there’s been talk of a Razer phone ever since.

Sure enough, here it is: the Android-powered Razer phone. (Not to be confused, of course, with that shining beacon of the early 2000s, the RAZR)

The company announced the device at an event in London this afternoon. Like most things Razer does, this phone is built with a focus on gaming — which, in this case, means it’s got some pretty crazy specs:

  • Qualcomm’s ultra-speedy Snapdragon 835 chip, the same one that powers flagships like the Pixel 2 and the Galaxy S8
  • A big ol’ 4,000mAh battery
  • 8GB of RAM
  • 64GB of internal storage, plus a microSD slot for expansion
  • Dual 12-megapixel cameras on the rear with different levels of optical zoom — one wide angle, one telephoto.
  • 8-megapixel cam on the front
  • As with the Nextbit Robin, they’ve hidden the fingerprint sensor in the power button on the side
  • 802.11a/b/g/n/AC, Bluetooth 4.2, and NFC
  • It’ll run Android Nougat 7.1.1 at launch, with plans to update to Android Oreo (8.0) in the first quarter of 2018.
  • A 5.72 inch, 120hz display — meaning the screen refreshes super-fast for smoother scrolling and animation/movement in games. The iPad Pro tablet has a 120hz screen, but it looks like Razer might be the first to market with a 120hz display in a phone

I got to go hands-on with the device a few days ago, and I’m looking forward to spending more time with it for a review. For now, I’ll say: The device looks and feels well-built, the speakers were nice and loud and the 120hz screen seemed buttery smooth.

In what seems to be an unstoppable trend at this point, there’s no 3.5mm jack here. The company tells me they needed that space for the battery and the speakers. On the upside, there’s a THX certified 3.5mm to USB-C DAC adapter in the box.

If you’ve ever held the previous phone made by the Nextbit team, the Robin, the Razer phone feels a bit like the bigger, badder evolution of that. If there’s a parallel universe where Nextbit lived on independently and made a “Robin 2 XL,” it’d probably look a lot like this (minus, you know, the Razer logo on the back).

They’ve understandably dropped some of the software features that were unique to the Robin in its time. The Robin would, for example, automatically back your photos up to the cloud and remove the local copies to save space. Shortly after the Robin’s debut, Google rolled similar functionality into Google Photos right within Android and made the whole thing a bit redundant.

The phone will cost $699 at launch. Pre-orders should go live shortly, and it’ll ship in North America and Europe on November 17th.


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