5 things you need to know about the Razer Phone

Razer is a brand loved the world over by PC and console gamers and now it can call itself a phone manufacturer. After the January 2017 acquisition of Nextbit it was only a matter of time, and now after much teasing the covers have been pulled off the Razer Phone.

It's quite the thing, too. Top-end hardware, a minimalist software experience (Android, natch) and a partnership with Microsoft in the U.S. to distribute the phone through its retail channels.

So, you're interested, and we don't blame you at all. Here are five quick hits on what you need to know about the Razer Phone.

1. It's not a gaming phone; it's a phone for gamers

Razer Phone

The Razer Phone is a phone for gamers, not a gaming phone. You might consider this one and the same, but there's an important distinction to make.

Razer has made other products before that are "for gamers" without being gaming products, namely the Nabu wearables. The company's philosophy with the Razer Phone was to make a great device that will excite their core fanbase: Gamers.

In this case that means packing the Razer Phone with top of the line hardware like a Snapdragon 835 processor and 8GB of RAM, as well as technology not often seen in a smartphone like a 120Hz display with variable refresh rate and UltraMotion sync. Razer has brought gaming technology to its smartphone, this isn't some half-hearted "gaming phone" somebody stuffed into a controller.

Were it a gaming phone, it would likely be awful. Remember the Nokia N-Gage?

2. UltraMotion sync is a game changer

Razer Phone

If you're a PC gamer you'll be familiar with Freesync and G-Sync. UltraMotion is like that, but developed by Razer and applied to a phone since the GPU isn't from AMD or NVIDIA at this size.

But what is it? The display on the Razer Phone has a native 120Hz refresh rate, but also supports a variable refresh rate (VRR). Just like the desktop sync technologies, UltraMotion syncs the GPU and the refresh rate of the display, with the phone's GPU telling the display which frames to draw.

The end result is high frame rate, tear-free, and silky smooth gameplay. But on a smartphone.

3. No headphone jack and a killer DAC

Razer Phone

If you like music and you want a Razer Phone then get ready for that dongle lifestyle. In all seriousness, the elimination of the headphone jack wasn't taken lightly, but it was a necessary evil given the rest of the hardware inside the phone.

The good news is that Razer includes a USB-C to 3.5mm adapter in the box. Oh, and it has a 24-bit THX certified DAC inside it. Oh yes.

The speakers on the front are good. Really good for a phone. But the audio through the adapter and a good set of headphones is pretty special. Slap on some lossless audio and lose yourself in the music.

4. It will get Android Oreo

Razer Phone

Perhaps less of a contentious issue for some than it might be among the Android enthusiast crowd, but the Razer Phone launches on Android 7.1 Nougat. Otherwise known as old-hat.

OK, it isn't really, but there will be those vocal about a company launching a phone in November 2017 on the previous version of Android. The Razer Phone has been in development for less than a year, and even though it's mostly plain old Android (you actually get Nova Launcher Prime on the Razer Phone, too), it's not as simple as just putting an update on it.

There's first-party stuff underneath, namely UltraMotion, that requires work. Razer will be updating to Android 8.0 Oreo and it's shooting for the early part of 2018. But for now you'll be waiting.

5. Green for launch

Razer's logo on the back is the only visible branding anywhere on what's otherwise a sleek, sophisticated looking smartphone. On most of the models sold the logo will be silver.

But if you're quick, for pre-orders only, you can get one with Razer's trademark green logo. So be quick! You'll be getting the Razer Phone on November 14 and it'll cost you $699.

There's a lot more to learn about the Razer Phone, but it leaves a really solid first impression. We're liking it a lot, but be sure to give us your own first impressions in the comments below.

See at RazerZone

Richard Devine
Managing Editor - Tech, Reviews

Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at mstdn.social/@richdevine

  • actually there's a 6th thing I'd like to know:   Why on Earth are there 4 blog posts about an Android phone on a site called WINDOWS central.
  • Cause we can :P Serious answer: There are a lot of people looking to switch from Windows phone to something else. Android is the best bet for many who want to remain close to the MS ecosystem. That means phones with no bloatware, pure Android, customizable launchers, and sold in Microsoft Stores (which this is). Combined with Razer being a popular PC gaming manufacturer and the ability for it to run all of Microsoft's Android software, it makes, in my opinion, a suitable "switch" phone for people who want something good and yet still cheaper than LG, Samsung, or Apple. As an ex-Windows Phone user/fan this is a phone that appeals to me as a daily driver. I think others may feel the same too. Forget Nova, I want to load up Microsoft Launcher, Cortana, Edge and more on this. Some may disagree with all of that and that's fine. We're all here because we love technology.
  • Well, then where is nokia;)? They have pure pure android.
  • Who would've thought when you changed your name and site to a Windows centric site from a phone centric site that this would have happened... Sad state of affairs for those of who love the Windows phone. But yes, I'm very interested for this phone as well. It seems to offer a very well equipped phone for the money and I like the looks of it as well. I will be very interested to see an in depth report on the camera. My 950XL is still going strong so for now I won't change, but...
  • Here's the quick answer, cut all the BS... Because, people want, need, and like, smartphones... Microsoft doesn't sell smartphones, so something has to fill that gap... The end.
  • Straight to the point.
  • Yepers.
  • this phone is actually on sales on windows store, stop being a hater pls...
  • This article is of interest to me. I fall into the category mentioned by Daniel, i.e. a Windows phone user who now finds themselves looking to switch and finding Android a better option than iOS. I've said many time that I'll stick with Windows phones as long as they do what I need but I've been having issues with the wireless hotspot on my 950 XL lately and I use that with my Surface Pro while commuting, so it's a must. With no new Windows phones forthcoming, I have no real option but to switch. I'd find it hard to do without wireless charging now though, and have multiple charging stands and plates, so this is unfortunately a no-go.  Not sure whether it would have made it to Australia anyway. The LG V30+ is supposed to arrive this month so I think that I'll be picking that up.
  • Well... It is because Android now has more Microsoft Services running on it than Windows Mobile ever had. Hmmmm... Then again now that I think about it... is the name Microsoft Central already taken?
  • Because they can only write so many stories about the mythical surface phone. And because we are all looking for alternatives as MS is eager to abandon most of its consumer business.
  • I counted 6 entries on Razer
  • Pretty shocking they brought this in under $700. Kinda makes you question the insane markup on the iPhone and Galaxy phones. My problem now will be deciding how important wireless charging and a headphone jack are. Does anyone know if a mic will work through the included dongle?
  • That would be a definite yes.
  • It should, usb-c allows for analog through it.  As well the insane markup is because Razor doesnt have everything that apple does in terms of both overhead and everything else they are doing.  Razor literally threw together parts that cost about 200 to make, give or take, threw on an OS they didnt make, put in house software for their sync system...which is awesome btw...and then charged you a premium.  They are not any different than Apple.
  • $700 in the US means £700 in the UK, if we even get it over here
  • Can I run Windows on it?
  • Are people just anti Bluetooth and wireless headphones? Lol 😅
  • I hate headphone cables and use Bluetooth headphones pretty much all the time, but the audio is often better overall via cable and, given how many people forget to charge their phones, a lot of people don't want to have to charge headphones too.
  • I've been using Blueooth headphones for years, the audio quality is just as good and it's far more convenient. People need to get with the times.
  • The audio is absolutely not as good. Almost, yes. Anything wireless vs it's wired counterpart (all other things being equal) will have some sort of degradation of quality. 
  • You need a headphone jack on a long plane ride, or just being out for a whole day.  
  • Show me one that will get me through a whole day on a charge and don't sound like they are filtered through a tin can and I might pay attention.
  • Hmm... V-Moda Cross-fades???
  • It's interesting that MSFT Stores will now have 2 Android phones, this and S8. Are MSFT Stores becoming a place to get Android phones? Not that I mind.
  • Au Contrere erzhik! The Massively Screwed-up dys-Functional Team has already abandoned their first foray into the Android consumer market, thereby keeping with their inability to follow-through with consumer products.  Go look on store.microsoft.com.  Only 2 phones are available and both W10M phones - Alcatel Idol 4S & HP Elite X3.  
  • Cool phone, but besides the 120hz display and the frame syncing feature...i dunno. Still a hard sell. Most games on the play store don't really seem to push the graphical abilities of phones nowadays. Or if they are, it's freemium titles with mid to low range assets. I was kinda anticipating some sort of custom GPU or something major to differentiate it from the competition, but I'm not seeing much here. Pixel 2 and V30 have insane cameras, both have basically the same specs, and in the case of the v30, it has a quad DAC with a headphone jack. While also being ~ 40g less. This is heavier than the "wristbreaking" 185g Lumia 920 that journalists moaned about. xD Overall, not sold until razer figures out a better GPU solution to differentiate them from the competition, and some compelling features such as a bundle of high quality titles.
  • this phone is actually looks sexier than iPhone X.
  • Richard, N-Gage wasn't that bad for the time. What about the cameras?
  • It would be a must buy for me, if it ran Windows as well
  • You almost had me Windows Central. Hahaha. I've been peeking and snooping around at Android and iPhones. I'm still completely content with my green Lumia 1520 and a Lumia 650 on the side. BUT $700. F no! That's just G-damn ridiculous. I have no idea how Anyone in their right mind can spend anything close to that on a phone. This Razor phone sounds fairly cool but......... No thanks.
  • What games on android warrants such a spec'd out phone? It's not like you can run steam PC games off this phone.
  • But... how's the camera?
  • #6 No CDMA in the US.
  • Hoping for android phone from Microsoft....or android rom with live tiles from microsoft.......hope they will have this much interest for mobile platform.
  • BTW - This DOES include a pair of Bluetooth in-ear headphones so if you don't want to buy any you don't have to. I EXPECT Razer to come out with a "gaming cradle" that the phone slips into connected via the USB-C with the standard 4-wayrocker/thumb-sticks/buttons/etc. AND an additional battery. That would make it look like (and play like) a turbo-charged Nintendo Switch.
    It would only be logical for them to do that. Expect it to cost about $100. They would be FOOLS not to offer something like that as it would sell like mad and make this a COMPLETE "Gaming Phone".
  • 120Hz? will this device go overheat easily then CPU/GPU starts to sow down?
  • If security updates are important to you (and I can't imagine why they wouldn't be), I'd be wary. I got a NextBit Robin on the promise that Nextbit/Razer would continue to provide updates through Feb 2018. Hah--nothing since April, including no fix to a persistent Bluetooth problem that pretty much makes BT useless, except empty promises. After Blueborne and Krack were ignored, I put the Robin in my drawer and went back to my Blackberry Priv and my Lumia 640.
  • That launcher is ugly AF.
  • I was really looking forward to the HTC U11+, but they won't be selling it here any time soon so I guess I have to take a chance on this Razer phone.  I hope they don't disappoint.