Features

Razer Phone 2 review: Gaming and nothing else

Needs to be more than that

Published

on

It should go without saying that the Razer Phone 2 is designed for mobile gaming and nothing else. Ever since we first laid our hands on it, there’s nothing else worth doing on this device aside from playing games — and a little media consumption on the side.

For one, this thing is big and blocky. Never have I used a phone as daunting as this. While it feels fine during landscape mode with two hands, going single-handed can be a literal pain to one’s hand.

You can get a better feel of it in our initial hands-on video:

It’s essentially the same brick as the original Razer Phone. The gaming company definitely applied the don’t-fix-it-if-it-ain’t-broke mentally here. I’m honestly fine with it since it delivers an unmatched screen-speaker combo, but I imagine small-handed users having a problem with this.

That’s mainly because it owns a 5.7-inch screen with a traditional ratio of 16:9, which means it isn’t as slim as those with the newer 18:9 panels. However, the dreaded notch is still nowhere in sight, and there’s more vertical space when playing in landscape orientation.

And since the stereo speakers are placed in front (where they should be), there’s no way of blocking them while gaming. That’s important, because you wouldn’t want to cover these grilles. They’re the absolute loudest, clearest speakers I’ve ever experienced on a smartphone, and could even beat some of the laptops I’ve reviewed in the past.

But from start to finish, it’s the display you really want. It’s an unmatched 120Hz LCD with a 1440p resolution. There’s really nothing like it in the market; it’s unbelievably smooth when scrolling and incredibly sharp when pixel peeping. Only the ROG Phone’s 6-inch 1080p AMOLED with its 90Hz refresh rate comes close, but I could definitely feel Razer’s extra pixels and hertz.

Bezels for days

So, how does all that translate to actual gaming? Mostly hits for sure, but I must point out some misses to make this a complete review.

First, the good. Even though Razer doesn’t advertise it, the faster 120Hz refresh rate applies to practically all games that involve scrolling or movement. That means you get on-screen motion that’s twice as smooth as the usual 60Hz on 99.9 percent of all other phones ever made. It’s tough to describe in pictures or words, but you can take my word that it’s tough to go back to anything less than this.

A useful pre-installed app for a change

Combined with the Snapdragon 845 chipset and 8GB of RAM, this is the best mix of hardware you can find until the next flagship Snapdragon gets announced, which may be as soon as next month. It’s a shame really, although this chip is more than enough to power the demanding screen. You can even boost performance further with the Game Booster app, which allows you to customize individual settings per game. I just keep mine on Performance mode to be safe.

My only concern is the heat management. Even though it’s been proven that the internals are cooled by a vapor chamber, I can’t say it’s effective in keeping heat away from my hands during intense gameplay. For comparison, it gets as warm as the vapor cooling-less Pixel 3, and doesn’t maintain temperature as well as the Mate 20 Pro, which isn’t even a gamer-centric phone but does own a more advanced 7nm Kirin processor.

Ragnarok M: Eternal Love pushes the Razer Phone 2 to peak hotness

Asphalt 9 is an example of a fast-paced game that pushes the phone to its limits

Alto’s Odyssey benefits greatly from the 120Hz refresh rate

A gamepad accessory would be a godsend for games like Fortnite

Playing in vertical orientation is less comfy yet manageable

Going outdoors introduces a new issue

The display’s biggest drawback has to be its poor brightness even at the highest setting. This poses a problem for games like Pokémon Go wherein you gotta go out in daylight to play. It was close to unplayable for me when the sun was high — something that never bothered me whenever I stayed inside my cave.

Speaking of going outside, I also can’t say that the 4000mAh battery capacity is enough. While it may seem ample on paper, I noticed the Razer Phone 2 easily burns through it in a few short hours. I would peg average use on a single charge at five hours of screen-on time tops; about an hour less if you use it purely for gaming. I could probably improve battery life by adjusting the refresh rate to 60Hz, but why would I hinder the phone’s best feature?

More is always better

And yet, despite these minor complaints, I can’t take anything away from the audio-visual experience the Razer Phone 2 offers. Having powerful stereo speakers and a desktop-grade 120Hz 1440p LCD is unreal, and I don’t understand why more brands aren’t copying this. The era of 60Hz needs to end already, and it should start with smartphones.

With the gaming aspect out of the way, what else can this smartphone do?

Razer’s new…

… wireless charging pad

For one, the Razer Phone 2 has wireless charging unlike its predecessor. Razer offers an RGB-lighted fast charging pad of its own, and it matches well with the customizable illumination of the phone’s rear logo.

Take your pick!

Yeah, that RGB logo really puts the game in gamer! The built-in Chroma app is where the magic happens; there are lots of options to adjust colors and how they radiate. Of course, leaving it on too long drains the battery immensely. My preferred setting is a glowing logo while the phone is on, and totally off when the unit’s asleep.

In case you’re wondering: No, turning on the lights doesn’t make it run faster

What else is there to know? Aside from all the upgrades over the predecessor I’ve mentioned, the Razer Phone 2 also comes with IP67 water and dust resistance, meaning it can handle unfortunate situations (like dunks in a toilet) more easily. Unfortunately, the 3.5mm audio port has once again been excluded, which is a head-scratcher on any sort of gaming device.

Oh, and the camera performance isn’t that good. As expected of a gaming phone, image quality isn’t a priority, but it gets the job done when daylight is plenty and you have nothing serious to shoot. I also appreciated the 2x optical zoom of the secondary lens. Take a look at some samples:

Is this your GadgetMatch?

If it isn’t clear by now, the Razer Phone 2 is fantastic for gaming, and not much more. Its blockiness and general lack of focus for anything other than raw performance makes it a rather niche product in a sea of versatile smartphones. You could easily buy a different Snapdragon 845-equipped handset for a fraction of this phone’s US$ 799 price, and you’d likely gain other features like better cameras and a modern look, while still getting gaming-level speeds.

However, those would lack the amazing 120Hz display, extra-loud speakers, and all-around customization. At the same time, last year’s discounted Razer Phone has become a little more lucrative, especially since it looks nearly identical to its successor and offers mostly the same signature features.

When all’s said and done, the Razer Phone 2 is a fun little machine. I wouldn’t use it as a daily driver, but whenever a hot new mobile game comes out, this would be my go-to match.

Features

Peloton vs excuses: Mind tricks that can help you squeeze in a workout

For those struggling to keep a routine

Published

on

If anyone tells you that having a personal gym at home will remove all barriers to working out, they’re lying.

The Peloton bike packs an insane amount of tech that should help me stay on track, so I should have no excuses not to exercise, right? With it I can do live and on-demand spin classes, strength training, yoga, even meditation and sleep courses. Having it at home also means not needing to make time to travel to the gym. And yet, despite all of this, I still find reasons to shun fitness on the daily.

If you’re like me who typically gets a good week of workouts and then hits a slump when life happens, I’ve compiled some tips that you might find useful. Here are some ways I tricked myself into working out more regularly whenever I struggle to do classes on my Peloton.

Find the time that makes sense for you

After doing your workouts for a while, take note of when you enjoy it the most. For me, sweating it out in the morning works best. If I tell myself that I’ll workout later in the day, it just never happens. I’m just not someone who enjoys exercising in the afternoon or evening as much.

Make it habit

While some people make plans, I just tell myself that I’ll work out everyday and figure it out later.

Peloton has workouts that are as short as 10 or 15 minutes. Even when pressed for time, 15 minutes is just that — 15 minutes. 

Those days I end up not exercising I would just consider recovery days. Our muscles need time to rest after all.

Take a scenic ride

Another trick I do is telling myself to do 10 minutes of a scenic ride. This is an option on the bike if you don’t feel like doing a class. You can ride at your own pace while the monitor shows beautiful landscapes and cities.

What usually happens when I do this is I end up doing an additional 10 minutes of arm workout. Often, I’ll feel warmed up and ready for a regular class afterwards.

Warming up at my own pace without any pressure to perform gets me in the right mindset to actually do a full workout. There are lots of other warm up rides available, too, but they’re usually pretty tough. Picking something that has no pressure eases me in.

Low impact doesn’t mean low effort

When I discovered the low impact ride, I wondered why I hadn’t been doing them all along.

I’m an old lady, or at least my body feels that way. I’ve gotten injured a few times riding the bike: the tendonitis in my thumb flared up, and the muscles that aren’t used to being used so much protested.

You still get a great workout when you choose low impact, but you’ll never achieve a personal best — and that’s perfectly okay.

Put the leaderboad away

Now we’re going to dip into the tech side of things. The leaderboard pushes you to get your personal best, which is great. But when I don’t want to work out, I’ll tell myself that a 45min class will be more doable if I take the leaderboard away. As a competitive person, I always get horrified at my performance when I check it because I don’t push myself nearly as hard apparently.

Pick a class with a gimmick

Peloton offers so many kinds of classes with different genres of music. I’ve done Guns N’ Roses as well as Madonna rides. Jess King has a show tunes series, and there are rides with a DJ.

Whenever I don’t feel motivated to exercise, I think of it as entertainment first and that’s how I trick myself into doing a full workout.

Save classes that made you feel good

When you save classes that made you feel good, you’ll be reminded of that feeling when you see it again on the monitor.When struggling to pick a class, I choose from a bunch of saved classes that I don’t mind doing again.

If I can’t bring myself to face a new challenge, doing one that I’ve already smashed is the best way to go!

Lower the instructors voice

If you have classes where you loved the soundtrack, save them and then choose to have more music and less instructor. It’s amazing how much having motivational music blasting helps.

Forgot how to change the audio mix? Hit the volume button on the right hand side of the display and then change the mix. You have to do it each time as it always resets back to an even mix of music and voice.

Find more tips and tricks on how to maximize your bike here.

Do a class with weights

Doing weights is challenging, but it gives your legs some rest. A 45-minute class is sometimes better than 30 minutes because I know I’ll get breaks to do weights.

Pick your feel-good instructor

Sometimes, picking an instructor that fits your your mood is all you need. When I just want to do a feel good class, I pick Cody because he’s like my gay best friend and his classes are always entertaining. Seeing instructors have a bit of a hard time with the workout is also the energy that motivates me to give the workout everything that I got.

Should you be taking workout advice from someone who struggles with working out? Probably not. Was this entire article about how to work out a little less hard? Maybe.

It would be unfair to say that fitness isn’t a big part of my life. I actually spend a lot of time thinking about working out more than working out itself. It’s one of my favorite past times.

Keeping a consistent workout routine is what I’m struggling with right now. These mind tricks have at least helped me get my ass on the bike and squeeze a workout in even when I don’t feel like it. And for someone who isn’t a disciplined fitness freak, that’s all that matters.

Continue Reading

Best Smartphones

Best Smartphones for Gaming in 2020 (so far)

You don’t need an expensive gaming smartphone to get good

Published

on

While you’re stuck at home, your smartphone becomes your go-to device for a lot of things. Whether it’s the news or connecting with your friends, at this point, you can’t live without a smartphone. But of course, even you will run out of things to do on your smartphone. At least, that’s what you think.

If you’re not off browsing through social media, you’re going to consider downloading games for your phone. However, most smartphones face the same problem when you’re strictly using it to play games: the heat. So, not only do you want a phone that lasts long, but one that can handle the heat while playing.

Lucky for you, here are four smartphones that we think are the best of both worlds. At the very least, these are proof that you don’t need a gaming smartphone to play all day.

The realme C3: the most budget-friendly option

If you need a phone that will definitely fit your budget, that’s exactly what the realme C3 offers. For starters, it comes in at PhP 5,999, and is actually the most affordable smartphone on this list. And for that price, you’ll experience solid gaming through and through.

Realme’s OS-based gaming optimization software allows you to play a ton of games without sacrificing battery life. However, the 3GB of RAM will be a bit of an issue when you want to play more graphically-intense mobile games. Nonetheless, it’s a great recommendation for a lot of people, especially for those who play shooter games.

See: the realme C3 in action

The Huawei Nova 7i: a little new but powerful enough to game on

Apart from the stylish colorway, the Huawei Nova 7i provides the power for anything. The Kirin 810 plus 8GB of RAM opens up a ton of performance for gaming purposes. And with a whopping 128GB of storage, there’s plenty of space in there for your favorites for PhP 13,990.

The device comes with GPU Turbo inside Huawei’s EMUI, which improves gaming performance overall. Most MMORPGs and shooter games greatly benefit from GPU Turbo’s enhancements, but it handles even most graphically-intensive sports games well. It’s a great all-around device that will also keep you gaming for hours on end.

See: Huawei Nova 7i pricing and availability in the Philippines

The OPPO A9 2020: big battery for the long playing hours

Much like the Huawei nova 7i, the OPPO A9 2020 also comes with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage inside. It comes in at PhP 15,990, but the real difference is that it comes with a whopping 5000 mAh battery. A bigger battery usually means longer screen time, which leads to longer playing time.

The key to that is OPPO’s Game Boost 2.0, which improves energy consumption and prevents your device from overheating. This gaming optimization software also does its magic on your phone display, reducing input lag. You can play for longer, and possibly compete against your friends in high-stake battles.

See: Hands-on experience of the OPPO A9 2020

The Samsung Galaxy A71: it won’t break the bank, and your back

Out of all the options on this list, the Samsung Galaxy A71 is the only one that breaks the 20K price point. However, even at PhP 22,990, this device is excellent for gaming on the go. Apart from the 8GB RAM + 128GB storage, it comes with the Snapdragon 730G octa-core processor. This, in itself, provides excellent performance and gaming on it is a breeze.

The device comes with the Game Booster optimization software inside Samsung’s OS which improves both performance and energy solutions. This opens up improved performance especially during intense gameplay. Furthermore, the hardware inside opens it up to take on more graphically-intense games.

See: The Samsung Galaxy A71 in action

Continue Reading

Features

7 blue smartphones worth giving a try

All beautiful in blue!

Published

on

When Pantone announced Classic Blue as the next color of the year, we listed down powerful smartphones from 2019 that comes in this familiar shade. Nearly halfway through 2020, we saw more smartphones that come in this hue albeit in different shades.

Here, we listed phones that aren’t just beautiful in blue, but powerful and reliable enough to be your daily driver.

Samsung Galaxy S20

The first flagship to astound the world this year is Samsung’s Galaxy S20. A crowd-favorite, this phone came in a charming Cloud Blue that would be difficult to resist and not have a crush on. It’s what every flagship smartphone should be — smart enough to get the job done for you without too much tinkering.

Hands-On: Samsung Galaxy S20 Hands-On

OnePlus 8 Pro

The so-called flagship killer is long gone! OnePlus finally joined the league of iPhones and Galaxies — but still at a little cheaper price compared to these long-standing flagships. Remaining true to its motto ‘Never Settle’, the OnePlus 8 Pro is a reminder that you don’t have to settle for a thousand dollar phone to get the best of the best. Also, it comes in a stunning Ultramarine Blue.

Review: OnePlus 8 Pro

Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro

Another flagship killer who moved to the premium league, the Mi 10 Pro is still one of the best smartphones Xiaomi has to offer. It comes in Solstice Grey, which looks like deep, unsaturated blue — something you see in the skies at dawn. This exorbitant flagship is an ideal alternative for the Galaxy S20 Ultra, since it’s a tad cheaper than Samsung’s 108-megapixel monster.

Review: Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro

LG V60 ThinQ

Odd, quirky, yet functional — the LG V60 ThinQ is truly the most underrated phone of 2020. This phone comes in Classy Blue, packed with essential features. LG didn’t put gimmicks that are commonly familiar to most smartphones in 2020, and instead, offered what every consumer needs. It’s a smartphone with practical solutions to almost everything.

Review: LG V60 ThinQ

Huawei P40 Pro

Huawei has been on a tough spot ever since it lost Google Mobile Services, but it still continues to release phones that are hard to ignore. The P40 Pro is that one case, where everything is pretty much what you’d hope for in a flagship smartphone, except it doesn’t have the basic services to make your life easier. However, this phone found a new market to serve — its loyalists and those who love to tinker around and have full control over what they install on their phones.

Review: Huawei P40 Pro

POCO X2

POCO is back, but it’s not the successor to the well-loved F1. The POCO X2 is proof that POCO’s independence can yield outstanding results. It comes in a flamboyant Atlantis Blue, easily stunning anyone who sets its eyes on this midrange phone. Moreover, it’s a breath of fresh air in a sea of midrange smartphones trying to be the ‘first’. It simply delivers an experience, making it the perfect midrange phone you can buy today.

Review: POCO X2

Samsung Galaxy A71

Samsung has a pretty crappy midrange lineup for a while, then the Galaxy A71 appeared. It may have taken years for Samsung to produce a solid midranger that gets the job done, but it almost perfected the craft with this beaut. It doesn’t have a single strong standout feature, but it’s a well-rounded phone that can keep you entertained and secure. It’s impossible not to give it a try, especially with its cute Prism Crush Blue color.

Review: Samsung Galaxy A71

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Gadget Reviews

Trending