Razer is stepping up to the plate of mobile phones. Was I surprised? Not quite as much as everyone else. With mobile gaming going up a notch despite a critical crowd internally rubbing elbows as to what makes someone a “gamer,” I was partly expecting brands to take on the challenge of catering to their audience.
With Razer appropriately initiating marketing to gamers, is the phone a step forward to a no-compromises mobile experience, or is it just a flashy-looking phone?
A mobile handheld?
At first glance the Razer Phone is undeniably reminiscent of holding any handheld console. It’s a strange association, I know, but stay with me. As much as the bezels and speakers shrink the eye-catching 5.7-inch 1440p IGZO LCD 120Hz UltraMotion display, it leaves your touchplay mobile gaming undisturbed.
With an awesomely smooth matte and slick all black anodized aluminum casing, the phone’s grip is comfortable and perfect while you’re playing games. I usually have trouble holding my phone while playing Arena of Valor because the touchplay mechanics are so close to the edges of the phone. On the Razer Phone, the speakers and square edges give ample space for you to hold it up comfortably.
Mobile gamer’s pipe dream
The hardware of the phone joins the top-notch phones with a Snapdragon 835 processor with 8GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. If you’re worried about the phone lasting a day out, the 4000mAh battery can take more than just a beating.
When Razer bragged about providing absolute freedom to watch, listen, and play as much as you want without ever being caught with a red battery bar, they meant it. The Razer Phone breezed through more than 24 hours of on-and-off intensive gameplay on a single charge.
Cue in “but wait, there’s more” infomercial
The phone lets you modify and customize frame rate, resolution, CPU clock frequencies, and anti-aliasing with its built-in Razer Game Booster. Each game can be optimized individually under this system. The 120Hz UltraMotion screen is so smooth, it deserves more than just a sentence in this subsection.
The phone features Dolby Atmos- and THX-certified audio that’ll blow your socks off. While shooting, I had them on full blast while logging into Vainglory. Needless to say, I thought someone pulled a prank through the speakers, and I was impressed to find it was the Razer Phone.
Display as smooth as butter is almost an understatement
Although the display’s brightness is relatively dimmer than what I’m used to, the 120Hz refresh rate is just amazing. Dropping the refresh rate from 120Hz to 90Hz does make a difference in-game and out. It may not make a huge difference to the untrained eye, but it’s a noticeable one to PC gamers.
The phone makes Android look so buttery smooth that I can never look at other phones the same way again. Regular phones settle for a 60Hz panel meaning they’re only half as smooth as the Razer Phone’s display. If that doesn’t put it up to scale for you, 120Hz is about as high as a refresh rate from most high-end laptops and PC monitors.
Bundled with pre-installed games
It comes as no surprise: A gaming phone is no gaming phone without games. Razer brought out their guns, already setting the phone up with four titles perfect on 120Hz. They have Titanfall: Assault, Gear.Club, World of Tanks: Blitz, and Arena of Valor pre-installed on the phone so you won’t need to look far to test out the display right off the bat.
If you want to immerse in a sharp and bold display while you play, this is the way to go. Other games that support this frame rate are:
- Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition
- Real Racing 3
- The Simpsons: Tapped Out
- Vendetta Online
- Warhammer 40,000: Freeblade
Netflix and play
The Razer Phone boasts perfect features for gamers, but it delivers on more than just that. The phone’s HDR-ready screen is perfect for watching movies, shorts, and TV shows. With the phone’s extensive battery life, it had no problem tearing through hours of binge watching on Netflix.
A catch that may not matter to you
The 12-megapixel dual cameras are decent but feel like an afterthought, which ultimately makes a lot of sense. With the target use to be mainly for playing games and lodging around without being tied to an outlet or power bank, it’s clear that Razer took this more as an accessory than a main feature. Which isn’t to say it’s completely horrifying; you can check the test shots for yourself below:
Its highs and lows
The Razer Phone doesn’t have a headphone jack. A bummer? A little, but the phone comes with a USB-C to 3.5mm dongle. Luckily, Razer sent us Razer Hammerhead USB-C earphones with the phone so I had a chance to try them out and they delivered on quality.
Connecting a variety of headphones and earphones both over- and in-ear through the dongle thankfully didn’t degrade the experience that much. Although you’re better off with the direct USB-C earphones, the dongle is not so bad an alternative when you don’t have US$ 80 more to cash out for the Hammerhead or similarly expensive headphones.
Is this your GadgetMatch?
If you’re looking for the perfect phone to play and watch with while still being able to go about your day, this is the phone for you. The Razer Phone’s 120Hz refresh rate can change a life. It’s eye-gasmic and the phone doesn’t make me feel any remorse for saying it.
If a great camera is one of the striking features you value in a phone, this isn’t the phone for you. The device can manage with ample lighting, but there’s no denying that the camera is this handset’s pitfall. Considering that this is a gaming phone though, it does deliver. Whether a gaming phone is worth cashing out US$ 699 for, is up to you.
What lies ahead?
I touched on this subject in the introduction, but it’s safe to say brands are listening to their audience more and more. Gaming on your mobile has been looked down upon by many and it has struggled to gain equal respect from other hardware. Although it continues to be belittled, it grows. Mobile games are not just convenient, portable, and efficient, it’s also mostly for free — and that’s why despite harsh shade, it’s popularity has grown incrementally. Games are no longer a sensible debate between hardware, and it shouldn’t have been to begin with.
Judging software through hardware isn’t a valid way of going about the subject. Games like Mobile Legends, Arena of Valor, Army Attack, and Battlefield has proven that games that go multi-platform and dive into iOS and Android grow a huge number of players. So, next time you feel like judging a game by what people play it on, consider the context of usage, availability, and accessibility of the game for people.
TWICE, BLACKPINK part of Just Dance 2020 lineup
Dance to Fancy and Kill This Love!
To celebrate 10 years of making gamers move, Just Dance 2020 is adding some popular asian music to their lineup. In particular, hit songs from two of the most popular K-Pop girl groups today made the lineup — TWICE’s Fancy and BLACKPINK’s Kill This Love.
Joining those two tracks are these other chart toppers:
God Is a Woman — Ariana Grande
Skibidi — Little Big
Vodovorot — XS Project
Bangarang — Skrillex Ft. Sirah
Con Calma — Daddy Yankee Ft. Snow
Bad Boy – Riton & Kah-Lo
High Hopes — Panic! At The Disco
Sushi — Merk & Kremont
I Like It — Cardi B, Bad Bunny & J Balvin
Policeman — Eva Simons Ft. Konshens
Rain Over Me — Pitbull Ft. Marc Anthony
365 — Zedd & Katy Perry
Con Altura — ROSALÍA & J Balvin Ft. El Guincho
Fit But You Know It — The Streets
I Am The Best (내가 제일 잘 나가) — 2NE1
Old Town Road (Remix) — Lil Nas X Ft. Billy Ray Cyrus
Só Depois Do Carnaval — Lexa
Taki Taki — DJ Snake Ft. Selena Gomez, Ozuna, Cardi B
The Time (Dirty Bit) — Black Eyed Peas
Just An Illusion — Equinox Stars
Baby Shark — Pinkfong
Bassa Sababa — Netta
My New Swag (我的新衣) — VAVA Ft. Ty. & Nina Wang
Tel Aviv — Omer Adam Ft. Arisa
Ugly Beauty (怪美的) — Jolin Tsai
New and returning game modes
The new mode recently announced is the All-Stars Mode. This will allow the players to rediscover and progress through 10 iconic songs from 10 years of Just Dance, to unlock an exclusive song at the end.
Making a return is the Co-op mode which will let players to team-up to combine their scores. There’s also an enhanced recommendation system enables players to choose among a personalized offering of their most loved Just Dance content. In addition, players can create their own playlists to customize their Just Dance parties.
The other modes are as follows:
Sweat Mode: Players can exercise while having fun with the Sweat Mode! They can track their calories burned, time spent dancing, and keep themselves motivated with their dedicated sweat playlists.
Kids Mode: The dedicated Kids Mode allows the youngest players to enjoy it in full with 8 new kid-friendly curated songs, accompanying a fun dance experience tailored to kids’ needs.
Just Dance Unlimited: The Dance-on-demand subscription streaming service gives access to 500+ songs and more! Every copy of the game comes with one month’s access.
To make the game more accessible, there’s also the Just Dance Controller app. Players can use their smartphone to navigate in game, track and score their moves. Up to six players can play with their phones simultaneously. The application is available for free on iOS and Android.
If you’ve been looking for a game that you can play with friends and family this holidays, look no further than Just Dance 2020. The game will be available on PS4 Pro, PSR and the Xbox One family of devices on November 5, 2019.
PUBG Mobile has a host of surprise gifts this Diwali
Burst in-game crackers!
Diwali is a very auspicious festival in the Hindu calendar and is comparable to Christmas in India. With the onset of the festive season, everyone is on a shopping spree. Companies are gearing up to send out gifts and streets will be lit up with diyas and lanterns.
The country is also one of the largest markets for PUBG Mobile, and the brand intends to leverage the festive season this year. The game has announced a plethora of in-game offerings as well as physical gifts.
Starting October 19, ‘Diwali Dhamaka Event’ will go live in the game and players need to complete daily missions to collect ‘Diwali Sparklers,’ which can be used to ‘Burst Crackers.’ Bursting these crackers will get you ‘Gift Tokens’ that can be redeemed for exclusive in-game items.
For reference, bursting crackers has been a tradition during Diwali. However, everyone is urged to refrain from bursting actual crackers because it leads to massive air pollution. A virtual celebration is best for everyone.
Progressing up the ladder, there will be three levels and each will offer you up to 25 tokens. Once all the Gift Tokens are collected, players will get a Diwali special in-game item for free. Additionally, few lucky winners will also stand a chance to win physical rewards like TVS Apache Bike, OPPO Phones, gold coins, and more.
In-game offering currently includes a Kurta Pajama Set (traditional clothes worn during Diwali), Cricket Costume, Future Policewoman set, Lobster Set, AWM/M416 gun skins, Crate Coupons, and more. The festivities will be available in-game till November 4.
Blizzard is banning pro-HK Twitch viewers
Don’t say “Free Hong Kong”
The war against Chinese favoritism continues. Following a massive controversy a few weeks ago, Blizzard shows that it has not learned its lesson at all. The video game publisher is reportedly banning pro-Hong Kong viewers from its Twitch channel.
Blizzard’s games are particularly popular on the streaming platform. Thousands of streamers play World of Warcraft, Overwatch, and Hearthstone on Twitch daily. Naturally, Blizzard has capitalized on this trend. Blizzard’s official Twitch accounts broadcast sanctioned tournaments regularly.
This year, Hearthstone’s official account (PlayHearthstone) broadcasted the Master Tour, an international Hearthstone tournament. The most recent European leg is currently ongoing on the platform. That said, the stream’s chatroom was (and is) a huge minefield. Thousands of viewers typed in pro-Hong Kong messages in chat. The outpouring comes from both Hong Kong supporters and dissenters against Blizzard’s blatant pro-China stance.
However, Blizzard already has Twitch on lockdown. As reported by Dot Esports, anyone who typed “Free Hong Kong” automatically received a 24-hour ban from the chatroom. (Though they can still watch, banned users cannot participate in the chatroom for the allotted time.) Moderators also instantly deleted the “offensive” messages.
At the very least, Blizzard isn’t using an automated program to control the chat’s speech. Days after a live match, PlayHearthstone rebroadcasted the same match on the channel. Apparently, a rerun did not warrant enough moderation from Blizzard. During the rerun, thousands of pro-Hong Kong messages flashed in the chatroom without deletion or banning. Blizzard is still taking things manually.
Regardless, the company’s recent censorship is another nail in Blizzard’s made-in-China coffin. Previously, Blizzard penalized the winner of a Hearthstone tournament for including pro-Hong Kong protests in his victory speech. After an ambiguous apology note, the company eased on the punishment and reiterated that China was not involved in the decision.
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