Gaming

Razer Phone Review: Best smartphone for gaming?

First and only phone with 120Hz display!

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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
  • Vainglory
  • 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.

Gaming

Sony, Xbox, Nintendo are skipping E3 2023

Might hold their own events

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E3 used to be one of the most anticipated showcases for the gaming community. However, since the pandemic, the event’s impact gradually shrank especially because of in-person cancellations. Now, despite the return of in-person events, E3 still has a massive uphill climb to bounce back from the past. This year, Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo have officially pulled out from the event.

For the first time in four years, E3 is holding an in-person event at the Los Angeles Convention Center this June. Unfortunately, according to IGN, three of the biggest companies to grace the show floor will not make an appearance for the event this year.

In an interview with the source, Microsoft says that Xbox will still hold a showcase around the same time. However, the company will likely skip the floor itself and hold its event concurrently in another location.

IGN also reports that Sony and Nintendo will follow in Microsoft’s footsteps and skip E3 this year. Nintendo usually holds its own Direct events online. Holding its own outside of an in-person event is just what you’d expect for the Switch’s growing library of games.

Sony, on the other hand, has not shared any official plans during June’s showcase yet. If anything, the PlayStation 5 is in for an optimistic year, given the console’s upcoming games. An exclusive event sounds possible, too.

SEE ALSO: E3 is finally returning to in-person events next year

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Gaming

It’s easier to get a PlayStation 5 now, Sony says

More supplies worldwide

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Still struggling to get a new PlayStation 5? If dwindling console stocks are keeping you down, Sony has announced a reprieve for queue waiters. The company promised that supply for the console will greatly increase ahead of the PlayStation VR2’s launch in February.

Since the console’s launch back in 2020, scalpers and bots have persistently plagued the industry, taking supplies away from most gamers. Over the years, the impact of supply problems gradually dissipated. Today, it’s easier to buy a PlayStation 5, but supply can still be an issue in some parts of the world.

During CES 2023, Sony initially hinted that PlayStation 5 stocks should increase even more this year. Now, Sony is making it even more official. Today, the company officially posted that it’s easier to find one in retailers globally.

For users hunting for the console in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Europe, Sony recommends going to the official PlayStation store to buy one.

To promote the increased supply, Sony has also released a new promotional video for the PlayStation 5’s exclusives set to imitate a news show.

Only a month into the year, 2023 is already looking to be a great year for the platform. Later in February, Sony is set to launch the new PlayStation VR2. The console will also host a flurry of notable exclusives including Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, Assassin’s Creed Mirage, and Street Fighter 6.

SEE ALSO: PlayStation launches ‘The Year of Play’ campaign

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Gaming

Concept Nyx: Dell working on intelligent game controller

The future of gaming

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Dell Concept Nyx

Dell Technologies is working on an all-in-one intelligent game controller that shall interconnect devices and screens while providing a whole different level of gaming experience.

Called the Concept Nyx game controller, Dell’s project aims to provide easy access to gaming libraries across multiple devices and screens for effortless sessions at home.

Here’s what we know so far about Concept Nyx:

To kick things off, the design-making process took lots of turns. Developers explored adding tons of buttons, attachments, sensors, and more.

This has led to the potential final design that gives users personalized settings at their fingertips. It’s composed of the following parts:

  • Dual thumb control wheels
  • Light ring
  • Adaptive thumbstick
  • Omnipad
  • Left and right scroll bumpers
  • Fingerprint sensor in the middle
  • Left and right adaptive triggers (underneath)
  • Shift buttons (underneath)

The fingerprint reader detects who is using the controller specifically, to be able to load their games right where they left off instantly.

Dell also prioritized the device’s haptics. They come with self-adjusting variable resistance thumbsticks that can be tailored to user preferences and specific game play.

PC gaming musts have also been included in the concept. Shift buttons underneath the controller allow for more front button options, mimicking the shift combos from PC keyboards.

The innovative scroll wheels give users an easier time to navigate and select weapons, while the intelligent touchpad allows for instant access to customizable controls in-game, without having to toggle a menu screen which disrupts your real-time gaming view.

Concept Nyx dashboard

The era of tug-of-wars at home may soon be over as well. The Concept Nyx controller is being designed to accommodate simultaneous gaming.

For instance, while connected on two different headsets, two separate Concept Nyx controllers may be used to play two different games on a split screen.

Streaming to other devices and screens and wi-fi connectivity are also some of the capabilities of the controller by simply pulling the thumbstick.

All these factors have been the foundation for the development of the Concept Nyx’s intelligent edge ecosystem beyond gaming.

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