I’m a big-time Razer fanboy. I have three Razer keyboards, two mice, three pairs of headphones, a big ol’ Razer mousepad, the Razer Leviathan sound bar and even the NZXT Razer mid-tower case for my desktop at home. I like LED lights on my crap, and I like to control said LED lights. Half of my blood is Razer Kool-Aid.

With that said, I will not be buying the Razer phone to replace my Motorola Nexus 6.

Let’s start with the good stuff.

This phone is a beast, and while the $800 pricetag would have seemed extreme a year or two ago, it places it firmly in flagship territory, if not on the cheap end!

Behold these specs:

  • 120Hz UltraMotion screen
  • Dolby Atmos + THX certified audio
  • Snapdragon 835 with 8GB RAM
  • 12MP dual camera
  • 4,000 mAh battery
  • microSD expandability to 2TB of storage
  • 5.7 inc 1440×2560 screen
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 3

Those specs meet or beat most laptops, much less other manufacturers’ flagship phones. However, it’s possible you need me to translate that list of gobblety-gook into English? Sure, here goes: it’s fast, it lasts all day, it’s flexible, it’s powerful.

The UltraMotion screen adjusts the screen to deliver the smoothest possible experience for whatever app you’re using. You can’t even comprehend how smooth it is by watching a video, because most videos are captured at 30 to 60 frames per second, and therefore are only capturing a quarter to a half of its responsiveness. Smooth as butter I tell you!

The speakers are the next thing. Have you ever been in a situation where your phone is a little jukebox you play your tunes out of in a pinch? Well, this phone is almost designed around that concept. Last year Razer bought the fabled THX audio engineering firm from LucasArts in order to bring the highest quality audio drivers to the market. Here they are in two stereo speakers on either side of your screen.

Does that mean you have thick bezels at the top and bottom? Yeah, but ask yourself why you care. Is it because Apple and Samsung marketing have told you to care? Is style really more important than function?

Come on, Damien, get back to the point.

Sorry, tangent. Back to the specs. 8GB of RAM means that you phone has more temporary storage for photo processing and burst mode. Attached to the Snapdragon 835, that means you won’t be waiting as long between when you take that full-resolution HDR processed image and when you can upload it to your social media network of choice.

A buddy of mine at work, who just received his iPhone X begged the question “Why would you ever need 8GB of RAM?” I had no way of answering such a historically dumb question. Historically, every time that anyone has ever said that we have “enough” processing power, they are quickly proven wrong. I look forward to the iPhone XI having 8GB of RAM, and it being considered “groundbreaking and revolutionary.”

The giant battery means that you get a giant battery! Goodbye charge anxiety!

Expandable storage should be a no-brainer, but somehow the flagship phones convince consumers to sink hundreds of their hard earned dollars in order to get pennies worth of extra storage! This is an outrage! You should be outraged! BIG GUY PRO TIP: Storage is cheap! Don’t buy the lies of BIG SMARTPHONE!

Online and cloud storage is cute so long as you aren’t traveling in an area with terrible coverage, or are attached to horrible hotel wifi. This comically basic feature is actually my favorite one for this phone.

Still not going to buy one.

So, what are the drawbacks?

You buy it unlocked, but it will only work on Verizon and T-Mobile here in the States. As a Sprint customer, that means I’d have to change carriers, and I’ve got major deal-breaking issues with both of those companies.

Next, as much as I admire Razer for not charging for different storage options, I wish they had engineered wireless charging into the phone. My old Nexus 6 has it, and I’ve invested in several TYLT Qi Wireless Chargers. There’s a real benefit in being able to just grab your phone off the cradle in the middle of the night without having to search for your charging cable in the dark. Also, with wireless charging, you never have to worry about breaking cables or connectors. This is a must-have feature for me.

Finally, it’s a first-effort. Sort of. It’s actually a Nextbit Robin with insane hardware packed into it. However, it’s still a first phone, and even first phones from established manufacturers are bug-ridden messes. Let’s see what the Razer Phone 2 brings whenever it comes out. Razer has no problems iterating on even its most popular products (like the Razer BlackWidow v2¬†which is probably the best keyboard ever made).

So are you going to get an iPhone?

No.

I use a Mac Pro, a MacBook Pro and an iPad Pro, so no one can claim that I’m anti-Apple. I like to use the right tool for the job, and for me, that’s an Android in my pocket. Google’s integrated suite of applications is superior to Apple’s in my eyes, and the tight integration with their own operating system offers real value to me.

Android also does not suffer from engineered obsolescence, I get the latest operating systems and I see performance improve. My experience with iOS devices is that I got maybe two OS upgrades before my device chugs to a crawl.

I also can’t stand the iOS interface, which I hate on my iPad, and I don’t want ]in my pocket. I admit it is an entirely subjective opinion, and claim nothing!

For now, I’ll just wait for the perfect Android replacement. In the mean time, my Nexus is just as speedy as the day I bought it, so I’m not exactly in a rush to replace it.

The Good:

  • RAW
  • UNBRIDLED
  • POWER

The Bad:

  • Verizon
  • T-Mobile
  • No Wireless Charging

The Verdict

If you’re looking for an Android phone on Verizon or T-Mobile, then this phone deserves your consideration.

Posted by Damien

Big Guy Damien is a creative communications professional, who really likes starting projects. He has a dog named Mr. Buttons, who you will see featured from time to time.

4 Comments

  1. Excellent write-up! I still want to play with this thing, but I already dropped the money on Big Smartphone! Well, Google reference phone, so not that big… but still big Smartphone price. Just curious, what’s your beef with T-Mobile? I use Project Fi which switches between Sprint and T-Mobile, and both seem fine to me from what I can tell… at least around here.

    Reply

    1. Beef is a strong word. Call it contractual inertia. I’m already on Sprint, and I don’t like hopping around.

      Reply

  2. I love the idea of front facing speakers. If I could change one thing about almost every phone that would be it. I admit I have an iPhone X and I love it, but I would sacrifice form for that bit of function.

    Reply

    1. Agreed. I use my phone as a boom box constantly.

      Reply

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