Razer Phone review

GSMArena team, 11 November 2017.

Google Photos for images

Google Photos offers plenty of photo features and a free photo and video backup service. While you can upload as many videos or pictures as you'd like, they'll be limited to 16MP or 1080p resolution for photos and videos, respectively. You can search for photos or videos by person, keyword, date, or location.

You can order a "Photo book" of your pictures, which is delivered directly to you in physical form. There's also a Trash bin, where photos and videos will be held for 60 days. The "free up space" button, will check your camera roll against the photos and videos already backed up to Google. Those already backed up will be purged to clear space out of the phone.

The Assistant tab is where you can look through "rediscoveries" - flashbacks through photos taken on the current day in a past year. The "Photos" tab shows a chronological timeline of photos taken on the current device and content already backed up on Google Photos from other devices.

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Google Photos

Access your on-board folders with the "Albums" tab, where you can also create new Photo Albums and share them. You can manage all your shared pictures and videos in the "Sharing" tab.

The built-in editor offers the usual filters, sliders, and tweaking of levels for photos before putting them online. It's simple enough to use and there are advanced sliders for more advanced photographers.

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Built-in editor

Google Photos handles video playback

Google Photos is the default application for video playback. It is kind of clunky, but Razer didn't include anything else out of the box. It doesn't offer extra features like subtitles or a pop-out player. There's only a single option to loop the video that's currently playing. The Google Photos video player is quite basic, but you can find a variety of other video apps in the Play Store.

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Google Photos to play video

A natural question that needs to be address here is: Can the Razer Phone play high frame rate? Obviously, it should have the technical ability to do so. However, Razer left no indication of that fact, or an easy or marketable way of doing so. Frankly, this seems like a missed opportunity.

We decided to give it a go. High frame rate videos are not exactly easy to come by, although they are becoming more popular. We decided to source one from an iPhone, since it creates its slow motion effect by simply playing back a 120fps video slower.

Turns out, Google Photos is not very keen on running at more than 60fps itself, or rather the handset did not deem in necessary to let it run at more. Once we pulled out the navigation menu, however, we effectively managed to trick the OS into boosting the fps cap and the video started playing smoothly.

This is an odd setup for sure, but at least it makes us pretty confident that there is at least one video player out there (it's not VLC), that can be made to consistently play back high frame rate content on a booster panel refresh rate. Possibly by adding it manually to the Game Booster and adjusting the fps settings from there. This is yet another wild goose chase and one that Razer could have probably fixed by including its own solution.

Google Music for audio

Google's in-house Music service has its own app. This app is the default Music player for Android and even lets you organize and store MP3s on the phone's internal storage. From the Play Music app, you can sort, search, and listen to your offline MP3s.

If you're not the MP3 kind of person, Google's Premium Music service offers plenty of ways to listen to music including radio stations by mood, activity, genre, artist, or by decade.

If you already use Google Location History, let Google Music track where you listen to what kind of music, for example, if you listen to a specific playlist at the gym, Google will show it to you before hitting the weights, along with suggestions to other music you might like at the gym.

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Google Play Music

As previously mentioned, equalizers come courtesy of DOLBY and are pretty extensive.

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DOLBY ATMOS equalizers

Audio output is loud, but not perfectly clear

The Razer Phone comes with arguably the most impressive USB-C to 3.5mm adapter. That one has a braided cable, Razer branding and comes with its own box within the retail package. Unfortunately, the audio that comes out its end isn't nearly as good as we expected.

Clarity was very good with an active external amplifier although we see scores are slightly lower than usual for this case. Plugging in a pair of headphones cases a small hike in stereo crosstalk but since that was a bit high to begin with the final result isn't great. The signal-to-noise ratio as identified by the Noise level reading Is subpar too.

All in all it's a good performance, but a step behind just about every other flagship out there. The loudness, on the other hand, is quite impressive and the Razer Phone should have no trouble driving even high-impedance headphones.

TestFrequency responseNoise levelDynamic rangeTHDIMD + NoiseStereo crosstalk
Razer Phone+0.17, -0.04-80.389.90.0130.065-75.3
Razer Phone (headphones)+0.22, -0.02-78.988.60.0190.164-65.1
Huawei Mate 10+0.02, -0.03-93.493.50.00270.0071-94.3
Huawei Mate 10 (headphones)+0.05, -0.04-93.193.10.00360.063-71.6
Xiaomi Mi Mix 2+0.02, -0.02-94.394.30.00380.0072-93.5
Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 (headphones)+0.31, -0.01-93.393.30.0160.243-63.8
Samsung Galaxy S8++0.01, -0.03-92.192.10.00200.0086-92.5
Samsung Galaxy S8+ (headphones)+0.03, -0.03-92.592.50.00240.046-77.3
LG V30+0.02, -0.01-93.293.10.00080.0069-94.2
LG V30 (headphones)+0.03, -0.02-92.992.90.00570.051-68.1
OnePlus 5+0.03, -0.01-94.194.10.00100.0070-94.2
OnePlus 5 (headphones)+0.15, -0.08-94.094.00.00330.139-59.9
HTC U11+0.05, -0.11-94.194.10.00170.0067-94.5
HTC U11 (headphones)+0.05, -0.02-93.793.80.00180.105-53.7
Sony Xperia XZ Premium+0.01, -0.03-90.690.40.0180.027-92.6
Sony Xperia XZ Premium (headphones)+0.30, -0.20-90.590.00.00180.145-65.7

Razer Phone frequency response
Razer Phone frequency response

You can learn more about the tested parameters and the whole testing process here.

Reader comments

  • Liv

I've had this phone for a year and I haven't had a single problem with it. IMO the main reasons to buy this phone (at the time) were the sound quality, GUI responsiveness, stock Android, and the fact it looks different from other phones. These ...

  • s-pen pusher

4 months after purchase and the charger stopped working. 5 months after purchase the screen developed an issue, which i found upon research online that it is common with this phone- half the screen freezes and would not respond until you reboot the p...

  • Anonymous

I love this phone, since having this phone i was only able to update once and only update the apps (which i love). The performance on the phone is awesome!!!