Razer just made a big step into the mobile industry by releasing an absolute beast of a smartphone. The gaming-centric Razer Phone tries to provide the best experience for its target audience: Gamers. With that in mind, they created a top-tier device with some of the best specs available on Android. But how does it compare to the current spec champion, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8?
Samsung continues to use the Note lineup to push the limits of smartphones. Despite a little reservation due to last year's battery problems, the Galaxy Note 8 still boasted the best spec sheet of any Android device at the time of its release.
This is Razer's first phone in an already crowded Android market, but on paper, this device should provide customers with a unique experience not found on any other Android smartphone. Each phone is targeting different customers, which is they are so different in some areas. However, they both attempt to provide users the best experience by utilizing the best technology available.
Razer set out to create a phone with gamers and media consumers in mind. Since no phone recently has targeted this audience so specifically, its specs sheet is different from many other smartphones — including the Galaxy Note 8. When looking at the following chart, remember that specs aren't everything, but they do give a good (theoretical) idea of performance.
First off, the Razer Phone's display is its biggest strength. No other smartphone, including the Galaxy Note 8, has a 120 Hz refresh rate. PC Gamers have enjoyed higher refresh rates for years and will swear by its improvement on games. Many will tell you once you switch, you can never go back.
Razer accomplished this higher refresh rate by using an IGZO LCD Display. However, IGZO provides more than just a high refresh rate. With its higher electron mobility, low off performance, and low leakage, it uses less power than traditional LCD and OLED (like the one seen in the Galaxy Note 8).
To prevent any bottlenecking, Razer included 8 GB LPDDR4X RAM to ensure games have all the RAM they need. Utilizing LPDDR4X RAM will also decrease the battery consumption normally associated with more RAM.
The most impressive decision Razer made was using stock Android instead of a heavily modified skin. Not only does this satisfy the purists, but it also improves chances of getting fast updates for the OS, including Android Oreo (which they promise by first quarter 2018).
However, understanding the limitation of stock Android, Razer included Nova Launcher Prime as the default home screen launcher. This is one of the most popular home screen launchers on the Play Store — to get a sense of all the cool things you can do with it, check out all of our Nova coverage at the link below.
The 2017 trend for smartphones has been bezel-less design. Unfortunately, this design doesn't favor gamers who don't have a place to rest their thumbs. Razer was aware of this problem and decided against the bezel-less craze to solve this problem and to stand out from the rest of the crowd.
To sweeten the deal, they decided to utilize the extra bezels. The Razer Phone sports massive dual front-facing stereo speakers with dedicated amplifiers and Dolby Atmos support. This translates into clear, loud audio with the ability to direct sound around you. The only other 2017 flagship with front facing speakers is the Pixel 2 lineup, which has much smaller speakers and lacks the dedicated amplifiers and Dolby Atmos.
Finally, the inclusion of a 4,000 mAh battery ensures that you can use this device all day and all night — it's among the biggest batteries ever put into a smartphone. The addition of Quick Charge 4.0+ makes it so you can charge 0%– 85% in one hour while minimizing heat accumulation during charging.
Samsung's display is one clearest and most color-accurate displays found on any smartphone. Super AMOLED allows for darker blacks and vibrant colors, all in a slim design with subtle curves at the edges. Not only is the display larger than the Razer Phone, at 6.3 inches, it's one of the largest displays available on any smartphone currently. But that doesn't mean it's a huge phone — its class-leading 83.2% screen-to-body ratio wastes no space, so the front of the device is virtually all screen.
Unlike the Razer Phone, Samsung has included a headphone jack for wired audio. Samsung also uses Bluetooth 5.0, which has significant improvements over 4.2, including higher transfer speed and greater range.
The Galaxy Note 8 supports wireless charging, unlike the Razer Phone, and as has an IP68 rating, making it water- and dust-resistant.
Finally, the Note's biggest advantage is its cameras. For the first time in a Samsung device, the Galaxy Note 8 has dual cameras that both sport optical image stabilization (OIS) to reduce blur and improve low-light shots. Combined with their software, the Galaxy Note 8 has one of the best cameras among all smartphones, which is supported by its overall DXOMark rating of 94.
These phones target two different audiences. The Galaxy Note 8 is targeting consumers who have wide needs for their phone but want the most power, while the Razer Phone is designed for gamers and heavy media consumers. As a result, each company emphasizes certain specs to better suit their customers.
If you are a heavy camera user or someone who needs wireless charging or a headphone jack, the Galaxy Note 8 would be your preferred choice. You won't find too many smartphone cameras better than the Note 8 with its dual OIS. Combine that with a beautiful Super AMOLED display and IP68 water resistance, and it'll be hard to look elsewhere when searching for your next device.
But if you're a gamer or use your phone for media consumption, the Razer Phone should be high on your list. No phone will have better speakers than this device (with most not even having front-facing speakers at all). The 120 Hz UltraMotion display will provide the type of smooth software experience previously only found on iPhones or Pixel devices. By prioritizing of battery life with the inclusion of a 4,000 mAh battery, Razer's ensured that even the heaviest users should get a full day of use on one charge. Oh, and this whole package comes for around $250 less than the Galaxy Note 8.
It honestly depends on your needs. How you use your phone will dictate which device will better fit your needs. But for those who don't perfectly align with either group, a stock Android phone with top-notch specs, high refresh rate, and all-day battery at a price point only $50 more than the Pixel 2, should at least be considered — even from a new mobile company such as Razer.
Let us know your thoughts on these two high-spec titans. We even encourage fanboys to join the conversation and debate which one you prefer in the comments below.
It’s Black Friday week in the Gadget Hacks shop! Huge sales on Bluetooth speakers, phone mounts, online courses, and more. The biggest discounts are on online classes, and we’ve hand-picked our 10 favorites for you. Check them out!