Mobile gaming has been virtually nonexistent before the emergence of the smartphone. There were, of course, attempts to make it into a “thing” even before the iPhone was released, but feature phones weren’t the ideal devices to play them (except maybe for Snake and Tetris), and the large-screen phones weren’t widespread enough to support the true growth of the industry. A few attempts were made to bring mobile gaming to the mainstream – the most notable was Nokia’s N-Gage smartphone running a Symbian S60 operating system. As you might expect, it has failed where the iPhone has succeeded: in transforming mobile games into a massive industry “inhabited” by cross-platform franchises, top casino providers, triple-A developers and independent publishers alike . And a decade had to pass until the first smartphone aimed especially at mobile gamers has been released: the Razer Phone, built by the best-known provider of gear for PC gamers. It is a gaming device but also a smartphone – so let’s see how it stands its ground against one of this year’s most popular flagships, the Samsung Galaxy S8.
The Samsung Galaxy S8 (US Edition) comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (MSM8998) system-on-a-chip with four high-performance cores clocked at 2.35GHz and four energy-efficient ones at 1.9GHz. The chip is paired with 4GB of RAM, 64GB internal storage, a dual-edge Super AMOLED display, and a dual pixel rear camera with a 12MP sensor. The S8 has a 3000 mAh non-removable battery.
The Razer Phone’s specs are similar to what the Galaxy S8 has to offer. It has the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (MSM8998) system-on-a-chip paired with an Adreno 540 GPU. It comes with 8GB of high-speed LPDDR4 RAM in a dual-channel configuration, and the same 64GB of internal storage. It also has a dual 12MP camera and a massive 4000 mAh battery.
This is the part where things start looking different. While the S8 has Samsung’s signature design with rounded edges and curves everywhere, the Razer Phone has a sharp, monolithic design. Its most prominent feature is its stereo speaker set on the front, providing unparalleled audio effects while playing games. The sound quality of the phone is assured by its Dolby Atmos stereo speakers powered by THX-certified amplifiers under its hood (hopefully, this becomes a standard soon enough).
Samsung is the undisputed leader in AMOLED technology, which means that its Galaxy S8 has the best possible AMOLED screen. But the Razer Phone dares to be different here, too: it comes with Sharp’s 5.7″ IGZO IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen that offers smoother scrolling and more fluid movement and animation in games. The Razer Phone is the first one to have such a screen – before it, the iPad Pro was the only device with such a display on it.
Once released, the Razer Phone will cost around EUR750 (approximately $880), slightly more than the current price of the Samsung Galaxy S8+. In other words, a price that’s usual for a flagship phone in 2018.
Hardware-wise, there’s not much difference between the two smartphones – but the devil is in the details, as they say, and the small improvements in the Razer Phone compared to its competitors might just make it an attractive choice for many. Gamers and non-gamers alike. What do you think?