Razer Phone review

Following the acquisition of Nextbit, gaming brand Razer has entered the smartphone market with a handset aimed at gamers. It’s simply called the Razer Phone and offers incredible tech not found on any other smartphones on the market including a 120Hz Quad HD display capable of offering double the framerate of the likes of the iPhone X, Pixel 2 and more.

It’s a great concept, but has Razer done enough to cement its place in the smartphone market? We’ve spent some time gaming on the Razer Phone so here’s our full review.

Price and availability

Those interested in picking up the Razer Phone can do so right now – the smartphone is available to buy from both Razer and Three UK, although at slightly different prices.

You can head to Razer and pick up the smartphone on PAYG for £699.99, or you can make a smart decision and grab one from Three UK for over £100 less at £595 - go figure. There’s also a range of Razer Phone contracts available from the network if you don't fancy (or more likely can't afford) going SIM-free.

The smartphone is available exclusively on the network in the UK so regardless of where you buy it, chances are that it’ll be locked to Three UK.  

Design and build

Let’s be honest, the Razer Phone won’t be winning any smartphone design awards when compared to the likes of the iPhone X, Samsung Galaxy S8 or OnePlus 5T. The rather angular, blocky design that the Razer Phone employs is oddly reminiscent of the Xperia range (which is also considered rather unattractive) but with a distinctly Razer feel.

In terms of specifics, the Razer measures in at a rather thick and broad 778x8mm and weighs in at a hefty 197g, making it one of the heavier flagship smartphones currently available.

These figures are immediately noticeable when you pick the smartphone up but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It makes the phone feel sturdy and more secure in the hand. It is a fingerprint magnet though, especially on the aluminium rear!

It looks like a solid block of aluminium with nearly invisible antenna lines at the top and bottom, with the Razer logo on the back. It’s the only noticeable design feature of the smartphone, as it has been engraved and coloured, and this can be felt by running your finger over the logo.

The issue is that the logo is right where your finger rests on the rear of the smartphone, and the slightly jagged edges of the engraving constantly catch your fingers. It’s not painful, but it’s a little annoying (a thought shared by several of the Tech Advisor team).

Apart from the Razer logo and display, the only physical feature of the phone you might notice are the front-facing speakers above and below the display, which is half the reason the phone feels so tall in the hand. We'll investigate the audio prowess later.

There are also circular volume buttons on the left of the smartphone, though these are placed further down than on other smartphones. The placement, while it looks odd initially, makes sense for gamers – they always in the way when gaming in landscape. Not with the Razer Phone!

It’s a similar story with the power button, but it’s flush on the right-side of the display so placement doesn’t matter as much. It’s still easy enough to reach to lock and unlock the smartphone without adjusting your grip though, don’t worry!

The real deal-breaker? It features a 16:9, 5.7in display. While that may sound okay, many manufacturers already employ bezel-less 18:9 displays in their smartphones. This allows for a larger display in a smaller body and for some is easier to use. The decision means that compared to bezel-less smartphones, the Razer Phone looks a little dated – on the surface, anyway.

Oh, and Razer decided to follow Apple’s example and ditched the 3.5mm headphone jack on the Razer Phone, featuring a solo USB-C port instead. Admittedly, like Apple, the Razer Phone does come with a USB-C-to-3.5mm adapter for use with existing headphones, but most users will likely need to make the switch to wireless headphones sooner or later.

So, it’s not the best-looking smartphone on the market by any means, but there’s a reason for some of the slightly odd design choices. Let's take a look at why.


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