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The average smartphone owner upgrades his or her device every two years. That makes for a lot of old devices collecting dust in a drawer somewhere. While you could always try and sell it (usually for a fraction of what you paid), or donate it, there are other options. There are a variety of apps available that will help you breathe some new life into your old Android phone. We will be taking a look at some unique ways to put your old phone to use.

Dedicated GPS

Most folks probably already use their phone as a GPS for their car, but using it frequently can chew up a large chunk of your precious mobile data. Google Maps may be the go-to navigation app, but its reliance on data makes it less than appealing if you’re looking to avoid data charges. Luckily there are a number of navigation apps available that work completely offline, no data required. With excellent options from Nokia and Sygic, all you need is a phone mount and your old Android becomes a dedicated GPS.

Bike Computer

If you’re into cycling, then you are probably aware of the multitude of apps that can make your riding life easier. From dedicated GPS and trip planning to tracking your distance, calories burned and more, turning an old phone into a bike computer is a must for any cyclist.

Home Surveillance/Baby Monitor

Who needs expensive security cameras when you have a perfectly good camera on your old cell phone? Keeping an eye out for burglars or watching over your new puppy at work has never been easier. Apps like Alfred and WardenCam can capture both video and audio and deliver it to you remotely via Wi-Fi. These apps even have motion detection capabilities, sending you still images or text notifications when they spot something fishy.

Remote Control

Been on the fence about a Logitech Harmony remote? If your Android device sports an IR blaster, all you need is the AnyMote app. With over 900,000 supported devices, you should have no trouble controlling all of your home entertainment equipment. If your phone doesn’t have an IR blaster, you can still control iTunes, Kodi and more via Wi-Fi.

Gaming Device/MP3 Player

This one seems like a no brainer, but bear with us. Uninstall all of your apps, shut off the Wi-Fi and load your old device full of MP3s. Keep this DIY iPod in your car or bring it with you to the gym for a distraction-free workout fueled by your Rocky soundtrack.

Gaming on Android has come a long way since Flappy Bird. If you consider yourself a gamer, the Google Play store is chock full of games ranging from platformers to puzzlers to shooters. If you’re into retro gaming, you’l be happy to know that console emulation on Android is very good. Grab a controller if you really want to take things to the next level.

Power Scientific Research

Interested in contributing toward the greater good? Consider installing an app that donates your phone’s processing power to scientific research. U.C. Berkeley’s BOINC app allows you to choose between a variety of research projects including AIDS and global warming.

Survival Tool

Whether you’re a doomsday prepper or a lover of the outdoors, an old Android device is a must for any survivalist. First grab a first aid app. Then install the Army Survival Guide which covers everything from how to make a shelter to food and water procurement. Any good Boy Scout knows that knowing your knots will definitely come in handy. Since we can’t imagine a world without Wikipedia, you’ll want to grab that, too, all 39 million articles is only 3.6 GB. These are just a few of many, but you’ll probably want to invest in a solar charger for when the apocalypse finally comes.

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The Google Pixel 7 Pro Is Android Authority’S Pick For Best Phone Of 2023

How we chose our winner

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

“Best” is a loaded descriptor. How do you decide what is the “best” at anything, especially when talking about things as complex as smartphones? After all, these are devices we carry with us for almost every minute of the waking day; we’re all sure to have our own biases. Phones can also be assessed in myriad ways — from their raw specs to their perceived value for money, their objective benchmark numbers to personal preferences for how a particular UI looks and operates.

This is a dilemma we constantly grapple with as our experts tackle all of the biggest consumer tech releases each and every year. Stamping the authority into Android Authority is important to us. The hundreds, if not thousands of hours we pour into testing and analyzing the increasingly subtle changes between rival phones, or from generation to generation, gives us a rigorous baseline of expectation when anointing a particular device as the absolute best any given year has to offer. And it’s not just hardware testing either, we’re always sure to factor in the more intangible metrics like long-term software support promises and track records, price and value (two very different things!), market availability, and much, much more.

Android Authority‘s Editor’s Choice phone of the year: Google Pixel 7 Pro

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

For the second year running, a Google Pixel flagship claims our grandest prize — but this time, it’s not just a Pixel flagship, it’s the Google flagship. In 2023, we found the vanilla Pixel 6’s delicate balance of specs, overall quality, and affordable pricing to be an undeniable combo. But in 2023, our hearts — and yours, it turns out! — were with the Big G’s “Pro” offering.

And it’s not hard to see why when you run through all of the Pixel 7 Pro‘s best qualities. It all starts with the refined design, which improves on the Pixel 6 series’ immediately iconic camera bar by applying an aluminum casing and elegant cutouts for each shooter. That attention to detail extends to the ever-excellent camera suite, as Google’s computational photography smarts combine with expanded zoom capabilities, as well as new photography tricks like Photo Unblur. The latter is just one of many perks provided by Google’s second shot at its own custom silicon, the Tensor G2 — a machine learning-focused chipset that eschews CPU and GPU power for brainpower, yet still manages to impress with its sustained performance capabilities.

Second place: Google Pixel 7

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

The Pixel 7 Pro was the runaway winner, amassing just over a quarter of the total points in our vote from a shortlist of 20 phones. But that doesn’t mean we forgot about its smaller, flatter, and even more affordable sibling.

Matching its predecessor’s sub-$600 price tag — a feat that still seems too good to be true — makes the Pixel 7 perhaps the easiest phone to recommend of any handset that hit shelves in 2023. It lacks the bells and whistles of the Pixel 7 Pro, and the missing telephoto lens, lower-res, 90Hz-capped display, and even slower charging (seriously, Google, sort this out in 2023), but the Pixel 7 otherwise packs in the best of the contemporary Pixel experience, all while saving you a hefty $300. You can’t argue with that.

Third place: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

Zarif Ali / Android Authority

What happens when the most successful smartphone maker in the world combines two of its elite devices into one? That’ll be the Galaxy S22 Ultra — a Galaxy Note/Galaxy S Ultra-hybrid that looked and felt immediately familiar, but in the best way possible. If the Galaxy S21 Ultra was “peak smartphone,” the Galaxy S22 Ultra is the celebratory flag planted on top of that peak.

Yet, despite reigning as the best camera phone, offering all the additional functionality of the S Pen, and having the very best software support outside of Cupertino, the indomitable Galaxy S22 Ultra nevertheless fell short of Google’s more reasonably priced alternatives in our voting. However, for those with no limits to their budget, Samsung’s powerhouse is still a clear winner.

Fifth place: OPPO Find X5 Pro

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

It took an extra year for OPPO to crack our top five again after riding high in fourth back in 2023, but the Find X5 Pro deserves its place in the upper echelons of 2023’s smartphone hall of fame. With an exquisite, flowing design, bonkers-fast charging (both wired and wirelessly), and a world-class display, the Find X5 Pro wasn’t the most polished handset of 2023, but it was one of the phones with the most personality.

Reader’s Choice award: Google Pixel 7 Pro

While our phone of the year is all wrapped up, be sure to keep it locked to Android Authority throughout the holiday season as we’ll have tons more 2023 retrospective content, fun end-of-year pieces, and even more articles looking forward to 2023 as we consider what lies ahead in the tech world.

Until then, from our families to yours, have a truly happy holidays!

Some Of The Best Jailbreak Tweaks For Airpods On Ios 14

If an iPhone user asked me what pair of headphones or earbuds they should get, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend any of Apple’s AirPods offerings.

But as a jailbreaker, I’m also aware of many different ways that Apple’s AirPods could be functionally improved with software-based tweaks.

Since jailbreaking is such a substantial part of what we do here at iDownloadBlog, we figured this would be an excellent opportunity to help fellow jailbreakers discover what we believe are some of the best jailbreak tweaks for upgrading AirPods on iOS 14.

The best jailbreak tweaks for AirPods on iOS 14 AirPopupConnect – FREE

If you have more than one iPhone and/or iPad, then you might find switching your active AirPods connection from one device to another to be a lot more complicated than it should be despite Apple’s marketing claims of a “magical” wireless connection experience.

AirPopupConnect is a commonsense upgrade for the AirPods user experience because it adds a Connect button to the bottom of the AirPods pop-up. This helps users avoid the cumbersome process of navigating iOS’ Bluetooth menu to accomplish the same task.

As an added bonus, AirPopupConnect gives the connectivity pop-up a Dark Mode-friendly aesthetic.

You can read all about AirPopupConnect and how it works in our full review post.

Banana – FREE

You probably already know by now that the AirPods Pro can be switched between Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency modes depending on whether you want your surroundings to be quiet or need to hear someone speaking to you.

Banana is a free jailbreak tweak that makes this process more automatic by turning Active Noise Cancellation on or off depending on your state of music playback. When listening, it turns this feature on, and then paused, it’s turns it off again.

In addition to making the process more automatic, this also helps preserve battery by keeping your AirPods Pro from having to balance and produce noise to create the noise cancellation effect.

You can learn all about Banana and why we recommend it in our full review post.

Hate listening to pecking and popping noises of your keyboard when you have AirPods in your ears? You aren’t alone.

Maple 2 – $1.99

You might remember a time when Apple planned to release something called AirPower, a product for charging all your mobile Apple devices on the same pad. But it was ultimately cancelled.

Maple 2 is a jailbreak tweak that brings the charging aesthetics that AirPower intended to introduce, but to jailbroken devices. Best of all, it’s a great way to see the current charge of your AirPods at a glance.

You can learn more about Maple 2 and how it works in our full review post.

Ainsworth – $1.49

Ainsworth is an awesome jailbreak tweak that brings the AirPods pairing experience to your other Bluetooth headphones and speakers that aren’t made by Apple or Beats.

With it, you can experience the same pairing pop-up you’ve come to enjoy with AirPods with things such as JBL speakers and headphones, among other brands.

You can learn more about Ainsworth in our full review post.

AirPods Case Low Battery – FREE

It can be a real bummer when you feel like using your AirPods, only to learn that they’re almost dead. It’s an even bigger bummer when the charging case you keep them in is almost dead.

AirPods Case Low Battery is a free and highly recommended jailbreak tweak that displays a complementary notification on your pwned iPhone when your AirPods charging case gets low on juice, allowing you to boost the charge before you end up with a dead case.

You can learn more about AirPods Case Low Battery in our full review post.

Kai – $0.99

Another jailbreak tweak that can help keep you consciously aware of your AirPods’ battery level is Kai, which adds a persistent battery level indicator to your Lock Screen.

Along with your AirPods, Kai displays the battery level of your Apple Watch and any other Bluetooth accessories that you might have connected.

You can learn everything you need to know about Kai and how it works in our full review post.

Conclusion

Any of Apple’s AirPods models are going to provide a high-quality and reliable service life, but jailbreak tweaks are a great way to extend their feature set or capabilities beyond what Apple provides out of the box.

Looking for more jailbreak tweaks?

Some Of The Best Ui Colorization Jailbreak Tweaks For Ios 14

There are a myriad of different things that people like to do from the moment they get their hands on a jailbroken iPhone or iPad, and among those, colorizing the user interface to give it some personality is among one of the most popular.

Given the interest in this space, it only seems reasonable that iDB should curate a list of what we believe are some of the best UI colorization jailbreak tweaks for pwned iOS & iPadOS 14 devices. So that’s exactly what today’s post will do.

If you’re ready to look at ways you can colorize iOS & iPadOS 14’s user interface, then read on as we give you some examples.

The best UI Colorization jailbreak tweaks for iOS 14 Aerial 2 – $1.99

The Status Bar is something that you tend to look at from any interface on your iPhone or iPad, and it displays important information that you might feel inclined to look at often. So why does Apple make it so bland?

Aerial 2 is a jailbreak tweak that lets you colorize individual icons and indicators in the Status Bar so that everything not only communicated important information to you, but also does it in an eye-pleasing manner.

You can learn more about Aerial 2 and where you can get it from in our full review post.

Magma Evo – $2.99

You can make your Control Center interface look astoundingly beautiful with a jailbreak tweak called Magma Evo, which can add a fresh coat of paint to the entire user interface.

Whether you’re looking to match a theme or you just have a specific color scheme in mind, Magma Evo provides a lot of customization so you can achieve the general aesthetic you’re looking for.

You can find out more about Magma Evo and what you can do with it in our full review post.

Eclipse Dark Mode Colors (iOS 13+) – FREE

Eclipse, the jailbreak tweak that invented dark mode for the iOS platform before Apple shamelessly snatched the feature in a stock release, had to change its feature set to stay relevant. One way it did that was by offering several different color modes to be used as dark mode rather than solid black.

If you’re interested in a differently-colored dark mode that spans most or all of your iPhone’s apps, then Eclipse Dark Mode Colors (iOS 13+) is where you should start looking. The tweak is now free and has all the options you could ever ask for.

You can find out more about Eclipse Dark Mode Colors (iOS 13+) in our full review post.

Colorful Lines – FREE

If you’re searching for a way to colorize some of the interface elements that move and that you might interact with on a regular basis, then the Colorful Lines jailbreak tweak just might give you the functionality you’re looking for.

This tweak can be used to colorize things such as the iOS scroll bar, the typing cursor, and the selection bar you get when highlighting text or other material on a page.

You can find out more about what Colorful Lines provides as options and how it can be used in our full review post.

UISwitch Changer – FREE

Another popular place to add a splash of color is to the individual toggle switches that you find all throughout the iOS mobile operating system, much like the native Settings app.

These toggle switches can be colorized to your heart’s content with a free jailbreak tweak dubbed UISwitch Changer. Color can be applied to not only the off position of toggle switches, but also the on position.

You can find out more about UISwitch Changer and what you can do with it in our full review post.

Laetus – FREE

Another commonly-colored interface on jailbroken handsets is the keyboard we use to input text into the apps we use every day. It’s not surprising given just how often the keyboard is used when we pick up our phones.

Laetus is a free jailbreak tweak that lets users colorize their keyboard virtually any color they want.

You can find out more about Laetus and where you can get it from in our full review post.

Veloc – FREE

With the veloc jailbreak tweak, users are going to be able to add a splash of custom color to something they probably see more often than they realize: the volume HUD.

This tweak provides colorization options for both dark and light modes, and supports a two-tone color scheme. One color applies to the used portion of the volume var, while the other color applies to the unused portion of it.

You can learn more about veloc and how it works in our full review post.

Conclusion

Looking for more roundups just like this one?

Tested: Is The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra The Best Android Phone For Emulation?

Related: 15 best emulators for Android to play old favorites

My setups for GameCube and Nintendo 3DS emulation

Before I got the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, I did all my emulation on my OnePlus 7 Pro. For this article, I installed all my games onto the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra and also updated all my emulators to the latest versions. This way I could play one game on the OnePlus 7 Pro and then the same game on the Galaxy S20 Ultra and get a decent idea of how much better the Galaxy S20 Ultra is in comparison.

For the sake of disclosure, here’s what that means specifically:

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra & OnePlus 7 Pro

Citra (Nintendo 3DS emulation)

Version: aac77142b, sourced from here

No settings tweaked aside from physical controller setup and turning FPS counter on

Dolphin (GameCube emulation)

Version: 5.0-11824, sourced from here

No settings tweaked aside from physical controller setup and turning FPS counter on

Obviously, I could very likely get better performance from both systems by tweaking lots of settings, even going so far as to tweak settings for each game. However, the purpose of this is to see if the Galaxy S20 Ultra hardware is really much better than that of the OnePlus 7 Pro’s (or any other sub-Snapdragon 865 device), so I didn’t add any tweaks to keep things fair, at least at first.

The best Bluetooth gaming controllers for Android, PC, and more!

The best

I used an Xbox One Wireless Controller connected to a mobile phone holder clip on both systems as I absolutely cannot stand on-screen controls. Since the controller was the same for both system tests, it’s not a variable.

Are you using an Android device for console emulation?

553 votes

As a final note, I thought I’d throw it out there that I use the amazing app OneSync to sync all of my ROMs, emulators, and save files across all my systems via OneDrive. This enables me, for example, to play a GameCube game on my phone, save it, and then pick up that same save file on my PC or Steam Link. I’m super happy with this (and it was incredibly helpful for this article) so give it a shot if you are interested!

With all that out of the way, let’s get to the testing and my experience with the two emulators.

Emulators for Android: Can your phone handle these consoles?

Guides

I next moved on to a more taxing game: Metroid Prime. This game has a four-star compatibility rating but is well-known as being a tough game to emulate on low-tier or even some mid-tier PCs. The OnePlus 7 Pro ran the game fine, but there were definitely noticeable drops in framerate as well as some audio distortions, especially when moving from room to room in the opening five minutes of the game. This also happened with Super Smash Bros. Melee, another difficult-to-emulate game.

Two final experiments with Nintendo 3DS emulation

It’s clear that Nintendo 3DS emulation is where the two systems struggled the most. I decided to run two more tests to see how the phones fared within a different testing state. The first test was how each system would play The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds with maxed-out settings. The second test would be to see how each phone played Super Mario 3D Land with settings tweaked to optimize performance.

The Zelda test would prove whether or not the Galaxy S20 Ultra could handle upscaled Nintendo 3DS emulation better than the OnePlus 7 Pro on a game they both can run well with out-of-the-box settings. The Mario test would see if it’s possible to tweak enough settings in order to make an unplayable game work on either phone.

The Zelda test

I’ve already established that both the Galaxy S20 Ultra and the OnePlus 7 Pro can play The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds well enough. The Citra Android emulator, though, features a few settings tweaks that could make playing a higher-quality experience. What happens when I crank that up?

To be specific, these are the settings changes I made on both phones:

Turned the FMV Hack on.

Turned the Skip Slow Draw setting on.

Turned the Texture Load Hack on.

Increased resolution to the max setting (4x).

On the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, those settings caused so many dropped frames and so much slowdown that the game became completely unplayable. The graphics looked amazingly crisp, but that doesn’t mean anything if you can’t play the game.

The Mario test

Unfortunately, I found that Super Mario 3D Land was unplayable with out-of-the-box settings on both the OnePlus 7 Pro and the Galaxy S20 Ultra. With some settings tweaks, though, could I make the Nintendo 3DS emulation perform faster and salvage the title?

For this test, I performed these settings tweaks:

Turned the FMV Hack on.

Turned the Skip Slow Draw setting on.

Turned the Texture Load Hack on.

Left the resolution at just 1x.

Stave off the boredom with the best gaming consoles you can buy in 2023

The best

Also keep in mind that emulating older systems (Nintendo 64, PlayStation, Super Nintendo, Sega CD, etc.) works flawlessly on even older flagships or phones with 700- or 600-series processors. In other words, you don’t need to buy a top-tier flagship to be able to indulge most of your retro gaming desires. You just need one if you want to play the most modern of consoles, and even then it’s still a mixed bag.

Razer Phone Review: The Ultimate Android For Gaming

Our Verdict

The Razer Phone is the perfect smartphone… if you’re a gamer. While it doesn’t feature the sleek, bezel-less design of other flagship smartphones, no other deviceon the market can come close to matching the stunning 120Hz refresh rate. It makes a huge difference to gaming on mobile, especially when combined with stereo front-facing Dolby ATMOS-certified speakers and an app that lets you tweak the performance of games on a per-app basis. But while the display is perfect, we can’t really say the same about the camera setup. Admittedly the rear-facing dual-camera setup isn’t bad, but the quality of images captured isn’t enough to compete with the likes of the iPhone X or Google Pixel 2 XL. But hey, if you’re a dedicated gamer on the market for a new smartphone that can provide the best Android gaming experience possible, the Razer Phone is the ideal candidate – and it’s much cheaper than other flagships too!  

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. 

Razer now has a serious competitor with the announcement of the highly anticipated Asus gaming phone. Read our Asus ROG Phone hands-on 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.

Specs and features

As should be obvious by the manufacturer, the Razer Phone was designed with one focus in mind – mobile gaming. It’s why the phone is slightly chunkier and taller than competitors – it features unique tech to make it the ultimate gaming smartphone.

Display

The most impressive feature of the Razer Phone is undoubtedly the 5.7in IPS LCD display. It offers a Quad HD (1440×2560) resolution and an eye-watering pixel density of 515ppi.

Far more important here, though, is that the display offers the highest refresh rate of any smartphone on the market – 120Hz. For comparison, most high-end smartphones available at the moment are capped at 60Hz, meaning the Razer Phone can display double the number of frames in a single second – 120fps, up from 60fps.

In the real world, this means the smartphone provides a better mobile gaming experience than anything else available at the moment. The graphics are buttery smooth – so smooth, in fact, that you’ll struggle to play games on any other smartphone once you adjust to the improved refresh rate.

Even in relatively basic games like Pokémon GO, the experience is instantly improved – the difference in performance even when compared to flagships like the Google Pixel 2 is day-and-night.

It’s not only games that get the buttery-smooth treatment either – you can head to the Settings menu and enable the 120Hz refresh rate throughout the operating system, making swiping between screens, browsing through your library of apps and surfing the web as smooth as can be. 

Backing up the 120Hz refresh rate is a Wide Colour Gamut. This provides the display with a wider breadth of colours than what’s provided on standard displays. It doesn’t only improve the general look of your favourite Android games, but makes everything – from YouTube videos to the Google Play UI – look bright, accurately represented and vibrant.

Gaming

This, of course, is the main focus of the smartphone. The combination of impressive internals, an incredible display, front-facing stereo speakers and software enhancements provide something close to the PC gaming experience on a mobile. Believe us – that’s not something we thought we’d ever say!

The 120Hz display provides up to 120fps on supported games – and although it’s an impressive feat, it’s also where the biggest issue currently is.

While there is admittedly a fast-growing list of Android games that offer support for the Razer Phone’s impressive UltraMotion display, the vast majority of popular games don’t offer support at the time of writing. You can see a full list of supported games on the Razer website here to give you an idea.

The difference between supported and unsupported games is immediately noticeable, especially in terms of how smooth supported games look on-screen. Even when accessing in-game menus or watching the same battle animations you’ve seen thousands of times before, it looks smoother and frankly better on the Razer Phone than most smartphones on the market.

It definitely makes a difference to the overall gaming experience too; rather than being something that you play for 5-10 minutes at a time, the Razer Phone’s impressive display and speaker setup keep you coming back for more – if for nothing more than to marvel at how amazing games look on the smartphone.

The experience is improved with the introduction of Game Booster, an app found exclusively on the Razer Phone. The app provides both granular control over the performance of individual games and the ability to generally favour game performance or battery life on the phone.

It’s the granular control over individual games where Game Booster really shines. Unlike with any other smartphone, you can customise not only the resolution but frame rate, anti-aliasing and even how much CPU power is dedicated to the game.

The higher you crank it, the more your battery will drain – but it’s also true of the opposite. If you regularly play a mobile game that doesn’t need flashy graphics, you can turn the performance down and use less battery life than usual. That way, you can enjoy the best games at 120fps and text-based games at 720p/30fps and help you game for longer.

It’s essentially as close to configuring a PC game’s Graphics settings on Android as you’ll get for a while, and it’s incredibly impressive.

Audio

Alongside the stunning display, you’ll find two front-facing stereo speakers. While most smartphones offer a single mono speaker or combine it with the phone earpiece to provide still poor stereo audio playback, the Razer Phone provides amazingly clear stereo audio with two dedicated directional speakers.

They aren’t random speakers either – they’ve been Dolby ATMOS tuned and you’re provided with several audio profiles (Movies, Games, etc) to enhance your audio experience depending on what you’re doing. They’re easy to select too, as the toggle is accessible from the Notification Shade on the smartphone.

The audio is powered by a THX-certified DAC, which provides impressive audio quality when listening to music via headphones. The overall audio quality is impressive for a smartphone, but the lack of a 3.5mm headphone jack may put some users off. As mentioned, there’s an adapter in the box but Bluetooth headphones may just be the way forward in 2023!

Processor, memory and storage

Of course, just because a display offers the ability to display 120fps when gaming, it doesn’t mean it always will – any PC gamer will tell you that! So, how did Razer make sure its inaugural smartphone had enough oomph to power a Quad HD display at 120fps?

The Razer Phone features an octa-core Snapdragon 835 processor, the most powerful chip available right now from Qualcomm, alongside an Adreno 540 GPU and a whopping 8GB of LPDDR4 RAM – the most (and fastest) RAM in any smartphone on the market right now.

There’s also 64GB of built-in storage with the option to expand it by up to 2TB via a Class 10 microSD card slot.

This means the Razer Phone provides a decent bang for its buck, especially when you consider that lower-specc’d flagship smartphones cost £100-200 more than Razer’s option. The smartphone is incredibly responsive when opening apps, swiping between menus and scrolling through Twitter, and it’s equally as impressive in the gaming department. Even when rendering games at 120fps at 1440p, the Razer Phone barely breaks a sweat.

We’ve got some numbers to back up the impressive performance of the smartphone, which can be seen in the below chart. Though the numbers aren’t chart-topping, the real-world difference isn’t noticeable when compared to other smartphones – and thanks to the 120Hz display, apps, games and menus often look nicer just because they’re a lot smoother.

Battery life

That 120Hz display and high-end internals must have an effect on overall battery life, right? Essentially, yes, but it’s not as simple as that.

The Razer Phone features an impressive non-removable 4,000mAh battery, one of the largest of any smartphone on the market at the moment. But despite the high capacity, the display and internals draw more power than the average smartphone.

In real-world use, we’ve found the Razer Phone to last comfortably all day when using social media, replying to texts and reading emails, but when you add gaming to the mix (which, let’s be honest, is the whole point), the battery drain is more noticeable and chances are you’ll need to top it up before the end of the day.

The good news is that if it does require a top-up, the Razer Phone features Qualcomm QuickCharge 4.0+, which can charge the battery in next to no time. It’s one of the first phones we’ve seen to move beyond version 3.0.

It features Dual Charge technology and Intelligent Thermal Balancing to eliminate hot spots, provide lower thermal dissipation and an overall reduced charge time.

The down side is that this is only provided by the official Razer plug and the USB-C to USB-C cable included in the box. That means that if you use a non-branded USB-C charger to top up the smartphone, chances are you’ll be waiting for quite a while, especially with such a high-capacity battery inside.

There’s also a Game Booster app that allows granular control over the performance of the smartphone generally and when playing specific games. It allows users to change the priority from performance to battery life with a tap – we’ll go into more detail about in the Gaming section below.

Connectivity

The Razer Phone offers fairly standard connectivity options including Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.2 and NFC. It also boasts 4G LTE activity for all UK-based networks. We’ve already mentioned the lack of a headphone port and the lone USB-C port.

Cameras and photography

In terms of cameras, the Razer Phone has an impressive – but not perfect – camera setup. On the rear of the device you’ll find a dual camera setup comprised of two 12Mp cameras – one standard lens with f/1.8, while the other is a telephoto lens with f/2.6. This is coupled with phase detection autofocus and a dual-LED flash that should in theory provide well-lit, perfectly focused images.

In testing we had mixed results. Take a look at the below photo of St. Pancras Hotel – while it captures decent detail and light on the whole, when you zoom in you start to notice ‘soft’ patches, especially on the hotel brickwork. Whole patches of brickwork are featureless blurs, thanks to slightly over-aggressive noise cancellation, an issue suffered by many flagship smartphones. It’s not completely lacking in detail though as you can still easily make out things like street signs and road markings pretty well.

Like other dual-camera smartphones, the Razer Phone opts for a telephoto lens to offer 2x optical zoom on-the-fly. The toggle in the camera app looks and works much like what’s offered by the iPhone 8 Plus, but the degradation in quality is more noticeable than with Apple’s offering. We found images to be more washed out and noisy than those taken with the standard lens, as can be seen with a zoomed image of St. Pancras hotel below taken directly after the above image was taken.

There’s also the option to record at up to 4K@30fps on the rear-facing camera, although the recording options are limited to 4K, 1080p and 720p, with no option to change the frame rate. We’ve recorded some 4K sample footage, which can be seen below, but we’re not too impressed – especially at how dramatically the colour changes towards the end of the video.  

On the front of the smartphone, you’ll find a rather standard 8Mp front-facing camera that provides decent quality for the likes of Skype, Snapchat and taking selfies for social media. It’s also capable of shooting up to 1080p video if required.

It’s worth noting that Razer is constantly updating the camera app to improve the quality of images and add new features, so it’s possible that our complaints could be somewhat alleviated by a future update.

Software

The Razer Phone comes with Android 7.1.1 Nougat installed, with no upgrade to Android 8.0 in sight – for now. Though it hasn’t been confirmed by Razer, we imagine that the Razer Phone (which will likely be the flagship for most of 2023) will get some Android 8.0 love at some point in order to keep it competitive, especially as other 2023 flagships are announced and released.

It’s very much stock Android, but with a few design tweaks. In addition to the plethora of Google apps, you’ll find the Razer Store. While you may think this is the place to find games, you’d be wrong (although it’d totally make sense!). Instead, it’s where you can browse from a variety of game- and Razer-related themes for your smartphone.

While the designs vary, the themes change more than your background – they’ll change the icon style and the colour scheme used throughout the operating system. Some could argue that it’s a little gimmicky, but we think it’s a nice way for users to personalise the phone without spending too much time in the Settings menu.

Specs Razer Phone: Specs

5.7in (2560×1440, 515ppi) display

Android 7.1.1 Nougat

Qualcomm MSM8998 Snapdragon 835 processor

Octa-core (4×2.35 GHz Kryo & 4×1.9 GHz Kryo) CPU

Adreno 540 GPU

8GB RAM

64GB storage, up to 2TB with microSD

Fingerprint scanner

Dual rear-facing cameras: 12Mp (f/1.8, 25mm)and 12Mp (f/2.6), 2x optical zoom, phase detection autofocus, dual-LED dual-tone flash

8Mp front-facing camera (f/2.0)

802.11ac Wi-Fi

Bluetooth 4.2

A-GPS

NFC

USB 3.1, Type-C 1.0

Non-removable lithium-ion 4,000mAh battery

158.5×77.7x8mm

197g

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