The Razer Phone is aimed at gamers who want to blast through demanding Android titles on the move, so you can expect a few neat gaming features tucked away inside. Here’s how to take advantage of those features and a close look at some of the customisation options and shortcut gestures, so you can get started with your Razer smartphone.
One of the more original mobile devices launched so far in 2017 has to be the Razer Phone. This brick-like device is the first smartphone launched by the popular gaming hardware company and the first mobile aimed at gamers (at least that we’ve played with) since the ill-fated Sony Xperia Play.
Similar to the Pixel 2 handsets, the Razer Phone boasts premium specs as well as a streamlined version of Android Nougat OS. You won’t find any clunky overlays smothering Google’s software, although Razer has thrown in some customisation options via the Nova launcher and a couple of gaming-related features that you can play around with.
Our Razer Phone tips and tricks guide shows off some of the best software features of this handset, to get you up and running.
Razer Phone tips and tricks: Get 120Hz visuals on the IGZO display
One of the highlights of this handset is the 5.7-inch IGZO screen, which pumps out great-looking visuals - perfect for enjoying movies or games on the go.
Head into the Razer Phone’s settings menu and tap the Display option and you can customise the screen to just the way you want. As well as tweaking the brightness levels, you can alter the refresh rate of the panel - this smartphone supports up to 120Hz, for super-smooth visuals. This setting isn’t active by default however, so you’ll need to bump up the rate from this menu. Battery life will be impacted as a result, of course.
You can also turn on a Night Mode, which filters blue light for a warmer, easy-on-the-eye experience. We’d recommend scheduling for between sunset and sunrise, so you don’t have to worry about manually activating.
Razer Phone tips and tricks: Total customisation
As well as the main phone settings, you’ll find a separate ‘Nova Settings’ menu tucked away in the apps tray. This offers even more handy features and toggles, with one of the best aspects being the impressive customisation on offer.
Tap the Desktop option for instance, to change the size of the desktop grids, the look of the icons and search bar, scroll effects and so on. You can also personalise the apps tray, right down to the transparency levels and shadow effects. The Look & Feel menu deals with OS animations, while the Notification Badges section allows you to change how you’re alerted to anything that needs attention.
We recommend having a dig around in there, as there’s loads of great options that you can play around with.
Razer Phone tips and tricks: Gestures and shortcuts
Vanilla Android doesn’t offer much in the way of gesture support, so thankfully Razer/Nova has corrected this by adding in a few nifty little shortcuts.
Jump into the Gestures section of the main settings menu and you’ll see that you can open the camera app with a quick double-tap of the power button, for instance. This even works when the Razer Phone is hibernating, which is handy for those impromptu action shots.
If you hop into the Nova Settings, you’ll spy even more gesture controls. Tap ‘gestures and inputs’ and you can assign actions to a variety of swipes and taps, which can be employed right there on your desktops.
For instance, one of the default options is to drag down the notifications bar with a finger swipe down at any part of the screen. This is particularly useful given the size of the Razer Phone’s display, which means reaching up to the very top can be quite tricky.
You can also swipe up to access the apps tray, open up the likes of the Nova settings menu with a double-swipe and so on. Basically, you’re free to turn on or deactivate as many gestures as you like, to quickly access your favourite features.
Razer Phone tips and tricks: Try a new theme
If you’re not a fan of the jazzy Razer background, you can of course replace it with your own photo at any time. Just pinch your fingers together on the desktop and hit ‘wallpapers’ and you can assign whatever you want to replace the default option, be it a camera snap or something you’ve downloaded.
Alternatively, open up the Razer Phone’s Theme Store app and you download a whole new theme. This changes not just the wallpaper but also the phone’s fonts, icons and so on. There’s a decent selection on offer, including some related to mobile games such as Arena of Valor. You’ll also find plenty that feature the iconic Razer logo, of course.
Razer Phone tips and tricks: Game Booster
In both the apps tray and the settings menu you’ll find the Game Booster feature. This is a way of manually managing your Razer Phone’s resources when gaming, which can help out during those fast and furious sessions.
You can add new titles to the Game Booster at the bottom of the menu, at which point you can tweak the hardware settings used when the app is running. You can choose the resolution, refresh rate (up to a stunning 120 frames-per-second) and how much processing power to throw its way also. Bear in mind that the higher the performance, the quicker the battery drain.
Note that only certain games are 120Hz compatible, so check before boosting that refresh rate up to see if you’ll actually enjoy super-smooth visuals.
When playing games you can also have Game Booster silence any notifications that come in; definitely handy when you need maximum concentration. This option isn’t enabled by default, so you’ll need to tap the virtual switch on the main menu to turn it on.