Razer Phone Review: Audio - Here comes a new gamer
Author:Soomal
Source:eng.soomal.com

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Razer, a young brand, has good reputation among game enthusiasts, and is popular with young people. The brand is gradually expanding into more areas. The Razer Phone is its first mobile phone product. Although the main selling point is the gaming experience, we are still somewhat interested in the sound quality.

Razer Phone uses Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor. As the phone is not sold in mainland China, it took us a lot time to get phone. When you see it, S9, based on Snapdragon 845 processor, have been officially listed.

To be convenient for hand-held games and loud speaker, Razer put more space on the forehead, and made it symmetry between the upper and lower sides, beneficial to the design of the dual-speaker system. It does not need to share the hole with the earphone, and the speaker also has a larger space for placement. Therefore, the RazerPhone has better loud speaker performance, for it sounds are more symmetrical and more three-dimensional. The Dolby Atmos sound is built into this phone, and when it is turned on, there will be a certain amount of surround effect, so the sound field appears bigger. The combined design of hardware and software also makes it eligible to be affixed to THX's Black Mark.

The Razer Phone doesn't have a 3.5mm headphone jack, so it ships with a USB Type-C to 3.5mm audio cable. This is actually an ultra-portable DAC, for it comes with a built-in CODEC chip, not the cheapest analog adapter. The bounding earphone is HammerHead V2, this headset also retails at about 400 yuan. This headset uses Razer's usual black plus fluorescent green color, roll shell pattern on the ear shell decoration, Flat style cable, stylish, and also durable. As a bounding one, this earbud got nice appearance.

Since it is not sold on mainland China, its default music player is Google Play Music, but this player is used in mainland China and will constantly try to connect to Google services. This experience is extremely bad because it is impossible to connect with the service. The word map matching feature is also unusable, let alone online music features. However, it is not difficult to find a substitute that is a good experience.

We start to add USB audio device compatibility test and Bluetooth decode supported test as the popularity of smartphone external device. We choose Musiland MD30 Plus as our audio device, using SuperDSP platform that is compatible with UAC2.0. Another one is Matrix Mini-i Pro 2S, adopting XMOS program. The reason why we choose these two is that they can display the current sampling rate on screen. We will add more devices in the future.

Testing Smartphone iPhone X iPhone 8 Plus Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Samsung Galaxy S8+ Samsung Galaxy S9 Huawei Mate 10 vivo X20 Plus OnePlus 5T vivo X21 Razer Phone
Musiland MD30 Plus Auto Switch Sampling Rate Auto Switch Sampling Rate Locked to 48kHz or 192kHz Cannot Work Properly Locked to 48kHz or 192kHz Locked to 96kHz Locked to 48kHz Locked to 48kHz Locked to 48kHz Locked to 48kHz
MATRIX Mini-i Pro 2S Auto Switch Sampling Rate Auto Switch Sampling Rate Locked to 48kHz or 192kHz Locked to 48kHz or 192kHz Locked to 48kHz or 192kHz Locked to 96kHz Locked to 48kHz Locked to 48kHz Locked to 48kHz Locked to 48kHz
Comment greater than or equal to 96kHz will be locked to 192kHz, others are locked to 48 kHz

Rezer Phone has poor support for USB audio peripherals, for the output sampling rate being locked at 48 kHz. This performance is not worth considering for the bundling an portable DAC.

The Bluetooth connection test found that Rezer Phone only supports SBC.

By convention, we use professional sound cards to record sounds, combining with common analysis, to provide quantitative results. The maximum output level of the Razer Phone with adapter is -6dB.

Testing Item 44.1kHz 44.1kHz @ Mac 48kHz
Noise Level, dB -95.3 -95.9 -96.2
Dynamic Range, dB 95.1 95.9 96.2
Total Harmonic Distortion(THD), % 0.0012 0.0010 0.0012
Intermodulation Distortion, % 0.0052 0.0029 0.0039
Stereo Crosstalk, dB -94.8 -96.0 -93.8

The test results were a little unexpected, much worse than we expected. After the correct demonstration of the HTC U11 adapter, everyone expects much improvement in this type of adapter, and the U11's is called the "miracle cable". The Razer Phone's adapter should be similar to the U11's, and there are also THX black labels, but the actual situation is much worse. The two harmonic indicators do not perform as they did in recent years. The performance of 44.1kHz has some characteristics of SRC. Under PC & MAC, this adapter supports 44.1kHz output, so we tested it on a MAC device. Although the result is still not ideal, it has improved. Razer Phone's adapter SRCs, basically confirmed. After repeated confirmation, Dolby sound is not turned on. This is the quality of this line. In addition, this adapter does not support Hi-Res sampling rate, nor on PC & MAC.

The real hearing experience of this adapter is improvised, enough powering, roughly equal to the U11 line, obviously hide the disadvantages. In addition, the sound performance is not stronger than most mobile phones without DAC chip. The performance is poor in sound resolution, and when the volume is large, the layering is also a little poor. This line is slightly better at PC & MAC, but there is nothing to praise.

Although the headset showed sincerity and the performance of the extrovert was satisfactory, the performance of the adapter was far lower than expected. What we were expecting was a new ¡°miracle cable¡±. Razer is a new player in mobile phones, not lacking sincerity, but design experience.

Although the S9 has not improved compared to the sound quality of the S8, it still can be regarded as a top level in the conventional design [referring to the audio subsystem] of the mobile phone, which is definitely better than most pure music players for a few hundred yuan. Moreover, Samsung did not follow suit, decisively retained the 3.5 mm headphone port, in fact, for the average consumer, this is the most convenient port, providing much more abundant choice for earphones.

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