It's no secret that innovation on modern smartphones has mostly stalled out. While the big, pretty flagships like the iPhone X are too expensive to be worth the minor upgrade, the new Razer Phone, ostensibly "for gamers," could be a surprising step forward, whether you're into games or not.
The idea of a "gaming phone" is pretty questionable. The computer gaming has had decades to build up an army of players who will spend thousands of dollars on powerhouse PCs and an industry of developers that will make beautiful games designed to use every last drop of that horsepower.
Mobile gaming on the other hand, is much more casual with games designed to run well on relatively low-powered phones. This could change with the advent of augmented reality, and there are some mobile games that boast intense graphics, but the most powerhouse phone ever made will not play Candy Crush play any better than a crappy one.
But in service of building a phone that's good for games, Razer seems to have built a phone that would be good for everyone. Its unheard of 8GB of RAM means that apps like Twitter and Chrome should open and perform with a snap. Its first-in-class 120 GHz screen allows for frame rates much higher than what you'll find on any other phone out there, which makes animations and scrolling appear frighteningly smooth. Its two front-facing speakers are wildly loud at max volume and are impossible to accidentally cover with your hand (unlike the side-mounted speakers on other, sleeker phone).
But most crucially, its 4,000 mAh battery is positively huge compared to competitors like the iPhone X (2,716 mAh) and the Pixel 2 (2,700 mAh). The Razer Phone's beefy battery is obviously intended to facilitate bouts of gaming that can last a few hours at a time, but it should give non-gamers a buffer of battery life that is virtually impossible to find in other flagship phone out there.
A staggering lack of battery is one of the biggest problems in phones today, and one that no phonemaker seems to be particularly interested in solving. Although a big battery like this doesn't guarantee great battery life—inefficient innards or power-hungry software settings can gobble up any sizable surplus—there's a good chance this phone could last hours and hours longer than the latest and greatest iPhone or Pixel.
We won't know how well Razer's new gaming beast will hold up for regular folks until it's out in the wild, but on paper it seems like a promising little gadget that might be stiffer competition than you'd expect.
If nothing else, it's certainly interesting.