A new era of smartphones is upon us as companies one by one release their own iterations of gaming smartphones. The first to create this trend is Razer, which was then followed by Xiaomi, ZTE Nubia and recently during Computex 2018, by ASUS ROG. What separates these four from each other and who among them will rise the top? let’s find out as we put the ROG Phone, Razer Phone, Xiaomi Black Shark, and Nubia Red Magic in each other’s crosshairs.
|Specification||ASUS ROG Phone||Razer Phone||Black Shark Gaming Smartphone||Nubia Red Magic|
|Display||6-inch 18:9 AMOLED display @ 2160 x 1080px, 403ppi, 90Hz||5.7-inch IGZO LCD display @ 2560 x 1440px, 515ppi, 120Hz||5.99-inch 18:9 Full HD+ IPS display @ 1080 x 2160px, 403ppi||6-inch 18:9 Full HD+ LTPS IPS display @2160 x 1080px|
|Glass Protection||Corning Gorilla Glass 6||Corning Gorilla Glass 3||No specified glass protection||No specified glass protection|
|CPU||Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 2.96GHz octa-core||Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 2.45GHz octa-core||Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 2.8GHz octa-core||Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 2.45GHz octa-core|
|GPU||Adreno 630||Adreno 540||Adreno 630||Adreno 540|
|RAM||LPDDR4 8GB||LPDDR4 8GB||6GB/8GB||6/8GB RAM|
|Storage||128GB/512GB UFS 2.1||64GB UFS 2.1||64GB/128GB UFS 2.1||64/128GB|
|MicroSD||–||up to 400 GB (dedicated slot)||–||–|
|Rear Camera||12MP f/1.8 main +
8MP 120-degrees wide-angle secondary
|12MP AF f/1.75 Wide + 13MP AF f/2.6 rear cameras, Dual PDAF, dual-tone flash||12MP f/1.8 + 20MP f/1.8 PDAF rear camera, 2x optical zoom, LED flash||24MP Isocell f/1.7 rear camera, LED flash|
|Front Camera||8MP f/2.0 front camera||8MP FF f/2.0 front camera||20MP f/2.2 front camera||8MP 76.9-degree wide-angle f/2.0 front camera|
|SIM||Single nano SIM||Single nano SIM||Dual-nano SIM||Dual-nano SIM|
|LTE||4G LTE Cat. 18||4G LTE||4G LTE||4G LTE|
|WiFi||-Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ad, 2×2 MIMO
-Wi-Fi Direct and WiGig wireless display support
|WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac||WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac||WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (Dual Band, 2.4GHz and 5GHz)|
|NFC||Yes||Yes||Didn’t state||Didn’t state|
|GPS||GPS, A-GPS, Glonass, and BeiDou||GPS, A-GPS||GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS||GPS, A-GPS, Glonass, BDS|
|Audio||-Dual front-facing stereo speakers with smart amplifier
-24-bit/192KHz Hi-Res audio
-DTS Headphone:X™ 7.1 virtual surround-sound
-Qualcomm aptX High-definition Bluetooth wireless audio
|-Stereo front-facing speakers
Dolby ATMOS and
|Stereo Speakers||-DTS-HD audio
|3.5mm audio port||Yes||No||No||Yes|
|Port||USB 3.1 Type-C||USB 2.0 Type-C||USB 2.0 Type-C||USB Type-C|
|Fingerprint scanner||Fingerprint scanner||Fingerprint scanner|
|Other features||-GameCool vaper-chamber cooling system w/ detachable AeroActive Coole
-ASUS RGB lighting support
-ASUS Aura Sync support
-Mobile Desktop Dock
|–||Gamepad accessory||Performance Button|
|OS||Android 8.1 Oreo||Android 7.1.1 Nougat||JOY UI (Android 8.0 Oreo)||Nubia Red Magic OS (Android 8.1 Oreo)|
|Battery||4,000mAh battery with HyperCharge technology||4,000mAh battery w/ Qualcomm Quick Charge 4+||4,000mAh battery w/ Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0||3,800mAh battery w/ fast charging|
|Dimensions||158.8 x 76.2 x 8.6mm||158.5 x 77.7 x 8 mm||161.6 x 75.4 x 9.3 mm||158.1 x 74.9 x 9.5 mm|
|Weight||200g||197 g||190 g||185 g|
Summary of advantages:
- 90Hz AMOLED display
- Better overall performance due to overclocked SD845
- 512GB internal storage
- 2×2 MIMO
- Custom USB Type-C for accessories and added functionality
- AirTrigger Sensors
- Vapor Chamber Cooling
- Abundant accessories
- DTS Headphone:X™ 7.1 virtual surround-sound
- Qualcomm aptX High-definition Bluetooth wireless audio
- 3.5mm audio port
- Water resistance
- 120hz QHD+ display
- Dual-Channel RAM
- Expandable storage
- Audio Adapter w/ THX-certified DAC
- Dolby ATMOS and THX-certified audio
- Dual Amplifiers
Xiaomi Black Shark
- Highest front-facing camera resolution
- Highest dual rear camera resolutions
- Cheapest when it comes to price to performance
Nubia Red Magic
- Performance button
- Highest single rear camera resolution
We have a little stand-off between the ROG Phone and Razer Phone when it comes to displays. Sadly, the Black Shark and the Nubia Red Magic has the worst display configuration among the bunch with just common FHD+ 18:9 IPS displays. Not bad by smartphone standards but compared to the other two they lose big time. The Razer Phone takes the money when it comes to the smoothest viewing experience possible with its 120Hz refresh rate and QHD+ display.
While the ROG Phone has a lower 90Hz refresh rate, it still has better colors and blacks thanks to its AMOLED display. Not to mention, this is the first device ever to sport a higher than 60Hz AMOLED display. Then again, we are talking about gaming here so it will all come down to are you a fast-paced gamer or one that enjoys sceneries and visuals more.
Audio quality on speakers is a tie for the Razer Phone and ROG Phone thanks to their front-firing speakers with amplifiers. When plugged though the ROG Phone has the advantage with its 7.1 surround sound DTS headphone:X certification and Qualcomm aptX wireless Bluetooth audio, which will provide better audio when using headphones or earphones. Sadly, the Black Shark and the Nubia Red Magic are once again left out as they have no special audio configurations.
In terms of raw performance, the ROG Phone has the Razer Phone, Xiaomi Black Shark, and Nubia Red Magic beat. That’s thanks to its overclocked Snapdragon 845 processor, which has higher clock speeds than both the standard SD845 and SD835. The Razer Phone and Nubia Red Magic are probably the weakest among the bunch due to their Snapdragon 835 chipset. Although, the Razer Phone has an advantage when it comes to RAM as we have a Dual-Channel 8GB configuration. This doubles the data throughput from the RAM to the memory controller, effectively doubling speed and performance.
Heat management also goes to the ROG Phone thanks to its Vapor Cooling Chamber that can maintain the temperatures of its overclocked SD845 even at max clock speeds. It even comes with the AeroActive Cooler accessory, which adds even more cooling, in the package.
Storage-wise we have another stand-off between Razer and ASUS. While the ROG Phone undeniably has the highest internal storage config at 512GB, the Razer Phone has an expandable slot that can accommodate up to 2TB. It’s now a matter of internal storage or expandability. Then again, any of these setups will surely be more than enough.
Camera-wise, the Black Shark stands on top with a higher front and dual rear camera resolutions compared to the Razer and ROG Phones. The Nubia Red Magic, on the other hand, wins in single camera resolution with its 24MP rear shooter. Although, we’ve yet to see the actual performance of any of the phones so we can’t really tell if Xiaomi’s or Nubia’s offering is still the winner in real-world instances.
The ROG Phone also takes the money when it comes to providing gamers with all the tools and gears they need for a hassle-free gaming experience. It has a custom USB Type-C on the side which can be fitted with different kinds of accessories, from an additional fan to a dual screen dock and even a desktop dock with a plethora of ports.
Add that to the convenience of having your cables downward instead of sidewards when gaming on landscape. The phone also has what ASUS calls as AirTriggers, which are pressure sensitive buttons on the sides of the device that can be mapped to any command via a built-in software. Think of the AirTriggers as like the L and R buttons on controllers. The only other gaming smartphone with the added gimmick is the Nubia Red Magic, with its performance button for easy swaps between normal mode and gaming mode.
To top it all off, among the contenders only the ROG Phone offers some form of water resistance. Although no specific IP rating was given.
It may seem that the ROG Phone is the device that stands out among the three, with its raw power and added gaming gizmos but all those features will most probably come with a steep price plus added expenses for the accessories. In this regard, the Xiaomi Black Shark is the best choice as it has the cheapest price-to-performance ratio among the three.
So basically it will all come down to these:
- Best gaming experience the market has to offer (ROG Phone)
- The smoothest visual and audio experience (Razer Phone)
- The cheapest price-to-performance gaming phone and (Xiaomi Black Shark)
- The most affordable gaming smartphone in the market (Nubia Red Magic)
The Razer Phone is now available in the Philippines via Widget City for a price of Php 37,500/$707. Official local pricing and availability for the Xiaomi Black Shark, ROG Phone, and Nubia Red Magic are yet to be announced. Although, the Black Shark is priced at CNY 2,999 (~PHP25K/$469) for the 6GB + 64GB and CNY 3,499 (~PHP29K/$547) for the 8GB + 128GB in China. While the Nubia Red Magic is priced at CNY 2,499 (~Php 20,731/$391) for the 6+64GB variant and CNY 2,999 (~Php 24,879/$469) for the 8+128GB.