How smartphone-makers have gamers in their sights

The Xiaomi Black Shark is currently only available in China. — AFP Relaxnews pic
The Xiaomi Black Shark is currently only available in China. — AFP Relaxnews pic

BEIJING, April 22 — As the smartphone market looks increasingly saturated — with handset sales still topping two billion in 2017 — manufacturers are increasingly searching for ways to stand out from competitors. Several brands have done this by reaching out to video games fans with handsets specially designed for mobile gaming.

The first brand to dive into this niche was Razer, the American gaming PCs and peripherals specialist. The brand’s first smartphone — billed at the time as “the ultimate in mobile entertainment” — caused quite a stir. The Razer Phone was designed to deliver an optimal user experience, as much for gaming as for audio and video entertainment. It has a 5.72-inch Quad HD screen with UltraMotion technology, allowing it to display 120 frames per second, which, for gamers, means reduced latency and smoother graphics than on any other smartphone. The Razer Phone uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor and has 8GB RAM. It also has Dolby Atmos audio technology for total immersion in all kinds of parallel worlds.

Razer is now joined in the market by a major Chinese manufacturer called Xiaomi, although its products are still rarely exported. The brand’s Black Shark mobile is billed as an extremely powerful 5.99-inch handset, powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor and up to 8GB RAM. The smartphone promises high performance, as well as power that can go the distance thanks to its 4,000mAh battery. Above all, this handset stands out with its Pixelworks image processing chip — optimizing the display for onscreen action — as well as its cooling system and controller (sold separately). This add-on accessory turns the phone it into a veritable pocket console.

The Razer Phone is out now priced US$699.99. The Xiaomi Black Shark is currently only announced for sale in China, priced from 2,999 Yuan, or approx. US$477.

Chinese mobile brand Nubia (part of the ZTE group) is also working on a smartphone aimed at gamers, creating growing competition in this niche market sector. — AFP Relaxnews

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