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Win the game with these handy Razer Phone tips and tricks

Razer Phone review home in hand
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends
By specifications alone, the Razer Phone is an impressive device. It packs Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 processor and that’s coupled with 8GB of RAM. Add in the loud, front-facing speakers with Dolby Atmos, and you’ve created a phone for multimedia consumption and gaming.

Despite being the first Razer Phone, the software experience isn’t too different from a smartphone running stock Android. By default, the popular third-party Nova Launcher Prime is installed, and you can read our in-depth guide explaining how to use it. Still, there are a few neat tricks Razer has added to make this $700 phone special. We’re here to help with these helpful Razer Phone tips and tricks.

How to use Game Booster

Game Booster is a pretty powerful version of the battery saving app on most Android phones, except as the name suggests it’s geared towards optimizing games for battery life, or boosting them to offer ultimate performance. Find the app in the app drawer, and open it. In Game Booster, you can select Power Save, Performance, or the Custom icon to make adjustments to apps on the device. Choose Power Save or Performance if you want to choose a blanket setting for all your apps and games. Power Save will do things like lower the resolution a game is played at, reduce the strain on the CPU, cap the frame rate at 60, and turn off anti-aliasing all to help save battery life. Performance, on the other hand, will take everything to its highest setting so you get the best experience.

Custom lets you tweak the settings for each app or game. Click on Add/Remove games, and toggle the app you want to tweak settings for. Press the back arrow button to return to the main screen, and click on the app. Here, you can adjust the clock speed of the CPU (higher gives you better performance), resolution, frame rate (higher for smoother gameplay), and you can turn on anti-aliasing (which smooths out jagged edges in games). If you don’t want to deal with these settings, you can use the slider above to choose the type of performance you want: More battery, or higher performance.

How to turn off notifications while gaming

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Gaming on a console versus your phone are two very different experiences. On a console like the Sony PlayStation 4 Pro, you’re can be fully immersed in a game. When gaming on a phone, social media notifications and email alerts that pop up over what you’re doing can be a huge distraction.

The Razer Phone has a handy Do Not Disturb feature that allows you to turn off your notifications while gaming. Your notifications will still come through, but they won’t appear on the screen when you game. To turn it on, head to the Game Booster app and toggle on the Do Not Disturb slider.

How to set up gestures in Nova Launcher Settings

One really nice thing about the Razer Phone is it runs a stock version of Android 7.1.1 Nougat. Instead of creating a skin to run over Android, Razer uses a third-party launcher called Nova Launcher Prime. It’s a popular app that lets you customize your home screen the way you want, and it’s all made possible through the Nova Settings app.

There are plenty of different settings you can tweak, but let’s take a look at gestures. Open the Nova Settings app or find it by pressing and holding down on the home screen. Tap on Gestures & inputs, and you’ll see nearly a dozen different gestures you can pair with a specific function. For example, you can set swiping down on the home screen to expand your notifications. Just tap each gesture, and configure them to your liking.

How to use a theme from the Theme Store

Not a fan of the all-green theme on the home screen? The Razer Theme Store lets you change things up by installing themes to your phone, and they can change the wallpaper or app icons. The themes on the Razer Theme Store are based on popular games and are currently free, though it looks like paid themes may be coming in the future.

Setting up a theme from the Theme Store is pretty straight forward. Open the Theme Store app and select Install for the theme you like best. Once the theme is installed, you’ll need to select it and click Apply to change your theme. If you decide you want to switch back to the stock theme, press My Library on the bottom of the screen. Once open, you’ll see all your installed themes. Select the Arrival theme and click Apply.

How to change the refresh rate

The Razer Phone is unique because the display’s refresh rate can go up to 120Hz, as opposed to 60Hz like most smartphones. The refresh rate is how many times per second your phone’s display updates. While 60Hz may be fine for most, doubling it to 120Hz has some benefits. A quicker refresh rate helps prevent the stutter you see sometimes when you’re gaming or scrolling through your Twitter feed.

Although Game Booster allows you to adjust the refresh rate for individual apps, you can adjust the refresh rate for all apps on your phone in the settings. Go to Settings > Display > Refresh rate and make your selection between 60, 90, and 120Hz. Switching to 60Hz will definitely help improve your battery life.

How to turn on and customize Dolby Atmos

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The Razer Phone boasts some pretty impressive stereo speakers on its front grill. It also includes Dolby Atmos sound technology to create a 3D effect when gaming or even watching videos. The quickest way to turn on Dolby Atmos is to pull down on the Notification Bar and click on the Dolby Atmos icon. When you click on the icon, you’ll see a slider at the top to turn it on as well as the list of presets to select. Toggle the slider on, select your preferred preset and then click Done.

To set up custom Atmos presets, you’ll need to open the Dolby Atmos app and click on Custom 1 or Custom 2. You can then adjust the equalizer and other options to fit your preferences. When you are happy with your settings, press and hold on the name to change it. This lets you tweak the sound exactly to your liking.

How to take a great photo

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While the Razer Phone packs dual cameras on the rear, the camera app is pretty bare bones right now. It doesn’t offer portrait or panoramic modes like the Samsung Galaxy S8 and many other smartphones, but the camera software will be updated in the future to include more features.

The only current feature is you can use 2x optical zoom, but there’s no quick icon to jump to that level of zoom. Instead, you’ll need to pinch out for the screen. Watch closely as you zoom and you’ll see the screen shake a little to let you know you’re using the telephoto lens. Go too far, though, and you’ll be using digital zoom. There’s nothing to indicate what zoom you’re using, and Razer said it will address this in a later update.

You also shoot 4k video on the Razer. To enable 4k, you’ll need swipe left in the camera app to switch to video. You’ll see a video icon appear in the center of the screen. Once you’re in video mode, press the menu bar on the left side and open Settings. Under the video section, you press camera video resolution and change to UHD 4K.

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Steven Winkelman
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Steven writes about technology, social practice, and books. At Digital Trends, he focuses primarily on mobile and wearables…
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