Razer made its name by creating “gaming-optimized” keyboards, mice, headsets, and more. It eventually started making its own gaming laptops, but mobile is an entirely different animal. Razer launched its first phone late last year, and the predictably named Razer Phone is getting some new media-oriented features today. The company has announced a deal with Netflix that brings HDR and Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 sound to the Razer Phone.
We’ve seen HDR support on a number of other smartphones, but Razer is still one of the few. On supported titles in Netflix’s library, HDR brings out details and make colors more vibrant. The Razer phone’s 6-inch 1440p LCD has a 120Hz refresh rate and supports the HDR10 standard, but the Netflix support comes with some unexpected extras.
In addition to HDR, the Razer Phone is the first mobile device to get Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 sound from Netflix. This device has a pair of front-facing amplified speakers with Dolby Atmos. You may be wondering how you get 5.1 sound with just two (admittedly good) speakers. Well, you can’t. The phone will mix down the audio to two channels. As for what difference that will make compared with other phones, that’s debatable. You can always just plug in a nice pair of headphones and probably get a better audio experience on most phones. There’s no headphone jack on the Razer Phone, but it does have a THX-certified Type-C to 3.5mm adapter.
This change isn’t as simple as flipping a switch on Netflix’s servers. The Razer Phone will get a customized version of the Netflix app that enables HDR and Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 sound. Plus, there will be a home screen widget that highlights content that supports both technologies.
The Razer Phone will receive an update later this month with the custom Netflix app. It’s unclear if future updates to Netflix on the Razer Phone will need to be delivered by OTA or if there will be a listing in the Play Store. The update will also include some tweaks to the screen performance to ensure proper playback of Netflix HDR video.
It’s worth noting this is not a free service for Razer Phone owners. You still need a premium Netflix subscription to get access to HDR video. That plan costs $13.99 per month in the US right now. Razer hasn’t released sales figures for its first phone, a product of its acquisition of Nextbit last year. The reviews have been middling so far. Perhaps class-leading Netflix playback will give it an edge.
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