Android Authority’s CES Top Picks 2019 Awards: Our favorite products from the show

We’ve spent the last week meeting with companies and roaming around the halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center to find the very best of CES 2019. From laptops, to smart home devices, to drones, there’s certainly a lot to take in — that’s why we’ve created a list of the best products announced at CES 2019.

Here are Android Authority’s CES Top Picks 2019 Awards.

The best smartphone: Alcatel 1X

The Alcatel 1X is proof that you don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars to get a decent smartphone. For around 130 Euros, Alcatel’s new budget-friendly phone offers a 5.5-inch display, Android 8.1 Oreo, a 3,000mAh battery, and support for 4G connectivity. It also comes with this beautiful sandstone texture on the back that will instill nostalgia in any OnePlus One fan out there.

What’s more, it packs a dual 16MP and 2MP rear-camera setup, which actually turned out to be quite impressive during our hands-on time with the device. Portrait mode is surprisingly good too.

The best laptop: Dell Alienware Area-51m

Dell’s Alienware went back to the drawing board to overhaul its popular gaming laptop design. Called Alienware Legend, the move marks a significant change in the overall Alienware brand. That includes a reimagined shape and new color options: Lunar Light and Dark Side of the Moon. The underlying sci-fi theme fans love still remains highly relevant.

The first product based on this new Alienware Legend identity is the Area-51m. In addition to the new outward appearance, Alienware revised the internal design to provide better overclocking and a thinner form factor. All this plays host to the latest Intel Core processors and GeForce RTX 20 Series graphics. The Area-51m initiates a new era for Alienware and its fans.

The best smartwatch: Kate Spade Scallop Smartwatch 2

A ton of smartwatches were announced at the trade show this year, and the best one came from Kate Spade. We’re giving the Kate Spade Scallop Smartwatch 2 an award this year because it was clear the team listened to user feedback. With an on-board GPS and heart rate sensor, the Scallop Smartwatch 2 is now a capable fitness companion — not just a pretty watch.

Watch: The best smartwatches from CES 2019

Let’s be honest, this is still a pretty watch, though. The flower-like design surrounding the bezel adds to the classy aesthetic, backed up by the understated silicone strap and stainless steel case. Of course, the iconic spade icon is scattered throughout, adorning the rotatable crown and on the top of each Kate Spade watch face.

A pretty, feature-packed smartwatch. What more could you ask for?

The best fitness product: Withings Move ECG

Don’t miss

The Withings team is back in full force after its brief time at Nokia, and it just announced two new fitness watches called the Withings Move and Withings Move ECG. The Move ECG won Android Authority’s Best Fitness Product Award due to the overall quality of product and benefit users will get out of the electrocardiogram.

ECGs can be literal life savers for some people, and the fact that it’s packed into an attractive, affordable, and customizable fitness watch should not be overlooked. At $130, the Withings Move ECG is a no-brainer if you frequent the doctor for heart problems.

The best smart home product: Google Assistant Connect

For years Google has been trying to become the one-stop shop for smart home products, and the Google Assistant Connect is its next big push to bring even more Assistant-connected products to your life.

Assistant Connect is a set of capabilities that product manufacturers can use to connect their own products to Google Assistant-powered devices like the Google Home or Home Hub. If a product was developed with Assistant Connect, it’s able to talk to nearby Assistant devices and display your personal information (i.e. calendar events/weather) on the screen.

The most obvious example is if a company were to create a simple display without any mics or speakers, including Assistant Connect would allow it to show you content from your linked smart speaker. In this case, the smart speaker would handle all the computing on its own while using Assistant Connect to transfer and display that content on the display.

It’s an inexpensive and easy way for companies to bring Assistant to their products, which is why it’s deserving of our Best Smart Home Product award.

The best audio product: Audio Technica ATH-ANC900BT

Few audio companies have the professional history of Audio-Technica, and when they throw their hat in the ring, we pay attention. Taking aim at the top end of active noise cancelling headphones, the ATH-ANC900BT has the firepower to be a blast.

By using a more energy efficient Bluetooth 5 connection, the ATH-ANC900BT has the specs to outlast the likes of Bose, Sony, and Sennheiser’s top-of-the-line headphones. Additionally, they’re also the most affordable entry into the top-end of ANC headsets, coming in at only $299.

The best concept: Whirlpool Connected Hub Wall Oven

Whirlpool surprised us this year when it showed off its Smart Countertop Oven, produced under its WLabs brand.

The WLabs Smart Countertop Oven automatically detects the type of food you’re cooking. You can then choose from additional cooking options based on your preferences. For example, if you’re cooking pizza, the Smart Countertop will give you a range of crispiness to to choose from.

Related

Whirlpool is also the first on the market with a product that can distinguish between frozen and non-frozen food. Its current cooking algorithm is set to a 95 percent confidence interval too, so cooking times and settings should be very accurate.

What impressed us most, however, is Whirlpool’s planned distribution model for this product. Whirlpool will ship just two thousand units in the coming weeks for $799 each. We’re told the reasoning behind launching under the WLabs brand is so that Whirlpool can better gather user feedback and tweak anything accordingly. That way, it can improve the experience even further before launching a mainstream consumer product.

Overall, we were quite impressed with Whirlpool’s work as is. So, we’re very happy to see a commitment to develop the concept further.

The best mobile accessory: Corning Gorilla Glass Personalized Phone Case

The Corning Gorilla Glass personalized phone case is a surprisingly fun new addition to the mobile protection market. Corning will print any photo you like on the back of its Gorilla Glass 5 which then gets embedded into a rubberized case for your smartphone. The final product is a sturdy case with a smooth, elegant glass back that also has a picture of your spouse, kids, family, pets, or anything, really.

Eventually, Corning will have vending machines that will print you a case in a matter of minutes. Just upload your photo to a web server, tell the machine which phone you own, and a few minutes later your brand new case will pop out. Keeping your phone free of scratches and dents has never been this cool.

Best innovation: LG Signature OLED TV R

LG’s Signature OLED TV R is something we’ve only ever imagined or seen in a movie or TV show. It may shape the future of TVs forever, which is why it wins our Best Innovation Award.

Watch: LG’s rollable OLED TV at CES 2019

A prototype of the TV was shown off at CES 2018, but this year the rollable TV is a real product that consumers will actually be able to buy. The way it beautifully rolls and rises out of the sound bar feels like pure magic. The TV is there when you want it, and disappears when you don’t. It can even be there when you only partially want it. The horizon-line view shows only a fraction of the display for quick access to basic functions. It’s cool, futuristic, and will be a game changer to the TV industry.


Spotlight Awards

It’s easy to focus on the biggest names in technology at trade shows as big as CES. That’s why Android Authority has chosen six of our favorite innovative tech products that may have flown under the radar.

Jabra Elite 85h


Elevating their wireless headphones game, the new Jabra Elite 85h are noise-cancelling cans made for folks on the go.

Equipped with SmartSound, these over-ear headphones adapt automatically to produce the best sound for phone calls, music, and more. Coming in four colors with a rain resistant build, enjoy ANC on the go for up to 32 hours of battery life, even longer with ANC turned off. ANC auto switching turns on and off the service based on your environment. Of course, the Jabra Elite 85h also sound great, and you can adjust the EQ and sound profiles through the Jabra Sound+ app for extra sound clarity.

Insta360 ONE X

Weather you’re skiing down a mountain or hiking up a cliff, the Insta360 ONE X should be just the thing you need to capture great 360-degree video. This 4K-capable camera features Insta360’s FlowState Stabilization, which means smooth footage even in the most

Nuu Mobile G4

Nuu Mobile showed off its brand new G4 smartphone at CES 2019, and it provides some killer value at a cheap price. It comes with a big 6.2-inch display, a 2GHz MediaTek Helio P60 processor, dual 16 + 8MP rear cameras, and it runs Android 9.0 Pie.

The best part? You can get all of that for just $249 in March 2019.

Next: All our favorite CES 2019 announcements in one place

Google in 2019: All in on AI

With the release of the Google Pixel 3 in October, Google reaffirmed its position as a worthy contender in the bloody war of the smartphone industry. However, despite the handset’s glowing reviews, the Pixel line still has a very small market share, especially compared to popular lines from Samsung or Huawei.

While Google’s ambitions for smartphone dominance may have a long way to go, it made huge strides in 2018 with Google Home hardware products like the Google Home Mini. It also solidified its reputation as the reigning king of the AI and virtual assistant world.

Let’s take a look at how Google ended 2018, and what’s likely to come in 2019.

Pixels are selling, but market share is still small

The back of the Google Pixel 3.

The Pixel 3 XL was probably the most successful smartphone of 2018 in one metric: organic publicity. While Google likely spent millions promoting the phone, the leak of black market prototype devices gave the Pixel 3 more promotion than Google could ever buy.

Months before the official launch of the Pixel 3 was even revealed, the public had already seen the Pixel 3 XL from every angle. We saw unboxing videos, full reviews, and photography samples before Google ran even one official ad for the device.

However, even with all this promotion, the Google Pixel 3 was no sales juggernaut. According to revenue estimates, the Pixel line — which includes Pixel smartphones, the Google Pixelbook, and the Google Pixel Slate — earned about $1.78 billion in combined gross profit in 2018. It might seem like a lot, but Samsung’s mobile division made $2 billion in gross profit from its smartphone sales in just the third quarter of 2018. That was a bad quarter, too.

The Pixel line is doing well — if you don’t compare it to any other major smartphone on the market.

Granted, Samsung offers many different smartphones, while Google only has one line, but that doesn’t negate how Pixel smartphones don’t earn Google nearly as much revenue as competitors’ devices.

Another metric illuminating Google’s lack of market share is its own Android distribution report. The most recent report from October 26, 2018, shows devices running Android 9 Pie — which would theoretically include every Pixel smartphone at that point — make up less than a tenth of a percent of all active Android devices.

Editor’s Pick

One tenth of a percent of the 2 billion active Android devices is 20 million devices. That means we can estimate there have been less than 20 million Pixel smartphones sold since the original Google Pixel launched in 2016.

Once again, 20 million might seem like a lot of smartphones for two years of sales, but in just the 2017 fiscal year, Apple sold over 216 million iPhones.

All of this data points to one thing: Google’s ambitions in the smartphone market have a very long way to go.

The one thing Google has over its competition is software. Along with a steady stream of Android updates, the Pixel smartphone line has arguably the best camera software of any smartphone in the history of smartphones. It also has unique AI-based features that competitors have yet to match.

We will just have to wait and see if Google can turn those superior products into more sales.

Google’s Chrome OS hardware isn’t gaining traction

Google’s Chrome OS is doing astoundingly well, especially in the education sector. By the end of 2017, in the United States, almost 60 percent of mobile computing shipments to schools from kindergarten to grade 12 were Chromebooks.

School systems love Chrome OS. The operating system is easy for kids to learn and use, and the hardware costs a fraction of what Windows laptops go for.

So why isn’t the Google Pixelbook or the recently-released Google Pixel Slate a best-selling computer on the market?

That answer is simple, too: price.

Google will never gain any traction in the laptop market if it doesn’t release hardware at an affordable price.

Competitor companies like Samsung, Asus, and Acer sell Chromebooks like hotcakes by keeping the devices as cheap as possible. Google is taking the opposite approach and creating top-tier hardware with a top-tier price tag. The entry-level variant of the Pixel Slate is a whopping $800 if you buy it with the (one would say necessary) keyboard sleeve. A maxed-out model of the Slate with its keyboard sleeve would cost you no less than $2,000.

Editor’s Pick

If Google wants to make a dent in the laptop market, it needs to abandon the idea of selling Chromebooks at Apple prices, at least for now. The Pixel Slate is powerful, beautiful, and altogether awesome, but the people ready to spend that much money on a laptop or tablet will just buy a Microsoft Surface Pro or Apple MacBook instead. It seems like the Pixel Slate was simply made for Google fans.

Maybe Google will be able to command $2,000 for a Chromebook years down the line. For now, it’s a fool’s errand.

Smart speakers are Google’s success story of the year

Google Home Hub logo

Despite the ho-hum progress of Pixel smartphones and laptops, Google’s smart speaker hardware is a force to be reckoned with. In 2016, it was estimated Google earned a gross profit of $49 million off its entire line of Home devices. In 2018, Home products will earn Google an estimated gross profit of $847 million, an increase of over 1,728 percent in two years.

If you look at revenues instead of profits, things get even more spectacular. In 2018, it’s estimated Google made $3.4 billion in revenue off its Home hardware, which is about the same amount it made off Pixel hardware.

A Pixel smartphone costs much more than most Google Home hardware. At $50 a pop, Google could potentially have sold over 50 million Google Home Minis in 2018.

Google is moving massive amounts of Google Home hardware — and the numbers are only going to get bigger.

Unfortunately, the two major companies in the smart speaker market — Google and Amazon — don’t report how many products they ship. Using estimates from market research firms and miscellaneous related data, it’s safe to assume Google is gobbling up market share from Amazon.

Editor’s Pick

Additionally, numerous research firms report Google Assistant — which powers Google Home hardware — is the best virtual assistant currently available. Most reviews of smart speakers also conclude that Google Home hardware is the best you can buy.

This is all fantastic news for Google, as AI and virtual assistants are the future. Although Google’s cash cow right now is still Google Search, it won’t be that way forever. Google knows years from now, its virtual assistant will be its cash cow, and the company has already set itself in the lead.

An interesting thing to note about Google Home hardware is price. A Google Home Mini is $50 and a Google Home Hub smart display is $150. Can it be a coincidence that these priced-to-move units are the best thing going for Google’s hardware division right now?

There’s still plenty of competition

The OnePlus 6T next to the Google Pixel 3 XL.

Google Search has little competition around the world. Gmail, Google Maps, and Google Chrome are also practically untouchable in their markets.

This is not the case with Google hardware devices like the Google Pixel smartphone or Google Pixel Slate. Even the runaway success of Google Home faces stiff competition from Amazon and others.

In the smartphone arena, Google faces competitors delivering devices with comparable hardware and lower prices. A phone like the OnePlus 6T undercuts the Google Pixel 3 by hundreds of dollars, delivering more RAM, more internal storage, the same processor, and the same all-glass build. Yes, the Pixel 3 has a far superior camera, but OnePlus understands consumers will buy up a device in droves if it cuts the right corners to keep it cheap.

RELATED: OnePlus 6T vs Google Pixel 3 XL

In the cases of laptops and computers, Google is pricing itself out of the market. The Microsoft Surface Pro tablet is on its sixth generation, which means consumers can find Surface Pros for half the price of a low-end Pixel Slate. To make matters worse, that Surface Pro will be able to run Windows applications which the majority of people are still looking for in a laptop experience.

Editor’s Pick

No matter how fancy of a laptop Google makes, few will buy it if it runs Chrome OS and costs as much as a macOS or Windows device. Consumers will stick with the operating system they know unless Google can give them an incentive to switch — which means dropping the price.

Finally, Google Home hardware is doing incredibly well, but Google’s main competitor Amazon is also doing incredibly well. What’s more, Amazon is doing most things faster than Google. It had its first smart speaker on sale well before Google. Amazon also beat Google to the punch in the smart display market and often releases new features before Google.

It’s a good bet Amazon will launch a new smart speaker product in 2019 and Google will launch its own answer to that product months later.

If Google wants to truly dominate the smart speaker industry, it needs to be faster than Amazon.

Google in 2019

Google is poised to drop some seriously interesting products in 2019. The most interesting is probably the anticipated Google Pixel 3 Lite (which may or may not be its real name).

Up until now, there have been two Pixel phones released each year: the regular Pixel and its XL counterpart. In 2019, however, we anticipate Google will release a mid-range Pixel and Pixel XL, likely delivering the same software experience as the “real” Pixel 3, but with downgraded hardware and specs to make it more affordable.

This could open up the Pixel experience to people in developed nations with more modest budgets, and also potentially allow people in developing countries like India to buy a Pixel. It could be a huge boon for the Pixel line.

For the first time ever, we’ll likely see a mid-range Pixel smartphone in 2019.

We don’t know much for certain about the Pixel 3 Lite, including its price. Google could overprice it and contradict the whole idea. We’ll probably hear more about the Pixel 3 Lite soon.

While we have some info on the Pixel 3 Lite, we haven’t heard anything about Google releasing a mid-tier laptop or tablet. If Google doesn’t have plans to release a Pixel Slate Lite in 2019, it really should. As stated earlier, people who can afford a Pixel Slate probably won’t buy it over a Windows- or macOS-based machine at a comparable price. If Google could deliver a high-end hardware experience in the $500 range (with the keyboard included), it might stand a chance to grab some serious market share.

Editor’s Pick

Google’s Project Stream — which lets you play AAA video games using in your browser — could also help a mid-range Chrome OS tablet sell. If Google could make a Chromebook or tablet run pretty much anything on a virtual server, Chrome OS would really have a chance against Windows and macOS. Project Stream is still in its infancy, though, so it’s unlikely this would make a huge difference this year.

Finally, we didn’t see a Google wearable in 2018. However, with Google’s push of Wear OS and Google Fit, it seems it’s only a matter of time before we see a “Made by Google” smartwatch.

RELATED: 2019 will be a great year for smartwatches and fitness trackers

There’s some truly untapped potential in the wearable market, especially for Google. It could sell a wearable not as a generic smartwatch, but more like a Google Home smart speaker you carry around on your wrist at all times. For that to work, Google would have to adopt the same strategy as it did with its Home hardware: make it great and make it cheap.

Google’s major advantage: Limitless cash

A Google logo.

Unlike pretty much every other hardware manufacturer in the mobile industry, Google practically prints money from its Google Search business. The amount of cash the company pulls in from Search alone helps fund all sorts of risky endeavors (Wi-Fi balloons, anyone?), as well as more straightforward things like the Pixel smartphone.

With that in mind, there really is no excuse for Google to not be one of the best hardware manufacturers in the business. It has the talent, the money, the marketing power, and the infrastructure to do pretty much whatever it wants. That’s why the low adoption rates of the company’s smartphones and tablets are so confounding.

Editor’s Pick

If Google truly wants to dominate the mobile markets, it needs to start from the beginning just like every other company. It needs to release smartly-priced products to get people hooked, and then release better, more expensive products as the business becomes more refined.

This whole strategy of rushing out of the gate charging Apple prices for hardware riddled with problems and out-spec’d by phones half the price simply won’t get the company anywhere. It understands this with Google Home hardware, but not with other divisions.

Google has everything it needs to make 2019 its year. Let’s see if it can do it.

Next: HTC in 2019: Last chance saloon

How much faster is the OnePlus 6T McLaren’s Warp Charge 30?

OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition Warp Charge cable

One of the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition’s key differentiators from its regular sibling, other than the $70 price difference, is the introduction of 30W “Warp Charge 30” technology. This speedy bit of tech promises to power up the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition to 50% in just 20 minutes. On paper, it sounds a lot faster than the OnePlus 6T’s standard 20W fast charging.

To find out if this bit of technology is worth the extra cost, we stuck the two phones side by side and charged them up using the chargers and cables provided by OnePlus. I kept track of both the charger’s output wattage and charging times to give us a bigger picture of how the technology works.

Warp Charge vs Fast Charge

First, let’s deal with the claim OnePlus makes inside the case of the McLaren edition. The text claims that Warp Charge 30 can power the phone up to “50% capacity in just 20 minutes”, at least under the company’s lab test conditions.

This seems to be bang on in our testing, although you’ll have to leave the phone alone during this time and turn off battery-sapping features like GPS. Warp Charge managed to fill 50 percent of the 3,750mAh battery in 20 minutes and 5 seconds. That’s clearly better than the regular OnePlus 6T, which managed 38 percent in that same timeframe.

Graphy of OnePlus 6T Warp Charge time and speed

The OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition hits peak charging wattage at about 25W, making good on its extra capabilities. However, this 25W peak appears only when the battery is quite low. Warp charge offers just a temporary burst of current to kickstart a recharge, hitting around 5.6 amps, before returning to a safer and more familiar level after about the first 15 minutes of charging.

Warp Charging only speeds up the charging process when the battery level is below 40 percent. Afterward, the charging curves ascend at identical rates on both phones. The end result is that the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition can fully charge in one hour flat, while the regular model takes an extra 21 minutes.

Warp Charge offers faster charging when the battery is below 40 percent

The regular OnePlus 6T caps out at about 15W, providing up to about 3.8 amps of current at 4 volts when the battery is essentially empty. After the initial juice up, both phones’ charging power is much closer together, ranging between 15 and 12 watts as the battery charges up. The last five percent or so sees both fall to approximately 3 watts.

If you’re worried about temperature, the McLaren Edition’s internal temperature readings peaked at 33.5oC during charging. Meanwhile, the regular OnePlus 6T hit 32.6oC, so there’s only a margin of error difference between the two and neither phone approaches unsafe charging temperatures.

A note on compatibility

Warp Charge 30 is a McLaren Edition exclusive and you can’t obtain this faster-charging speed just by plugging a regular OnePlus 6T into the faster charger. It still charges quickly, but not at full Warp Charge capabilities. Similarly, if you plug the McLaren model into a regular 6T charger, you’re stuck at 20 rather than 30W charging.

There are a few reasons for this. First, the McLaren Edition has a modified battery protection structure to deal with the extra current. This makes the phone safe to use with faster charging without overheating the battery. Secondly, the new charger and cable itself are designed for higher current. The wiring is thicker and the charging scheme actually uses more wires and USB pins to handle up to 6 amps of current.

With that in mind, you’ll want to charge up the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition with the cable and charger provided in the box. As it’s a proprietary standard, you won’t obtain the same Warp Charge capabilities with third-party cables and chargers.

OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition

Quicker pit stops

At just $70 more, the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition and its little extras might be a tempting buy for those looking for a slightly more premium experience. Unfortunately, we found that the extra 2GB of RAM makes no difference to the performance of the more expensive handset. 10GB RAM is overkill for anything that you can throw at a modern smartphone.

The value proposition is better with Warp Charge 30. There’s a tangible difference to overall charge times, with the McLaren edition knocking off about 20 minutes to full capacity. More importantly, though, Warp Charge offers more power for charging when the phone is nearly empty. Hitting 40 percent in the first 15 minutes and 70 percent after 30 minutes means that just a short charge should give you enough juice to get through the day.

The regular OnePlus 6T charges quickly enough for most people. However, the McLaren Edition really starts to give the fastest charging phones, such as the Huawei Mate 20 Pro and Oppo R17 Pro a closer run for their money.

The Razer Wireless Charger: Proprietary RGB awesomeness at a price

This is the featured image for the Razer Wireless Charger hands-on
The Razer Phone 2 has a few flashy accessories. One of them is the Razer Wireless Charger. It’s a 10W wireless charger with a nifty RGB color strip that lines the bottom. The little accessory runs for $99.99 in the Razer store and it’s available right now. That’s a bit more expensive than most wireless chargers, but most wireless chargers aren’t made specifically for one phone either. Most wireless chargers also don’t light up in 16.8 million colors. Insert predictable question about whether or not this thing is worth your trouble and let’s get started.


Razer Wireless Charger image

The Razer Wireless Charger

So let’s take a look at the charger itself. It’s a fairly standard looking wireless charger. You can keep it in ts default position and set the phone directly on top or slide the pad out and lock into a docking position. It’s a little shorter than some other wireless chargers we’ve used. However, it seems to work just fine either way.

The front of the charging pad has a Razer logo where the charging coil rests inside the device. The back and bottom are bare of any functional elements except the USB-C port on the back. The bottom of the front houses a button that acts as an on-off switch for the lights and holding the button puts the wireless charger into pairing mode for easy connection to the Razer Phone 2. The outer ring of the bottom of the device houses a Chroma-compatible RGB lighting strip that wraps around the entire base of the charging pad.

The box houses the device itself, a braided USB-C to USB-C cable, and a rather bulky wall wart. You also get some documentation with instructions on setup and explanations for the various warning and error lights that you might find.

The charging pad itself is rectangular with a rubberized coating. We appreciate the rubberized coating over a textured or glossy plastic. It holds glass-back phones a lot better than a plastic coating would. The lighting strip around the bottom gets bright enough to be easily noticeable in most almost all lighting situations. The RGB looks fantastic and it’s easily the snazziest part of the whole experience. All in all, it’s an attractive, but simple package. The instructions are easy and the Razer Wireless Charger feels well built with a good design.


Razer Chroma app with the Razer Wireless Charger

Working with the Razer Phone 2

The Razer Wireless Charger is for the Razer Phone 2 directly. In fact, it’s so much so that the wireless charging coil on the Razer Phone 2 and the one in the Razer Wireless Charger fit exactly when the charger is in its dock form. We much preferred that to the flat format while charging the Razer Phone 2.

We tested the power draw with Ampere. It consistently stayed above 1,000mA and that’s what we expected. Charging was stable without any serious issues. However, the manual states directly that you should always set the phone front and center. Moving it around too much gives you the occasional error. That’s not unusual, virtually all chargers are like that.

The Chroma configurator app only works with the Razer Phone 2. You use the button on the front of the charger to pair it with the Razer Phone 2 while the app is open. From there, you can change the color, add or remove lighting effects, and even change some of the warning light colors. Pairing takes about five seconds and we experienced no hiccups. The app is similarly easy to use without any serious issues. The Razer Wireless Charger boasts 16.8 million colors and several lighting effects. However, those are only available when paired with the Chroma app and you can only do that on the Razer Phone 2.

Here’s the thing, folks. This thing is a wireless charger. There isn’t much else to say about it. It charges at a rate that is consistent with its specifications, the pairing process works fine with the Razer Phone 2, and the bottom LED lighting is bright and configurable. It’s a pleasing experience without any real flaws.


Razer Wireless Charger with Razer Phone 2

It still works with other devices kind of

We did test this with a couple of other devices as well to see if it truly works with the Qi charging standard. Predictably, it did work with our Galaxy Note 9 and LG G7 test devices. However, the experience with them is not nearly as smooth or consistent as it is with the Razer Phone 2.

The Galaxy Note 9 had the more inconsistent experience. We saw it bounce around between 200mA and 1100mA on Ampere, but it did occasionally reach the max spec. The LG G7, on the other hand, charged just as quickly and consistently as the Razer Phone 2. Thus, we’ll say that it should work with most devices that support the Qi standard, but some definitely work better than others. We don’t believe this to be Razer’s fault because some, like the G7, worked perfectly fine and charged as fast as expected.

The RGB lighting does still function as the manual says. It’ll flash red if there are issues. Devices that aren’t the Razer Phone 2 also still engage the RGB lighting while charging. However, you are stuck with the stock rainbow wave style. The lighting does turn off after a short period of time and it looks and functions like any old wireless charger from that point forward. You can also still turn the lighting off with the button on the front. Like we said earlier, the Razer Phone 2 is the only device that can configure the colors.


The Razer Wireless Charger bottom edge

The RGB lighting strip wraps around the base of the Razer Wireless Charger.

Should you buy it?

We’ll keep this nice and easy for you. We think people might enjoy this device if they:

  1. Own a Razer Phone 2 and…
  2. Want a wireless charger and…
  3. Have $100 to spare and…
  4. Really like RGB lighting or, optionally, own other Razer Chroma products.

The RGB lighting is really only useful and fun if you can control it. I don’t have any other Razer Chroma products with me so I couldn’t test the integration with that product lineup, but I did use this in my bedroom and it looked fantastic with my existing Philips Hue light strips. Of course, those who are super into RGB lighting and own other Razer Chroma products will enjoy the the matching wireless charger even more.

If one or all of the above scenarios don’t sound like you, we recommend giving this a hard pass. There are cheaper, less flashy wireless chargers available. Razer built this specifically for RGB-loving Razer Phone 2 owners and that’s exactly the demographic we think would enjoy this the most.


Of course, it should be noted that this is a very quick hands-on. We can’t comment on long term durability or anything quite like that. It worked well in our testing (especially with the Razer Phone 2) and the RGB stuff adds a bit of modern gamer flair and, frankly, the mobile phone industry could use more of that. Those with a Razer Phone 2, $100 to spend, and a serious craving for a wireless charger with RGB lighting should enjoy this wireless charger. For everyone else, we might recommend other, cheaper options!

Best upcoming Android phones of 2019

Honor View20 screen

After a sluggish few years in the Android world, 2019 is set to be a smash-hit for smartphone fans. Folding phones are on the horizon, display hole (punch hole) cameras are coming to make displays even bigger, and goodness knows how many cameras we’re going to see.

If you want to know more about the kinds of phones you can look forward to, check out our list of the top upcoming handsets arriving in the first half of the year below.

Samsung Galaxy S10 and folding phone

Samsung’s folding phone is probably the most exciting phone we’re going to see in early 2019 — if not the whole year. We know it’s well into development, we’ve already seen how it works, but we’re yet to learn what the final product will look like and how exactly it will operate.

But it’s an exciting prospect. It’s set to include an outward-facing display as well as an inner display that can fold out into something like a small tablet. It will be unlike anything we’ve ever encountered on Android, though all that cool will come at a cost. It’s going to be expensive, so for those who want something slightly cheaper, Samsung has another potentially super handset in the works: the Galaxy S10.

Editor’s Pick

Samsung’s new S-series flagship is tipped to arrive with an Infinity-O display, as many as three rear cameras, and possibly a vibrating display for audio. There’s likely be a few variations of it too, including a Plus model and a 5G model.

Both the S10 and Samsung’s foldable phone are going to be big talking points in 2019 and the best news is we may only have a couple of months to wait before they arrive: current speculation suggests they may arrive at MWC 2019 in February.

Launch ETA: February

Samsung Foldable Phone

A render of Samsung’s folding phone prototype.

Huawei P30 and folding phone

Samsung isn’t the only manufacturer developing folding phones and phones with punch hole displays. Huawei just launched the display-hole wielding Nova 4 in mid-December, and it’s also tipped to have a folding phone out in 2019.

We don’t know exactly when — in fact, we know even less about Huawei’s folding phone than we do about Samsung’s. However, current speculation suggests it will land at MWC 2019 around the same time as Samsung’s folding phone. What a matchup that will be!

Editor’s Pick

Meanwhile, Huawei will likely release new flagship sequels to the P20 and P20 Pro, potentially called the P30 and P30 Pro. Given Huawei was among the first manufacturers to take on dual and later triple camera setups, there’s potential for the P30 Pro to adopt four rear cameras in 2019. Further, the handsets will probably use the Mate 20’s Kirin 980 chipset, just as the Huawei P20 series used the earlier Mate 10’s chipset, the Kirin 970.

Launch ETA: March

Honor View 20 and Honor 8A

The Honor View 20 (seen at the top of the page and below) will launch globally in January 21. We’ve already gotten a good look at this phone and it’s going to be one of the first to feature a punch hole display, which we expect to trend in 2019. That’s not its only interesting feature though: it’s packing a supposedly super fast charging 4,000 mAh battery and a unique design.

Honor may also launch a new phone in its budget A-series early next year, the Honor 8A. This passed through the FCC recently looking something like an iPhone 6 with a notch. It could be another budget wonder from the Huawei sub-brand.

The standard Honor View 20 launches in Chinese markets for 2,999 yuan (~$435) and you can read some of our early thoughts on it in our hands-on coverage here.

Launch ETA: Already launched (View 20), April (Honor 8A)

Honor View20 back

The Honor View 20.

OnePlus 7

From the outside, it looks like OnePlus had a very successful 2018. The Chinese firm had its best smartphone launch yet with the OnePlus 6T and secured a potentially lucrative sales partnership with T-Mobile to sell it.

Since we’re betting on more display hole cameras on 2019 flagships, we wouldn’t be surprised if OnePlus had one too.

The OnePlus 7 is surely in the works, and should arrive before the end of June 2019 (the OnePlus 3, 5, and 6 launched in May, June, and April respectively). Based on OnePlus’ history, there are a couple of guesses we can make about the direction the OnePlus 7 might take.

OnePlus has recently followed industry trends on display notches, headphone ports, and in-screen fingerprint sensors. Since we’re betting on more display hole cameras on 2019 flagships, we wouldn’t be surprised if OnePlus had one too.

Additionally, the flagship will probably have 10GB RAM or more (the OnePlus 6T McClaren has 10GB), the latest Qualcomm platform (Snapdragon 855), and cost more than the $550 OnePlus 6T. Don’t expect a OnePlus folding phone next year, though — it’s still early days for a small company like OnePlus to enter this race.

Launch ETA: May

OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition

Google Pixel 3 Lite

Google’s Pixel phones are the darlings of Android but they’re not exactly easy on the wallet. The latest model, the Pixel 3, begins at $799, while the larger Pixel 3 XL costs $899. The good news for budget-minded folks is there’s a strong chance Google has a solution for you coming in the first half of 2019.

A couple of sources, including the typically reliable @OnLeaks, have hinted that Google is working on ‘Lite’ versions of the Google Pixel 3 and the Google Pixel 3 XL. We don’t have much to go on, but supposed render images of these suggest they’re well into development — we wouldn’t see rumors that we have for a Google Pixel phone launching next October (the usual Pixel timeframe).

The standard Pixel 3 Lite is rumored to carry a Snapdragon 670 chipset, 4GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, a 12MP main camera, and an 8MP selfie camera. The Pixel 3 Lite XL will likely offer similar specs with a larger display and battery.

Possibly most exciting of all, both of these Pixel 3s may come with a headphone port. Jackpot.

Launch ETA: Spring

A comparison between the Pixel 3 Lite and Pixel 3 Lite XL.

The supposed Google Pixel 3 XL Lite (left) and Google Pixel 3 Lite.

91Mobiles/OnLeaks

Sony Xperia XZ4, Xperia XZ4 Compact, XA3, XA3 Ultra

Sony hasn’t announced its upcoming XZ and XA phones yet, but they’re expected early in the new year and we’ve seen a couple of recent leaks regarding them.

As interesting as the XZ and XA series look, they’re probably going to struggle without a more aggressive price strategy from Sony.

We have potential Xperia XZ4 and Xperia XZ4 Compact renders from the reliable @OnLeaks. These flagships would possibly arrive at MWC in February, seeing as the Xperia XZ2 appeared there in 2018, ahead of the XZ3 later that year. The XZ4 series phones are among the many Android’s tipped to feature triple rear cameras and Snapdragon 855 chips in 2019; the leaked renders suggest they’re going to be pretty slick.

Sony may also launch new phones in its midrange XA series this January: we’ve seen leaks concerning both the standard XA3 and the XA3 Ultra.

Sony’s smartphones are often well-regarded yet fail to capture the hearts of consumers due to several factors (steep pricing among them). As interesting as the XZ and XA series look, they’re probably going to struggle commercially without a more aggressive price strategy from Sony.

Launch ETA: February (XZ4, XZ4 Compact), January (XA3, XA3 Ultra)

An unofficial render of the Sony Xperia XZ4.

A render allegedly depicting the Sony Xperia XZ4.

MySmartPrice

Xiaomi Mi 9 and Mi Mix 3S

The Xiaomi Mi 8 was one of the most impressive phones we saw in 2018. It wasn’t necessarily the most inventive smartphone, but it was hard to argue with the specs and usability quality it offered at its price. Now, all eyes on Xiaomi to deliver again with the Mi 9.

This would no doubt be another comparatively low-cost Xiaomi phone. And probably its best yet.

The Mi 9 is said to arrive with a 6.4-inch display, Snapdragon 855 chipset, a triple rear camera, and as much as 10GB of RAM. Despite the premium spec sheet, this would no doubt be another comparatively low-cost Xiaomi phone. And probably its best yet.

Meanwhile, rumors are already circulating about Xiaomi’s next major Mi Mix device. The Mi Mix 4 would also apparently feature a Snapdragon 855 and triple camera setup; however, it’s possible the speculation regarding this phone actually relates to the Mi Mix 3S.

The Mi Mix 2S arrived last April as an upgraded version of the Mix 2, featuring an upgraded chipset and an extra camera on the back. As the Mix 3 arrived with a Snapdragon 845 and dual rear cameras, one might expect the Mix 3S to feature the aforementioned upgrades. As for whether the next major Mi Mix phone will fold — as has been hinted at — we doubt it, though the series is known for its progressive display efforts.

ETA: June (Mi 9). Spring (Mi Mix 3S).

A supposed render of the Xiaomi Mi 9.

A supposed render of the Xiaomi Mi 9.

Pocket-Lint

HMD Global Nokia 9 PureView

HMD Global has done brilliant things with the Nokia brand since it acquired it a couple of years ago now and the Nokia 9 PureView might be its most anticipated device yet. We’ve encountered numerous leaks about the phone (though HMD hasn’t announced it), the latest of which included a leaked video offering some potential specs.

Editor’s Pick

The Nokia 9 is set to come with a 6-inch, 2K, HDR 10 display, Snapdragon 845 chipset, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of internal storage space, and an in-display fingerprint sensor.

It’s a compelling specs sheet, but it’s the rear of the handset that’s causing the biggest stir, as it’s set to come with five cameras. While these may not necessarily lead to best-ever smartphone photo quality, they should offer some neat tricks, as well as superior low-light performance.

Launch ETA: January

A leaked render of the Nokia 9 PureView.

91Mobiles/OnLeaks

LG G8 ThinQ and LG folding phone

LG is another OEM which tends to release an H1 flagship and it’s possible we’ll see the LG G8 ThinQ before July next year (if indeed it will be called that).

Twitter leaker Ice Universe (@UniverseIce) tips it for a 4K LCD display and, as a major TV manufacturer, LG is likely to put an impressive screen on its flagship phone. Whether or not that truly means 4K resolution we’ll have to wait and see.

Editor’s Pick

We haven’t heard much else about this phone yet; however, LG has confirmed it’s working on another major handset you may be interested in.

LG says it has a folding phone already in development but also that it won’t be first to market with such a product. If Samsung or Huawei produce a foldy by February, that would put the phone’s release more than a couple of months away. With that in mind, ever-reliable leaker Evan Blass suggests it might be unveiled in January.

Launch ETA: June (LG G8 ThinQ), January (Folding phone)

LG V40 vs LG V30 close up of camera lenses

The LG V30 (left) and LG V40 (right).

Lenovo Z5 Pro GT, Moto Z4, and Moto G7 series

Lenovo has already announced the Z5 Pro GT and it looks like an incredible handset from the off. The sliding phone packs up to 12GB of RAM, a Snapdragon 855 chip, an in-display fingerprint sensor, and four cameras.

Best of all, it has a near bezel-less, notch-free, 6.4-inch display.

The Z5 Pro is also relatively well-priced in China, the 12GB of RAM + 512GB ROM model costs 4,398 Chinese yuan (~$635). This one may not see a wider release though.

Best of all, it has a near bezel-less, notch-free, 6.4-inch display.

Other notable upcoming phones under Lenovo’s watch include the rumored Moto Z4 (codenamed Odin), which may launch with a 5G Moto mod and Snapdragon 855, and the Moto G7 range of low-cost handsets. The standard G7 variant is said to come with a 6-inch, Full HD+ display, 64GB of internal storage, and dual 16MP + 5MP rear cameras.

Launch ETA: Already launched (Z5 Pro GT), H1, (Moto Z4), April (Moto G7 series)

An official promotional image of the Lenovo Z5 Pro GT.

The Lenovo Z5 Pro GT.

An upgraded HTC U12 Plus?

HTC’s Taiwan president recently spoke about the direction of its next phones, and it looks like we may not get a true HTC U12 Plus successor in the first half of next year.

Apparently, HTC’s current plan is to “extend” the U12 Plus range. Though HTC didn’t give us any further details on that when we reached out to it, it could mean a slightly upgraded U12 Plus is set for H1 next year.

Launch ETA: H1 2019


This isn’t a comprehensive list of upcoming Android phones, just a taste of what’s to come in 2019. Let us know if we’ve missed any big ones and tell us the handset you’re most excited for in the comments.

2018 rewind: by the numbers

Android phone by the numbers

2018 has been a year of excellent smartphones, pleasing and shocking news stories, as well as firsts and lasts for a number of tech companies. Here’s a look at some of the most significant numbers in the smartphone industry throughout the year.

1.48 billion: smartphones sold

Almost a billion and a half smartphones shipped this year, according to researcher estimates. It’s a hefty number to be sure, but this is actually a slight decline compared to previous years. Global smartphone shipments have been mostly flat since 2016, declining by roughly one percent this year, depending on which calculations you look at.

The global picture is made up of major growth in India and a few other newer markets. Meanwhile, traditional Western consumers are holding onto their smartphones for a little longer these days, hence the overall plateau. The picture will probably look very much the same in 2019, and this is expected to have a knock-on effect for some of the world’s biggest manufacturers.

300 million: Facebook pictures uploaded every day

That’s a pretty staggering number of pictures being uploaded every single day, and that’s just to Facebook. If you factored in Instagram, Google Photos, and various other sources the figure could be well over half a billion. Still, with over 2 billion consumers using some form of Facebook-owned service every single day, this much engagement perhaps isn’t so surprising.

It’s worth remembering this number when we look at arguably the biggest trend in smartphones this year — dual and triple cameras. Most of us document our lives through pictures, and the medium’s enduring popularity is why phone manufacturers pay so much more attention to camera designs these days, whether they use a wide range of camera lenses or follow Google’s pursuit of AI-assisted perfection.

$2,430: the price of the Porsche Design Mate 20 RS

Our bank accounts know about the increasing prices of flagship smartphones all too well, but the Porsche Design Mate 20 RS costs enough to make a Saudi Prince’s eyes water. The top of the line 512MB storage version of the phone retails for or around 2,095 euros or 1,990 pounds, putting it just south of $2,500 if the phone was available in the U.S. Ouch!

The Mate 20 RS isn’t the most expensive smartphone ever though — Vertu still retains that particular accolade. The company returned from bankruptcy this year with its $5,000 Aster P model, which you would have to be absolutely insane to cough up for a Snapdragon 660 powered handset.

$300: the cost of the Pocophone F1

You could buy eight Pocophone F1 handsets for the price of a single Mate 20 RS. Xiaomi’s affordable handset set a new bar for high performance on a budget in 2018, offering a Snapdragon 845 chipset for just 21,000 rupees (~$300).

Editor’s Pick

Even though the cost of the average flagship phone is around the $1,000 mark today, Android continues to provide a diverse ecosystem catering to the wide range of consumer needs all around the globe. At $300 the Poco is one of the best bargains of the year.

19 percent: Samsung’s global market share

Samsung retained its spot as the world’s top smartphone manufacturer in 2018, accounting for 19 percent of global shipments in Q3 2018. That’s not really good news. Year-on-year shipments declined by 13 percent over the period, according to Counterpoint Research.

Its rival Huawei had a much better year, reaching 13 percent market share in Q3, up from 10 percent the year before. This squeezes the company ahead of Apple, although Cupertino tends to perform strongly at the end of the year following its latest iPhone releases.

36: days spent a year staring at your phone

Digital Wellbeing Hands-On

That’s right, according to an eMarketer report, the average U.S. adult spends 2 hours and 23 minutes on their smartphone each and every day, or 3 hours and 35 minutes once you throw other mobile gadgets like tablets into the mix. That’s 52,352 minutes, 872.53 hours, or 36.4 days on a phone each year. For some of us “power users,” that number will probably be much, much higher!

Editor’s Pick

If you’re alarmed (I am!), there are tools to help you make changes to this frankly unhealthy habit. Google’s Digital Wellbeing tool unveiled during Google I/O 2018, is designed to help you keep tabs on your time spent on your phone. Unfortunately, it’s only available for Pixel and Android One smartphones running Pie at the moment. There are also some alternatives apps available on the Play Store.

4.3 billion euros: Google’s fine from the EU

The EU fined Google a record-breaking 4.3 billion euros earlier this year for imposing anti-competitive terms on companies using its Android OS. Google is contesting the ruling, which has kicked the check writing down the road a little bit, but this almost certainly won’t be the last fine Google has to contend with.

That’s more money than small countries like Tonga, Comoros, and Dominica make in a year combined — by a lot. You could buy three Buckingham Palaces, or three or four NFL teams with that money. However, Google makes around $30 billion in revenue per quarter and its parent company, Alphabet, turned over more than $100 billion last year. That’s just how crazy rich Google is.

78.3 million: monthly Fortnite players

Don’t miss

You probably won’t find a bigger pop culture phenomenon this year than Fortnite. At last count, Epic confirmed 78.3 million peak monthly players across all support platforms, which includes the Android version of the game. There are also now over 200 million accounts registered for the game, so you’re almost bound to know someone who has played at some point.

I doubt anyone predicted a video game would garner more monthly players than the entire population of the United Kingdom after barely a year. Fortnite is expected to generate $2 billion in revenue for Epic this year, an equally impressive statistic for a free-to-play game.

650,811: votes cast for the Best of Android Reader’s Choice award

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Best of Android 2018 Reader's Choice

After 24 days and 23 different head-to-head matchups in our inaugural Best of Android Reader’s Choice award, Android Authority‘s most passionate readers spoke. The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is your pick for the best phone this year.

Honorable mentions in the voting include the fan favorite OnePlus 6T, alongside the powerhouse Huawei Mate 20 Pro. Ultimately, your huge response to our Reader’s Choice award goes to show smartphone enthusiasm is alive and well in 2018. We can’t wait to see what you’re going to pick next year.

Next: The state of smartwatches and fitness trackers going into 2019

10 tech predictions from the staff of Android Authority

2018 is almost at an end and it’s undoubtedly been an excellent year for smartphones. We’re already quickly gearing up for 2019’s early high profile releases, and — leaks aside — we’re pretty confident that our veteran industry status gives us a pretty good idea about what to expect.

Here are ten of the Android Authority staff’s best and most out-there predictions for what 2019 will hold.

Gaming phones become more competitive

If you hadn’t noticed, mobile gaming is a big thing, especially in China. So big in fact that we now have a number of dedicated gaming smartphones on the market, including the Razer Phone 2, Asus ROG Phone, and Xiaomi Black Shark.

See also

Cutting-edge processor specs alone aren’t going to be enough next year though, predicts our Luka Mlinar. Gaming phones need to offer more. That’s certainly true when you consider that every other flagship smartphone will be using the same chipset next year: the Snapdragon 855.

We could see better cooling systems, but gimmicks like “speed boost” gaming modes aren’t fooling anyone. Instead, gaming phones may morph to offer superior controllers, even higher screen refresh rates, better audio and feedback features, and perhaps even some more useful gaming software and ecosystem tools. Personally, I’m still waiting on a Sony Xperia Play reboot to gift us an awesome PlayStation phone.

Facebook will (unfortunately) be fine

2018 hasn’t been a good year for Facebook, nor for the privacy of its users. Scandal after scandal has hit the social network throughout 2018, yet it’s still standing firm. Facebook will keep on doing creepy things in 2019, so foresees Sam Moore.

I probably don’t need to remind you about the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the U.S. Senate hearing50 million accounts hacked, the further data theft of 29 million users, exposing private photos, and recent revelations about granting message access to third-party companies. But I will. Honestly, it’s miraculous that the company hasn’t succumbed to any of this. I can only fathom that Facebook is so deeply integrated into people’s lives that they can’t bring themselves to rid of it.

If you’re looking for a healthy New Year’s resolution, at least give less of your precious personal data to Mark.

Also read: The biggest tech and mobile blunders of 2018

MOAR CAMERAS

The back of the Nokia 9. 91Mobiles/OnLeaks

If 2018 was the year of the triple camera, 2019 will be the year of the quad or even quintuple camera monster. Or so Android Authority’s Joe Hindy and Williams Pelegrin predict.

Related

The introduction of telephoto, wide-angle, monochrome, and depth sensor camera combinations pushed smartphone photography capabilities up another notch this year. It certainly wouldn’t be a surprise to see manufacturers throw everything they can at both front and rear camera setups in 2019. Samsung already has a quad-camera phone with its Galaxy A9 2018 edition, and flagship models could go even further.

Heck, if that crazy Nokia 9 leak turns out to be true we could be looking at our first penta-camera sometime next year. That would make triple cameras look positively pedestrian. But will it be better than a Pixel?

Farewell bezels, hello holes

Honor View20 selfie camera

Display holes (is that seriously what we’re calling them?) are a safe bet for 2019, so it’s not surprising that a few of our staff suggested this one. We all know Samsung’s Infinity-O display is in production and have already had our first look at the Honor View 20 and its display hole. Expect a number of 2019 smartphones to come sporting this new look.

These advances in display slicing technology open the door for some cool new technological tricks to replace the notch. In-display cameras are a given, but manufacturers could also hide many more sensors, such as 3D facial scanning, into these holes.

We’ve also seen our first in-display fingerprint scanners hit the market this year and Samsung’s UPS display technology suggests it has found a way to embed cameras inside panels too. Perhaps manufacturers will hide other bits of front-facing technology seamlessly into the display in 2019. All in all, these trends probably mean even thinner bezels for 2019’s smartphones too.

Cryptocurrency finally gets a useful dApp, or it dies

I think this was a serious suggestion from Tristan Rayner, but who can be sure when it comes to the apparently infinite, reality-defying possibilities of blockchain?

Despite this year’s major setbacks for the valuations of popular cryptocurrencies, the fundamentals of secure open ledgers and decentralized applications remain appealing. 2019 could finally be the year that a breakthrough application (dApp) that relies on blockchain appears. Perhaps complete with its own currency to keep the data crunching ticking over.

Luka isn’t so optimistic about cryptocurrencies, and who can blame him after the Bitcoin bubble appeared to burst early last year. $17.1k to just $3.7k over the last twelve months certainly looks like curtains for the coin’s mainstream popularity. 2019 could well be the year that decides the fate of cryptocurrencies. Either a breakthrough dApp appears to renew faith, or the idea continues its gradual decline into irrelevance.

Just please, no more attempts at a blockchain phone. OK, everyone?

Battery life won’t get any better (sadly)

Adam Molina points out that we’re probably not looking at longer battery life next year. A disappointing prediction given that this is consistently one of the most requested updates to phones each year.

But with battery sizes gradually increasing and smartphone processors moving on to more efficiency 7nm processes, you’re probably wondering why we’re not predicting a revolution in battery life.

First is that manufacturers keep finding new ways to consume these power savings. Be that a higher performing processor and higher quality gaming, brighter and higher resolution displays, new power consuming content like HDR video, more power hungry multi-camera setups, and 5G. Secondly, because even a generous 20-percent boost to battery life might only add an hour of screen on time to many phones. That’s obviously a good thing, but even for the best phones that last a whole day that extra hour or even two isn’t going to make up the difference to the next milestone: multi-day battery life.

Sorry about this one.

We’ll still be waiting for Android Pie updates

Hadlee Simons is similarly pessimistic in his expectations for 2019 — many of us are going to be sat hammering that refresh button for our Android Pie update.

Hadlee has a pretty good point. Despite the introduction of Project Treble for Oreo-based devices, we haven’t seen the biggest manufacturers offer vastly faster update times to Android Pie. Huawei might just squeeze in its updates before the end of the year, but Samsung, LG, HTC, and others haven’t pushed out their updates to many customers yet, with the exception of a few preview programs.

Instead, the lesser known OEMs with a smaller number of handsets to support have been doing a better job. Essential and OnePlus being notably quick adopters, along with other stock-like OS manufacturers. Unfortunately even Treble doesn’t appear to have encouraged big manufacturers to put the necessary resources into pushing out faster software updates for their phones. Mid-range handsets also appear to still be forgotten about too.

We’ll find at least two more ways to complain about the notch

Hopefully, 2018 won’t be remembered as the year of the notch. Although not universally loathed, it’s definitely one of the more contentious adoptions in the smartphone space this year — so much so that the notch has spawned more than its share of memes and jokes over the last year and a bit.

We’ve heard it all this year, from it’s downright ugly (I’m looking at you Pixel 3 XL) to that it makes phones look like shameless iPhone clones. There have also been plenty of complaints about some of the software the tweaks made to Android Pie, such as the clock position, to accommodate the notch. You folks certainly know what you don’t like.

Our Executive Editor Kris Carlon reckons that we’ll find at least two new things to hate about the notch next year. Better get cracking.

Phones with 16GB of RAM

Our own Feliks Mangus predicts that we could see smartphones packing in a whopping 16GB of RAM hit shelves in 2019. This would undoubtedly be overkill, but is it possible?

The swanky OnePlus 6T McLaren edition comes in a crazy 10GB RAM variant. The newly announced Lenovo Z5 Pro GT already promises 12GB of RAM paired up with a brand new Snapdragon 855 SoC and we’re still not even into 2019’s major smartphone announcements.

While 8GB probably seems like a sensible limit for most flagship smartphones, we’ll surely see some manufacturers push the RAM count even higher. If only to grab headlines rather than offer up revolutionary performance.

5G signal on Galaxy Note 8

5G doesn’t live up to the hype

Both Tristan and I are calling this one now: 5G isn’t going to be the game changer for smartphones that many companies are eagerly hyping up.

Editor’s Pick

If you recall the rollout of 4G LTE, you already know what to expect. Only certain cities will see the technology first and even then coverage will be spotty at best. Couple this with the unknowns about smartphone form factors and, more importantly, battery life and those first 5G smartphones might not be so appealing either.

That said, 5G works. It’s going to have some interesting use cases for home and business internet access, and eventually mass IoT and all that other jargon too. But for smartphones, 2019’s 5G wireless rollout will probably be a muted experience for most of us. Unless you’re that crazy person streaming 4K HDR video to your tiny 6-inch display outside a mmWave base station in downtown New York.

What about your predictions?

That’s enough from us, what are your biggest predictions for smartphones, and tech in general, in 2019?

Next: 2019 will be a great year for smartwatches and fitness trackers — here’s why

HTC in 2019: Last chance saloon

HTC in 2019: HTC U12 Plus

Remember those awful Robert Downey Jr.-starring ads HTC spent millions on that joked HTC was an acronym for ‘hilariously’ random phrases like “Hipster Troll Car wash?”

I know, I tried to forget too.

After yet another rough year of layoffs, free-falling sales numbers, and a further drift into obscurity in the smartphone market, HTC in 2018 could quite easily have stood for “Hard Times Continued.”

2018 marked the tenth anniversary of the first ever Android smartphone — the HTC Dream/T-Mobile G1 — but unfortunately for HTC, there was very little else worth celebrating.

Let’s review HTC’s 2018 and look ahead to see we can expect from the fallen Android giant in 2019.

Another 12 months of turmoil

Rewind back to the start of 2018 and HTC found itself in a bit of a transitional phase. Fresh off an atrocious 12 months where revenues plummeted to a 13-year low, the firm received a much-needed injection of cash after selling its “Powered by HTC” R&D division to Google for $1.1 billion.

Despite the reduced workforce and talent pool, Google’s money meant HTC had the time and funds to design and develop new phones to try to turn its fortunes around. Unfortunately, fortune wasn’t ready to turn in HTC’s favor.

A fresh round of layoffs hit the company’s North American wing in February as part of a restructuring plan to bring together the smartphone and VR teams. This was followed by a much wider cull in July when 1,500 employees were cut at HTC’s HQ in Taiwan.

Read more: Here are the best HTC phones you can buy right now

The latter represented a whopping 22 percent of the company’s global workforce and was justified by HTC as being an essential move to ensure “more effective and flexible resource management going forward.”

Some of HTC’s most high profile figureheads also abandoned their stations. Smartphone president Chialin Chang departed in February after a six year tenure, while Mo Versi — a.k.a. the HTC updates guy — exited in March.

The overall picture gets even bleaker when you delve into HTC’s 2018 financials.

HTC’s final revenue figures for 2018 will make for dire reading.

HTC registered its lowest revenue total in 13 years at NTD 62.12 billion ($2.1 billion) in 2017. As of Q3 2018, the company’s overall revenue for the year sat at a paltry NTD 19.6 billion (~$636 million).

Save for an incredibly unlikely miraculous turnaround in Q4, HTC’s final revenue figures for 2018 will make for some dire reading when they are eventually released to investors and the public in the coming weeks.

Amidst all of the speculation surrounding HTC’s uncertain future, rumors that the brand was considering pulling of out India completely, and getting slapped by U.K. advertising standards over a “misleading” ad, the phones that HTC actually released in 2018 more or less got lost in the wider discourse.

On the flagship front, HTC eschewed recent tradition and released the HTC U12 Plus — a follow-up to the U11 series that didn’t enjoy a non-Plus version, instead adopting the moniker due to its large size and top-tier specs.

Yet despite its all-round impressive performance and gorgeous Liquid Surface design, the HTC U12 Plus was a hard phone for many to recommend.

In our HTC U12 Plus review, Jimmy Westenberg bemoaned HTC’s neglected software suite, its innovative-yet-awkward pressure sensitive buttons, the higher price tag compared to the U11, and the lack of any tangible reason to recommend the phone over rival devices from Samsung, Google, or even LG.

HTC in 2019: HTC U12 Life

The U12 series was later bolstered by the arrival of the U12 Life — a capable mid-ranger with a severe identity crisis that seemed to echo its creator’s own lack of direction.

Aside from three entries in the affordable Desire 12 series, HTC’s only other notable contribution to the Android market in 2018 was the company’s first blockchain phone, the HTC Exodus 1, which went up for pre-order exclusively in bitcoin or ethereum tokens in late October.

With the value of major cryptocurrencies dropping throughout the year, it’s hard to imagine that HTC’s ultra-niche blockchain phone will have delivered the kind of sales numbers the company desperately needs.

New horizons

HTC in 2019: HTC Vive

Without that $1.1 billion windfall from Google, there’s every chance HTC’s smartphone division (and perhaps even the company as a whole) wouldn’t have made it to 2019.

HTC said it would invest in virtual reality and Internet of Things technologies at the time of the big-money sale. The latter has yet to really materialize, but HTC’s support of the Vive brand remains resolute.

Related: VR headset buyer’s guide – what are your options?

HTC went on the offensive singling out critics of forecasts showing evidence of the VR market shrinking in a bullish blog post in mid-2018. It also talked up demand for the wireless Vive Pro headset and high interest in China for the enterprise-focused, standalone Vive Focus, which launched worldwide in November.

One encouraging development for HTC’s wider ambitions in both the smartphone and VR sectors is the imminent dawn of 5G.

Editor’s Pick

The next-generation networks, which are due to start turning on in the U.S. throughout 2019, could potentially shake up the status quo and open up new opportunities for struggling Android OEMs.

Likewise, virtual reality experiences are set to benefit greatly from 5G’s lower latency, increased fidelity, and a potentially lower entry price for consumers and businesses as computational work shifts away from expensive PC hardware toward cloud-based solutions.

Of course, each new investment will eat further into HTC’s coffers and if revenue continues to fall, something will have to give. There’s no doubt that HTC absolutely can’t afford another year of dwindling sales if it wants to remain in the smartphone market long-term.

The beginning of the end, or the start of something new?

HTC in 2019

So, how can HTC save its smartphone business?

Android Authority’s C. Scott Brown has already shared a few ideas that could help stop the slump, but HTC has mostly stuck to the same “strategic investments” line we also heard back in 2012 and 2017.

The only real indication of HTC’s plans for 2019 and beyond came in an interview with HTC president Darren Chen in December. Chen said the company will “continue to extend its high-end U12 Plus lineup in 2019,” which sparked speculation that HTC wouldn’t be released a ‘new’ flagship in the first half of the year.

HTC later clarified this won’t be the case, although I’m left wondering whether it’ll have been better off being true come the end of 2019. A vague commitment to deliver a new flagship and a few mid-range devices doesn’t sound like the drastic rethink HTC could well need to claw back much needed market share.

HTC’s glory years fade further from memory with each passing year.

Perhaps the next elite HTC smartphone will be a Galaxy S10 killer. HTC’s Desire series — including the mega-affordable, entry-level Desire 12s launched in December — could finally become a true contender in the ultra-competitive emergent markets currently dominated by Chinese OEMs. Maybe the Exodus 1 will be the go-to phone for crypto fans all across the world. 2019 could even be the year where virtual reality and Vive enters the mainstream powered by 5G.

All of these things are possible, but the company’s scattershot strategies and limp statements of intent will do little to convince the growing number of doubters inside the smartphone industry, or the buyers whose memories of HTC’s glory years fade further with each passing year.

Ten years ago HTC changed the game with the G1. A decade later it finds itself in the last chance saloon. How the mighty have fallen.


Do you think HTC can right the ship in 2019? Let us know in the comments and be sure to look out for our other posts in this series for the rest of Android’s leading OEMs.

Android in 2018 is the opening act for Android in 2019

Samsung Galaxy Note 9

As the end of 2018 gets closer, we’ll start seeing the usual “Best of 2018” lists for smartphones and mobile devices. Android Authority will take part in all the fun as usual. No doubt some of these lists (and the comments) will mention how lackluster 2018 was for the mobile industry, with incremental updates and little innovation.

To be clear, 2018 hasn’t been bad. We’ve seen incredibly cool devices that slide, pop, and bend. We’ve seen great products made even better with subtle tweaks and refinements. We’ve seen established brands launch new sub-brands to rousing success. We’ve seen brands still establishing themselves achieve things few would have suspected.

There have also been incredible advancements in photography, with multi-lensed smartphones becoming the norm and AI-powered photography tricks empowering even novices to take professional-quality shots.

However, let’s face it: despite all that, 2018 has also been full of yawns.

It’s hard to correctly judge the future, but I think Android in 2018 won’t be fondly remembered in the Android history books.

Just look at how nearly every manufacturer jumped onto the notched display bandwagon, resulting in a deluge of iPhone X clones. Regardless of how you feel about the notch, it’s hard to deny there were a lot of look-alike devices this year, which makes for a pretty yawn-inducing market.

Editor’s Pick

We also yawned at the launch of “new” devices that look and feel so similar to the previous device they’re hard to tell apart. A lot of the major smartphone releases were just revamps of previous devices with a few extra bells and whistles added. Just look at the iPhone XS, Google Pixel 3, Samsung Galaxy S9, Samsung Galaxy Note 9, LG V40 ThinQ, and the Sony Xperia XZ3, all of which are minor steps up from the previous models. It would seem appropriate to label 2018 an “S” year.

Even the Google Pixel 3 XL — one of the most talked-about devices of the year — fully leaked months before it launched, and landed to a chorus of yawns.

For these reasons and more, it would be easy for me to write an article where I bash this year’s Android devices. Instead, I’m going to spin things into a more positive take: Android in 2018 will likely be the competent opening act to the true main event: Android in 2019.

Android in 2019

Samsung Foldable Phone

Each major Android OEM has made a lot of promises about what it will have to offer next year. In fact, companies like Samsung and Motorola dedicated large parts of their 2018 device launches hyping up what is coming soon, rather than what they actually had on offer that day.

Let’s check out what a handful of the major OEMs have coming up.

Samsung

In early November, Samsung finally revealed its years-in-the-making foldable phone. The potentially game-changing device opens up into a bendable tablet, allowing users to do all sorts of things currently impossible to do on a standard smartphone. Samsung didn’t fully reveal the device at the event but promised we’d see it in 2019.

The 2019 iteration of the Galaxy S series (likely called the Samsung Galaxy S10) looks to be a complete overhaul from what we’ve seen over the past two years. We expect three (or possibly even four) variants of the S10 instead of the usual two, and we expect them to sport some unique technology like 3D mapping scanners and ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensors. It’s also possible the S10 line could launch with an Infinity-O display, with a small hole cut out for the front-facing camera.

We also expect to see a 5G-enabled smartphone from Sammy in 2019. However, we aren’t sure if it will be part of the S10 line or something all its own.

Regardless, we know Samsung is currently in a “crisis” and working hard behind the scenes to get consumers excited about buying its smartphones again, which is good news for all of us.

OnePlus

OnePlus is revamping its entire smartphone strategy in 2019 by releasing a 5G model that won’t be a successor to the most recent OnePlus 6T. That means there will likely be two smartphone lines running concurrently from OnePlus. This will be the biggest strategy change for the company since it launched the OnePlus X in 2015.

OnePlus also might release a television in 2019, as weird as that sounds. The Chinese company gets bigger, more popular, and more ambitious every year. 2019 will likely be quite exciting for OnePlus.

The major Android OEMs have made some big promises in 2019 which are making us pretty excited.

Xiaomi

Xiaomi is doing some exciting things in 2019, too. It’s already started to trickle into new territories this year, including the U.K. The company is also selling products in the United States, but not smartphones yet. It’s absolutely possible we’ll see Xiaomi smartphones worldwide in 2019, even in the U.S.

The launch of the ultra-cheap Pocophone F1 was one of the surprise hits of 2018, and we fully expect Xiaomi to double down on its new sub-brand in 2019. While the Pocophone F1 was certainly awesome, it wasn’t without flaws, and we hope the Pocophone F2 (or whatever it gets called) will fix some of those issues.

As with most other OEMs on this list, Xiaomi is promising a 5G smartphone in 2019. It’s also promising a foldable phone to compete with Samsung (and possibly LG). Either way, we’d just be happy to finally be able to buy Xiaomi devices in the U.S.

Huawei

Like Samsung, Xiaomi, LG, and others, Huawei has promised a foldable phone in 2019. However, it is one-upping the competition by claiming its foldable device will be 5G capable and possibly even the first one from a major OEM to market.

Huawei will be pushing its very popular sub-brand Honor hard in 2019. In certain areas of the world, Huawei’s biggest competitor is Honor, which is the best kind of problem for any company to have. As such, you can likely expect more powerful mid-range and budget devices for incredibly cheap prices.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like we’ll be seeing Huawei devices in the United States in 2019. The company could surprise us, but it looks like we’ll still be watching Huawei’s success from afar in the immediate future.

LG

Let’s face it: 2018 hasn’t been the greatest year for LG. After a controversial decision to abandon its original plans for the follow-up to the LG G6, the company launched the LG G7 ThinQ later than planned and to lukewarm sales. The company’s smartphone lineup has gotten incredibly confusing, with the LG V30 quickly followed up by the LG V30S ThinQ and then the LG V35 ThinQ after that, and so on.

However, 2019 could be a new dawn for LG. It’s even apparently hired a “turnaround expert” to solve its mounting financial woes in the mobile sector.

Nothing would please us more than to see LG make a true comeback. LG devices are usually pretty awesome, albeit with a few caveats, but those caveats combined with a usually-very-high asking price make them hard to recommend. Hopefully, LG’s future strategy will take this into account.

Choose your perspective

Many of you reading this might be disappointed with 2018’s phones. You might be holding on to your 2017 device because nothing this year motivated you to run out and replace it. That makes sense.

However, just because 2018 didn’t blow us away, it doesn’t mean we should start with the doomsday talk. We can choose to see 2018 as a stepping stone year, building up the hype for what’s going to really wow us in 2019. There are certainly enough potentially awesome things on the horizon to warrant a positive outlook.

Do you agree? Do you think 2018 is paving the way for an awesome 2019, or do you think next year will be more of the same? Sound off in the comments!

NEXT: Google dev hints Android Q previews could come to more users, sooner

The Razer Raiju Mobile controller is amazing(ly expensive)

This is the featured image for the Razer Raiju Mobile review

Mobile gaming is still finding its way. We’re definitely getting higher caliber mobile games than we’ve ever had. However, there is still a long way to go. Software controls are still a little clunky with a lot of genres, particularly shooters and platformers. It is still more preferable to play with a hardware controller over software controls.

The Razer Raiju Mobile controller may be a positive step in that direction. We had the opportunity to play with Razer’s latest piece of mobile gaming hardware over the weekend and we’d like to share our thoughts with you.


Razer Rajiu Mobile controller front

The front of the controller has a very standard layout for a modern hardware controller.

The basics

Editor’s Pick

The Razer Raiju Mobile is a mobile gaming controller with a cradle for your smartphone along with both wired and wireless options. The front is your standard modern controller layout with a d-pad, two joysticks, and four buttons. The bottom-center of the front houses four more buttons, including the typical start and select buttons as well as a home and back button for controlling your Android phone. Moving around the back shows two hidden buttons right around where your fingers rest while holding the controller. There is also a switch back there where players can switch between two Bluetooth modes or wired mode. The top houses a ridiculous six shoulder buttons — four normal buttons and two triggers.

The top-center of the device houses a phone cradle that tilts up to 60 degrees, while a phone is actively resting in the cradle. The controller is housed in textured plastic, which actually feels really nice. Obviously we don’t recommend dropping this from any height onto any surface, especially with the added heft of a phone in the cradle. Like any plastic controller, we imagine that it does not have good relationships with hardwood floors.

The controller had no problems holding any of our tester devices in its little cradle.

The Razer Raiju Controller comes with two USB Type-C cables in the box. The first is a longer cable for connecting your controller to a power source. You also get a shorter cable for direct connections to your phone for use in wired mode. Both cables come with some snazzy caps for dust prevention. Razer claims the device gets up to 23 hours per charge with up to a four hour charge time.

There are two modes for the Razer Raiju Controller, the first of which is your standard Bluetooth mode. The controller can remember two total devices, and you can switch between those two with the switch on the back. The pairing sequence is simple enough and works exactly like Bluetooth headphones. Just hit the home and start buttons to initialize pairing mode and you’re off to the races.

The Bluetooth pairing worked on the first try without any difficulties. We did notice that switching from wired to Bluetooth and back again — as one is wont to do during testing — can mess up the connection. However, turning the device off and back on again always fixed it. There is also an official app for the Razer Raiju Mobile controller. It allows you to re-map several of the controller’s buttons and adjust the sensitivity of the joysticks. It’s super basic, but it worked well and we thought it was a nice touch.


Razer Raiju Mobile controller vs xbox one and PS4

The controller is comparable in size to the Xbox One controller and slightly larger than the PlayStation 4 controller.

The feel

The Razer Raiju Mobile controller has an excellent feel. Most of the controller is covered in a textured plastic and it adds some grip. Each joystick has a rougher, rubberized coating for even better grip and all of the individual buttons are glossy plastic. The back of the controller is textured differently for better grip. You can see from the image above that it’s about as big as an Xbox One controller and a little larger than a PlayStation 4 controller. It has a good weight to it, even with a phone as large as the Galaxy Note 9 nestled in its cradle.

See also

The cradle itself has no noticeable problems. It clicks as you adjust it and stays wherever you leave it. It fit all of our tester devices without any problems, although the Galaxy Note 9 was a bit of a squeeze. Once the phone is in the cradle, you can move the cradle forward to change the angle if you need to. Each button has a light, satisfying click that leaves no doubts that you actually hit the button. The triggers have a smooth pull very similar to the second generation Xbox One controllers. There is also an optional hair-trigger mode for actuating the triggers more quickly. The switches for that mode are on the back of the controller.

Holding the controller is simply delightful. I am a 5’10” male with mostly average measurements. My hands fit firmly around this thing and I experienced no noticeable discomfort, even over a longer playing session. If I had nitpicks, I’d say that I prefer the more meaty button presses of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One controllers versus the light click of the Razer Raiju Mobile buttons, but this is just a preference.


Razer Raiju Mobile Final Fantasy IV

Supported games play with no discernible issues on the Razer Raiju Mobile.

The gaming

We played a few games from Razer’s list of supported games. including Riptide GP Renegade, Final Fantasy IV, and Alto’s Odyssey. For kicks, we also tried out the ePSXe emulator as well as the unsupported Gunstar Heroes, just to see how it’d react. Here are our observations:

  • Games with official support use the controller beautifully with no discernible issues. The button layouts were generally logical and it never took long to figure out the controls. Some games seem to like to use multiple buttons for the same action, but this wasn’t a problem during our testing.
  • Games and emulators not on Razer’s compatibility list are a mixed bag. Gunstar Heroes failed conclusively while ePSXe worked, but it required quite a bit of tedious configuration. Straying outside of Razer’s compatibility list results in a mixed experience overall.
  • We found that we frequently hit buttons on accident. In particular, the two paddle buttons in the back are super easy to press as are the non-trigger shoulder buttons. Thankfully, those buttons don’t really do much in any of the games we tested, but this thing is seriously covered in buttons.
  • Speaking of the paddle buttons, they actually don’t get use from the games. They let you adjust the sensitivity of the joysticks on the fly. This is configurable in the Razer Raiju Mobile app, although we really only noticed a difference when our paddles were set to a very different sensitivity from our default setting. These are definitely better for quick, large adjustments rather than subtle ones. Additionally, two of the shoulder buttons as well as the start and select buttons are configurable in the mobile app as well.
  • The hair trigger setting on the controller also worked as expected.
  • It doesn’t just work for the Razer Phone 2. We tested it with a Samsung Galaxy Note 9 as well as a Pixel XL and it worked fine.

It feels like we should have said more here. However, there just isn’t much to say. When the game supported the controller and everything connected properly, the experience was basically flawless. It’s not a panacea for mobile gaming’s horrible record of controller support, but that’s hardly Razer’s fault.


Razer Raiju Mobile box contents

This is everything you get in the box with a Razer Raiju Mobile. We like the stickers and braided USB Type-C cables a lot.

Recommendations and price

We’re going to just pull the band-aid off quickly. This thing costs $159.99. The Xbox One controller (pictured above) was $99.99 and a PlayStation 4 controller runs for $59.99. Then again, the Xbox One Elite controller with hair trigger locks also costs $149.99 so there is some context to support the Raiju Mobile’s price tag. Even so, it’s difficult to recommend this to casual players at that price. There are a few instances where we might recommend this to someone:

  • Those with multiple devices who also play a bunch of games. For instance, this controller should work well with Android TV as well as most mobile and tablet devices. One game controller for all of your devices may be worth the investment to some people.
  • Hardcore mobile gamers who want a controller with uncommon features like button re-mapping and hardware hair trigger locks.
  • Anyone who plays a sizable number of the games on Razer’s supported games list and wants a controller they are sure will work with those titles.

Of course, this is basically a first impressions post, so we can’t comment on anything like long term durability. The uncommon features, sleek looks, plentiful buttons, and excellent feel while gaming make a compelling case for the more hardcore mobile gamer much like the Xbox One Elite controller does for Xbox’s more hardware player base. For better or worse, Razer knows exactly what kind of consumer they’re targeting with those features at that price. Casual mobile gamers may want to try something a little bit cheaper.


The back of the Raiju Mobile houses the hair trigger lock switches (top), the Bluetooth/wired switch (middle), and the two paddle buttons (bottom). A surprisingly busy back of a controller.

The Razer Raiju Controller is definitely a positive force in the mobile gaming industry. It’s also priced outside of the sensibilities of most casual mobile gamers. Still, this is an excellent controller with no major flaws out of the box with an excellent feel and experience. Of course, we can’t comment on the long term durability of it because we only had it a few days. If you happen to be one of the folks that don’t mind the price, you can learn more from Razer’s website!