Microsoft’s Surface Pro gets LTE Advanced option this December

Microsoft’s business customers will be able to get their hands on theSurface Pro with LTE Advanced from December, as rumored earlier this year. In a blog post outlining the company’s vision for workplace technology, the company says the release is designed to bring even greater mobility to its Surface Pro line, supporting half of the global workforce which will be mobile by 2020. Boasting a Cat 9 modem, it’s the fastest LTE-enabled laptop in its class, supporting 20 cellular bands for global connectivity. There’s no specifics on battery life yet, but this year’s earlier Surface release promised 13.5 hours while watching video. It’s not clear how LTE support will affect that, but if Microsoft’s dream of a totally-mobile workplace is anything to go by, it’ll have enough juice to let you work comfortably away from the office. The Surface Pro with LTE will ship on December 1 to business customers, with a base model price tag of $1,149.

HP’s Spectre Laptops Might Just Be the Prettiest You Can Buy

About a month ago, Intel announced its new 8th-gen CPUs, so we put together a little roundup of all the coolest notebooks getting new Core i silicon. But one company was notably left off the list, because it didn’t have anything to share at that time. Now, HP is finally ready to show off its new Spectre and Spectre x360, and even though the saying goes beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I think its HP—not Apple, Dell or Microsoft—that’s now making the best looking laptops on the market.

From almost every angle, the Spectre grabs your attention, partly because it measures just 10.4mm thick, but also thanks to its new ceramic white paint job. Paired with those pale gold accents, the Spectre doesn’t look like any other notebook out right now. And not only is that ceramic white paint pretty, the special process used to give it that look also lends it an enameled coating that HP claims increases its scratch-resistance.

A closer look at the Spectre also reveals the new model has much smaller bezels around the screen (down from 15mm to almost 5mm), slightly smaller overall dimensions (12.13 x 8.86 x 0.41-inches), and the option to upgrade to a touchscreen with 4K resolution. And unlike a lot of other super slim laptops, HP has kept the Spectre’s web cam in the right spot (above the display), while also adding in Windows Hello support—which means you can log in with your face.

The Spectre’s new speakers are much louder and richer than last year’s model.

On the performance side, despite the Spectre’s extra svelte profile, you still get an 8th-gen quad-core Intel Core i7 CPU that HP claims offers almost 50 percent better performance compared to last year’s model. And in back, you get three USB-C ports (two of which support Thunderbolt 3) along with a standard headphone jack. However, people looking for USB Type-A slots will have to opt for a dongle. The Spectre is so thin, those boxy old school ports don’t fit.

My one concern is Spectre’s battery life, as longevity on the previous model was mediocre at best. And even though HP says the new Spectre could last up to an hour and half longer than before, I won’t be convinced until I can test it out for myself. Oh, and if you aren’t as taken with the new white and gold color scheme as I am, the Spectre will still be available in copper and charcoal (or Ash Silver if you buy into HP’s incomprehensible color naming scheme).

As for the new Spectre x360, changes aren’t as extreme, though HP smartly didn’t mess with its flagship 2-in-1’s design. As before, it’ll come in your choice of silver or copper and black color, with new Intel 8th-gen CPUs, 1080p or 4K touchscreens and built-in stylus support; all held together by a sharper, more aggressive 360-degree hinge. New additions include a webcam with Windows Hello support, a side-mounted fingerprint sensor and for the first time on one of HP’s non-business oriented machines, an optional built-in privacy screen.

The image on the left is the normal view you see when looking straight on, while the image on the right is what HP’s privacy screen looks like the further you move away from the center of the screen.

Unlike the privacy screens on older HP laptops that blacked out the display when viewed from more than 35 degrees to the sides, the HP’s new technique involves boosting white backlight so that unless you’re in the screens sweet spot, all you see is white. It’s a nice cross-over from HP’s enterprise machines, and while it might be a little overkill for most, it could make keeping up with the latest memes in public a little less embarrassing.

Either way, I think both of these laptops look fantastic, and in some ways, the Spectre is the MacBook Air replacement that many people have been searching for, since apparently Apple can’t be bothered. Its appears to be a traditional laptop with tiny dimensions and good design, but I’m going to have to wait for a full review to make a final judgement.

Both systems will be available on October 29 with the the Spectre x360 starting at $1,150 and the super thin Spectre starting at 1,300 (the white and gold model will cost you extra since it also includes that 4K display). Do the laptops perform as good as they look? We’ll have to wait and see.

Lenovo buys a controlling stake in Fujitsu’s PC business

Lenovo has posted the biggest quarterly rise in revenue since 2015, and it has marked the occasion with the revelation that it’s buying 51 percent of Fujitsu’s PC biz. Fujitsu spun out its laptop and desktop division two years ago to get rid of parts of the company that weren’t making money. Now, the Chinese PC-maker is snapping up over half that division for $157 million in cash. It will add between $22 million and $112 million based on performance until 2020 on top of that.

Lenovo likely saw buying the 51 percent stake as a chance to grow its own PC division. According to Bloomberg, Lenovo Chief Executive Yang Yuanqing is taking costs out of the company’s mobile business, which still hasn’t gone anywhere despite acquiring Motorola from Google in 2014. The Chinese tech titan is more known for its computers than its phones, after all. And even though PC shipments have grown by 17 percent from the past quarter, the market is still struggling in the era of smartphones.

Earlier this year, HP overtook the Beijing-based corporation to become the biggest PC maker in the world, thanks to its excellent performance in North America. Depending on how Lenovo plays its cards, this purchase could help it retake the throne it sat on for years.

Lenovo’s Yoga 920 Is Proof: The Boring Old Clamshell Must Die

People have been forecasting the death of the PC for years, and while all that noise is clearly overblown, there is one segment of the computing world that should probably go away: the traditional clamshell laptop. Now I’m not saying we should do away with notebooks PCs as we know them or more specialized notebooks like mobile workstations or gaming laptops, I just think it’s past time we replaced all the boring old notebooks with 2-in-1s.

There’s not a single thing a normal clamshell can do that a 2-in-1 can’t, and it’s been 15 years since the first convertible came out, so it’s not like you have to shell out a big premium for that added flexibility either. And for years, Lenovo’s line of Yoga 2-in-1s have been among the best thanks to flexible hybrids with solid (and pretty sleek) builds and top-notch specs that were held together by the best hinge in the business.

On the new Yoga 920, that package is getting even better thanks to the addition of full Windows Pen and Ink support and new far-field microphones that in a number of ways have turned the Lenovo’s new high-end Yoga into the computer the Surface Laptop wishes it could be. Starting at $1,300, the Yoga 920 costs $300 less than a comparable Surface Laptop despite having the same 8GB of RAM and 256GB SSD. And for all that extra money, the Surface Laptop’s biggest advantage is really just its 13.5-inch screen which has a slightly higher 2256 x 1504
resolution when compared to the Yoga 920’s slightly larger 13.9-inch touchscreen at 1920 x 1080.

A quick flip and the Yoga 920 turns into a great web browsing device.

Meanwhile, the Yoga 920 has a screen that bends back all the way, transforming it into a presentation device or a big ‘ole tablet depending on your needs, more ports thanks to a healthy mix of two USB-C ports with support for Thunderbolt 3 and a USB 3.0 Type-A port, and even a built-in fingerprint reader with support for Windows Hello as part of its standard kit. But more importantly, the Yoga 920 also comes equipped with one of Intel’s latest 8th-gen CPUs, which offers a pretty meaningful improvement in performance over systems still saddled with last year’s processors.

On our photo editing test, the Yoga 920’s Core i7-8550U CPU resized 22 20-megapixel photos in just 50 seconds, which is 25 percent faster than laptops with 7th-gen Core i7 CPUs including Dell’s XPS 13 (69.6 seconds), HP’s Spectre x360(67.9 seconds) and the LG Gram 14 (69.1 seconds). Results from Geekbench 4 back up our real-world tests too, as the Yoga 920 posted noticeably higher CPU benchmarks for both single and multi-core performance, especially on the latter which scored almost twice as high thanks to the 8th-gen chip’s higher core count (four cores for 8th-gen, two cores for 7th-gen).

I would have liked to see Lenovo also offer a model with an 8th-gen Core i5 CPU, in hopes of knocking down the system’s starting price to something closer to $1,000, however it seems that’s not the cards. What’s even more important though, is that all this speed doesn’t really affect the Yoga 920’s endurance.

Sure, if you feel like editing videos all day, you can still kill this system pretty fast. But on our battery rundown test, the Yoga 920 lasted 9 hours and 42 minutes, which is about the same as its competitors which posted an average battery life of 9:51.

Then there are other nice little touches such as Lenovo’s decision to include a USB-C charging brick, which means the same cord used to charge the Yoga 920 can also be used to refill other devices like a smartphone or a Nintendo Switch. That means you’ll have less cables to carry around. There are also new far-field mics so Cortana can understand you better even when you’re standing on the other side of the room, and while there’s not much to say about the Yoga 920’s touchpad and keyboard besides that they work, having multiple levels of backlighting can be helpful at times.

Really, my biggest gripes with the Yoga 920 are that it doesn’t come with an on board microSD or SD card reader, which is the one thing that might stop me from bringing it around to meetings or conventions where I’m constantly transferring photos from my camera to my laptop. It also seems a little strange that Lenovo included a fingerprint sensor that works with Windows Hello, but didn’t give its 720p webcam the same treatment. On top of that, the Yoga 920’s webcam is in the wrong damn place (below the screen), which means anyone on the other side of video call is going to get a great look at the bottom of your chin. I’m also a little annoyed Lenovo got rid of its signature orange color option, because our chocolatey bronze review unit feels like Lenovo is playing it safe. People who want boring can always opt for the silver one.

Lenovo even takes care to color match some of the metal on the watchband hinge, which is nice.

But even at $1,300, the Yoga 920 is close to being my ideal portable PC. Now I will admit, when decked out with similar specs including an 8th-gen CPU, Dell’s XPS 13 does have an SD card slot and costs just $1,150. But for that price, you don’t get a touchscreen, which once again, gives the edge back the Yoga 920. Look, I’m not trying say that you need to toss your current system in the trash right this second, but if your only objection to 2-in-1s is that you don’t think you need that kind of flexibility, give one a chance, because you might realize what you’ve been sleeping on. Change is a good thing, and thanks to hybrids like the Yoga 920, there aren’t really any good reasons to hate on 2-in-1s anymore.

README

  • Lenovo’s 2-in-1 watchband hinge is still the best business.
  • New 8th-gen Intel CPU offers noticeably better performance than previous chips without really degrading battery life.
  • Features two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 3 in addition to an USB 3.0 Type-A port, but there’s no SD card slot,
  • New features for the Yoga 920 include far-field microphones for use with Cortana, and stylus support with 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity. (Lenovo’s Active Pen is still a $50 optional extra though)
  • The fingerprint reader support Windows Hello, but the webcam doesn’t and it’s in the wrong spot.

SPEC DUMP

Windows 10 Home • 8th-Gen Intel Core i7-8550U CPU • 8GB of RAM • 256GB SSD • Intel UHD Graphics 620 • 13.9=inch 1920 x 1080 IPS touchscreen • 2 USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports • 1 x USB 3.0 Type-A port • 720p webcam • 802.11ac wi-fi • Windows Ink and Lenovo Active Pen support • far-field microphones for use with Cortana • 70 Wh battery • 12.72 x 8.8 x 0.55-inches • 3.02 pounds • available in platinum or bronze

Razer’s New Cheaper Razer Blade Pro Doesn’t Make Any Damn Sense

There are always going to be people who want a big, powerful laptop. I’m talking about people like developers that want to show off early game builds at trade shows or stubborn people who simply can’t compromise on performance when they are away from home. But is there any benefit to turning these 17-inch behemoths into something that thin and light too?

For years, that’s exactly the point Razer has been trying to make with its 17-inch Blade Pro, which packed desktop-level specs in a surprisingly thin body. But with prices that hovered near $4,000, that question was largely academic, since you’d have to be independently wealthy to actually buy one. But now, Razer has trimmed back some components to create the least expensive 17-inch gaming laptop the company has ever made, which makes the idea of a thin-and-light 17-inch gaming notebook finally a topic worth investigating.

That said, starting at $2,300, the Blade Pro still doesn’t seem that cheap, and compared to other 17-inch devices it isn’t. Like the $3,800 fully-equipped Blade Pro, this model has a solid aluminum unibody chassis that measures just 0.88 inches thick, which is almost 40 percent thinner than a traditional 17-inch system like the 1.43-inch thick Lenovo Legion Y920. But even with that kind of thinness, the Blade Pro’s 6.8 pound heft and sheer dimensions mean this still isn’t something you can just casually toss in a bag.

In fact, the Blade Pro doesn’t even fit in the messenger bag I carry every day, or any of the other shoulder bags I own besides my cavernous camping backpack or the rolling suitcase I use when traveling. That means I’m forced to buy special gear just to haul this thing around, which makes it just as cumbersome as other 17-inch systems with much bigger waists. This is purely thinness for thinness’ sake.

Instead of a 4K display, this new model sports a big full HD screen with good peak brightness (360 nits) and a handy matte coating to prevent distracting reflections from messing with your games. You also get a healthy number of ports including one USB-C jack with support for Thunderbolt 3, HDMI, Ethernet and even an SD card reader. And since its Razer, you get a chiclet keyboard with some of the most colorful and best looking RGB backlit keys on the market.

One of Razer’s departure from the typical laptop formula involves moving the touchpad to the very right side of the system, instead of below the keyboard like you’d normally expect. This is something that takes some getting used to as countless laptops have taught me to instinctively reach below the spacebar when I need to make a quick cursor gesture. I was able to adjust in less than a day. which makes the touchpad’s location more of a quirk than a real con. But if you’re thinking that placement means you might be able to simulate the traditional mouse and keyboard arrangement with your left hand on WASD and your right on the touchpad, think again. Even with a huge 4 x 3.25-inch surface area, no touchpad is good enough to sub in for a actual mouse.

I really wish I could have found more uses for the scroll wheel than I actually did.

Then Razer spices things up even further by adding a physical scroll wheel that can be reprogrammed to a number of different functions using the company’s Synapse software. But the weird thing is that even though I was really looking forward to using it, I actually found that most of the things I actually wanted to use it for, like volume control or scrolling, have already been taken care of with function keys or touchpad gestures. That makes the wheel kind of redundant.

As for the Blade Pro’s actual gaming cred, its performance falls right in line with what you’d expect from a something with an Intel Core i7-7700 HQ CPU, 16GB of RAM, and a Nvidia GTX 1060 GPU. In Rise of the Tomb Raider, the Blade Pro hit 82 fps on high, and 55 fps on high in Civilization VI. That should give you the confidence to play pretty much any modern AAA title on settings high enough to please. However, at the same time, I’d be remiss to mention that gaming laptops that cost north of $2,000 normally include an Nvidia 1070 or 1080 GPU, which offer 20 to 40 percent better graphics performance. Another nice thing about the Blade Pro’s big chassis is that you have you enough room for two storage drives, which means you get a 256GB SSD for storing your OS, apps, and games, and a 2TB HDD for all your extra media.

Ethernet! Now that’s a port you see don’t see that much anymore.

Now it probably won’t surprise you to know that the Blade Pro’s battery life is pretty bad, as it lasted just 4 hours and 10 minutes on our battery rundown test. And if you plan on doing any sort of gaming without plugging in the power cord, that times shrinks down to an hour and a half or two at the most.

But in the end, the thing I don’t get is that for almost $500 less, you can get the $1,850 14-inch Razer Blade, which has the same great build, CPU, GPU and RAM in a body you might actually want to move around. Both systems even have the same screen resolution, and for my money, the smaller Blade is the one I’d get. Sure, the bigger 17-inch Blade Pro has a few more ports and its bigger screen gives you a more room to work and play with. But let’s not forget, you can take the $450 you saved on the 17-inch Blade Pro and spend it on a nice desktop monitor, a big external drive, and still have a bit of cash left over for some games. There’s a reason Apple stopped making 17-inch MacBook Pros; the balance between performance and portability just isn’t there, even on a chassis this thin. And at $2,300, the “cheapest” Blade Pro’s value proposition is pretty poor too.

Unlike the smaller Blade Stealth, the Blade Pro can’t use its USB-C port for charging.

If you’re still deadset on a 17-inch gaming laptop, you’re much better off going with a thicker system that can accommodate more powerful components without raising the price to almost $4,000. You could even splurge a bit and opt for something like the MSI GT75 VR, which at 2.3-inches thick and weighing more than 10 pounds, is an absolutely monstrous system. But it’s performance is equally beastly and with a starting price of $2,700, its a much better option for people looking for top-notch specs.

I appreciate that Razer’s laptop pricing is moving in the right direction, and the idea of having a big screen laptop with a luxuriously thin body is nice, but the number of extra Benjamins that you have to shell out to get it still seems a bit too high.

README

  • The Razer Blade Pro costs $500 to $800 more than thicker 17-inch systems with comparable specs.
  • The offset touchpad takes a bit of getting used to, but the RGB backlit keyboard is very pretty.
  • For starting $2,300 Blade Pro features an Nvidia 1060 GPU, but if you want to upgrade to the model with a 1080 GPU, it’s going to cost you an extra $1,500.
  • The Blade Pro’s four hours of battery life are pretty standard for a system this size, but that number shrinks to two hours or less if you are actually gaming on the go.

SPEC DUMP

Windows 10 Home • 17-inch 1920 x 1080 non-touch matte display • Intel Core i7-7700HQ CPU • 16GB of RAM • 256GB SSD • 2TB HDD • Nvidia GTX 1060 (6GB vRAM) • Killer Wireless AC 1535 • 2-MP webcam • SD card reader • 1 USB Type-C with Thunderbolt 3 • 3 USB 3.0 • HDMI 2.0 • 3.5mm audio • Ethernet • 70-Wh battery • 16.7 x 11 x 0.88 inches • 6.78 pound

The Editors’ Choice XPS 13 with 8th-Gen Intel Is Now Just $999

dell xps 13 2017 004

For the next 48 hours, you have access to select Dell Black Friday deals. However, of all the deals available today, the most noteworthy is the XPS 13. You can now get the Editors’ Choice XPS 13 with Intel’s 8th-generation processor for $999.99. The laptop, which is the exactconfiguration we reviewed last month, normally costs $1,299 or $1,149 on sale, so today’s price is truly a record breaker.

Buy on Dell

The XPS 13 won our Editors’ Choice award for offering epic battery life (16 hours and 5 minutes to be exact), chart-topping performance, and the same compact, yet stylish design we enjoyed from last year’s XPS 13.

In our tests, the new 8th-gen Core i7-8550U processor, which is now quad-core, was 60 percent faster than the similarly configured XPS 13 with Intel’s 7th-gen CPU. From transcoding 4K movies to crunching numbers in Excel, the new XPS 13 is simply a beast.

Simply put, the new XPS 13 is the best consumer laptop you can buy right now, especially while it’s $200 off.

GoPro is finally profitable again, but its holiday outlook disappoints

After years of losses, GoPro’s main goal in 2017 was finding a way to make its business profitable. And it looks like the company finally succeeded during the third quarter, where it saw a net income of $15 million, according to its latest earnings report. That’s not much, but it’s a big improvement over last year’s $104 million loss during the same quarter. Analysts expected to its revenues to jump by 30 percent, but GoPro surpassed that with 37 percent growth, reaching $330 million (compared to $240.5 million last year).

But while GoPro had a strong showing this quarter, investors weren’t too pleased about its holiday revenue outlook of $470 million, driving its stock down to 10 percent at the time of this post. Analysts were expecting around $520 million in holiday sales.

The company credits its improved business on lower operating costs and a higher average sales price (ASP). It expects operating expenses to drop by 30 percent in 2017 (it sounds like those layoffs are paying off), and during the quarter they reached a three-year low. Its ASP, meanwhile, increased 22 percent this quarter. In particular, GoPro says “strong perfomance” from its $500 Hero 6 Black camera helped push that figure higher. Demand for its older Hero5 Black was “lighter than expected,” GoPro CEO Nick Woodman said during an earnings call, but he noted that holiday promotions might help with sales. Additionally, he says consumers are warming to the entry-level $150 Hero Session.

Looking ahead, the company is launching its $699 Fusion 360-degree camera later in the middle of this month. That’s clearly not meant for everyone, but it’s an important move into a new product category. It’ll give consumers an easy way to make videos suited for 360-degree VR viewing, and thanks to its Overcapture feature, they’ll also be able to make videos suited for normal 2D viewing.

Jellyfish-inspired e-skin glows when it’s in ‘pain’

Artificial skin stands to have a variety uses, with potential applications in everything from robots to prosthetics. And in recent years, researchers have been able to instill sensory perception, like touch and pressure, into artificial skin. However, while those sorts of senses will be incredibly important in engineered skin, they’ve so far been rather limited. For example, while current versions can be quite sensitive to light touch, they don’t fare so well with high pressures that could cause damage. So researchers at the Huazhong University of Science and Technology in China set out to fix that problem and they drew their inspiration from jellyfish.

The Atolla jellyfish can sense pressure in its surroundings and emits bright flashes of light when attacked. To mimic that and combine visual signals with pressure sensing, the researchers placed small silver wires within a stretchy material, which was able to produce electrical signals when light pressure was applied to it. In between two layers of that material, the researchers added an additional layer, which was embedded with phosphors — particles that can luminesce — that lit up when strong pressure was applied. As increasing amounts of pressure were applied to the layered electronic skin, the phosphors lit up more and more and overall the skin was able to register a much wider range of pressure than other versions have been able to achieve. In the image below, you can see the phosphors light up when a transparent “W”-shaped slab is pressed into the activated electronic skin.

The high pressures registered by the phosphors are around the levels that become painful to humans, meaning the luminescent material can play the role of pain sensors found in real human skin and create a visual representation of “pain.” Further, the full range of pressure that this skin can sense more closely matches what real human skin can feel. And as the researchers point out, this capability makes this particular electronic skin a promising potential component to human-machine interfaces and intelligent robots. The work was recently published in ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces.

Blizzard shows off broadcast-friendly ‘Overwatch’ features

Last week Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan explained some of the tweaks Blizzard planned to make this game easier to follow for viewers, and now a new video actually shows them off. As Blizzard prepares tolaunch its professional Overwatch League next year (and presents Overwatch World Cup matches over the next couple of days), it’s going all-in to make the game TV-friendly, even for people who aren’t yet die-hard eSports fans.

During the Overwatch World Cup playoffs on Friday and Saturday, viewers will see new team uniforms for each country, complete with home and away colors that include heads-up displays and special abilities that are customized to match. It should make it easier for viewers to identify (and identify with — when’s the merch coming?) each team, better than they would with the standard game’s use of blue for allies and red for enemies.

'Overwatch' overhead map

We also got a peek at the previously-mentioned overhead map and third person smart camera, which we can already see will help people stay oriented on the most intense action and where it’s happening. It’s also key for the analysts to keep an eye on who is where at all times, and break down the action post-game with a new stats layout that puts every player’s metrics on one screen. A new easily-accessible instant replay (complete with bullet-time style freezes and camera movement) can take viewers flying through the scene without making things too confusing.

'Overwatch' instant replay

Is eSports really ready for the big time? We’ll find out soon, but these changes will definitely help give a regular viewer who hasn’t heard of Twitch a reason to stick with the broadcast long enough to tell D. Va from Doomfist.

RAZER DEBUTS ITS FIRST PHONE, AND IT’S BUILT FOR GAMES

IF I TOLD you Razer made a smartphone, you’d probably develop a mental picture pretty quickly. Since the company is mostly known for its gaming mice, keyboards, and laptops, you’d expect this phone to be For Gamers. It’d be crazy powerful, of course, with all the best specs and the highest numbers and probably a bunch of chips you don’t need but sound really cool at a LAN party. It’d probably be huge, and super expensive, as gaming gear tends to be. And it would definitely glow, for sure, no question. Maybe red flames? Maybe Razer’s own multicolored Chroma system? Lots of ideas.

The actual Razer Phone almost counts as boring, by gaming gear metrics. It’s a slightly blocky black rectangle with no glowing lights, no sound effects when you press the right button, and no glowing lights. Even Razer’s three-headed snake logo, usually neon green, comes only in black. The Razer Phone was largely created by the team behind Nextbit, a design-led company that built one pretty cool phone, called Robin, and then sold to Razer. The Razer Phone carries a lot of the Robin’s DNA, but none of the cloud-blue coloring.

Inside, though, the Razer Phone’s everything a Blade owner could want. Snapdragon 835 processor, one of the best in the biz. A whopping 8 gigs of RAM. A huge 4,000mAh battery. Best of all, a 5.72-inch, Quad HD IGZO LCD (I swear those acronyms all mean something) screen, with 120Hz capabilities. The display can ramp up its framerate when you’re scrolling or playing a game, and crank all the way back down when you’re just reading or watching a movie. The tech behind the display sounds like the iPad’s ProMotion display, and seems to work just as well. I’ve never scrolled so smoothly on an Android phone, and a quick demo of Riptide GP: Renegade, one of my fave mobile games ever, felt and looked incredible. Its looks may disguise its intentions, but the Razer Phone exists for gaming.

RAZER

The spec list just keeps on going. Two 12-megapixel cameras in the back. A 24-bit digital audio converter included in the box. Stereo front-facing speakers, with Dolby Atmos built in. It only ships with Android Nougat, but at least comes withNova Launcher, one of the best and most customizable Android launchers out there. And Razer says Oreo is coming soon.

Preorders start today at $699, and it ships on November 17.

A gaming phone, of course, matters only as much as the games it can play. Lack of truly great, unmissable games on mobile has plagued every so-called “gamer phone” since the days of the Nokia N-Gage. Razer has an advantage here, in that it’s already working with so many game makers. It’s working with the makers of games like Arena of Valor andFinal Fantasy to optimize their wares for the Razer Phone’s specs. That would be good for the Razer Phone, and for theAndroid ecosystem in general.

Razer’s trying to walk a tough line here, as many have before it: to make a phone for gamers that doesn’t look like, well, a phone for gamers. The company understands that people don’t buy two phones, and they need their device optimized for both important presentations and importantShadowgun sessions. That’s hard to do, but based on a brief demo at Razer’s office, the company’s done a pretty good job. It makes a few cool-phone concessions in the name of gaming—the slightly thicker body to house more battery, the extra bezel above and below the screen to offer a grip in landscape mode—but no one would look askance when you took the Razer Phone out of your suit pocket. Though they might be tipped off to your true intentions when the dulcet tones of Hearthstone come blaring out your speakers mid-meeting.