LAS VEGAS—Peripheral and PC maker Razer showed off some unexpected products this year at CES, offering hands-on time with brand new computer speakers, a refreshed Mamba mouse with a capacitive charging mouse pad, and a prototype accessory for the Razer Phone.
Project Linda, as Razer calls it, is a laptop-like shell into which you insert the phone. Once inserted, you press a button in the top-right corner of the keyboard. This extends a USB-C connection directly into the phone's port, and comes with a very satisfying drill-like sound effect. The phone then displays to the shell's screen. There's only an internal battery within the shell, so it runs entirely off the phone's hardware and the phone's screen becomes a touchpad.
It's early days, so functionality and compatibility is still being worked on, but I played Vainglory running entirely off the phone with a mouse and the shell's keyboard. It looks good and ran smoothly, so the idea works. The phone screen could be used to pan the cursor in game, but it didn't register presses as touchpad clicks, so the mouse was required. Other programs outside of Vainglory run without custom software work, but I didn't get a chance to try any.
Whether or not Project Linda will come to market remains to be seen: Razer will need to give it complete functionality, justify it to users, and make sure the interest is there before moving forward. It's a fairly niche concept, given that the audience is limited to Razer Phone users and only some of those will have interest, but I could see the appeal for device owners.
Also today, Razer and Netflix announced that the Razer Phone will start showing Netflix content in HDR and 5.1 surround sound, for content where that's available. While other high-end smartphones support HDR, this makes Razer the first phone to have both capabilities, the company says.
Razer's speaker line, dubbed Nommo, provides powerful desktop audio and comes in three flavors.
The high-end 2.1 Nommo Pro, made of aluminum, is priced at $499 and features a sizable cylindrical subwoofer. Speaker bases are rimmed with Razer's signature customizable Chroma lighting, and the Pro boasts full-range 2-by-3-inch Kevlar-coated drivers. The Nommo Pro is THX certified (Razer purchased the audio/visual company in 2016) and offers Dolby Virtual Sound.
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The midrange option, Nommo Chroma, is a 2.0 sound system priced at $149. These speakers are also made of aluminum, and offer the same Chroma lighting. The $99 entry-level option, named Nommo, is made of plastic and does not feature the Chroma lighting. The Nommo line is available starting today.
The audio sounded impressive during my demo, though the setting wasn't ideal for careful listening. It was arranged in more of a home theater setup in Razer's suite, but there should be a sweet spot in a more traditional desk layout. Still, from what I could tell, the Nommo Pro was able to deliver booming volume with solid bass and crisp highs.
Also on display was an updated take on Razer's high-end Mamba line, the Mamba HyperFlux. The company took the premium model one step further by joining it with a mouse pad—the Firefly HyperFlux—that powers the mouse while it's on the surface.
The mouse is wireless and stays powered if you lift it away from the pad for a few seconds, so you can briefly lift or adjust during gameplay without disconnecting. You can connect the plug powering the mouse pad directly into the Mamba for a wired solution.
The mouse was impressively light: There's no battery inside to weigh it down, as it instead draws power from the pad through a magnetic field. It bears a 5G optical sensor with 16,000dpi, features mechanical mouse switches, and has nine programmable buttons. The mousepad, of course, is trimmed with Chroma lighting. The pad is also double-sided: You can flip it over in the base for a hard surface or soft cloth side, which I thought was a clever and simple feature. The Mamba HyperFlux (mouse pad included) launches for $249.99 in the first quarter.
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