PCR caught up with Razer at this year’s DISTREE EMEA 2016 show in Monaco last week to find out about the firm’s latest products and its long history with speakers.
Razer is a well-known gaming brand, and most people will have seen its neon green logo on many gaming mice, keyboards and headsets over the years, but as we learnt after speaking to the firm’s European general manager Marco Chillon, its brand new portable speaker isn’t its first.
“We have quite a history with speakers. About seven or eight years ago it was a huge thing for us, and our products were actually ahead of their time,” he told PCR.
“Ahead of their time” is quite a bold statement, so we decided to do a bit of Googling. Sure enough, a 2008 review from TechRader for the Razer Mako 2.1 asks: “Are these the greatest computer speakers ever built?”
The article even goes as far to say: "Imagine the best orgasm you've ever had, multiply it by a thousand and you're still nowhere near it," - Irvine Welsh used that phrase to describe the pleasures of heroin. But actually, he's got the Razer Mako speakers pretty much nailed, too.”
Back to Monaco, 2016, Chillon explained: “We believe that any gamer has a ‘normal’ life as well. They want to listen to music etc. So, this is our first portable Bluetooth speaker.”
He handed over Razer’s new Leviathan Mini. A compact speaker powered by Bluetooth with aptX technology, which is designed to give your streamed music CD-like quality.
“Last year we introduced the Leviathan sound bar for gamers, and this is the portable version.
“You can also buy two speakers and connect them together to have stereo,” he explained.
As well as the £139.99 Leviathan Mini, Razer showed us its new Nabu Watch. The full-featured digital watch with smart functions is the latest product in Razer’s line of wearable devices. It comes in the regular version, which has an RRP of £129.99, or a slightly fancier ‘Forged Edition’ that comes with a £159.99 price tag.
We also got a chance to get hands on with Razer’s first Xbox One controller. Compatible with PC, the Wildcat Xbox One is lightweight and has been designed with eSports enthusiasts in mind.
Despite the current trend to have everything ‘wireless’, the Wildcat is corded. But why?
“Microsoft is not giving away wireless licenses,” Chillon told me.
“We position the Wildcat on the same level as Microsoft’s Elite controller. It is great for eSports athletes and gamers that don’t want to be reliant on battery life. A cord is absolutely better.”
Launched in Q4 2015 during Insomnia, the Wildcat is available for £119.99.
Razer’s range appeared to make an impact on many who attended DISTREE EMEA 2016. The firm won the Diamond Award in the Gaming category at this year’s show – which is decided by an attendee live vote during the awards ceremony.
“Winning the Diamond Award for best gaming brand at DISTREE EMEA means a lot to us,” said Chillon.
“The feedback we received from retailers, etailers and distribution partners was outstanding, and we feel honoured for their trust and appreciation.”
Look out for our full DISTREE EMEA review in the April issue of PCR. In the meantime, you can check out our list of the best tech products we saw at the show here, and take a look at our DISTREE EMEA 2016 Facebook gallery here.