Razer has been making gaming products for more than a decade and has been primarily known for its keyboards, mice and laptops. But in recent years, Razer has ventured into the world of smartphones with their first Razer Phone in 2017 and it’s follow up in 2018.
Having a dedicated “gaming phone” is an interesting idea, it’s not a bad one considering that there are gaming laptops alongside standard ones.
But after using the Razer Phone 2 for a few weeks, I’m not sure I’m totally sold on the idea of gaming phone considering that there are other smartphones out there will similar or better specs that might be better suited for gaming that the Razer Phone 2.
Design & Hardware
If you’ve ever used the Nextbit Robin phone or even the Essential Phone then the design of the Razer Phone 2 will feel very familiar. Just like other phones on the market today, the Razer Phone 2 is made from an aluminum body with a glass front and back.
The Razer Phone 2 comes with a 5.72-inch LCD display with a resolution of 1440 x 2560 and has a 120 Hz refresh rate. The higher refresh rate on the Razer Phone 2 makes scrolling through pages and on Android seem buttery smooth.
Above and below the Razer Phone 2’s screen is stereo front-facing speakers with Dolby Atmos support which sound great even at loud volumes.
Because of the glass back, the Razer Phone 2 comes with wireless charging which you can use Razer’s wireless charger that has RGB lighting and uses Razer’s Chrome software. There’s also a 4,000 mAh battery (with Qualcomm QuickCharge 4.0+ support), 64GB of internal storage, USB-C port and a microSD card slot.
The back of the device also features an RGB Illuminated Razer logo that can light up when you get a notification and sync with your other Razer products. The phone is IP67 water and dust resistant, so you shouldn’t worry about getting the phone wet.
Powering the Razer Phone 2 is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor with 8GB of RAM. I had no issues when playing games and using the device on a daily basis.
The power button the Razer Phone 2 also doubles as a fingerprint reader. While it’s nice to have the fingerprint sensor on the side of the device, I found that it didn’t work as often as I’d like even though I would place my hold finger on the button/sensor.
I would have much preferred the fingerprint sensor on the Razer Phone 2 to be on the back of the device, similar to the Pixel phones.
The device comes in two colours Mirror Black and Satin Black (which is a Razer.com exclusive).
The Razer Phone 2 is running Android 9 Pie with Nova Launcher Prime which comes with a number of features and improvements.
The interface on the Razer Phone 2 is like stock Android, meaning that there’s no heavy customizations to the look and feel and makes the overall UI feel faster.
In terms of gaming, I played games such as PUBG Mobile and Asphalt 9 and the device had no issues with no slowdowns.
One thing that gaming phones might benefit from is the rise of game streaming services such as Microsoft’s Project xCloud (launching public trials later this year) and Google Stadia (launching in November). The extra boost in power from the phone’s processor, GPU and extra RAM could help run games much smoother on streaming platforms like xCloud and Stadia.
Android 9 Pie brings a number of features including gesture-based navigation, improved app functionality and search, battery life optimization, privacy features Digital Wellbeing and more.
That being said, you can easily customize the Razer Phone 2’s UI by choosing a theme to install. The settings also allow you to choose a colour and pattern for the RGB logo on the back of the device, so it will change to another colour for different app notifications.
Apart from the UI, the Razer Phone 2 comes with some apps pre-installed such as Razer Cortex which can be used to boost the phone’s performance while gaming.
The Razer Phone 2 comes with dual cameras on the back with a 12-megapixel wide-angle lens with OIS and a 12-megapixel telephoto lens. The front camera is 8-megapixels and can shoot 1080p video.
You can record up to 4K video at 60 fps on the main cameras on the Razer Phone 2.
Photos and videos taken on the Razer Phone 2 look good but you won’t be blown away by them. They seem akin in quality to the Blackberry Key2’s cameras.
Hopefully, Razer is making improvements to the camera for their next device (presumably the Razer Phone 3).
The Razer Phone 2 is a solid device that offers a great 120Hz display, fast performance and a battery that lasts all day.
- 120hz UltraMotion display looks great and makes everything smooth
- All-day battery life
- Great gaming performance
- Cool RGB lighting (via Razer logo on back)
- Loud surround sound speakers
- Solid build quality
- Good enough camera
- The fingerprint reader that doesn’t work all the time