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Review 6 min read No comments

Razer Phone 2 hands-on: not just for gamers anymore

Smartphones are increasingly becoming a medium for enjoying entertainment in a pocket format and games are an integral part of this development. With the Razer Phone 2, Razer is now delivering a refreshed smartphone, that in their opinion, falls under the category of a “gaming flagship”. We were able to get our hands on the gaming phone-flagship hybrid and we’re excited to show you what the new Razer Phone has to offer.

A slight price increase

With its debut, Razer was able to undercut the prices of its competitors from South Korea and China. It wasn’t much cheaper, but it still made a difference, since the established brands had price tags that were nearing the $1,000 mark. The first generation had a price tag of $699, and the price of the successor has gone up to $799. It will go on sale in the U.S. in October 2018.

A revamped look

Pictures and videos of the original Razer Phone don't do justice to the device’s advantages, but once you hold the device in your hand, you can really appreciate the smooth 120 Hertz display and impressive sound . The matte black isn't particularly aesthetically pleasing, especially in everyday situations when the device isn’t used for gaming. This was the big weakness of the first Razer Phone. The manufacturer noted the feedback and wanted to address it with the Razer Phone 2, which is furnished with more features that both gamers and smartphone users are looking for in a top smartphone.

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Can you tell which is the first generation and which is the second generation? Tip: there are hints on the home screen. / © AndroidPIT

Old-fashioned design with modern feel

The Razer Phone 2 is by no means a beauty, but some of the functions and features have changed in the second iteration. From the front, you won’t be able to tell the difference between the two generations. On the top and bottom there are two wide edges, which hide the forward-facing loudspeakers. But Razer doesn’t mean to hide them, as the phone is designed so that the sound will really hit you in the face. The speakers are sealed to protect against water and dust damage. Although Razer conducted the IP67 certification test on the device, it is not officially certified.

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The Chroma logo on the back lights up and can be configured to your liking. / © AndroidPIT

If you look at the device from the back, it’s clear that the device is from 2018. The backside is made of Gorilla Glass 5 and the dual camera sits above the Razer logo, which is called Chroma in Razer jargon. Razer fans will know already that you can change the color and lighting scheme of the logo to your liking. The logo can be switched off, pulsed slowly, or left on permanently. All the light modes for the logo can be freely configured via an app. You can also use it as a large LED for notifications.

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The Chroma app lets you decide the color of the logo on the back. / © AndroidPIT

Benchmarks should remove all doubt

The Razer Phone 2 has more than enough performance for any gamer out there. The Razer packs the most of any device on the market in a 16:9 smartphone. Wait, a 16:9 format? Yes, that sounds unbelievable, when today 18:9 or slimmer smartphones are everywhere, but there’s a good reason Razer has gone with this classic format. When you’re gaming, you’ll be able to move the device more easily and faster horizontally, although vertical movement is more difficult. In plain language, when you move left or right in games like Fortnite and PUBG, you’ll have to do it with your wrist, but not when you move up or down. The extra pixels are another advantage in many more demanding games.

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The logo can also light up when you receive notifications.  / © AndroidPIT

The new Razer phone uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 with 8GB RAM and 64GB of expandable internal memory. Compared to the first generation, the battery remains unchanged at 4,000 mAh, and can now also be charged wirelessly. According to Razer, the charging is fast at 11.5 watts. It’s even faster by cable, since the phone still supports QuickCharge 4+ and comes with the appropriate power supply.

Need anything else? Cause there’s a good camera as well!

Fresher sensors and better software

As I’ve already mentioned, the Razer Phone from 2017 didn’t quite meet our expectations in the photography sector, but the Razer Phone 2 has updated its sensors. The main camera now consists of a wide-angle Sony IMX 363 sensor and a telephoto camera with an IMX351 sensor. On paper, this means that the Razer Phone 2 has the same main sensor as the Xiaomi Mi 8, for example, which did really well in our tests. But since the quality of photos and videos on a smartphone is strongly dependent on the software, there’s still a large element of the unknown.

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A wireless charger with fast charging technology will be available shortly after launch. / © AndroidPIT

The model that we used for our hands-on didn’t have finalized camera software, and Razer is using the time until the sales launch to put the finishing touches on it. So for now, we can say that the Razer Phone 2 does present a possible leap in quality, although we'll have to until we get a chance to test the final software when the device arrives at our editorial office for our in-depth test.

Gaming smartphone with flagship-killer potential

With the 2nd generation of the Razer Phone, the gaming specialist isn’t blazing any new paths, and is instead continuing on the trajectory from the first generation. Technically speaking, the device offers the best on the market and has no hidden limitations. Razer has also given its second phone a fresher and more modern look with a glass back, an illuminated logo, wireless charging and an optional charging station. There’s a still a big question about the camera components, since they represented the Achilles heel of the first generation. We’ll have to wait and see how the device fares in this regard, so make sure to check back in for our comprehensive review!

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