Late last year, we got a little surprise from Razer. The gaming company released its first smartphone, and as expected, it targeted gamers. Branded as a gaming phone, it started a trend which several other companies followed soon after, including ASUS, Xiaomi, and even Samsung. So as you can imagine, many are excited about its successor.
Razer had one of the few phones last year that made conscious decisions in both the design and software experience of the phone. The higher refresh rate screen, the stereo speakers, even the placement of the fingerprint scanner were designed for the best experience whether you were gaming or watching videos. However, it wasn’t flawless. Its boxy design, LCD panel, and lack of headphone jack did deter some folks. So with Razer’s second try, fans are hoping they improve on the failures and add new features.
- OS: Android 8.1 Oreo
- CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
- GPU: Adreno 630
- RAM: 8 GB
- Storage: 64 or 512 GB
- Display: 5.72-inch 120 Hz IGZO QuadHD LCD
- Rear Cameras: Dual 12 MP
- Front Cameras: No info
- Audio: Dual front-facing speakers
- Battery: 4,000 mAh
Razer heavily borrowed from last year’s design, offering a phone which is about the same dimensions as last year (the length and depth are the same, the width is 0.05 inches larger). Except for this year’s glass back, it is difficult to tell the two phones apart.
However, one significant addition (depending on who you ask) is the inclusion of Razer Chroma. Chroma is Razer’s RGB software included in all of their gaming products, from laptops to speakers. The logo on the back is now controllable using Chroma, so you can configure the color to change based on your preference. Whether you want the RGB to reflect what happens in the game you’re playing or inform you of alerts, the possibilities are endless.
Besides the 120 Hz Ultramotion Display, one of the most standout features of the first Razer Phone was its front-facing stereo speakers. Each speaker had dedicated amplifiers, supported Dolby Atmos, and were THX certified. The result was some of the loudest and clearest speakers ever on a smartphone, dwarfing the performance of many laptop speakers. These speakers are making a return in the Razer Phone 2, in the same position as last year.
Once again, the Razer Phone 2 will have the highest refresh rate on a smartphone at 120 Hz. The panel, which they introduced with the predecessor, is a 2560 x 1440 IGZO LCD panel. However, thanks to IGZO tech, Razer can double the standard refresh rate of other phones, improving how everything is displayed on the Razer Phone 2, especially when gaming.
But because the Razer Phone 2 is a gaming phone, Razer is aware of the problem that comes with a higher refresh rate: screen tearing. Their solution here is known as Ultramotion. Razer Phone 2 once again adopts this adaptive sync technology which matches the refresh rate of the display to the frames being generated by the GPU. With these two things in line, the picture generated is smooth and fluid, making gaming better.
The Razer Phone 2 will be receiving an upgrade to its SoC to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845. This is the best SoC available to non-Huawei, non-Samsung, and non-Apple devices, and easily runs all the latest games on the highest settings, including PUBG Mobile and Fortnite.
Razer is also bringing back the 8 GB of RAM which they included in the predecessor. Which such a large amount of RAM, not only does gaming performance remain top notch, but so do everyday tasks. Similar to its predecessor, the Razer Phone 2 will cache many background apps, allowing you to easily jump back into an app you switched from a while back.
There will be a 512 GB storage option, just like the new iPhone XS, XS Max, and Galaxy Note 9. However, unlike the iPhones, Razer Phone 2 will have expandable storage, supporting up to 2 TB (when a large enough microSD card is created).
While Razer did include one of the better USB-C dongles for wired headphones, it doesn’t replace the ease of use of a 3.5 mm headphone jack. Despite the community’s outcry, Razer will once again forgo this port on the Razer Phone 2.
However, Razer was able to improve dust and water resistance on the Razer Phone 2. The new model is IP67, making it completely dust-proof. It also means it can remain submerged in up to one meter of water for up to 30 minutes. This is a pretty big surprise, especially since the speculation around the internet was that the speakers prevented the possibility of water resistance. Good job, Razer!
Finally, despite the near-stock experience, Razer is opting for Android 8.1 Oreo instead of Android 9.0 Pie. It is a bit disappointing because Razer Phone 2 users would benefit from the new UI and gesture controls. However, if last year’s model is any indication, Razer will quickly update the phone to Android 9.0 Pie.
The Razer Phone 2 will start at $799 for the 64 GB version. There’s only one color: Mirror Black. Preorders will start on October 11, just after midnight Pacific time (in other words, as soon as the calendar flips over from October 10 to October 11). There’s no word yet on when devices will start shipping, but we’ll keep you posted.