It's not easy to turn heads in the mobile phone industry in 2018. At best we see that new phones come to critical recognition but also a feeling of stifved sadness. Perhaps it's best of its kind than, but so what? Apart from the fact that it's staining each box, what does it take for the table that's new? Fortunately, for those of us who are looking for something else (if a little quirky), Razer has decided to enter the mobile market. The game hardware company is now on its second-generation smartphone, Razer Phone 2, and it is true to its original vision: a handset for elite-based players. This puts the device in an interesting position. It's contrary to being a luxury product – so it should not only compete with the best but somehow achieve more. That is where the 1 20 Hz refresh rate display comes in, and the RGB information logotype. But the price tag tells. While it certainly competes with other $ 799 premium devices – such as Pixel 3, for example – it is still not dared to go higher than yet. The main reason is probably that Razer Phone has too little brand recognition (or not the right kind – when I say the name most think it's a reincarnation of the famous Motorola Razr), I think the price is appropriate in other ways too. Firstly, because the gaming market is still offensive, partly because Razer is still in mobile hardware. Razer Phone 2…
It’s not easy to turn heads in the mobile phone industry in 2018. At best we see that new phones come to critical recognition but also a feeling of stifved sadness. Perhaps it’s best of its kind than, but so what? Apart from the fact that it’s staining each box, what does it take for the table that’s new? Fortunately, for those of us who are looking for something else (if a little quirky), Razer has decided to enter the mobile market. The game hardware company is now on its second-generation smartphone, Razer Phone 2, and it is true to its original vision: a handset for elite-based players. This puts the device in an interesting position. It’s contrary to being a luxury product – so it should not only compete with the best but somehow achieve more. That is where the 1
20 Hz refresh rate display comes in, and the RGB information logotype.
But the price tag tells. While it certainly competes with other $ 799 premium devices – such as Pixel 3, for example – it is still not dared to go higher than yet. The main reason is probably that Razer Phone has too little brand recognition (or not the right kind – when I say the name most think it’s a reincarnation of the famous Motorola Razr), I think the price is appropriate in other ways too. Firstly, because the gaming market is still offensive, partly because Razer is still in mobile hardware. Razer Phone 2 is an excellent phone, but it does not tick any box yet.
Note: Razer gave this review unit to us with pre-production programs. We update the review if something changes significantly when the public release rolls out.
Let’s start with the screen because it is the largest sales point for the device. While it may seem like hyperbola, the screen’s 120Hz refresh rate is nothing but thought of. When you turn on the setting (it is set to 90Hz by default), the monitor can change the image as much as 120 frames per second. It’s twice as often as a regular smartphone. In addition, the Razer Phone has 2 120 Hz pitch sampling, which makes it possible to capture the touch input at a much faster rate. The latest iPhones have this technology, and it plays a prominent role in how smart interactions feel (something Apple fans love to brag about) – and it’s connected to a 60Hz screen.
It is difficult to convey how much this update rate is increased. Overall experience in terms of not only gaming but also simple mobile search. In recent years there has been some new mobile technology that felt like a significant generation step forward. Bezel-less or almost bezel-less devices come close, but it’s a shattering change, one that introduced the very maligned notch. I feel like everyone can get behind 120Hz screens. Each interaction is so much improved, from Pokémon Go to scroll through Twitter.
The only real drawback is that the display is not OLED (the technology is not there yet) and the IGZO LCD screen is a lot dimmer and warmer than you’ll be used to if you use quite a few other premium Android flagships. But make sure it’s significantly better than last year’s Razer Phone – about 50 percent better, in fact, goes from 380 light levels to 580 rivets.
The display is now well within the rich of acceptability, but sometimes you can shoot the screen on a sunny day. But it’s a small price to pay for a display that delivers what is the most smart interactive experience I’ve ever known.
Power Supply is a Snapdragon 845 chipset – standard problem for 2018 flagship. It’s a strong player, as we’ve seen with the rest of 2018 major smartphones, and comes with a Qualcomm Adreno 630 GPU, plus the gigabit LTE compatible X20 modem. There is also 64GB of internal storage and an impressive 8GB of RAM, twice what happens in Pixel 3. Of course, many will argue that 8GB of short-coded digital storage space is simply not necessary, but when it comes to a gaming phone that argument goes out through the window. If any device could use extra RAM, it’s a dedicated to 3D game, and if it does not, there’s no harm in it.
In my game experience with the phone my longest session lasted about two hours. I played Lara Croft Go (a 120Hz optimized game) non-stop during that time period, and the experience was consistent throughout. No slows and no crashes. I can not say the same for overheating – the phone goes a bit hot during processing-intensive tasks (about 110 degrees Fahrenheit) but stabilizes at that level when you continue to play.
I can find out if this is an accusation for the phone’s new steam chamber cooling system or if it works just as designed because the heat is evenly distributed over the back of the phone. It’s not uncomfortable, but I’m a little worried about the 4000mAh battery – it can contribute to a faster deterioration than usual. Currently, battery life is an excellent aspect of Razer Phone 2. When I only do daily phone activities like browsing, calling and announcing, it will be me over a day, which is good compared to many powerhouse flagships. But playing causes a rather widespread drop, which can be expected. In about two fixed hours of play you can lose 50 percent of the fee. If the phone is completely resting, you will lose about one percent per hour.
The only real problem I had with Razer Phone 2’s overall gaming experience is the device design. It may be the least comfortable phone I have ever used, and I have used several Sony phones in recent years. I will notice that I have quite small hands and wrists, but even those with larger hands than mine found it large, angled and heavy (36 grams heavier than Pixel 3 XL, to be exact). Surely I appreciate the 5.72 inch screen, but at what cost? My pinky finger broke almost every time I tried to rest the phone on it. The handset is also a very dangerous device for doing things in small pants or jackpockets in view of its size and slippery glass appearance. All this together comes close to a deal-breaker for me. The design is simply not practical.
That’s not to say there are no good parts about it. In fact, the forward-looking speakers bring us back to enjoyment in the kids-in-the-art store. I know it may not be very sophisticated, but I love to play music and podcasts from my smartphone speakers. It is the best way to bring sound around the house if you do not have a multi-room audio system installed. It’s unpleasant when the sound quality is tinny and quiet, but I’m still doing it. It’s so committed I’m in this lifestyle. Fortunately, Razer Phone 2 made listening to podcasts and music a great experience.
These speakers are so high. Up to 103.3 decibel high. You can easily hear your sound even if you wash or take a shower. The quality is also quite good. It’s not the best I’ve ever heard, but in mid-range volumes it sounds well-balanced and has a lot of body. Even when you blow up the loudest volume (which actually hurts your ears it’s so loud) – it’s just mildly tinny and the piles do not seem blanketed. Wired headphone function is satisfactory as well, but nothing exceptional. In close comparison with Pixel 2 using Razer’s new threaded Hammerhead earplugs, I found that Pixel 2’s sound had more depth and sharpness, but in daily use I did not notice much of a difference.
Returns to the external speakers for a while – there’s another reason why I’m particularly impressed with them: Razer managed to include these two massive front speakers and still offers IP67 waterproofing, which is great for peace of mind . In addition, the company switched a metal back for a glass, enabling wireless charging. But the most important design element, in my eyes, is the RGB light-up logo. I chose the “breathe” light rhythm, which immediately made the device feel like a loving little sensitive robot – an effect only reinforced by the fact that the lights tell you about messages – Blue for Facebook, Snapchat yellow, etc. – and warn you when the battery is low with a red light. Never have I felt more guilty of not having a charge line. I love the RGB light-up logo so much that it almost makes up for the unpleasant, blocky design of this mobile penguin. But not really.
On the less exciting aspects of Razer Phone 2. First off, the camera. The first Razer Phone received an exceptionally bad report card when it came to the camera. The problems were many, ranging from poor dynamic area to slow focus and capture speed to bad camera app user interface. This time, it’s a much more respectable shooter, and you have to tip your hat to Razer to at least try to deal with so many of last year’s problems. It replaced this year’s Samsung-made sensors for new from Sony’s IMX line, plus did some work on the software and the app interface. What we have is a camera that’s just okay.
Right: Razer Phone 2. Left: Pixel 2.
It’s not close to achieving the rich detail and color vibration you see with An excellent camera device like Pixel 2. The pictures tend to get smoother and that there is a tendency to blow out light areas in a given scene. That said, it’s not a bad overall shooter and it’s a game phone. For what it’s worth, it has enhanced the camera’s experience to a level that is not a breaker, at least not for me – and the same is true for everyone who’s just an intermittent mobile photographer.
Partially, your operator may factor in the decision. Support will likely be better than last year because Razer says Verizon customers can use the device this time – but I could not verify performance on Verin’s network, partly because Razer would only ensure that AT & T worked before launch. I also tried T-Mobile, and it worked well, but Project Fi is not supported yet. In short, it is probably best to proceed with some caution. If you buy Razer Phone 2, keep it in good condition so you can return if it does not work well on your network.
Razer does enough to play its place on the smartphone market as a luxurious gaming experience? In most ways, yes. Its 120Hz refresh rate and powerful specifications make it absurd to use, and the front speakers and RGB information logo just adds to the fun. Having said that, there are some important disadvantages, including camera and design. Razer is about to be the best you can get – it’s just not quite there yet.
If you need a good camera, you do not care much about games and comfortable design is important to you.
If you’re looking for a great performance experience combined with features, you’ll be hard to find with any other flagship.