Razer kicked off the current “gaming phone” resurgence, but competitors that came later could pick a newer chipset. Not all of them did, but the bar was raised, anyway. The Razer Phone 2 arrived to answer the challenge with a Snapdragon 845 chip and a custom cooling solution.
The company also added features that are considered flagship staples – fast wired charging (QuickCharge 4.0+), fast wireless charging (Qi up to 15W) and water resistance (IP67).
Even better, it fixed up the display panel, boosting the brightness up to a maximum of 650 nits. The original Razer Phone could only go up to 300 nits, which was rather disappointing. The company also revamped the camera with new image sensors, OIS and Dual Pixel AF for stills and 2160p at 60fps for video.
This makes the Razer Phone 2 a competent flagship in general, not just a gaming phone. A pure Android phone at that, which makes it an interesting alternative to major players, which prefer to use their own skins and apps.
But this is a gaming phone and proud of it, not like the Honor Play whose exterior looks like any other Honor phone. Most telling is the Chroma logo on the back with RGB backlighting. It’s not just the logo, Razer has enabled coordination with other accessories like the wireless charging dock and the USB-C headphones (with noise cancellation).
We mentioned that the chipset is new – Snapdragon 845, replacing last year’s 835. The company used a vapor chamber to capture the heat from the chip and spread it across the whole phone, significantly increasing the cooling capacity.
However, Asus used a binned chip for its ROG Phone and the big CPU cores run at a higher clock speed – 2.96GHz vs. Razer’s standard clocks of 2.80GHz. The ROG Phone also has a vapor chamber but also vents. This might give it an advantage in sustained performance, but we can’t know for sure until proper tests are ran.
Razer does have the advantage of a 120Hz screen vs. ROG’s 90Hz. And it supports variable refresh rate, which desktop gamers will tell you reduces stutter and tearing. Plus, it’s flanked by front-facing stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos and dedicated amps.
Anyway, the Razer Phone comes with 8GB of LPDDR4X RAM, which is as much as you can get this year. And considering that the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 both have 8GB RAM too, it should be quite enough for any game for a few more years.
The storage capacity is another story – 64GB isn’t much. Even mobile games need plenty of room, for example Fortnite for Android is just under 2GB. Yes, there’s a microSD card slot, however even the fastest cards can’t hold a candle to the built-in UFS storage. Note that there’s a version with 128GB storage and a satin finish on the exterior.
One last thing, price. The new model launches at $800, the 128GB model is $900, while the original was $700. Still, smartphone prices have inflated quite a bit since last year and $1,000 flagships are considered “normal”.
Is the Razer Phone 2 a winner? It fixes almost all perceived weaknesses of the original and has a solid claim of being the top gaming phone. More importantly, it sounds like a great Android flagship, gaming or otherwise.