Razer Phone 2 delivers faster, cooler, and louder mobile gaming

Razer proved it was serious about phones with its first , and the company is keeping the concept sharp with the Razer Phone 2. The updated device keeps the 120-Hz refresh rate and 120-Hz touch sampling that made waves on the first Razer Phone, and that display now gets pixels courtesy of the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC. 

On top of its high refresh and sampling rates, the Razer Phone 2's 2560x1440 IGZO LCD keeps the variable-refresh-rate technology that many a gamer knows and loves from desktop PCs, according to GSMArena's hands-on report. The site also notes that the display is 50% brighter than before, at 580 nits peak brightness, and it apparently offers wide color support with 98.4% coverage of the DCI P3 gamut, according to Anandtech.

Like any Android flagship phone worth its salt in 2018, the Phone 2 uses Qualcomm's latest and greatest high-end mobile platform. The Snapdragon 845 in this phone runs at the standard peak speed of 2.8 GHz on its four performance cores. Razer didn't specify speeds for the 845's efficiency cores, but we'd presume they stick to reference specs, as well. To keep the 845 running as close to its peak speeds as often as possible, Razer incorporates a vapor-chamber cooling system that appears to stretch over most of the device's rear area. Razer pairs the SoC with 8 GB of LPDDR4X, according to GSMArena, and internal storage will start at 64 GB. A 128-GB model will arrive later this year.

The rear camera array of the Razer Phone 2 now boasts two 12-MP sensors from Sony's IMX family, although the company doesn't say specifically which sensors it picked. One of those sensors has an f/1.75 wide lens with optical image stabilization, while the other is a longer lens with an f/2.6 aperture. Razer vaguely claims that the Phone 2's rear camera can capture 120-FPS video, though it's not clear at what resolution that capture rate can happen. We've asked the company for more details. 4K capture with the rear camera is also on offer. The front camera offers 60-FPS video at 1920x1080 for potentially crisp and smooth video chatting.

The Phone 2's body sticks with the large-bezeled design of its predecessor, allowing it to deploy a pair of speakers for stereo sound. Presuming you're in a place where you won't be murdered for playing audio without headphones, the Razer Phone 2 apparently has even louder speakers than ever and Dolby Atmos certification. The phone doesn't have a headphone jack, but Razer does include a USB Type-C DAC with a purported 24-bit sampling depth that can plug into the phone's sole expansion port. Power users will be happy to know that the Phone 2 can take in microSD cards as large as 1 TB. Razer also claims IP67 dust and water resistance.

Razer sandwiches the Phone 2 in two sheets of Gorilla Glass 5 to allow for wireless charging through the back of the device. The company introduced a companion dock that provides that Qi induction and can hold the phone upright for viewing or collapse into a more traditional charging-pad posture. The phone also includes Qualcomm's Quick Charge 4+ suite for a zero-to-50% charge in half an hour.

The glass back of the Phone 2 allows a Razer Chroma-illuminated logo to shine through in any of 16.7 million colors, as well as breathing, flashing, and color-cycling modes. Razer will initially offer a high-gloss finish on the back glass, along with a matte finish that will accompany the larger internal storage option later this year. Razer pre-installs its mildly tweaked version of Android 8.1, and a good track record of updates for the original Razer Phone should reassure software-conscious buyers.

The Phone 2 might not have every whiz-bang flagship feature, but it stickers at a relatively modest $799 starting price. In a world of $1000-and-up phones, I bet there will be more than a few Android users who will be happy with the Razer Phone 2's solid feature set for the price. We'll be keeping an eye on this phone's camera quality to see whether it can live up to the bar of the impressive spec sheet.

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