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 2560×1440 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 1920×1080 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.

Comments closed
    • LoneWolf15
    • 1 year ago

    Anybody know whether these are Verizon/Sprint compatible (CDMA) or just GSM-only like OnePlus, Nokia, and 1/2 of the Android phones I’d probably be interested in?

    • Anonymous Coward
    • 1 year ago

    Well, I approve of the big speakers and square screen design. Nice to see someone [i<]not[/i<] follow trends, while proudly remaining premium.

      • Chrispy_
      • 1 year ago

      I don’t even care that there are speakers there, I just appreciate the fact there’s some bezel so that I could hold the phone securely and comfortably without inadvertently tapping icons and registering edge swipes.

      Bezel-free and notched displays are two things that manufacturers are pushing and advertising really hard, but I’ve never met anyone who complained that their phone had a bezel. I’ve also heard most people with bezel-free phones complain about the lack of a bezel.

        • Anonymous Coward
        • 1 year ago

        Some of those phone reviewers are so caught up in whats fashionable, makes me want to move to a small cabin in the forest and stop washing myself.

        In other news, this “gamer phone” also has a 4000mah battery, thats not so bad.

    • auxy
    • 1 year ago

    This whole thing is a little weird. (・へ・;)

    On the one hand, I’m really glad SOMEONE out there is making a phone with stuff like high-refresh-rate VRR screens and a focus on input latency. That’s awesome! (‘ω’)/

    On the other hand, most of the most popular mobile games (Kantai Collection, Azur Lane, Girls Frontline, Fate: Grand Order, Granblue Fantasy, King’s Raid, Monster Strike, Puzzle & Dragons, Shadowverse, etc) are optimized for touchscreen gameplay and as a result don’t require precise controls or fast reactions.

    Also, as others have pointed out,
    [quote<]a relatively modest $799 starting price[/quote<] (。-`ω-) [sub<]Also also, >phone says 13:37 HEH.[/sub<]

      • Stonebender
      • 1 year ago

      Well, now we know what draws you into a game, ROFL.

        • auxy
        • 1 year ago

        What are you saying?

          • Stonebender
          • 1 year ago

          Well, it’s not like there is a common theme there or something lol.

            • auxy
            • 1 year ago

            But those are the most popular games, not MY favorite games. I don’t play mobile games.

            • Stonebender
            • 1 year ago
            • Pwnstar
            • 1 year ago

            LMAO

      • Laykun
      • 1 year ago

      TBH, outside of the marketed “purpose” for the device the phone just seems like it’d be nice to use. 120hz screen, decent front facing speakers, quality build. At 799 all you’re really looking for is something that’s just a bit nicer, and having used 120hz iPads I would be envious of someone with a 120hz phones, it’s just really nice.

        • Stonebender
        • 1 year ago

        Seems like a gimmick to me.

          • DarkUltra
          • 1 year ago

          Its not. Even scrolling and drawing is more responsive and solid with lower input lag and higher refresh rate. I really hooe someone would release an Android phone with a 120Hz OLED display.

          [url<]https://youtu.be/vOvQCPLkPt4[/url<]

      • derFunkenstein
      • 1 year ago

      It’d be interesting to see if this would help with input latency on touch-screen controls for emulators. Most of my emulation happens on my Shield, though. Still, a quick on-the-go game of Donkey Kong would be fun.

    • Anovoca
    • 1 year ago

    The ideal gaming phone for me would need a slide out touch display (similar to the old slide out keyboards on the droid) that can be switched between keyboard, joypad, touchpad, or secondary display. I would also care more about its wifi adapter than the primary display hardware. Most of the gaming I do on a phone is over a PC stream so I usually suffer from latency issues before i ever reach 60fps on my device. I would take an ac1700 dual band connection any day of the week over 120hz display, even if that meant plugging in a high gain antenna to the 3.5mm port.

      • auxy
      • 1 year ago

      The ideal gaming phone for me would be something like this:
      [list<][*<]Start with a [url=https://i.imgur.com/crDnyWx.png<]Nintendo DSi[/url<]. I think it's the perfect size and shape. [/*<][*<]Update the screens. The "top" screen should expand to be 16:9 and very large, most of the size of the inside-top. Speakers can fire from the bottom of the screen. The bottom screen can be narrower, like on a 3DS. Both should have capacitive touch.[/*<][*<]Update the hardware internals. Obviously getting Apple hardware is a pipe dream, but something with a few very fast cores, a fast GPU, and superfast storage. Optane in a phone? Hehe.[/*<][*<]Update the camera to a modern dual-sensor system. The camera on the Razer phone or whatever is fine with me, doesn't have to be Pixel 3-tier.[/*<][*<]Add a third non-touch screen to the outside, opposite the cameras, for use when taking photos and also to do things like see who is calling or new notifications.[/*<][/list<] I agree that a fast Wi-Fi adapter would be very good. In a device with the bulk of a DS (even the much slimmer DSi) you could put a pretty serious antenna. Make the whole thing plastic too, like the DSi, so you don't have signal issues and it's hard to break. And give it nice stereo speakers. Of course the problem is Android doesn't have any multi-display support as far as I know so it would require a lot of hackery to make it work properly. A girl can dream though, right...?

        • Redocbew
        • 1 year ago

        I guess I’m the only one here who puts “gaming phone” on the same level as “blender shoe”.

          • auxy
          • 1 year ago

          Phones are bad for gaming because touchscreens are bad for gaming. Your smartphone has a really powerful processor that can play some great games! It’s just the input device that lets it down.

          A “phone” with proper input can be really great as a gaming device.

            • Redocbew
            • 1 year ago

            That’s actually pretty close to what I was thinking also. It’s the UI/UX that’s the problem, and I’m not sure a faster refresh rate is going to fix that.

            • Chrispy_
            • 1 year ago

            Bingo.

            The oxymoron is “touchscreen gaming” not “mobile gaming”.

        • Anovoca
        • 1 year ago

        Android wouldn’t necessarily need to support dual screen to allow a touch screen keyboard/keypad. The amount of cpu and memory it would take to run that would be so small you could integrate the system right into the board. All android would get would be the input device signal. It wouldn’t be as nice as a DS screen, but it would be a stepping stone.

    • Chrispy_
    • 1 year ago

    [quote<]a relatively modest $799 starting price[/quote<] Thanks, Apple, for ruining the price of mobile phones.

      • kvndoom
      • 1 year ago

      If people weren’t happily paying the price, it wouldn’t have reached this point. The sky’s the limit until Apple’s YOY sales numbers start declining heavily.

        • Chrispy_
        • 1 year ago

        Well, they are.

        There was a news article on TR relating to the Apple quarterly revenue not that long ago and if you followed the link it highlighted that the iPhone revenue was [i<]up[/i<] since the iPhoneX launched, but then analysts pointed out that the median price of each iPhoneX was proportionally greater than the increase in revenue. In other words, Apple are selling fewer phones at a higher price; Good for margins and profit, bad for gaining marketshare from the competition.

          • derFunkenstein
          • 1 year ago

          I don’t think Apple views any Android maker as “the competition”. They have their cash cow ecosystem and they’re going to make more money however they can. They recognized the need to sell more phones to do that, and therefore they made the iPhone Xray

      • DeadOfKnight
      • 1 year ago

      Here you go: [url<]https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079Z3DX1W/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_kh2VBb4ZYTFF7[/url<]

        • Chrispy_
        • 1 year ago

        Yep. The G6 and the Nokia 6.1 seem to be the sweet spot; 90% of the flagship experience, 15-25% the price.

          • LoneWolf15
          • 1 year ago

          And the 6.1 is GSM-only. The Moto G5Plus 4GB/64GB still seems like the sweet spot to me.

      • Redocbew
      • 1 year ago

      Yeah, I guess pricing-wise this kind of stuff from Razer is no longer an outlier. I still don’t get it though, but that’s probably just me.

      • Laykun
      • 1 year ago

      I have a Samsung as my device, and I have to say they are just as guilty for this pricing problem as Apple. Even if Apple started it, they caught the ball and kept on running with it, everyone is to blame (even those that bought the phones).

        • rechicero
        • 1 year ago

        Apple or Samsung are not guilty of anything, ppl that pays those prices are. As long as ppl are willing to pay 1000+ for a phone, somebody is going to sell it.

        On the other hand we have really good phones in the 150-250 range. It’s not like is flagship or nothing.

          • Anonymous Coward
          • 1 year ago

          I imagine we’d have more interesting stuff around $500 if it didn’t turn out that a significant number of people will spend themselves into a hole while social-posturing via their phone. At some point the price is virtually all profits on the back on people’s vanity.

          • DavidC1
          • 1 year ago

          Sounds a bit defensive, doesn’t it?

          Apple and Samsung are both at fault for pricing at the absolute maximum price rather than voluntarily keeping prices in check.

          Buyers are being irresponsible for spending that much money on a phone.

          Irresponsible vs. intentional. Naw, Apple/Samsung is more at fault.

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