The best gaming smartphone on the market • Unmatched surround sound • Bright 120Hz display
Unimpressive camera • Size takes some getting use to • Kind of pricy unless you’re a gamer needing the specs
The Razer Phone 2 improves on the majority of its predecessors issues and remains the #1 smartphone choice for mobile gamers…but, man, that camera still needs improving!
Two years ago, Razer changed the game by carving out a specific niche in the mobile phone industry: an Android smartphone specifically made for gaming. After spending a number of weeks with Razer’s latest gaming phone, it’s clear why Razer is still the king of its domain.
Let’s get this upfront: the Razer Phone 2 is not for everybody. First and a foremost, it’s a device made for gamers. The look, the feel, and the specs behind the phone are all optimized for gaming. With that said, a number of these features also greatly enhance your all-around entertainment experience.
Personally, I like how the Razer Phone looks. I don’t have a problem with the phone’s bezels. The grille design houses speakers on the face of the phone and actually nicely fits Razer’s aesthetic. I much prefer that to the dreaded notch. Plus, it gives your hands enough room without covering the phone’s display while you’re gaming.
Flip the Razer Phone 2 over and you’ll find a feature straight from Razer’s popular line of Blade 15 laptops: the Razer Chroma RGB light up logo. On the back of the phone, Razer’s three-headed snake logo can shine in over 16.8 million colors. It’s not a game-changing feature, but it certainly sets the Razer Phone 2 apart from the rest. Plus, the logo you can change the settings so the phone can light up based on a specific app’s notification. For example, a new Gmail message notification can make the Razer logo glow bright red.
The Razer Phone 2’s display is one of its defining features. It has a big 5.72-inch IGZO LCD 1440 x 2560 screen. The company boasts that the Razer Phone 2 is the only phone with a true 120Hz display rate. This is crucial when setting apart a gaming phone from the rest of the smartphone pack. There’s not stuttering or lagging on the screen when you’re playing Fortnite. That refresh rate is a critical factor when it comes to in-game accuracy. Razer says the phone’s display is 50 percent brighter than the previous model. I can’t quite tell if its 50 percent brighter, but the screen is bright!
Holding the big, blocky phone took some getting use to. As someone who wears fairly tight-fitting jeans, the phone looked humongous sticking out of my pocket. Thanks to the size, I never really felt too comfortable holding the phone upright in portrait mode.
On the flip side, however, handling the Razer Phone 2 in landscape mode when you’re using two hands was much more pleasing. It felt very much like gripping a well-made game console controller, maybe even a shrunken Nintendo Switch. As a smartphone made for gaming, you’re likely to find yourself holding the Razer Phone 2 in landscape mode more often than not so it works out.
Being primarily an , the Razer Phone 2 was heavier than I’m accustomed to. However, the phone’s aluminum unibody does make the device feel nice and sturdy. It feels like the premium you paid for the phone.
Razer says the phone is water resistant, which would be new when compared to the first Razer Phone. Much like its predecessor, though, there’s still not a headphone jack. Maybe this was a knock on the phone back in 2017, but it’s expected nowadays. The phone comes with a dongle so you really can’t complain. The company also sells its own Hammerhead USB-C ANC headphones.
Of course, what would a smartphone made for gaming be without blazing fast performance. WIth a Qualcomm 845 Snapdragon processor and Adreno 630 GPU, Razer says the phone performs 30 percent better than its predecessor. Go live on Twitch with this phone and you’ll notice no difference between console streaming, at least performance wise.
The Razer Phone is equipped with 8GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. It’s a little disappointing that they didn’t increase the internal storage from the previous generation, but the phone does have a micro SD slot which can expand space up to 1TB.
Powering the Razer Phone 2 is a 4000 mAh lithium-ion battery, which is the same as the previous model. I found that the battery was roughly halfway depleted after a few hours of gameplay. Razer says the battery can last up to 10 hours. Perhaps that’s the case for the first Razer Phone. But, to be fair the battery has to power a phone with much high specs this time around. Also, mobile gamers know by now to always have an external battery pack handy.
If you’re that worried about battery life, however, the Razer Phone 2 has you covered. The Razer Cortex Mobile app is sort of the company’s own little app store. It curates a list of games that take full advantage of the Razer Phone 2’s specs. But, found alongside the games in the app is the Cortex: Game Booster. This feature enables Razer Phone users to optimize their device’s performance by creating customized settings that attach to each game on their phone. Users can change these settings and alter CPU performance and frame rate output for a simpler games that don’t require the phone to run on its maximum settings. That was your battery doesn’t get drained. The Game Booster also remembers every time you launch that particular game.
Speaking of the phone’s battery, the Razer Phone 2 supports wireless charging, a feature missing from its predecessor. Taking advantage of this, Razer has released a pretty cool wireless charger for $99.99. Just like on the back of the phone, this wireless charger has customizable Razer Chroma RGB lighting. It also charges the phone pretty quickly thanks to its Qi Wireless Fast Charging feature.
An extended gaming session would make most mobile devices feel pretty hot. During my time playing with the Razer Phone 2, I did not experience much of a temperature change. That’s thanks to the Razer Phone 2 stealing another feature from the company’s line of laptops. Razer installed its “vapor chamber cooling system” inside its latest line of phones which helps keep the phone’s body cool.
My biggest issue with the Razer Phone 2 before launched last year was its camera. Since then there has been a Razer update that dealt with the camera’s functionability. Even with the update, however, the camera remains the Razer Phone 2’s biggest weakness. We had issue with the first Razer Phone’s camera too. Razer has improved on it with a rear dual 12-megapixel camera and a front-facing 8MP selfie cam with HD video. It’s just still lacking though. The cameras not bad per say, but when compared to photos taken with other high-end smartphones, the Razer just couldn’t compete. The camera app also lacks so many features like slow-mo/time lapse options and the filter pickings are pretty slim. It’s especially disappointing in a phone that’s far and away more advanced in so many of its other aspects. Smartphone cameras are a big deal!
With that said, let’s talk about the Razer Phone 2’s most impressive feature: its sound. The Razer Phone 2 has built-in Dolby Atmos surround sound. It’s the only phone to receive official certification from Netflix for HDR video and Dolby Surround 5.1 audio content. It makes sense when you find out that Razer owns THX. But, even so, the sound is incredible. Over the past month I showed this phone to gamers, cinephiles, and your average smartphone user. Some noticed the phone’s display and performance, some didn’t. One constant with this phone was that everyone was wow’d by the sound on this phone. The phone can get loud and does so without distortion. Watching movies on this phone is a one-of-a-kind experience thanks to the surround sound. If adding a surround sound system to your television set at home gives you a home entertainment system, the Razer is the home entertainment system of smartphones. I’m truly impressed and I think Razer doesn’t talk this feature up enough!
The Razer Phone 2 usually retails for $799. Amazon, Best Buy, and the Microsoft Store are currently offering $100 off the phone for a limited time. Furthermore, is currently offering a $250 Prepaid Mastercard to any Razer Phone 2 user who switches from their current wireless provider. The offer is valid until February 7. Customers can combine the two offers and knock off a total of $350 off the Razer 2.
Razer is a gaming peripheral company. (Hell, the company even sells its own .) Razer created the gaming smartphone niche with its flagship mobile device, the Razer Phone. If you’re not playing a lot of mobile games, you could definitely find a more affordable smartphone option that will serve your needs better. If you watch a lot of movies, maybe take a look at the Razer Phone 2 for its display and amazing sound. If you’re a hardcore gamer, the updated Razer Phone 2 is for you. Hopefully, the next Razer Phone addresses its camera though!