Razer’s new phone looks so much like the original last year that you wouldn’t guess it was the Razer Phone 2. The company is clearly channeling Apple or Samsung, with bold confidence in its design. 

In fact, there is no color restriction on the Razer Phone 2 regardless of what Apple introduces in their latest iPhone 11 range — if it’s black. At least you can choose between a mirror finish and a matte finish.

When the phone is turned around, the back reveals a few key differences from its predecessor. An all-glass body is meant to replace last year’s metal body. With the Razer Phone 2, you’ll also find a Snapdragon 845 chipset, WiFi, and IP67 water and dust resistance.

The phone’s back is also illuminated by RGB lights, as a result of feedback from fans and critics. Razer Phone 2 has also boosted the maximum screen brightness from 300 to 645 nits, in comparison with the original phone’s paltry 300 nits. You’ll find a 4,000mAh battery, dual rear cameras, killer stereo speakers, a 4,000mAh battery, and a 120Hz IGZO display.

So this phone will be fantastic for gaming – for power, sound, display, and ergonomics, it’s a knockout. In this review, the real question is: is it good for everyday life stuff too?

Display

With a 120Hz refresh rate and QHD resolution, the Razer Phone was meant to be all about its display. However, the Sharp IGZO panel was a disappointment in some respects, being less bright than many other flagship phones and with duller colors than most others.

Unlike its predecessor, the Razer Phone 2 offers a QHD 120Hz UltraMotion display with twice the brightness. With a brightness of 645 nits, anyone hoping to use the phone outdoors will be able to do so with ease.

Despite the mobile phone’s 120Hz refresh rate, its 8ms response rate ensures smooth gameplay and ultra-smooth scrolling. Although it draws more power, you can choose from three preset speeds: 120Hz, 60Hz, or 90Hz if you want to conserve a little power.

Its screen is razor-sharp, with a 1440 x 2560 resolution and 515 pixels per inch. There are two options when tuning the output resolution, Full HD or the native Wide Quad HD option.

Though we aren’t inclined to stick with the 16:9 aspect ratio, there are some aspects of the screen we don’t like. Aspect ratios have benefits, as well. When playing games in a landscape, you get a wider field of view, which means you don’t have to pan as much when you’re playing first-person shooters, saving you precious seconds during the battle.

We still believe Razer made a big mistake by choosing 16:9. The Galaxy S8 Plus is less expensive than the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus from last year, but it is less appealing side by side in a store.

Battery

Batteries aren’t simple when it comes to the Razer Phone 2. A 4,000mAh battery is comparable to the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 and Huawei Mate 20. The phone also lasts a full day in normal use, with around 15% of the battery remaining at night.

In test conditions, however, the max brightness screen-on time was unacceptable. The battery was at 70% after watching a 90-minute video. To give you a sense of context, the OnePlus 6T, after the same testing, got only 90%.

Consequently, if you plan on using your Razer Phone 2 at full beam, battery life will likely differ considerably from device to device depending on usage.

As far as charging goes, it is better than the original Razer Phone, with Qi wireless charging and a fancy RGB dock, as well as Quickcharge 5. Various battery-saving modes are also available in the settings.

Camera

gaming phone review

It features a wide-angle lens and a telephoto lens just like the iPhone 6 plus, instead of the three cameras of the new Mate 20 Pro and LG V40. Each camera has a 12MP sensor, with an f/1.75 aperture on the main camera and an f/2.6 aperture on the telephoto lens.

Since the first Razer Phone had no OIS, Razer has added one, which is really helpful, especially with video recording. As well as the automatic mode, portrait mode, beauty mode, and panorama modes, this camera has a lot more functions out of the box.

Despite not offering slow motion, the camera can capture videos up to 4K. With good lighting, photos have a good deal of detail. When you tap the screen, both focusing and adjusting exposure are reset. Even with the auto HDR feature, the dynamic range isn’t very good, falling behind all of the main players.

After the light begins to dim, the details begin to fade, with the contrast being too high, the noise reduction muddying, and the clarity being low despite noticeable sharpening. Most of the time, the result is a dramatic-looking, unimpressive picture – and the dark scenes are reminiscent of what flagships were doing around three years ago.

The situation doesn’t improve when we switch to a telephoto lens – we avoided it. When it comes to 2x zoom pictures, it doesn’t deliver as much detail when compared with its wide-angle counterparts, and it’s even worse in low light.

The Razer Phone’s camera can take some excellent shots if you’re able to manipulate it in the right lighting. Is the Razer Phone 2 a good camera phone considering what else is available? Not at all.

In addition, the 8MP selfie camera features bokeh and beauty effects. Unsharpened photos don’t look as sharp, even when they were taken in good light, but when taking selfies, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

It is interesting to note that the Razer Phone’s camera performs best in video mode. We were pleasantly surprised to find that the footage looks fabulous up to 4K resolution and even in middling lighting.

Sound

Fortunately for the Razer Phone, its stereo speakers are top-notch. While playing games without headphones, they deliver a powerful, crisp, and rounded sound. There are various Dolby tuning options available within the settings, including equalizer customizations, movie presets, and music presets. There’s also a bass enhancer, and you can choose custom.

The Dolby Atmos demo within the Razer Phone 2 settings is something we would highly recommend you try if you get some time with the device. Unlike anything we’ve ever heard on a phone, this phone features incredible sound separation.

If you care about audio and pick up the Razer Phone 2, you won’t be disappointed. The Pixel 3XL may be a bit louder, but volume isn’t everything.

Additionally, the supplied USB-C to 3.5mm jack adapter includes a 24-bit DAC, and we found its audio quality to be far superior to other adapters we’ve tried.

Pros Cons
Excellent speakers For the price, 64GB is not enough storage
Loads of power Mid-range camera
120Hz screen is unique on a phone 16:9 aspect ratio feels dated
Durable

Conclusion

Gamer’s will enjoy the Razer Phone 2, there’s no denying that. Are you aware of any other great gaming products? There’s the Pixel 3, Mate 20 Pro, Note 9, Xperia XZ3… the list goes on.

All of those other phones offer better processors, IP67 water resistance, stereo speakers, wireless charging, and at least the same amount of storage as the Razer One. This year, Razer will be charging flagship prices, unlike last year when it was extraordinarily competitive.

In fact, the Razer Phone 2 followed the OnePlus 6T in the product announcements, and the OnePlus 6T with 8GB RAM undercuts the Razer in a big way. In all other uses other than gaming, we’d choose OnePlus OLED over the Razer Phone’s IGZO display in a heartbeat.