Razer, the company that arguably created the gaming phone genre just came out with their sequel to the original Razer Phone, aptly named, the Razer Phone 2.
They were kind enough to let me borrow one from their event in LA (which you can watch the vlog of that I shot entirely on a Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K here if you’re interested in some behind the scenes stuff) so I figured I’d try and do a complete walkthrough on it.
If you aren’t familiar, a complete walkthrough on the site is where I go through every feature on a device so you guys are better prepared should you be in the market to buy one.
With that said, there’s a ton to go through, so let’s get started with the design.
At a quick glance, the new Razer Phone 2 looks a lot like the original Razer Phone, but then you notice this…
That’s right after I immediately mentioned to them upon seeing the original Razer Phone in the meeting last year that they should have made the three-headed snake logo light up as it does on their laptops, it seems that they not only listened, but they did one better.
The new snake is Razer Chroma enabled which means it not only lights up in their iconic green, but you can change the color, brightness, and choose from three different effects (spectrum, my favorite, static, and breathing) as well as disable it entirely. Part of the reason they could do this is the new glass back that covers the logo.
Thanks to that glass back, we also have fast Qi wireless charging now and they even launched a convertible Qi charging stand that, of course, is also chroma enabled.
In addition to the fact that every gamer out there loves a good Chroma setup, the logo (and the charging base) can be used as a notification LED that will automatically light up the designated app color for whatever app is notifying you (think red for Gmail, blue for Google Calendar, etc.).
And that is now my excuse for why the chroma (that I personally think just looks sick under that glass) is “functional”. Yeah, totally justified.
Moving to the front of the device, we have the same sized 5.72″ IGZO LCD panel with a 1440×2560 resolution that is capable of 120hz refresh rate (which you can adjust) but now it’s 50% brighter (645 nits now) and has better dynamic range.
Because of this, this is now the first phone to be HDR and Dolby Atmos certified by Netflix.
On the top and bottom of the screen is two dual front-firing speakers. The ones on the first Razer phone surprised all of is in the demo with just how loud it was and this one is no exception.
Razer says these speakers are now even louder and clearer than before thanks to a resonance chamber that is larger, better spatial audio imaging, and the inclusion of Dolby Atmos. And it does sound better I think, but when testing them in the meeting under not the best experiment conditions admittedly (I’ll do a more thorough one later on) the DB level was about the same. Regardless, they are still impressive because of another feature Razer added–an IP67 rating.
The new Razer Phone 2 is able to handle being underwater down to a meter for 30 minutes. That means that those speaker grills have to be made waterproof essentially along with all the components inside and yet they are still just as loud and clearer than last year’s model.
Also above the screen, we have our 8MP f2.0 front-facing camera capable of 1080P video.
On the top of the device, we have our SIM card and MicroSD card slot.
On the right, we have our volume buttons places so they are centered when using the device in landscape (how Razer envisions you to use the device for games and entertainment).
On the left, we have the power button that doubles as a fingerprint sensor.
At the bottom, we have a USB-C port and no headphone jack, but Razer does include a 24bit DAC dongle like last year.
Underneath the hood, we have the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor that is paired with 8GBs of LPDDR4X RAM and a brand new vapor cooling chamber (a miniature version of the ones found in their laptops, apparently). Because of this Razer claimed to me that their performance is better than any other Snapdragon 845 device because their system never drops below 80% performance, unlike others that drop more than that during extended periods of gaming (I’ll test this somehow in a future video).
Powering the Razer Phone 2, we have a 4000mah battery that is capable of Qualcomm Quick Charge 4+ (and is still the only device I’ve seen that uses this newest standard that can charge 2000mahs–half the battery–in 30 mins) and Razer has thankfully included a capable charger in the box.
We also have 64GBs of internal storage, Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, NFC, and up to 1.2 Gbit/s LTE.
For software, thankfully, Razer doesn’t add a lot to stock Android, they even use a super popular third-party launcher/home screen instead of creating their own like most companies called Nova (which is the launcher I usually use on my devices anyway since it’s super customizable and fast).
Besides, Nova, we have all of the Google services like Gboard, Gmail, Messages, etc. which I appreciate (again it’s what I usually use anyway) and we have the following that was added by Razer:
- Cortex: This is similar to Razer’s own desktop Cortex app but designed for mobile. It allows you to find games (it redirects to the Play Store) that Razer recommends along with games that can fully utilize the 120hz refresh rate of the screen. It also has a Game Booster function that allows you to set different settings for specific games that it’ll automatically turn on when those games are opened or you can set it to performance or power save for all games, as well.
- Theme Store: And lastly, there is a theme store where you can get different themes for the device as well. A lot of them are based on and licensed from some of the most popular mobile game franchises, as well.
Which brings us, to the cameras on the rear of the device (a bit of a pain point for reviewers last year with the original Razer Phone).
Now, we have dual 12MP cameras utilizing Sony IMX sensors. One camera is a wide-angle with OIS and an aperture of f1.75 and the other is an f2.6 2x telephoto that you can get to by tapping or swiping on the 1x/2x icon at the bottom of the viewfinder.
They support Dual Phase Detection Autofocus for quick focusing and are accompanied by a dual tone LED flash.
As far as the UI is concerned, they have updated their camera to be easier to use with one hand utilizing swipes (like Samsung and Apple have, etc.). Going through the different modes, we have the following:
- Beauty: This turns on the front camera automatically and then you can use the slider at the bottom to adjust the amount of “beauty” that is applied. This means skin smoothing and enlarging your eyes, which when turned all the way up is truly terrifying.
- Portrait: Thanks to the dual cameras we have a portrait mode that lets you blur out the background. The result isn’t the best compared to other devices out honestly. It also doesn’t let you adjust the blur like a lot of phones do after the fact now and it only seems to work when it recognizes a person’s face.
- Camera: The normal auto mode which allows you to take a photo in either 12.2MP or 7,7MP in 4:3 aspect ratio.
- Video: The normal video mode which allows you to record video up to 4K 30fps.
- White Balance: Choose from Cloudy, Incandescent, and Auto.
- Timer: Choose between 3 or 10 secs for a timer.
- Grid: You can add a grid to the viewfinder to help better line up shots (I always like rule of thirds).
- HDR: Not sure why you would ever not want this on, but you can turn off the HDR ability which helps with Dynamic Range, set it to always on, or set it to Auto (I’d just leave it on Auto like most phones have).
- Flash: Flash options of on, off, and auto.
Then in the settings, we some very basic options beyond that for:
- Save Location: Saving location metadata to each photo for organizational reasons.
- Volume Key Action: Choose if you want the volume keys to control shutter, zoom, or volume.
- Camera Shutter Sound: Turn the shutter sound on or off.
- Photo and Video Resolutions: Choose from the various photo and video resolutions up to the ones I mentioned before.
And here are some sample photos for you guys to check out for yourself:
And finally, the phone is retailing for $799. Considering it’s got flagship qualities, a fantastic screen, and audio experience, it’s competitive in some ways (and did I mention it has Chroma). The real question is the camera, which from this quick time with it I can definitely confirm is improved but the question remains if it can keep up with the latest flagships out there before I personally would use it as a daily phone myself (but the camera is the most important thing to me with my phone generally so that’s me).
Stay tuned and subscribe for some camera comparisons, battery tests, etc. coming ASAP and make sure to hit the bell next to the word subscribe so you don’t miss new videos, follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @theunlockr for photos taken on all the new phones that are coming out and regardless, thanks for reading.