If ROG Phone is a gaming smartphone to the core, Razer Phone 2 wants to act as a cross between a smartphone for video games and one for the most advanced productivity. It arrives in 2018 with a 16: 9 display which makes it a little more stocky than competitors on the market, but the “old” aspect-ratio allows a wider exploitable surface with video games, and with everyday operations in general.
Table Of Contents Summary
Razer Phone 2 Review
For a video game, Razer is a company that needs no introduction. It is one of the most active in the competitive environment and has been on the square for over ten years in which it has proposed peripherals, accessories and even high-performance gaming systems of excellent quality. In 2017 Razer Phone entered the market, which now comes to its second generation bringing a renewed hardware, a brighter display, always at 120 Hz and with HDR support, and several other innovations. The aspect remains a bit ‘squared, certainly unique, for a terminal that on one hand aims to innovate and on the other is too conservative.
Razer Phone 2 uses a 16: 9 display that is unmanageable in everyday use and impossible to use with one hand. Has a diagonal of 5.72 “, so nothing but prohibitive in terms of size, however, the square aesthetics and large front-facing speakers make the smartphone a bit ‘squat in appearance. Not even help the edges too sharp and the total weight of well over 200 grams. The aesthetics are however refined by some elements that make this Razer Phone 2 even more unique: we refer, in addition to the two front grilles with integrated speakers, to the rear Razer Chroma logo with RGB backlight.
The distinctive feature of Razer Phone 2 is once again the 120 Hz display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels. Such a high refresh rate naturally leads to greater fluidity both in games and in everyday use. Navigating through the Android screens, or scrolling through the contents of the various applications has never been so pleasant, and this year finally this feature comes with a new display, compatible with the HDR standard, and luckily much brighter than that of the predecessor (who sinned in this characteristic). Under the body, we have a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, combined with a memory compartment based on a single 8 GB cut for RAM, 64 GB for storage.
It is interesting to note that the new device Razer implements a particular system for the dissipation of internal heat based on a custom steam chamber and a higher dissipating surface than that of other devices of equal power. Razer Phone 2 can accommodate a microSD to expand the native storage space and has the slot to insert a single SIM, in Nano format. Among the novelties of the new generation, we also find the IP-67 certification, which allows you to immerse the smartphone to a depth of one meter for up to 30 minutes without worrying about possible damage to internal components.
Razer Phone 2
|OS (at launch)||Android 8.1 Oreo|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 to 10-nm
4 x Kryo 385 @ 2.8 GHz
4 x Kryo 385 @ 1.7 GHz
|Display||IGZO LCD 5.72 “(16: 9) @ 120 Hz|
|Resolution||2560 x 1440 px|
|Storage||64 GB Expandable via microSD|
Main: 12 MP f / 1.8 Dual Pixel
Secondary OIS: 12 f / 2.6 Zoom 2X
Video: 4K Ultra HD @ 60 fps
|Extra||4G LTE Cat. 18 (1200 Mbps download)
Wi-Fi 802.11ac Dual-band
Stereo Speaker Dolby Atmos
|Ports||USB Type-C 1.0|
Quick charge 24W QC 4+
|dimensions||158.5 x 79 x 8.5 mm|
The new device of Razer also implements a modem of the latest generation that can connect to 4G LTE networks of Cat. 18, promising a maximum download speed of 1.2 Gbps, of course, theoretical. It can be connected to Wi-Fi networks on ac standard, even on 5 GHz band, and is also compatible with the Bluetooth 5.0 protocol for pairing with external devices. There is no lack of NFC and fingerprint sensor, which is strategically positioned on the side: it is a solution that we do not mind, with the sensor that is comfortable to reach in almost all circumstances and is also rather reactive in use every day.
Inside the Razer Phone 2, we have a large 4000 mAh battery that supports Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 4+ technology, with which Razer promises a full-day gaming experience. Do not miss the support for fast charging; in fact, the back is in the glass, with the company that offers its base station Razer Chroma Wireless with Fast Charging functionality even in wireless mode.
Regarding the appearance of the audio we have support for Dolby Atmos with the two very powerful (probably the highest volume in the whole category) front-facing speakers, and there is also a USB Type-C DAC with support 24-bit even with 3.5mm headphones connected via USB Type-C adapter included.
The appearance is as we said quite simple and angular: on the left side, we have two separate keys to adjust the volume, on the right side the on / off button with integrated fingerprint sensor. The rear camera is in a horizontal orientation and protrudes a little, but the terminal does not move when placed on a plane unless a consistent force is applied.
The price is quite high, but in line with other proposals of equal technical characteristics: at the time of writing on Amazon it is at € 849.99.
Razer Chroma and user experience
Using Razer Phone 2 you immediately notice the two peculiar characteristics of the device: its enormous size and its splendid display, which we will elaborate later on. It is clear that when you buy a smartphone so big you should not expect great convenience in use, especially if you do not have the hands of Gianni Morandi. In some ways, we appreciated the aspect ratio of 16: 9 of the smartphone, since it still offers a larger exploitable surface useful especially in games as well as in productivity tasks, but for this reason Razer Phone 2 is inconvenient to use, and it is almost impossible to do it with one hand.
While the gaming experience is much better than the models at 18: 9 or 19: 9, dragging behind such a large and heavy product brings to mind times long gone by. And they certainly do not help the sharp edges or the huge front speakers, which offer very high-volume audio, but that contribute to considerably increase the size of the smartphone. In other words, the gaming experience or use in landscape mode are at the highest levels with regard to the smartphone category, but in other respects, Razer Phone is just an extremely fluid smartphone, but very uncomfortable.
Software side we have an experience that does not differ much from the stock version of Android, with the exception of the theme colors and icons used on the launcher, which is simply the famous Nova. We have mainly three pre-installed additional applications:
Booster for games, which simply serves to apply profiles to optimize performance and energy savings to be applied permanently or temporarily when launching games or specific applications.
Cortex, which allows you to download video games recommended by Razer and to create a library of games facilitating access. In the app, there is also a link to access the Booster for games.
Theme shop, which serves to download and install themes to the basic interface, many of which (but not all) based on games from different platforms.
We have certainly not forgotten the Chroma app, which is the one with which you can manage the backlighting of the logo present along the rear body. You can choose different intensities for LEDs, depending on the impact you want on battery life, and also different modes, including Breathing, Static (both with a single color) and Spectrum, with colors that change progressively. The rear LED is obviously RGB, with a rather large color palette chosen by the user.
Performance, display, autonomy: technical analysis
Needless to say, the performance offered by Razer Phone 2 is the first of the class, both by virtue of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, and both for the choice of a 120 Hz display that makes everything seem much, much smoother than traditional terminals. For the most sensitive to this particular aspect, returning to a 60 Hz smartphone will not be easy. However, we noticed with some applications a certain tendency to micro-lag in scrolling, as if the same were not ready for such a high refresh rate (ASUS ROG Phone, with its 90 Hz screen, did not present the problem), however the general reactivity of the system and the fluidity of the animations are generally at the top of the smartphone category.
In addition to the benchmarks that you can see above we also performed the canonical text on the display: that of Razer Phone 2 is not extremely bright, but in any case, we finally reach decent values and much higher than those we recorded with the same instruments with the First generation Razer Phone. The manufacturer promises a variation of 50% in favor of the second generation, and in fact we can confirm the official announcements: Razer Phone had reached a maximum brightness of 302 cd / m², while Razer Phone 2 recorded a result of 456 cd / m², with a good contrast ratio (1350: 1) and satisfactory viewing angles (in any case higher than those of the first model display).
As for the color saturation, we are below the capabilities of another top of the range of this generation: if many of these, in fact, have already switched to the DCI-P3 profile, Razer Phone 2 is stopped all SRGB. The calibration is of a high standard, with an almost perfect white point and a great precision for all primary and complementary colors, but those who are used to the bright colors of the latest top of the range may have the feeling of having stepped back.
Regarding the autonomy, we are on the same level as the Razer smartphone of the last generation, also because of the fact that the battery is the same from 4000 mAh. In our test, the smartphone is in the lower half of the chart, slightly below the category average. In everyday use, Razer Phone 2 proves to be particularly reliable, also thanks to a good optimization during the idle. With the Razer device, you get to the end of the day with certainty, while if used in moderation you can also hope for two full days.
Razer Phone 2 implements a double module on the back with 12 MP sensors, the main one combined with an optically stabilized lens with aperture f / 1.75, the second with a 2X optical zoom with aperture f / 2.6. In conjunction the two modules can apply a fictitious blurred effect, using one of the sensors to detect the depth information of each pixel. The rear camera can record in 4K Ultra HD at 60 fps and goes up to 120 fps for Full HD resolution. The front camera is instead 8 MP, can record in Full HD at 60 fps and is merged to an f / 2.0 lens.
Pictures were taken with Razer Phone 2
The Razer Phone 2’s rear camera is not at the level of other competitors of the same price range, but in some circumstances, it defends itself quite well. In the light of the sun, for example, does not apply a contrast mask too obvious as other models do, and even in intermediate conditions, it defends well with photos full of details. The shake is well avoided by the optical stabilization, however, it is in the dark that the top of the range of Razer loses the comparison with other devices at the top. The smartphone is reliable even in the most difficult circumstances, however, the photos in the dark lose a bit ‘of detail and show a fairly pronounced noise. Good quality also the zoom, even if only in optimal light conditions. Even the front camera allows you to make selfie in a reliable way.
The comparison with ASUS ROG Phone is a must, but let’s says right away that the two smartphones come with two very different facades. If on the one hand the ASUS proposal is geared almost exclusively to the video gamer, with an aggressive aesthetic difficult to show off at a gala dinner, on the other Razer Phone 2 offers a much more sober look, and not only from the point of aesthetic view. The software and all the integrated functionalities are more elegant, just as the software and the integrated applications are more elegant.
If ROG Phone is for the hardcore gamer that plays for 90% of the time, Razer Phone 2 proposes itself to an audience that is satisfied with a good 50%. The experience it offers is of the highest quality not only with video games, but also in other areas, and even the rear camera is much improved compared to the predecessor, apart from some uncertainty that we found in the dark compared to another top of the range.
The 120 Hz display is great, even if the color saturation is “old-gen”, and the audio sector is amazing with the two huge front-facing speakers. Too bad for the design, perhaps too little inspired and also a bit ‘old-gen: pass the purely aesthetic, but we are no longer used to go around with a smartphone of 220 grams and shapes so overly squared.