Almost a year after launching its first gaming-focused flagship smartphone, Razer is back with the Razer Phone 2. It brings with it faster performance, improved cooling, an upgraded camera setup and even Razer's RGB Chroma lighting system – so you can have your app notifications color-coded.
Under the hood Razer has fitted a Snapdragon 845, the same chip that's featured in just about every flagship Android phone launched this year (including the Pixel 3 phones). That's paired with a generous 8 GB of RAM and a rather skimpy 64 GB of internal storage (though you can expand on this with a memory card).
Design-wise, little has changed from the first generation. The screen gets the slightest of bumps in size from 5.7 inches to 5.72 inches, though the resolution remains at 1,440 x 2,560 pixels (513 pixels-per-inch). There is a glass back now though, to enable wireless charging, and IP67 waterproofing and dustproofing has been added.
This time around Razer has introduced scaled down versions of the cooling and lighting systems it uses on its gaming laptops. That means the phone should stay cooler for longer even when running the most intensive games, and the Razer logo on the rear can cycle through a selection of 16.8 million colors – probably not all that useful, but quite cool. You can color-code your phone alerts, if you want, too.
As for the rear-facing camera, it gets a boost to a dual-sensor 12 MP + 12 MP configuration, for better shots in a wider range of lighting, and special software to enable one-handed operation. Razer is also promising the 4,000 mAh battery is good for 10 hours of gaming, even at the top 120 Hz screen refresh rate, and even with a display that's quoted as being 50 percent brighter than its predecessor.
Although the Razer Phone 2 might look a lot like the original Razer Phone, the upgrades seem to be in all the right places, and the addition of waterproofing and wireless charging fixes some of the drawbacks of the first Razer Phone. If the first model was testing the waters, the second one seems more confident in what it's doing.
There's no doubt phones like the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 have all the oomph necessary to run the best mobile games out there, but perhaps there is a place for handsets geared specifically towards gaming – with software optimizations and screen and audio tech to match. With the likes of Fortnite now on mobile, and the big players experimenting with streaming games, the market looks set to grow sharply.
Pre-orders for the new Razer Phone 2 are open now, with the phone sold unlocked for US$799. As yet Razer hasn't confirmed any details on shipping dates.Product page:
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