The recipe for the Razer Phone 2 is simple. Take the best 120Hz screen for games, the latest mobile processor and Dolby Atmos sound, then garnish with Razer Chroma lighting, waterproof and dual cameras. Delicious, right?
Of course, as every local chef who compares the unsightly mess burned with the glossy photos in the oven soon discovers knowing the ingredients of a good meal and putting them together successfully are two very different things. It is not an easy task to make a cell phone that will make players happy without compromising battery life or leaving players with burnt fingertips.
You have to confide something to the Razer team, because the Razer Phone 2 is only the second smartphone, but it handles almost all the criticisms in which the original was involved. At first glance, you might think that not much has changed since the company has stuck to the square aesthetics that is incompatible with most other flagship 2018 brands. But take a closer look, and it's a checklist of key features for the power user.
The screen is still a 5.72-inch UltraMotion IGZO LCD with a resolution of 1440 x 2560, and it still holds the crown as the only true 120-Hz display smartphone in the US. Other companies – yes, Apple, Razer looks at you – maybe they're talking their 120Hz screens, but that's just for the touch response. The Razer Phone 2 has these and, more importantly, 120Hz refresh rates.
However, this time it's up to 50 percent brighter, with up to 645 nits and with Netflix-certified HDR support, the colors are also richer. Razer also stayed with an aspect ratio of 16: 9 and argued that most of the game and video content is in this form. It is flanked by not insignificant fronts up and down – no recess for Razer – that support stereo front speakers with dual amplifiers, a 24-bit DAC and Dolby Atmos.
Audio is often an afterthought in mobile phones, but according to Mike Breslin, head of global mobile sales and marketing, Razer is a key area for this second-generation phone. "We own THX," he said, underscoring the expertise of the engineering team. You also hear the difference. Razer says they're loud – Breslin even pulled out a noise meter to prove that the phone could reach 95 dB – but even more striking is the absence of distortion even at these high volumes. There is an amazing amount of bass, to the point where you really do not need a Bluetooth speaker.
It's doubly impressive considering Razer once again protected IP67 against water and dust. It took some sophisticated design work to make sure the stereo drivers were sealed but still able to deliver the audio equipment.
On the back there is a dual camera array. Razer has paired a 12 megapixel 1: 1,75 standard camera – with optical image stabilization – with a second 2.6x 2.6 telephoto camera and a 12 megapixel sensor. The front gets an 8-megapixel f / 2.0 camera that makes 1080p 60fps video: According to Breslin, more and more streamer use the selfie camera on their phones to stream and so pays off the faster refresh rate. An updated camera app provides more settings and controls without having to browse the settings pages and menus.
On the back is also the new Razer logo, which has now been upgraded with the company's color-change technology. You can choose from 16.8m different shades and assign different colors to different app notifications: red for your business email, but blue for Twitter notifications. Razer Chroma will also be using the new 15W wireless charger, which uses the newly added Razer Phone 2 Qi support. The base of the charger may glow in different colors, depending on which alarms are received.
This charges a hefty 4,000 mAh of battery, or you can use Qualcomm QuickCharge 4+ and go from 50 to 50 percent in half an hour. Razer says you can expect ten hours of battery life if the screen is updated to a full 120 Hz.
As for the processor, Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845 with Adreno 630 graphics performance promises up to 30 percent more performance than the old phone. Razer also throws 8GB of LPDDR4X memory and 64GB of storage; A SIM and microSD slot allows the expansion of up to 2 TB capacity. There's also Gigabit LTE with Cat.18 download and Cat.13 upload support – 20 percent faster if you have a network that supports it than the original Razer Phone.
The disadvantage of high-performance components is heat. According to Breslin, Razer's telephone team turned again to the gaming laptop team to help with a new vapor chamber cooling system. It's effectively a huge heat pipe, a rectangle almost as big as the Razer Phone 2 itself, which dissipates the heat from the components.
It works in combination with Razer Cortex, an app that Razer publishes on the Google Play Store – not just its own phones – to optimize system settings for maximum gaming performance. It will also do useful things like mute notifications during the game.
The Razer Phone 2 comes with Android 8.1 Oreo. An update to Android 9 Pie is in preparation, says Breslin, however, and should be published soon. Bloatware should also be refreshingly absent, but you can use the Razer Theme Store with Nova Launcher to download different designs, icon packs and wallpapers. According to Razer, it is very popular with owners because the typical Razer Phone user downloads more than two different themes on average.
In a smartphone age where everyone has the latest processor and can charge their device with lots of memory and a large screen, Razer's approach is more targeted than most. Mobile gamers are their specific audience, encapsulated, says Breslin, through the 90-degree rotation from portrait to landscape, symbolizing that it's time for serious play. "We want to own this movement," he says, pointing out that the Razer Phone 2 was designed to be more horizontal than any other smartphone.
Along the way, I would not be surprised if the company picks up other power users. The Razer Phone 2 can carry its gaming features on the (color-changing) sleeve, but the combination of a fantastic display, state-of-the-art workmanship, maximum battery life, and the promise of minimal heat to slow things down is undeniably attractive to others on their own Smartphone to compromise.
You should not even cringe at the price. The Razer Phone 2 will unlock $ 799 if ordered in advance tomorrow. Among the other flagship we've seen recently, it's slightly undercut while the wireless charger costs $ 99.99. Not a word about carrier partnerships in the US, though Razer says there will be selected deals worldwide.