Razer Phone 2 full review

Following the reveal of the first ever dedicated gaming smartphone in 2017, Razer is back with the Razer Phone 2. The Razer Phone 2 is more refinement than reimagination, improving on the core experience provided by the original Razer Phone with an improved display, more powerful internals and, of course, an RGB-powered logo on the rear.

But with so many similarities between the two smartphones, it’s hard to work out what is new with the Razer Phone 2, and which you should buy. Don’t worry, as we’ve compared the Razer Phone and Razer Phone 2 below, outlining the key differences to help you make the right decision for your gaming needs.

Read our Razer Phone 2 review.

Razer Phone 2 vs Razer Phone: Pricing and availability

The Razer Phone 2 has been released with a £699/$799 price tag, which is in-line with the pricing of the original Razer Phone at launch in 2017. If you’re interested in picking up the latest Razer Phone, you can do so from the Razer website in the UK and the US.

You'll be able to get it from Three on 26 October.

But while the Razer Phone launched at £699, it’s now available for much cheaper. At the time of writing, you can pick up the original Razer Phone for £599 at Currys PC World, and when you consider the similarities between the first- and second-gen smartphones (which we’ll go into below), the discount makes the Razer Phone a tempting option.

Razer Phone 2 vs Razer Phone: Design and build

The Razer Phone and Razer Phone 2 largely look the same, though there are a few key differences between the original and this year’s offering. While both devices sport the same angular design, the Razer Phone 2 boasts a glass rear that helps give the smartphone a more high-end look while also providing wireless charging capabilities. Two birds, one stone and all that.

There is a slight difference in dimensions between the two devices, with the Razer Phone 2 measuring in slightly thicker than the original, at 8.5mm and 8mm respectively. We imagine this is largely down to the glass rear and upgraded internals, but that doesn’t make the Razer Phone 2 bulky – for context, it’s the same thickness as Samsung’s Galaxy S9.

That’s not all that’s different either; in true gaming phone fashion, the Razer logo on the front of the Razer Phone 2 is RGB-enabled and can be customised via the Chroma app on the smartphone. It can show solid colours, pulse and more, and can also be used to alert the user to incoming notifications when the phone is screen-down on the table. It’s certainly a step-up from the etched logo of the first-gen Razer Phone, anyway.

There’s still a dual-camera setup on the rear of the Razer Phone 2, but unlike with the original smartphone, the location has now shifted to the centre of the rear. It’s a small change, but it does mean that you won’t be able to use Razer Phone cases on the Razer Phone 2 if you’re looking to upgrade!

It’s much harder to spot the differences between the first- and second-gen smartphones when looking at them head-on, as both sport the same 5.7in display, 16:9 aspect ratio and front-facing stereo speakers, though rest assured that the tech inside the Razer Phone 2 has been upgraded to compete with other 2018 flagships.

Razer Phone 2 vs Razer Phone: Features and spec

Despite featuring a similar look to the first-gen Razer Phone, the Razer Phone 2 boasts improved internals that give it the edge over not only the original, but most other gaming-focused smartphones on the market at the moment.

Display

Let’s start with the display; both the Razer Phone and Razer Phone 2 feature a 5.7in IGZO display that offers both a 120Hz screen refresh rate and 120Hz touch sampling for zero-lag input and buttery smooth gameplay, though the display of the second-gen smartphone is 50 percent brighter than that of the original.

These are currently the only two smartphones on the market that offer a 120Hz display, and certainly give both the Razer Phone and Razer Phone 2 an edge over the likes of the Xiaomi Black Shark.

The Razer Phone 2 also has better screen protection, offering Gorilla Glass 5 protection compared to Gorilla Glass 3 featured on the first-gen Razer Phone.

Internals

As well as a brighter display, the Razer Phone 2 features improved internals that provide a boost in game performance. While the Razer Phone offers a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 with an Adreno 540 GPU and 8GB of RAM, the Razer Phone 2 boasts an upgraded Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 with an Adreno 630 GPU and 8GB of RAM, but that’s not all.

The second-gen smartphone is backed up by a custom Razer vapor chamber cooling system that provides “industry-leading” thermal cooling that helps heat dissipate over a wider surface area. The end result should be a smartphone that provides a high-end gaming experience, even during the most intense PUBG Mobile matches, without getting too hot.   

In terms of connectivity, the Razer Phone 2 offers Bluetooth 5.0, Dual-Band (MIMO-powered) Wi-Fi and CAT18 download speeds of up to 1.2Gbit/s. That’s an upgrade from the original, which featured Bluetooth 4.2, Dual-band Wi-Fi and CAT9 download speeds of up to 450Mbit/s.

Speakers

Though both smartphones feature front-firing stereo speakers, the speakers of the second-gen Razer Phone are 40 percent louder than those of the first.

As well as providing a clearer soundscape for intense gaming sessions, the front-facing speakers allow you to hold the smartphone however you feel most comfortable during game sessions without blocking the speaker or the mic, an issue that every gamer has experienced at some point in the past.

Charging and battery life

The inclusion of an aluminium body on the original Razer Phone meant that it couldn’t offer wireless charging. That has changed with the Razer Phone 2, as the glass rear allows Qi-powered wireless charging to be possible. If wired charging is more your thing, the Razer Phone 2 also features quick-charging tech that should provide around 50 percent battery life in 30 minutes.


The Razer Phone 2 is compatible with Razer's own Chroma-enabled wireless charger

Both smartphones feature a non-removable 4,000mAh battery, though Razer claims that the second-gen smartphone has improved battery optimisation that can provide up to 10 hours of constant use at 120Hz, while the original could only offer 9 hours of use at 90Hz. We’ll be putting these claims to the test once we spend more time with the Razer Phone 2, don’t worry.

Cameras

One area where the Razer Phone and Razer Phone 2 seem to be almost identical is in the camera department. Both feature a dual-camera setup on the rear comprised of one 12Mp wide-angle sensor with OIS and one 12Mp telephoto sensor, complete with Phase Detection Autofocus, and Dual-tone flash, though the aperture of the wide-angle lens has been improved on the newer model – f/1.75, compared to f/1.8 on the original. They’re both capable of recording video up to [email protected], too.


The Razer Phone 2's rear camera setup has been moved

The front-facing camera setup is largely the same across both devices too, offering a single 8Mp snapper, though the Razer Phone 2 supports video streaming at full 1080p HD, which may make it more tempting for those that want to livestream mobile games with a live face cam.   

Software

Though the Razer Phone launched with Android Nougat (7.1.1), it’s one of the few smartphones to get the upgrade to Android O. In fact, the Razer Phone now offers support for Android 8.1, the same operating system featured in the brand-new Razer Phone 2.

Hopefully this year’s model will follow suit and get Android P in the coming months, but only time will tell!  

Verdict

The Razer Phone and Razer Phone 2 are fairly similar, there’s no denying it. They both sport largely the same design, with the exception of a glass rear and RGB-powered logo on the newer device, and both sport the same gorgeous 120Hz display that provides the best gaming experience on a mobile device.

The differences boil down to improved processing power, improved camera performance and little extras like wireless charging. If those features are essential to your mobile experience, pick up the Razer Phone 2, but if you’re only after it for the 120Hz display, the original Razer Phone is the one to go for.

Razer Phone 2: Specs

  • 5.7in (2560x1440, 515ppi) display
  • Android 8.1
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor with Vapor Chamber Cooling
  • 8GB RAM
  • 64GB storage, up to 2TB with microSD
  • 12MP f/1.75 wide-angle + 12MP f/2.6 telephoto dual camera
  • 8MP f/2.0 front-facing camera
  • Stereo front-facing speakers
  • RGB-illuminated Razer Chroma logo
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • 802.11ac Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • GPS
  • NFC
  • USB 3.1, Type-C
  • IP67 waterproofing
  • Non-removable lithium-ion 4,000mAh battery
  • 5.7in (2560x1440, 515ppi) display
  • Android 8.1
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor with Vapor Chamber Cooling
  • 8GB RAM
  • 64GB storage, up to 2TB with microSD
  • 12MP f/1.75 wide-angle + 12MP f/2.6 telephoto dual camera
  • 8MP f/2.0 front-facing camera
  • Stereo front-facing speakers
  • RGB-illuminated Razer Chroma logo
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • 802.11ac Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • GPS
  • NFC
  • USB 3.1, Type-C
  • IP67 waterproofing
  • Non-removable lithium-ion 4,000mAh battery

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