Here we go, review number two. This time I was given the Razer Phone 2 to play with. And I really mean play with – the Razer Phone 2 is marketed as a ‘gaming’ mobile device, so despite being an amateur I got my gamer on for this review to get the full Razer experience.
The Razer Phone 2 comes in a large, black box with Razer’s three-headed snake symbol on the top, mirroring the boxy, sleek, and black design of the handset itself.
Opening the box, the inside cover reads ‘Flagship // Gaming’, reinforcing the device’s identity as a mobile for gaming. Beneath the device itself (in ‘Mirror Black’ colour), there was a USB-C Cable, USB-C Audio Adapter (both with a braided cord), and a QuickCharge wall charger also marked by Razer’s edgy and unique symbol. There’s such a strong sense of brand identity in this box and I admire Razer’s confidence in its bold and original design.
Set-up and design
Like the original, the Razer Phone 2 has an angular design. It felt very serious with its sharp straight edges, cold glass back and ever so slightly rounded edges. I’ve always been an Apple user, so I have become accustomed to a more rounded design, but I did not mind this style at all. In fact, it felt very comfortable in the hand when holding it in landscape for gaming and watching video content.
The Razer Phone 2 measures 158.5mm x 78.99mm x 8.5mm (L X W X H) with a 5.7-inch display. I mentioned weight in my previous review, and it was definitely noticeable again in this device – coming in at 222g thanks to the new glass back, wireless charging capabilities and light up logo, which have all been added to the original Razer phone design. The bottom of the handset has a USB Type-C port, but the box comes with a 3.5mm USB-C Audio Adapter so you’re able to plug headphones in.
The shiny Corning Gorilla Glass 5 back gave a nice touch of sophistication to the overall design, but as you can see it was a real fingerprint magnet!
The Razer’s WQHD 120Hz UltraMotionTM display is designed for gaming by allowing a higher framerate. But the 120Hz is great for general phone use too – the refresh rate is super silky and even when I had several browser tabs open, scrolling through social media feeds, and opening apps and web pages was smooth and quick.
The Dolby Atmos dual front firing stereo speakers were unreal. At the highest volume, I was blown away by how loud the music was, whilst maintaining a crisp and clean sound.
The speaker grilles run the full length of both the top and the bottom of the screen, so when you’re holding the phone sideways for gaming or watching videos, you aren’t blocking the sound at all. I found this to be such a clever design element.
And now to the part you’ve been waiting for… how did Razer perform as a gaming device?
The answer is really well.
I tried my hand at a few hours of PUBG on my Razer device and my overall experience was smooth and seamless. The high refresh rate built into Razer’s display meant I was able to blast my way through enemies, shoot, jump, duck and hide without lag slowing me down.
But it wasn’t until I tested out PUBG on my own personal mobile device that I realised just how good the Razer is. The difference was immediately noticeable – on my own device, panning for enemies was jumpy and the sounds felt disjoined. On the Razer, scanning was fluid and the huge speakers made it an immersive gameplay experience – it was like I could hear what direction the bullets where flying at me from.
The 16:9 aspect ratio also gives a much taller field of view so there was no time wasted scanning my surroundings mid-battle.
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor (2.8GHz), paired with 8GB of RAM, is certainly powerful. Part way through playing PUBG, I opened the internet browser (I may or may not have been Googling how to play…) and was surprised to find the phone still worked at a high speed, even with such a large app open and running.
And with all that power, Razer have also included vapor chamber cooling which increases the surface area from which heat can disperse, keeping the device cooler during long gaming sessions. While the heat was still noticeable, it was mild, and spread across the whole back, rather than one scalding spot.
Another great feature is the pre-downloaded Cortex app from Razer. Here, you can see all your downloaded mobile games that are optimised to run with Razer’s gaming-centric specs. In the ‘Game Booster’ section you can customise the gameplay settings for optimal performance, or power saver if you need to conserve some battery.
You can also turn the Do Not Disturb setting on, so you can play distraction-free.
I chose the ‘Optimal’ setting when playing PUBG. This set the frame rate to 90 FPS.
But you can also customise FPS and CPU to get the best out of your gaming experience – whether you’re playing with full battery or with not much left in the tank:
The camera isn’t the device’s biggest selling point, but it does take a decent photo. There’s dual 12MP cameras on the rear of the device – one, a wide-angle lens for optical image stabilisation and the other, a telephoto lens. I was happy with how my photos turned out – the colours were bright and realistic, although maybe not as sharp as some other flagship devices. I was able to capture a nice landscape shot even in low-lighting on an overcast day, but I would have also liked to have seen a few more camera features, such as night mode.
The front camera is 8MP and comes with a few flagship bells and whistles like beautification and portrait mode. Using the standard camera mode, I noticed quite warm hues in both the subject and the background, but fortunately this was corrected when using portrait mode. I liked the way portrait mode made the subject of the photo sharp and defined, while blurring the background, however I did find the whites to be slightly overexposed.
The power button on the right-hand side of the device doubles as a finger print scanner. The scanner was easy to set up and worked quickly and accurately each time. The positioning of the scanner in the centre of the side was a thoughtful touch by the manufacturer – it was kept out of the way, so you wouldn’t accidently turn the screen off during gameplay.
The speakers blew me away
The 120Hz display gave a smooth experience both when gaming and general phone use
The fingerprint scanner was fast and reliable
Razer have stayed true to their unique and bold design.
I would like to see a few more camera features.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the above review are my own and do not represent those of Optus or its staff.