When the first Razer Phone was released last year it impressed with its razor sharp display that delivered 120Hz Ultramotion refresh rates, but it stumbled on features like the camera. The Razer Phone 2 is here to make that right, with a brighter screen, upgraded speakers, a powerful camera, a vapor chamber cooling system, and the signature Razer Chroma lighting. Oh, and it's waterproof now too, so mermaids can finally play PUBG Mobile in style.
It'll cost $799 and preorders will start on October 11, 2018 at 00:01am PT.
I went hands on with the new phone, watching some Black Panther, seeing a full demo of the Dolby Atmos surround sound, and playing some PUBG, and the phone is definitely an upgrade. Though I can't pick a vapor chamber cooling system out of a line up, even at first hold the phone feels nicer. It has a glass back (which feels classy and means wireless charging is possible) a new glowing logo that can be adjusted to match your shirt, and uses colors from apps to create special notifications. Facebook alert? That'll be blue. A red flash? A new mail in Gmail. It makes the first phone feel like a practice run, and this is what Razer was always aiming for in terms of quality experience.
I played two games that really showed off the phone's gaming potential, PlayerUnknown Battlegrounds Mobile and a racing game called Gear Club. They're the sort of games where response times count, but my skills for either weren't really up to the standard that meant a millisecond of lag made a difference. A Razer spokesperson did suggest that gamers who are entering tournaments for mobile games would see a real advantage with the 120Hz screen refresh and 120Hz touch sampling. That means no lag, no stuttering, even if you're gifted with superhuman reaction times. The surround sound definitely helped in PUBG too - no one was sneaking up on this old lady with the speakers betraying their footsteps. .
Razer has also made a new app, Razer Cortex, that lets you set things like refresh rate for each individual game, and even suggests the best settings for performance. In a canny move, it also highlights the games that make the most of the 120Hz screen refresh.
Netflix's first phone friend
Watching Blank Panther, with the new phone sitting next to the older model, there's a noticeable difference in the depth of color and contrast. That's probably why the Razer Phone 2 is the first phone that Netflix has "officially certified" for HDR video and Dolby Surround 5.1 audio. Watching movies on your mobile is never going to be your first choice, but it felt like a viable alternative for emergency airport entertainment scenarios. The upgraded dual front-facing speakers (a must when you're making a phone waterproof) and a screen that's 50% brighter don't hurt either.
Camera, battery and Razer swag
Perhaps the most notable difference is in the camera, which has had a hardware and software overhaul to bring it up to spec for the Instagram generation. Sony IMX sensors make getting good shots in different light settings easier, and there's a 12 MP wide-angle lens with optical image stabilization (OIS) and a 12 MP telephoto lens with 2x zoom. Yes, you can do those pretty bokeh portraits on the Razer Phone 2.
The battery has been improved, to help with both longevity and cooling. It promises 10 hours of use even at a 120Hz refresh rate, and now supports wireless charging for when it does need a top up. Speaking of charging...
There's now a range of Razer accessories for the phone too, including a charging stand with Chroma lighting and noise-cancelling earbuds with - that's right - Chroma lighting.
Razer Phone 2 specs
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon™ 845 (2.80 GHz) with Adreno 630 GPU
System Memory: 8 GB (LPDDR4X)
Display: 5.72-inch IGZO LCD 1440 x 2560, 120 Hz, Wide Color Gamut, UltraMotion™ Technology
Rear Cameras: 12 MP AF f1.75 Wide with OIS, 12 MP AF f2.6 Telephoto
Video: Up to 4K video recording with stereo audio
Front Camera: 8 MP FF f2.0, 1080p Video
Power: 4,000 mAh Li-Po battery, Qualcomm QuickCharge 4.0+
Size: 158.5 mm x 78.99 mm x 8.5 mm
Looking to upgrade and can't wait for the Razer Phone 2? Check out our list of the best phones for gaming available now.