Last week, Razer unveiled the follow up to its first generation gaming phone. Called the Razer Phone 2, the device is quite similar looking to its predecessor. However, Razer has made a few upgrades this year.
In this article we take a closer look at what changed, and try to answer the question: should you upgrade?
Continue reading below to find out.
Design and display
The Razer Phones won’t win any awards in terms of design. Both feature a classic square design with chunky, noticeable bezels. There’s one difference we should highlight, however. The Razer Phone 2 features a black glass rear, as opposed to the Razer Phone’s metal black chassis.
This design choice makes the Razer Phone 2 feel a little less durable than its predecessor, but the new phone does include an IP67 certification and wireless charging. This means it can be submerged in water for up to half an hour without getting damaged.
The Razer Phone 2’s back is the scene for other changes, as well. The triple-headed snake logo now supports Chroma lighting effects, “the world’s most popular RGB lighting system for gamers”. This means the logo can now illuminate in many colors and includes different effects such as Spectrum, Cycling or Breathing.
What’s more, the dual camera module has been centered. In comparison, the Razer Phone had the camera assembly living in the top left corner of the device.
Both handsets have the fingerprint sensor in the power button on the side, which is located on the side of the frame.
Moving on to the display part, the two phones seem to be almost identical in this respect, at least on paper. Both feature a 5.7-inch IPS CD display with 2,560 x 1,440 pixels and 120Hz refresh rate. However, this year Razer says it has managed to make the display on the Phone 50% brighter.
Performance and power
The Razer Phone 2 relies on Qualcomm’s flagship chipset for 2018, the Snapdragon 845. The phone ships with 8GB of RAM and 64GB of storage (microSD card slot is included).
Last year’s model features the Snapdragon 835 and includes the same RAM + storage configuration.
Battery capacity remains unchanged– we still have the same 4,000 mAh power source that supports the Qualcomm Quick Charge 4.0+ standard. However, only the new Razer Phone 2 features Qi wireless charging, thanks to its glass back.
The original Razer Phone had a pretty flawed camera (12MP+12MP), which Razer tried to improve by pushing a bunch of software updates in the months following the device’s release.
Well, the Razer Phone 2 seems to offer better prospects in this department, at least based on first impressions. The new handset pairs a new 12MP wide-angle lens with optical image stabilization (OIS) and a 12MP telephoto lens with 2x zoom.
Both phones include an 8-megapixel selfie camera and can record video at up to 4K at 30fps.
The Razer Phone 2 features a Vapor Chamber cooling system optimized for smartphone cooling, which should keep your device from overheating even as you run the most intensive games on it.
Razer says the new technology helps the device maintain clock speeds and frame rates most other phones can’t, due to heat building up in long gaming sessions.
Both models also come with the Game Booster option pre-installed. The purpose of Game Booster is to allow users to get most of their phones. This could mean either prioritizing high-end graphics and frame rates or stretching battery life as far as possible.
The Razer Phone 2 also has a Razer Theme store, where gamers will be able to find themes to match their favorite games.
Razer has also introduced a bunch of new accessories with its second-gen Phone 2. The company now offers the Razer Raiju, which is a controller for your phone that comes with a built-in mobile mounting system and the Hammerhead USB-C headphones.
While the original Razer Phone launched with Android 7.1.1 Nougat out of the box, the Phone 2 arrives with Android 8.1 Oreo. We have to say, phones launching this long after Android 9 Pie’s release (August 2018) should come with a more up to date OS. Especially phones like the Razer Phone 2 which essentially run stock Android with a few improvements. But hopefully, the phone will receive the Android 9.0 Pie update soon enough.
The original Razer Phone launched with a $700 price tag, but the newcomer retails for $800. Both handset are available unlocked via Razer’s official website. Note that the phones are compatible only with GSM carriers like T-Mobile and AT&T. In the US, the Razer Phone 2 will start shipping on October 22.
The Razer Phone 2 does bring forth some improvements including a brighter display, Chroma lighting effects, and an improved camera. But if you’re coming from a Razer Phone, the difference isn’t that big to warrant an update.
However, if you’re upgrading from a different device and are considering making a choice between the two phones, the Razer Phone 2 seems like the better choice. Even if it’s $100 more expensive than its 1-year old brother.