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Razer Phone 2 hands-on review — Holding its own against Apple’s best

You can play games like Vainglory on the Razer Phone 2.

Razer unveiled its second-generation Razer Phone 2 earlier this month in a bid to beat Apple in offering the best smartphone for players.

The $800 gadget has a 120-hertz show and an Eight-millisecond response time, making it quicker than Apple’s most-competitive iPhone XS and XS Max telephones on the subject of refreshing the display for quick gameplay. I’ve had the Razer Phone 2 for 11 days and have additionally performed with the iPhone XS Max.

The iPhone XS Max has a greater digital camera than the Razer Phone 2, based mostly on side-by-side footage I’ve taken. Then once more, Apple,’s units are far more costly (the iPhone XS Max is $1,100 with 64GB of storage). The $750 iPhone XR is extra of a match on worth/options for the Razer Phone 2, and for probably the most half the Razer Phone 2 can beat that Apple system.

Razer says its aim was to take suggestions and make the Razer Phone 2’s cameras higher than the primary telephone’s. And it has executed that, and delivered a 30 % efficiency enchancment over the $700 unique Razer Phone, which got here out a yr in the past.

Min-Liang Tan, CEO of Razer, stated the telephone is designed to offer Razer’s 50 million players — who’ve purchased hardcore gamer laptops, mice, keyboards and different units — a “console quality” expertise on a gaming smartphone.

What you’ll like

Video games play good

You can play games like Vainglory on the Razer Phone 2.You can play games like Vainglory on the Razer Phone 2.

Above: You possibly can play video games like Vainglory on the Razer Phone 2.

Picture Credit score: Razer

You need to use the Razer Phone 2 system as a telephone, a YouTube or Netflix viewer, or an internet browsing system. However video games are what make or break its function in your life. In any case, cheaper telephones can do all of these issues too.

I’ve had the system for simply 11 days, and so I haven’t performed something very intensely but. It might run fairly motion video games like Shadow Struggle three, Nekki’s sword-fighting recreation, notably properly. Whereas the display refreshes twice as quick because the Apple units, I can’t say I observed any distinction between Shadow Battle three on the iPhone XS Max and the Razer Phone 2. Given a $300 distinction in costs for the units, I’d say that’s a win for Razer.

Zynga’s CSR2 drag racing recreation additionally appeared good on the Razer Phone 2. You possibly can see the way it seemed on the Razer system above, and you may as well see the way it appeared on the iPhone XS Max within the video under. You’ll discover how shiny the automobiles look and the general high quality of the 3D imagery and recreation velocity.

I additionally performed the Gear Membership racing recreation and the cellular model of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds on the Razer Phone 2. The racing recreation appeared superb, and it didn’t stutter in any respect as I went round corners and pushed the pedal to the ground. It was no shock that Razer partnered with PUBG Corp., livestreaming the Professional-Am PUBG Cellular event, at its reveal occasion.

PUBG, in the meantime, ran easily sufficient for me to shoot a man who had the misfortune of touchdown subsequent to me. I had a gun and he didn’t. However the level is that it appeared good. I might hear if anybody was behind me, maybe because of the surround-sound efficiency, although I can’t say for positive.

The specs ship high-end efficiency

Above: Gear Membership on the Razer Phone 2.

Picture Credit score: Razer

The 2560 x 1440 decision display is quick, with no tearing or lagging. Each Razer and the brand new iPhones have a 120-hertz show on the subject of contact detection. However the display refresh on the brand new Apple units is 60 hertz, whereas the Razer gadget has a 120-hertz refresh price.

The Razer Phone 2 has a 5.72-inch UltraMotion IGZO LCD display, which is 50 % brighter (at about 645 NITS) and it has a wider shade gamut.

The system utilizing a 2.Eight-gigahertz, eight-core Snapdragon 845 processor from Qualcomm and a Qualcomm Adreno 630 graphics processing unit (GPU). It has 20 % to 30 % higher efficiency than the earlier 835-based unique Razer telephone. The Apple A12 Bionic chip within the iPhone XR has six cores, and the telephone has decrease decision at 828 x 1792 pixels.

Razer claims the Razer Phone 2 has the No. 1 benchmark rating from Geekbench, Basemark GPU, and 3Dmark Slingshot. That’s solely attainable, because the top-ranked chip in efficiency is the Snapdragon 845.

Razer makes use of its proprietary vapor chamber cooling, a trick which it took from its PC gaming machines. The liquid-based vapor chamber absorbs the warmth and spreads it throughout the complete floor of the telephone.

Razer Chroma makes the brand prettier and helpful 

Above: The brand on the again of the Razer Phone 2 now glows in Chroma colours.

Picture Credit score: Razer

The inexperienced Razer emblem lights up on the again when it’s in use, because the telephone can now deal with Razer Chroma’s 16.Eight million colour lighting choices.

One of many cool makes use of of this function is that the telephone can glow in several colours, based mostly on the type of visible notification it’s sending you. If in case you have a brand new Gmail message, it is going to glow one colour. When you have a textual content message, it could actually glow another way. When you’ve got a Snap chat message, it can mild up as yellow.

The sound is what you’d anticipate from a gamer telephone

You can blast sounds from two front speakers on the Razer Phone 2.You can blast sounds from two front speakers on the Razer Phone 2.

Above: You’ll be able to blast sounds from two entrance audio system on the Razer Phone 2.

Picture Credit score: Dean Takahashi

The telephone’s audio system are Dolby Atmos licensed. It may possibly deal with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound and Netflix HDR movies. I watched a scene from Black Panther on the smartphone, and it felt like I used to be watching on a a lot greater display. The sound is loud and clear, blasting out of the entrance twin stereo audio system and 24-bit DAC. I’ve no complaints concerning the Razer Phone 2’s sound, besides it may be too loud.

Razor’s costs are aggressive

At $800, the Razer Phone 2 is a reasonably good discount as flagship smartphones go.

Razer will promote a Satin version for $100 extra at $900. That’s nonetheless properly under Apple’s most-competitive smartphone, the iPhone XS Max, which has a 6.5-inch display and begins at $1,100. The iPhone XS has a 5.Eight-inch display and sells for $1,000. The Razer Phone 2 is extra of a direct match for the iPhone XR.

Good battery life and fast cost function

Wi-fi charging is now enabled on the Razer Phone 2 with its new glass again. Razer has
introduced its new wi-fi charger with Chroma. Should you choose plugging in a USB-C cable, Qualcomm QuickCharge four+ permits customers to cost the telephone from a flat battery to 50 % cost inside 30 minutes.

The gadget has a four,000 milliamp battery, giving it a day-long battery life. The place its predecessor was benchmarked for 10 hours of battery life at a display refresh fee setting of 90 hertz, the Razer Phone 2 is optimized to additionally final 10 hours at a better 120 hertz.

Personalization enables you to categorical your self

Game Booster can suggest settins for games on your Razer Phone 2.Game Booster can suggest settins for games on your Razer Phone 2.

Above: Recreation Booster can recommend settings for video games in your Razer Phone 2.

Picture Credit score: Dean Takahashi

You’ll be able to personalize and customise the Razer Phone 2, including a theme for Tekken’s Christie or a favourite Vainglory character in the event you so want. Razer isn’t charging something additional for these “skins” in your cellular gadget.

You can too use a function referred to as Recreation Booster (inside Razer’s Cortex cellular app) to optimize the telephone for particular video games, buying and selling off efficiency and battery life. You possibly can create a customized profile, go right into a power-saving mode, or use a efficiency mode.

What you gained’t like

The digital camera isn’t fairly nearly as good as what Apple provides

Above: The Razer Phone 2 picture is on the left. The iPhone XS Max is on the proper.

Picture Credit score: Dean Takahashi

Razer officers acknowledged they wanted to work on their digital camera high quality. The brand new telephone has a unique digital camera, in response to suggestions from followers who weren’t totally happy with the primary one. Even so, the Razor Phone 2’s rear-facing digital camera doesn’t shoot footage in addition to the iPhone XS Max.

In distant footage, just like the one above, it’s onerous to inform any distinction. However with close-ups of individuals, I felt that the iPhone digital camera took superior footage.

Razer switched from Samsung to Sony IMX sensors acquired get higher mild sensitivity, low noise, and high-contrast photographs. The autofocus and white stability are extra refined, leading to higher general picture high quality. It has optical picture stabilization and a greater optical structure. It additionally performs higher with HDR, pulling particulars out of each well-lit and shadowy elements of the identical picture.

This system has a unique placement for the back-facing 12-megapixel wide-angle twin cameras, that are within the middle of the telephone as an alternative of the highest. The modifications within the digital camera required more room, necessitating the brand new placement for the digital camera. Every of the 2 cameras on the again are additional aside, giving the cameras higher depth notion. The rear cameras even have a 12 megapixel telephoto
lens with 2x zoom. The front-facing digital camera is Eight megapixels and it helps full HD livestreaming.

Whereas all of it provides as much as an enchancment, I feel that Apple can nonetheless beat Razer right here.

Android shortcomings

It doesn’t have face unlock or 3D face recognition, whereas Apple’s new X collection telephones include FaceID, which is a simple option to unlock your telephone. You’re additionally going to should watch out about safety dangers for issues resembling sideloading (necessary for video games like Fortnite on Android), as Android hacks will not be that gratifying and frequent.


Above: Razer Phone 2 is a gamer way of life product.

Picture Credit score: Razer

I consider that Razer has constructed a telephone that’s tuned for gaming, and it may match or beat the expertise of gaming on Apple’s best telephones. However there are some trade-offs that Razer makes on issues reminiscent of digital camera high quality, and maybe that’s why it may’t command as excessive a worth as Apple can.

However in case you are in search of a smartphone to help your gaming obsession whereas on the run, it’s arduous to think about a greater system than the Razer Phone 2.

Disclosure: Razer offered me with a Razer Phone 2 for the needs of this review.