Razer on Wednesday announced the Razer Phone 2, its second-generation smartphone meant to further refine the company's take on mobile gaming. "Refine" is the key word here because in accordance with recent leaks, including those from AndroidHeadlines, the new handset could more accurately be described as the Razer Phone 1.5 as it looks virtually identical and features similar internals and software features to those its predecessor has been offering since last year. Most of the annual improvements Razer introduced are unlikely to significantly affect one's everyday experience, provided they owned the original gaming phablet, though there's still no denying the Razer Phone 2 is more flashy and delivers noticeably more computational power.
If it looks like the Razer Phone 1…
The new device looks almost identical to the Razer Phone, save for having a slightly revamped front-facing lens and an RGB lighting system installed beneath the rear-facing Razer logo on the back that depicts a triple-headed snake. The 16.8 million colors that the setup can display can serve as essentially the most in-your-face LED light indicator ever implemented into a mobile device and while the aesthetics are similar, the feel isn't because the Razer Phone 2 ditches the all-metal design for a glass back, which some may deem a more elegant solution that also allows for wireless charging, though it also makes the device more fragile and slippery. The handset is also both wider and thicker (158.5 x 78.99 x 8.5 mm) than its predecessor (158.5 x 77.7 x 8 mm), so it stands to reason it's heavier as well, though its weight info has yet to be disclosed.
… has hardware that's almost identical to the Razer Phone 1…
Looking below the familiar exterior yields more similarities with Razer's first gaming smartphone; 8GB of LPDDR4X RAM and 64GB of UFS storage with a microSD card slot are still part of the package, with the only difference being that the phone's memory is now expandable by up to 1TB (not that it matters since you won't be able to buy 1TB microSD cards for some time anyway). A 5.72-inch IGZO LCD panel with a QHD (2,560 x 1,440) resolution, 120Hz refresh rate, and a traditional 16:9 aspect ratio makes a return as well, together with a 12-megapixel dual-camera setup, an 8-megapixel front camera, and a 4,000mAh battery. The main hardware improvement comes in the form of the newer Snapdragon 845 chip from Qualcomm that provides the Razer Phone 2 with some 30-percent more raw processing power compared to what its predecessor yielded, according to the firm. The 3.5mm headphone jack isn't on offer this year either, so as far as hardware is concerned, this is essentially the 2017 Razer Phone with a better chip and a more flashy (literally) rear panel.
… it's probably… Razer Phone 2?
While extremely similar to its predecessor in most aspects, the Razer Phone 2 does introduce some novelties. Besides the aforementioned RGB lighting system and a better chip, it's also equipped with a new vapor chamber cooling system that sounds extremely similar to what Samsung has been using in its flagships for several years now. Without going into too many technical details, this is basically the only viable take on the idea of implementing a water cooling setup into a smartphone and should allow the Razer Phone 2 to maintain its peak performance levels for longer than its predecessor did, which should be a major selling point to anyone looking into (semi-)serious mobile gaming.
On the imaging side of things, Razer touts the newly included optical image stabilization as a massive improvement to its original cameras, with the system itself still relying on Sony-made sensors. The battery capacity remained unchanged across two product generations, as did the handset's support for Qualcomm's Quick Charge 4.0 which can replenish half of the said cell in 30 minutes, but the inclusion of a more efficient chip should see the Razer Phone 2 last slightly longer on a single charge than the 2017 phablet did. Another improvement comes in the form of the handset's body that's now IP67-certified for resistance to dust particles and water, whereas the first Razer Phone had no official IP rating. Finally, the dual stereo speakers of the device now support Dolby Atmos, allowing for a mobile surround experience that's both louder and more immersive.
Still the ultimate option for mobile gamers
In spite of incremental improvements, the Razer Phone 2 unsurprisingly continues being touted as the ultimate option for mobile gamers. A custom Nova Launcher implementation based on Android 8.1 Oreo is part of the newly announced device, whereas the phone has been optimized for a broad range of popular titles such as Marvel Future Fight, PUBG Mobile, RuneScape, and Guns of Boom. Razer also takes pride in the fact that its new handset is the only smartphone on the market that currently features Netflix certification for HDR and Dolby Surround 5.1 content. Coupled with the return of the 120Hz display and the fact that the device is running a lightweight implementation of Android, anyone who games a lot on their mobile device will certainly at the very least want to consider the Razer Phone 2 this fall.
Second-generation phone, first price hike
Whereas last year's Razer Phone launched at $699, its successor is now $100 more expensive. Pre-orders start today in the United States, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region, with Razer.com being the only retailer to accept them. While a firm global release date has yet to be attached to the new Android gaming handset, the Razer Phone 2 should start shipping to customers no later than early November. The San Francisco, California-based manufacturer hasn't outright referenced its price hike but apparently feels convinced the newer chip, RGB lights, and extra software tweaks and additions are worth the price difference. While many OEMs discount their previous-generation products after releasing their successors, Razer didn't do so and is actually still prominently featuring the original Razer Phone on its website, going so far as to allow consumers to easily compare the two and decide which one is the "right" fit. The move clearly signals that the 2017 device won't be getting discontinued anytime soon as Razer apparently has a different understanding of product generations.