Razer has finally announced the successor to the Razer Phone that debuted last year. It appears that Razer has improved all of the issues that the original Razer Phone had, and updated it with the latest 2018 specs. There's not a lot of changes to the Razer Phone 2, which is going to make a lot of people think of this as a "boring" update, but the thing is, the original Razer Phone had specs that blew away the competition in 2017 and continue to do so in 2018. But that doesn't mean it's all good, so let's talk about the good, bad, and the ugly sides of the new Razer Phone 2.
Razer has kept the front-facing speakers here, which are very loud, and also support Dolby Surround 5.1. So not only are you getting dual front-facing speakers here, but also some really incredible audio – perhaps the best on any smartphone. Speaking of Dolby Surround 5.1, the Razer Phone 2 is the only smartphone certified by Netflix for Dolby Surround 5.1 and HDR. Thanks to upgraded Dolby Atmos hardware, the Razer Phone 2 is even louder and clearer than the original Razer Phone. Which in itself is pretty incredible, considering the original Razer Phone was so good in the first place.
When it comes to the display, Razer is sporting a 5.7-inch LCD panel, which many are going to be set off by, seeing as it's not an OLED panel. But, Razer is sticking with this panel since it is a 120Hz panel and there are no OLED panels that can do 120Hz. That is especially important for gaming. Now on top of that 120Hz screen, Razer has also made the display brighter. It is about 50-percent brighter than the Razer Phone's display was. This is a really good thing, as the original Razer Phone's display was very dim and almost impossible to see outside. That was one of the big issues with the first Razer Phone, seeing as being able to actually see the display outside is a pretty big deal.
Qualcomm Quick Charge 4+ is available on the Razer Phone for quickly charging the phone, but with the 4000mAh capacity battery that is included, it likely won't need to be charged that often. Especially if it is anything like the original Razer Phone's battery life. Quick Charge 4+ will allow you to get around 50-percent battery in about 30 minutes. Which is pretty incredible. In addition to Quick Charge 4+, it also supports wireless charging now, since Razer did add that glass back to the Razer Phone 2. So if you were waiting for some wireless charging, well Razer has added it just for you.
The design of the Razer Phone 2 looks pretty dated, in 2018. It is a pretty box-y smartphone, with some pretty big bezels on the top and bottom. Now obviously the top and bottom bezels do have some pretty big bezels for the speakers that are there. And for those speakers to be that loud, and that good sounding, there is a lot of space needed. So it's a bit understandable, but it also works great for playing games on the Razer Phone 2, as your hands won't be touching the display by mistake. But for non-gamers, the design will likely be a turn off. Which is unfortunate, as Razer could likely make a phone that appealed to gamers as well as everyday users that want a good looking phone that can last forever (which that 4000mAh capacity battery will do).
Perhaps the biggest issue with the original Razer Phone was the camera on the back. It was a dual 12-megapixel setup on the back, but the camera was not good at all, it was worse than the Essential PH-1 at launch. But Razer did improve it with various updates to the phone. So it didn't stay that bad for long, but it was still an issue. For the Razer Phone 2, there are still two 12-megapixel sensors on the back – one is a wide-angle sensor with a f/1.75 aperture, and the other is a telephoto sensor with a f/2.6 aperture. It also sports dual phase-detection autofocus, dual LED flash and 4K recording. So on paper, it sounds like it should be a big improvement over the Razer Phone's camera, but of course we'll have to wait until we have it in our hands to really see how good (or bad) the camera actually is.
Razer is not going to be working with carriers for the Razer Phone 2, it will only be available unlocked, through its website, and some retailers. Now in Europa and the Asia-Pacific regions, that won't be a big deal, seeing as many people buy phones unlocked in those areas already. But in the US, that is a big deal. The majority of people still purchase phones from their carriers, especially for phones that are as expensive as the Razer Phone 2. On top of it not being available at any carriers here in the US, it is only going to support AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon. It did actually get certified for Verizon which is a good thing, but still no Sprint support here. But the issue here is still that the Razer Phone 2 is not being sold at any carriers in the US, which is a country that has the majority of phone sales at carriers.
The Razer Phone 2 didn't change a lot, but it did change plenty, and it is likely enough to still justify the $799 price tag. Especially when you consider that smartphones like the LG V40 ThinQ is over $900 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 and Apple iPhone XS start at over $999. The $799 price is starting to become a sweet spot for many smartphones. The other smartphone that recently launched at $799 is the Google Pixel 3, and the Razer Phone 2 does definitely offer a whole lot more than the Pixel 3 – if you don't look at the camera. The Razer Phone 2 will likely be the best phone of 2018, when it comes to endurance, thanks to it running on stock Android and that 4000mAh capacity battery. Pre-orders start for the Razer Phone 2 on October 11, and it's going to be a good one.