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Razer Phone 2 review – the smartphone built for mobile gaming

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  • VERDICT

The Razer Phone 2 is a standout device for dedicated and constant gamers who want the best features at their fingertips to provide the best mobile gaming experience from a smartphone.

When it comes to smartphones there are lots of choices. Finding one that exactly suits your needs is another challenge. If you’re a dedicated gamer and want to be able enjoy that passion anywhere then you need the Razer Phone 2.

This is an Android smartphone with premium flagship features and the technology under the hood to deliver an unrivalled experience for mobile gaming.

True gamers require dedicated gaming PCs which are powerful enough to offer the look and performance a player expects.

The Razer Phone 2 is the smartphone version of that gaming PC.

And like a gaming PC it has a powerful processor, an incredible cooling system and superior speakers.

And of course, every gamer would have the best monitor possible with their gaming PC.

With the Razer Phone 2, that comes in the shape of a 5.7 inch IGZO display with a resolution of 1440 x 2560 and a 120 Hz refresh rate.

IGZO is an acronym for indium gallium zinc oxide – materials used to create a special thin film transistor (TFT) to offer better results for screens with higher pixel density.

IGZO also consumes less power but still produces incredibly bright images.

The display is absolutely breathtaking – one of the sharpest and smoothest you’ll ever find on a smartphone.

And with a 120Hz refresh rate there is more sharpness when it comes to moving images – which is exactly what you need when playing games and watching content.

If you were to sit the Razer Phone 2 beside another high-end Android phone or even an iPhone and play the same game on all the devices – the Razer Phone 2 – with its 120Hz refresh rate will look noticeably smoother than the others.

Add to that the processing power and you got a perfect storm of factors for enjoyable gaming.

For our review we tried several graphics heavy games including Left To Survive and Asphalt 9, and it was as smooth and clear as if we were playing on a PC.

Naturally, the Razer Phone 2 has the Razer Cortex app which provides a curated list of the best games and even singles out games optimised for the devices 120Hz display.

From here you can also access the Game Booster software to optimise the device’s settings and performance to produce the best result.

On the design side, the Razer Phone 2 is a big rectangle with flat edges.

It has volume buttons on the left edge near the SIM card tray and a home button on the right edge that also doubles as a fingerprint reader.

The fingerprint reader is awkwardly positioned here and it limits you to using your right thumb to unlock the device or you can punch in your code.

Above the screen is an 8-megapixel front facing camera and sensor and you’ll find a twin lens camera and flash on the rear panel.

The rear panel also includes an illuminated Razer logo with customisable Chroma RGB lighting which can produce more than 16.8 million colour options.

The lighting can be used for personalised notification alerts or just to look cool.

You can change the lighting effects to stay static, to appear like it’s breathing and to display a spectrum of colours.

That excellent screen is flanked by speakers top and bottom which, when held in your hand in landscape mode, provide excellent left and right channel audio.

The speakers support Dolby 5.1 digital surround sound as well as Dolby Atmos.

The speakers are probably the best we’ve ever heard on a phone and it can not only be used for games but also to hear music in excellent quality as well.

Audio tracks of games are normally high quality and really add to the enjoyment of the game.

With Asphalt 9, racing the cars in the game is fun but hearing the throbbing soundtrack through the speakers takes it to the next level.

On any other smartphone, this experience would have been a lot different.

There is no headphone jack but it does have a high fidelity USB-C DAC so you can enjoy up to 24 bit audio.

What helps with the heavy lifting here in terms of performance is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor and a generous 8GB RAM.

Throw in the fact it is also water resistant to a depth of one metre thanks to its IP67 rating.

One thing we noticed with the Razer Phone 2 was that it got a little warm when we were playing.

This is despite the fact there is a custom vapour chamber cooling system to dissipate the heat.

While it didn’t get too hot to handle it was noticeably warm – we can only imagine what it would have been like without the vapour chamber.

The 12-megapixel camera rear camera is impressive – but that’s not why you’d buy this phone. There are better cameras on other smartphones.

Picture taken with the Razer Phone 2

What was impressive was the battery life from the onboard 4,000mAh battery which, even when playing for extended periods throughout the day, still got us through to the evening.

We noticed one thing – when we had the rear logo illuminated constantly, it did have an effect on the battery life – and we were told just that when we chose to activate the feature.

Picture taken with the Razer Phone 2

This device isn’t for everyone – is bigger and thicker than others on the market. It’s actually larger than the iPhone XS Max.

It’s also not cheap at $1,249 – that’s up there in Samsung and iPhone territory.

But if you’re main focus is gaming anywhere and everywhere, then the Razer Phone 2 is certainly the device for you.

And of course it’s excellent for viewing content like Netflix on the go as well.

VERDICT

The Razer Phone 2 is a standout device for dedicated and constant gamers who want the best features at their fingertips to provide the best mobile gaming experience from a smartphone.