Until recently, there was no such thing as a “gaming phone.” You just played Angry Birds or Clash of Clans on whatever phone you had lying around. The proliferation of competitive mobile online shooters like PUBG and Fortnite has led device makers to start pushing high-performance Android phones as gaming device first and foremost. Gaming peripheral maker Razer launched its first phone last year with a gaming focus, and now it’s back with the Razer Phone 2. It has a few new utilitarian features but also some RGB LEDs for good measure.
The Razer Phone 2 is reminiscent of last year’s phone. It has a boxy frame with large front-facing stereo speakers — there’s still no headphone jack. Instead of aluminum, the Razer Phone 2 has a glass frame that allows it to have wireless charging. The Razer Phone 2 also gains water-resistance with an IP67 rating. Inside, it has flagship-level specs with a Snapdragon 845, 8GB of RAM, and a 4,000mAh battery.
The display is one of those “gaming” features Razer talks about. The 5.72-inch LCD has a resolution of 1440 x 2560. So, unlike many other flagship phones, this one is still 16:9 instead of the taller 18:9. That makes it noticeably wider than, for example, a Galaxy S9 with its 5.8-inch screen. What sets this display apart is the refresh rate — it supports up to 120Hz whereas other phones are stuck at 60Hz. This does draw more power, so you can adjust the refresh rate down to save your battery. Games that can render at high frame rates do look great on Razer’s screens, but many mobile games are capped at 60fps.
Razer is making the odd decision to launch this phone with Android 8.1 Oreo instead of Pie, which officially launches a few months ago. It says the phone will get a quick update to Pie, and it did manage to get the first Razer Phone updated from Nougat to Oreo last year following a similar promise. Even without the new OS, the Razer Phone includes a few cool extras like the highly configurable Nova Launcher Prime as the stock home screen.
Clearly, the gravest oversight in last year’s Razer Phone was the lack of RGB lighting. For a company that sticks RGB in literally everything else it makes, this was an odd choice. The Razer Phone 2 rectifies the mistake by making the Razer logo on the back glow different colors based on what you’ve got on the screen. You can also customize it to glow whatever color you want. It can flash to alert you to notifications if you lay the phone face down.
Razer seems to think people want that RGB, too. The Razer Phone 2 will cost $799 — just like the new Google Pixel 3. It’s unlocked with support for GSM networks like AT&T and T-Mobile.
Our own PCMag has a hands on with the phone below:
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