Smartphone Gaming Just Got Even Better with the Razer Phone 2
What smartphones never lacked are excellent games. Games like Super Mario Run and Hitman Go are so good that they’ve already notched millions of downloads on both iOS and Android. Originally made for smartphone games like Clash of Clans are also a hit on mobile devices. But if we were to crown one game for truly revolutionizing mobile gaming, it's 2016's ultra-successful Pokémon Go.
This virality put mobile gaming on the crosshairs of the video game industry. The massive market, for them, is too much to ignore even if there was no apparent demand from gamers to change anything about their current smartphone experience.
Razer, a long time gaming peripherals manufacturer for PCs, jumped first on the bandwagon with their Razer Phone in November 2017. It’s a smartphone that has flagship level specs but with some gamer-specific features. It didn’t deviate much from the usual smartphone form-factor. In some ways, it even regressed by sticking to the 16:9 aspect ratio where flagships were already going the 18:9 route. However, subtle differences such as the variable refresh rate and software optimization for gaming carved out a niche that other manufacturers weren't shy to follow Razer in.
Fast forward to today: gaming smartphones have become a staple for the world's emerging smartphone brands such as Xiaomi, Asus, and Huawei. Despite this, however, the Razer Phone that started it all still remains one of the best in its category. To keep it that way, the company just announced an updated version in the Razer Phone 2 with a few key improvements on the already class-leading phone.
It still follows the same flagship mentality with the top of the line Snapdragon 845 processors and Adreno 630 GPU. It’s RAM and storage basically stays the same at 8GB and 64GB respectively. This lack of upgrade, to some, might be a deal breaker but it shouldn’t slow down gaming performance especially on AAA titles. The upgraded CPU and GPU should prove to be enough to squeeze out more performance compared to last year’s Razer Phone.
When it comes to hardware, there isn’t much design innovation going on with the new Razer Phone 2. It still hasn’t done away with the huge chin and forehead bezels. But, that may be a good thing since they house the dual Dolby-branded front-facing speakers that blow the competition away in terms of sound quality.
It's also still pretty angular like the first Razer Phone. The back, however, has adopted a bit of a more curved design to make holding a bit more comfortable.
Another flagship hardware upgrade is the water and dustproofing. It’s a huge feat considering the speakers in front should make it a difficult task.
Lastly, Razer used a glass panel at the back like most other flagships in order to adopt the wireless charging feature. Its gorilla glass branding should help in keeping the phone durable.
Subtle Gaming Improvements
There’s no denying that when it comes to specs and hardware, the Razer Phone 2 is as flagship as they come. But that doesn’t distinguish itself from the saturated flagship smartphone market. It carved out a niche for itself as a flagship smartphone for gamers through means other than the specs such as cooling technology and styling
The Razer Phone 2 uses a scaled-down version of the cooling tech they used on their Blade 15. They call it the vapor chamber cooling This should help gamers play high-performance video games for longer periods.
Another flagship feature added to the Razer Phone 2 this year is wireless charging. While, it’s not much of gamer’s upgrade, it’s still a welcome improvement for most users. If we are to look at the use case for gamers, the convenience of wireless charging should prove great especially for a phone that constantly gets heavy usage and battery drain.
RGB Chroma Styling
The only branding on the phone is at the back. What’s truly exciting about it is that it’s a backlit Chroma that isn’t just a design feature. It also serves as a notification LED that supports 16.8 million colors with a bunch of lighting modes exactly like other Razer Chroma peripherals such as keyboards and gaming cases.
Ultramotion Screen is Still Its Crowning Glory
So far, the gaming-oriented features are kept pretty mundane. Other gaming smartphones have some kind of an advanced cooling feature, the Chroma lighting isn't very effective at raising gaming experience, and the spec bump is pretty much what you'd expect from flagships.
What truly differentiates phones that come out of the Razer headquarters is their cutting-edge screen. The variable refresh rate still hasn't caught on with the other gaming smartphone manufacturers. This time around, they improved the brightness to up to 645 nits making the Ultramotion screen an absolute beauty to use even in daylight. In its current state, it’s arguably one of the best screens on a mobile device even when compared to the 10.5 inch iPad and its ProMotion screen.
Is it Worth Your Money?
It’s important to note that the company didn’t really give too much attention to the internals as you can’t go with anything better than the Snapdragon and Adreno combo. Sure, the storage is a bit underwhelming as today’s flagships currently ship with 128GB of storage but there’s no denying that the overall experience is still much improved compared to last year’s phone.
For the average user, it may not offer much value. The advanced cooling tech, for example, might not be as utilized if you’re just browsing internet content. But, for gamers who want to play the latest games at max settings, the Razer Phone 2 should be an exceptional companion. For a niche audience, it’s most definitely worth the money.