Razer Phone 2 hands-on review

GSMArena team, 10 Oct 2018.

Design and build quality

Upon first glance, you would mistake the Razer Phone 2 with its predecessor. Unless you are looking at its back side, that is. But more on that in a bit. Dimension-wise, practically nothing has changed. The Razer Phone 2 still employs the same industrial "metal slab" design, complete with mostly straight lines and an all-black, muted, yet quite aggressive aesthetic.

Razer Phone 2 - Razer Phone 2 hands-on review Razer Phone 2 - Razer Phone 2 hands-on review
Razer Phone 2 - Razer Phone 2 hands-on review Razer Phone 2 - Razer Phone 2 hands-on review
Razer Phone 2

Like we said back in the original Razer Phone review, Razer really nailed the look on the first try. Frankly, kind of unsurprising, as well, since they have years upon years of design experience and iterations from the PC gaming realm to rely on.

Razer Phone 2 hands-on review

Speaking of unsurprising things, the decision to stick with the same design and especially dimensions for at least a couple of product generations is not a new one, nor was it kept a secret. On the contrary, once project Linda - the laptop-style shell accessory, for the Razer Phone saw the light of day, the company reassured fans that it would remain relevant for at least one more generation of handset hardware.

That being said, it is, perhaps, worth noting that the official dimensions for the original model (158.5 x 77.7 x 8 mm) and the Razer Phone 2 (158.5 x 78.99 x 8.5mm) do show some slight variations. Nothing too severe, but potentially enough to make any Razer Phone cases fit a bit oddly. Other than that, having seen Project Linda and the padding it uses to line the phone dock area, readjusting it shouldn't be much of an issue, even including the motorized Type-C connector, which will be affected by the extra half millimetre of girth on the Razer Phone 2.

Razer Phone 2 - Razer Phone 2 hands-on review Razer Phone 2 - Razer Phone 2 hands-on review
Razer Phone 2 - Razer Phone 2 hands-on review Razer Phone 2 - Razer Phone 2 hands-on review
Razer Phone 2

Since we are already discussing connectors and controls, these are practically unchanged. On the bottom of the phone - a single pinhole for the main microphone, which had to be distanced away from the bottom speaker and next to it - the USB Type-C port. Around the top - another microphone hole. Unfortunately, if you were hoping to see the 3.5mm jack make a sudden appearance on the Razer Phone, it is still, very much missing. Razer does still ship with a very premium Type-C to 3.5mm adapter.

On the left side of the phone - a pair of volume control buttons, in a seemingly odd location and with a rather unconventional shape and size. These are quite small, round and "clicky" - definitely not as convenient as a wide volume rocker, but also not in the way while gaming. Razer figures that having these buttons out of the way and preventing accidental presses during game is a lot more important to gamers than making them convenient for all other situations.

Razer Phone 2 hands-on review

On the right-hand side is the power button, that doubles as a fingerprint reader. Another familiar feature from the original Razer Phone. It is still just as convenient to use and feel around, thanks to the groove it is sitting in. The reader itself is very snappy and accurate. This approach to biometrics is slowly becoming extinct, but we still find it quite practical.

Like we already mentioned, the front of the Razer Phone 2 looks all too familiar. No curved displays or notches in sight. In fact, there is still a rather thick inner bezel, surrounding the 5.7-inch display, which makes for a rather deceptively "non-premium" look. Any such notion, however, quickly disperses once you actually see the gorgeous 120Hz, IGZO panel in action. But, more on that in a bit.

Razer Phone 2 hands-on review

The huge speaker grille aesthetic on the front does hold a certain appeal, but it is certainly not universal. We definitely appreciate its functional nature in covering the pair of dual amplified, Dolby Atmos, front-firing speakers. Those are great for both gaming and multimedia and really loud in person. However, it is really easy to get grime and various small particles trapped in the grille.

After only a few days of use of the original Razer phone, the two chins start looking rather nasty and perpetually dirty, and there's not much you can do about that. You don't want to rub the grills with anything chemical, since these are stickers placed above the speakers and will come off and wrinkle up quite easily.

Razer Phone 2 hands-on review

Now let's turn the Razer Phone 2 around. Here we find a new Gorilla glass surface, complete with different camera placement and the RGB enabled, Chroma Razer logo! The kids will definitely dig that. Okay, we do, too. Just a little.

The surface itself feels great and quite sturdy, but it is a fingerprint magnet. You can probably expect to only see it pristine in the few short seconds after taking the phone out of the box. After that, all bets are off, especially if you are in the habit of munching during game sessions. That can be remedied with a case and you probably want one for the extra grip and control as well.

Razer Phone 2 hands-on review

There is one extra perk, made possible through the shift to glass for the back - Qi wireless charging. As per specs, it caps out at 11.25W. Of course, that's a "take it or leave it" circumstantial addition to the real feature, hidden behind the glass back. Literally, the most requested one at the announcement event for the original Razer Phone - RGB! Joking aside, after the fan pressure, it was an expected move on Razer's end.

Razer Phone 2 hands-on review

Understandably, the setup bears the Razer Chroma branding, which does raise some interesting questions of RGB synchronization. We know, for a fact, that the Razer Phone 2 can sync with its new Chroma-enabled Qi wireless charging stand, so that the charger mimics the LED colors and patterns of the phone, while it is sucking in juice. What we don't know, however, is whether you will be able to sync up your Razer Blade laptop and the Razer Phone 2, so their colors match. If you ever feel the need to to do, of course, because, why not. Even if it's not an option at launch, Razer has promised to keep updating the Chroma implementation on the phone.

Speaking of which, the first ever Chroma implementation on Android, as per Razer's marketing, is controlled through its own little app. As you can imagine, it comes complete with plenty of customization options. Out of the box, the Razer Phone 2 will flash its logo for notifications, pulling the appropriate color from the app icon. It can display 16.8 million colors and has a trio of modes: static, breathing and spectrum. Neat!

Last, but definitely not least, we can't fail to mention that the Razer Phone 2 now has an IP67 water resistance rating. Pulling that one off was probably quite the ordeal, with the huge speaker grills on front.

Reader comments

  • Anonymous

they have razor earphone that are built for this so botton up, razor remove headphone jack .problem. razor make earphones for razor 2 . problem fixed

  • DokPH

There is a reason why the design did not change much. Remember that there is a laptop dock which uses this phone as the entire think center for the unit. Cheers..

  • Sp3ll

Omg the design is just terrible. How can you not learn from the first generation. It looks like the same as before.