Razer Phone 2 initial impressions: A gaming phone that isn’t "gaming" enough

I’ll be honest, we wasn’t utterly psyched for a “gaming smartphone”. Call me a traditionalist, nonetheless I’d many rather dump napalm on fools regulating my desktop PC than on some little smartphone arrangement with unintuitive touchscreen controls. But, there was one smartphone that reshaped my viewpoint on this topic. One device that finished me trust in a destiny for mobile gaming.

That device is a ASUS ROG Phone. While a “gaming phones” before it were some-more like unchanging phones with gaming stickers, a ROG Phone felt like a initial loyal smartphone that was built from a belligerent adult to be a gaming device. And it finished all a disproportion to me. You could see a pointed tweaks and courteous inclusions that unequivocally demonstrated their bargain of what a mobile gamer needs — and we preferred that even nonetheless we wasn’t one myself.

But, when a ROG Phone launched in Malaysia, there wasn’t many in a proceed of foe for it. Neither a Razer Phone nor a BlackShark phone were strictly available, so there wasn’t many for me to examination it to. Well, that is, until now. Because now, Razer’s throwing their shawl in a ring with a Razer Phone 2.

If you’ve been following Razer, you’ll know that this is indeed a second smartphone Razer has launched after appropriation smartphone builder Nextbit. And, in loyal Razer fashion, it continues a strange device’s bequest of being a gaming-centric flagship smartphone.

In box we didn’t already know, Razer’s strange Razer Phone grabbed utterly a few headlines when it launched. While partial of it was simply given Razer finally had a smartphone that we could buy, a lot of it was also about a handset’s glorious opening and a climax valuables — a 120Hz Quad HD display. But, a lot has altered given then, so a doubt we need to ask now — and a one we will try to answer — should we caring about a Razer Phone 2?

Despite being a 2018 smartphone that’s launched in 2019, there is still a lot to like about a Razer Phone 2, and I’ll start with a opening components. Powering this device is a flagship-class Snapdragon 845 processor that’s corresponding to a inexhaustible 8GB of RAM. Yes, a Snapdragon 845 isn’t utterly as 2019 as some of we might like, nonetheless it’s also no slump so we shouldn’t go into this awaiting a unequivocally laggy experience. It also packs a vast 4,000 mAh battery so we should be removing plain battery life out of it. The biggest debility when it comes to a internals though, is a fact that it usually comes with 64GB of storage in Malaysia. Honestly, that’s kind of unfortunate generally when we cruise a fact that a opposition — a ROG Phone — has 128GB of storage as standard.

That said, a Razer Phone 2 does have a trump label to rest on: That 120Hz Quad HD arrangement is something special. It’s tough to report how swiping around on a 120Hz arrangement feels like, nonetheless my best summation is that it feels amazing. It feels buttery. It feels like a phone is faster than it substantially is, and that’s a good thing. The row itself is an IPS row so we don’t utterly get a super dim blacks of an OLED, nonetheless we have to contend that it is a unequivocally nice-looking panel. Sharp, splendid and super responsive.

However, a many ungainly thing for me to get used to was a 16:9 aspect ratio. It felt like a retro reversion impulse that we didn’t unequivocally need to have with a 2018/2019 smartphone, and I’m not certain how we feel about it. we was immediately reminded usually how far-reaching and formidable to reason a smartphones of aged were even with a arrangement that measures usually 5.7 inches diagonally. And a Razer Phone exacerbates this by being impossibly unergonomic.

I mean, we can live with a thicker than common bezels and that outrageous front and chin — given they offer a purpose — nonetheless contingency they have finished it so worried told reason in a hand? It’s got a prosaic back, pointy edges, and 4 pointy corners that positively puncture into your palms. Honestly, a usually china backing here is that this phone is some-more gentle when we reason it in landscape — that we suspect isn’t too bad given it is for gaming after all. Just be warned if you’re someone with tiny hands.

Speaking of a speakers, a Razer Phone 2’s front-facing span is no joke. They even sounded good even in a loud eventuality hall, that is strong impressive. But, maybe a best thing about these speakers is that they’re a exhale of uninformed air. Most complicated smartphones trade glorious speakers for slimmer bezels and that’s something we despise. Sure, there are some devices, like a iPhone XS and Google Pixel that have plain speakers, nonetheless a trade-off is we have to be OK with large notches.

That being said, we consternation if Razer went with a 16:9 aspect ratio arrangement given they wanted these overwhelming speakers, or if there was another reason in play. we mean, ASUS’ ROG Phone also has a span of unequivocally overwhelming speakers, nonetheless they were means to trim a bezels down utterly a bit, and embody a complicated 18:9 aspect ratio.

Nevertheless, I’m indeed blissful Razer took this aged propagandize proceed to smartphone pattern given now consumers have a choice. If they wish unequivocally slim bezels, they can opt for something like a Mi MIX 3, nonetheless if they wish overwhelming speakers and don’t mind carrying a front and chin, there’s now a Razer Phone too.

And honestly, that’s a bulk of what we unequivocally enjoyed with a Razer Phone 2. There are other good touches like a RGB Razer trademark during a behind that also doubles as your presentation light, IP67 H2O resistance, wireless charging, and a comparatively batch Android skin. The light skin is truly a something we conclude given on a device like a ROG Phone, you’re removing a skinned chronicle of ZenUI that is already a skinned chronicle of Android. Skins are unequivocally not my thing, so I’m unequivocally blissful Razer was means to inject some of their DNA though totally changing how a OS behaves.

But, while a Razer Phone 2 has a lot going for it, a handset is also abundant with issues. For starters, a camera knowledge is nowhere nearby a kind of flagship turn we get from something like a Note9 or an iPhone XS. A premonition here is that I’ve usually had a brief volume of time with it in a unequivocally feeble illuminated room, nonetheless we don’t consider it will practically be means to contest even in a correct shootout. The china backing is that people tell me it’s improved than a initial Razer Phone, nonetheless that was never a high bar to clear. Then, we’ve got a body.

For a handset that seems to be banking on an industrial pattern aesthetic, a build left a lot to be desired. It felt flimsy, lacked heft and didn’t come with a kind of machined refinement we’ve come to design from complicated flagships. we can feel a gaps between where a physique panels accommodate a frames and that’s not appreciative during all. Then, there are a buttons that are tear-jerking and unsatisfying, and afterwards there’s a biggest crime of all: The side mounted fingerprint scanner and energy symbol combo.

I did a whole Sony smartphone thing and I’m so finished with side-mounted fingerprint scanner. It usually works absolutely with your right ride and sacrifices a lifted energy symbol (which is useful when you’re perplexing to find it by touch) for a prosaic featureless slab. we don’t know it. we don’t know how anyone could cite this over a back or front-mounted one, so if you’re someone who does, greatfully illuminate me. But from where I’m standing, it’s an slaughter that needs to be put down.

Finally, we’ve got a fact that this smartphone doesn’t have a 3.5mm headphone jack. we know, we shouldn’t be this unfortunate about it given many flagship smartphones don’t have this already, nonetheless a Razer Phone 2 is a gaming smartphone, right? That means people will diversion on it and gamers tend to use headphones so they can promulgate with their teammates over something like Discord. So because doesn’t a Razer Phone 2 have one? Why contingency we be forced to select between charging your phone and regulating a span of headphones? It’s befuddling.

If a forgive was space, do we know what other smartphone has a 4,000 mAh battery AND a headphone jack? Yup, a ASUS ROG Phone.

I theory this brings us orderly into my conclusion. The Razer Phone 2 is labelled during RM3,449 and will be accessible for squeeze from currently onwards. That means, a Razer Phone 2 is RM50 reduction than a base-model ASUS ROG Phone that retails during RM3,499. But, for that RM50 more, you’re removing double a storage (128GB) and a neat cooling fan that also cools your fingers and leads your cables out a bottom of your phone in a landscape orientation.

I don’t know about you, nonetheless we find it unequivocally tough to clear shopping a Razer Phone 2 over a ROG Phone besides a IP67 H2O resistance.

Plus, if we wanted a loyal gaming-centric device, a ROG Phone has proceed some-more gaming-focused facilities baked in like a side-mounted USB-C pier so cables don’t get in your way, a headphone jack and a span of hold supportive AirTriggers. These AirTriggers duty like shoulder buttons on a console controller that we can map so it touches anywhere on your screen. Anywhere.

Then, you’ve got a ROG Phone’s apartment of gaming accessories like a one that turns your phone into a 3DS, a one that wirelessly lets we expel to a TV, and a dedicated desktop dock. All things that we can squeeze after to rouse your mobile gaming experience.

I’m not wholly assured a Razer Phone 2 is a gaming smartphone for we if we live in Malaysia. At least, not right now. we will contend that these are usually my initial impressions, so we will haven a outcome until after I’ve had a possibility to examination both smartphones. In a meantime, let me know what we consider in a comments below!

Photography by Zachary Yoong with a Sony A7 III.

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