The camera is better than the original, but...
The dual-rear cameras contain new sensors and the main camera now has optical image stabilization. The second camera is telephoto and is used for 2x optical zoom and portrait mode photos. In good light, photos and videos are better than the ones from the original Razer Phone.
There are four camera modes: photos, videos, portrait and beauty. I like the simplicity of the camera app's layout, but it's missing one of my favorite things on most Android phones: Pro Mode.
Here are some shots we took before Razer applied its software update.
Portrait mode photos look decent and have a natural-looking separation of the foreground and background. People's skin looks natural without appearing overly soft, as it can appear on other phones.
Now, with Razer's new software, the image quality has improved. I don't find color banding or moire in photos post-update, and HDR photos look good. The default camera app, which was buggy when I first tested the phone, seems much faster and didn't freeze up when taking portrait photos.
Here are some photos shot with the Razer Phone 2 post-update:
Razer Phone 2 is branded for gaming
Throughout testing this phone I pondered what made this a gaming phone. Perhaps the screen? It's twice as bright as the original and refreshes 120 times a second, which is twice as fast as nearly any other phone. The screen works great for many games to reduce motion blur and give you that hundredth of a second edge in gameplay. It makes scrolling through websites and apps look spectacular. Android animations and effects look extra smooth.
I played a few 120Hz games like Gear: Club and Mini Dayz and everything looked smoother, and was more responsive. Razer's Cortex app has a feature called Game Booster, which lets you optimize the phone for performance or battery life. I liked having the option to switch the setup for different games. The app also features a section for 120Hz with titles such as Evolved 2, Mini Metro, Unkilled and Mini Dayz.
The processor, RAM and "vapor-chamber cooling system" make it as fast, if not slightly faster than theand . But it comes nowhere near the performance of the , at least in the benchmarks we ran. Check out the results of our performance tests below.
When it comes to game controls, the Razer Phone 2 doesn't bring anything new to the table. You're left with onscreen joysticks and buttons. The upcominguses squeezable corners to add left and right trigger buttons for games played in landscape. That solution appears to be a more explicit attempt to address the needs of gamers looking for more of a gamepad style of control.
Razer does have one trick up its sleeve: the, sold separately. It works with any Android phone, not just the Razer, and will be available to purchase later this year. No word on pricing yet.
Razer Phone 2 battery is the least impressive part
The Razer Phone 2 has a 4,000-mAh battery that lasted only 9 hours, 16 minutes in CNET's battery test. This figure didn't change with the software update. The original Razer lasted 11 hours, 32 minutes, which wasn't that great either, considering other phones with a battery this large last 15 hours or more.
In daily use, however, it had no problem getting through a long day.
Currently it runs a near-stock version of Android 8.1 and I'm curious if the battery life will improve after the phone is upgraded to Android Pie.
Specs comparison of Razer Phone 2, Asus ROG phone, Samsung Galaxy Note 9, OnePlus 6 and iPhone XS
||Razer Phone 2||Asus ROG Phone||Samsung Galaxy Note 9||OnePlus 6||iPhone XS|
|Display size, resolution||5.7-inch LCD; 2,560x1,440 pixels; 120Hz screen refresh rate||6-inch AMOLED; 2,160x1,080 pixels; 90Hz screen refresh rate||6.4-inch Super AMOLED; 2,960x1,440 pixels||6.28-inch OLED; 2,280x1,080 pixels||5.8-inch Super Retina OLED; 2,436x1,125 pixels|
|Dimensions (Inches)||6.2x3.1x0.33 in||6.3x3x0.34 in||6.37x3.01x0.35 in||6.13x2.97x0.31 in||5.7x2.8x0.3 in|
|Dimensions (Millimeters)||158.5x79x8.5 mm||158.8x76.2x8.7 mm||161.9x76.4x8.8 mm||155.7x75.4x7.75 mm||143.6x70.9x7.7 mm|
|Weight (Ounces, Grams)||7.8oz; 220g||7oz; 200g||7.09 oz.; 201g||6.2 oz; 177g||6.2 oz; 177g|
|Mobile software||Android 8.1 Oreo||Android 8.1 Oreo||Android 8.1 Oreo||Android 8.1 Oreo||iOS 12|
|Camera||Dual 12-megapixel (standard with OIS and telephoto)||12-megapixel standard with OIS, 8-megapixel ultra wide angle||Dual 12-megapixel (wide and telephoto)||16-megapixel standard, 20-megapixel telephoto||Dual 12-megapixel (wide and telephoto)|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (2.8GHz)||Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (2.96GHz)||Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor (2.8GHz + 1.7GHz octa-core), or Samsung Exynos 9810 (2.7 GHz + 1.7 GHz octa-core)||2.8GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 845||Apple A12 Bionic|
|Storage||64GB||128GB or 512GB||128GB, 512GB||64GB, 128GB, 256GB||64GB, 256GB, 512GB|
|RAM||8GB||8GB RAM||6GB, 8GB||6GB, 8GB||Not disclosed|
|Expandable storage||Up to 2TB||None||512GB||None||None|
|Battery||4,000 mAh||4,000 mAh||4,000 mAh||3,300 mAh||Apple claims it lasts 30 min. longer than iPhone X|
|Fingerprint sensor||Right spine||Back||Back of phone||Back of phone||None (Face ID)|
|Special features||120GHz screen refresh rate; water resistant (IP68); wireless charging||90GHz screen; sides of phone can be customized as buttons for games; ZenMoji||Water resistant (IP68); wireless charging; S-Pen; Iris and facial scanning; AR Emoji||Dual-SIM; Dash Charging||Water-resistant (IP68); dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM); wireless charging; Memoji|
|Price off-contract (USD)||$799||$899 (128GB), $1,099 (512GB)||$1,000 (128GB), $1,250 (512GB)||$529 (64GB), $579 (128GB), $629 (256GB)||$999 (64GB), $1,149 (256GB), $1,349 (512GB)|
|Price (GBP)||£780||Converts to £690 (128GB), £840 (512GB)||£899 (128GB), £1,099 (512GB)||£469 (64GB), £519 (128GB), £569 (256GB)||£999 (64GB), £1,149 (256GB), £1,349 (512GB)|
|Price (AUD)||Converts to AU$1,430||Converts to AU$1,265 (128GB), AU$1,545 (512GB)||AU$1,499 (128GB), AU$1,799 (512GB)||AU$702 (64GB), AU$769 (128GB), AU$835 (256GB)||AU$1,629 (64GB), AU$1,879 (256GB), AU$2,199 (512GB)|