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Razer Phone 2 Review Roundup: Game On or Game Over?

Razer's new gaming-focused phone is here, and the reviews are in. The new device is flashier and prettier than the original, and seeks to improve in several key areas. 

But while it's an excellent phone for gaming, the critics think a few weak features hold it back from becoming a premium flagship phone. 

The phone is $799, and you can order it right now. But should you? Here's what the critics say.

Tom's Guide

Our own Sherri L. Smith is iffy on the concept of gaming phones, and thinks the Razer 2 can't quite compete with other flagships in areas outside of gaming. 

"The Razer Phone 2 is a good choice for gamers and multimedia lovers who want the best audio and graphics rendering, but Razer still has some more retooling to do if its phone is going to break out of its gaming niche." - Sherri L. Smith, Tom's Guide


The Good: "It's a master class in sophisticated elegance, much like its predecessor."

"The front-firing speakers pack a serious wallop, easily filling our test lab with loud, clean sound."

The Bad: "A shot taken in our video studio yielded muted color, making Cappy (a key character in Super Mario Odyssey) look dull and drab."

The Verge

The Verge's Stefan Etienne argues that the Razer's gaming specs don't ultimately make it a good phone.

"What Razer wants you to believe is that the Phone 2 is a great phone and the best gaming phone. But only one of those things is true." - Stefan Etienne, The Verge

The Good: "The Phone 2 looks and feels like a premium device, though. The rear panel is glass now, which is required for wireless charging, and its build quality is solid."

"The fluidity between home screens, scrolling through webpages or Instagram, and watching content move cleanly across the screen is almost a spectacle."

The Bad: "The Razer Phone 2 doesn’t have the camera chops to displace any of the new iPhone XS or Pixel 3 models."

Android Police

Rose Behar of Android Police believes the Razer is a good device, but could be better in a few areas.

"The Razer Phone 2 is an excellent phone, but it doesn't tick every box just yet." - Rose Behar, Android Police

The Good: "While it may seem like hyperbole, the screen’s 120Hz refresh rate is nothing short of mind-blowing. When you switch on the setting (it's set to 90Hz by default), the display can change its image at as much as 120 frames per second."

"When I’m just doing daily phone activities like browsing, calling, and messaging, it’ll last me over a day, which is great compared to many powerhouse flagships."

The Bad: "I will note that I have quite small hands and wrists, but even people with larger hands than mine found it large, angular, and heavy (36 grams heavier than the Pixel 3 XL, to be precise)."

Razer Phone 2View Deal

Cnet

At Cnet, Patrick Holland finds that a few subpar features make the phone a bummer.

"A short battery life and just OK photos undermine what is otherwise an amazing phone." - Patrick Holland, Cnet

The Good: "The squared-edges are reminiscent of the iPhone 5 and fit well in my hand, especially in landscape orientation.

The Bad: "There were times in portrait mode where the camera app froze or was laggy."

"The original Razer lasted 11 hours and 32 minutes, which wasn't that great either considering other phones with a battery this large last 15 hours or more."

VentureBeat

In his review for VentureBeat, Dean Takahashi thinks the Razer 2 is a great purchase for gamers, but a tough sell on anyone else.

"There are some trade-offs that Razer makes on things such as camera quality, and perhaps that’s why it can’t command as high a price as Apple can." - Dean Takahashi, VentureBeat

The Good: "The green Razer logo lights up on the back when it’s in use, as the phone can now handle Razer Chroma’s 16.8 million color lighting options. One of the cool uses of this feature is that the phone can glow in different colors, based on the kind of visual notification it is sending you."

"Qualcomm QuickCharge 4+ allows users to charge the phone from a flat battery to 50 percent charge within 30 minutes."

The Bad: "It does not have face unlock or 3D face recognition, while Apple’s new X series phones come with FaceID, which is an easy way to unlock your phone. You’re also going to have to be careful about security risks for things such as sideloading (important for games like Fortnite on Android), as Android hacks are not that enjoyable and frequent."

"The new phone has a different camera, in response to feedback from fans who weren’t entirely pleased with the first one. Even so, the Razor Phone 2’s rear-facing camera doesn’t shoot pictures as well as the iPhone XS Max."

Credit: Tom's Guide