Razer Phone 2 Review – Sharper than Sharp
As far as smartphones go, I’ve used an iPhone from day one. Anytime I’ve been forced to borrow a phone running Android it’s been a comedy of errors as I struggle with the UI and complain about how it isn’t iOS.
Well, after spending a week or so with the Razer Phone 2, I can safely say that I’m an Android convert. Ever since I sent the review unit back and had to go back to my iPhone X, I’ve been frustrated.
I no longer belong to the cult of Apple and am impatiently waiting for the day I can upgrade to a Razer Phone 2 and say goodbye to my iPhone forever.
Razer Phone 2 Review
This isn’t a new experience for a lot of people. A lot of my friends have switched from iOS to Android and urged me to do the same. I resisted for many reasons; the money I’d spent in the AppStore, unfamiliarity with Android, fear of change and importantly having to get a whole new handset.
Thanks to the lovely folks at Razer, who provided the Razer Phone 2 for this review, I was able to try out a new handset and OS without having to spend any money. And after a few hours, I was convinced of Android’s superiority.
It’s especially convincing when using a Razer Phone 2 by virtue of the functions and features of the handset itself. Starting with the ridiculous 120Hz screen.
It looks amazing. Reading messages, browsing the internet and playing games have never looked so good on a phone. This was easily one of the hardest things to leave behind when I went back to my iPhone X. I’d never thought the iPhone X screen was anything but crisp and bright, but now, it looks dull, blurry and fuzzy by comparison.
It’s most apparent when playing games. As I was using the Razer Phone 2 as my normal phone, I didn’t game on it more than I normally would so I mostly tested Pokémon GO and Fortnite. The former runs so smoothly and so fast on the Razer Phone 2, that comparing it running in my iPhone X is like comparing day and night.
As for Fortnite, on the Razer Phone 2, I wasn’t really able to tell the difference from the Switch version. Running on iPhone X, however, Fortnite takes a noticeable hit in quality, framerate and draw distance.
More than Games
As a Razer product, gaming is obviously high on the list of features, but the Razer Phone 2 is actually a superb phone as well. Calls were crystal clear and never dipped in quality. There were even calls that surprised me with their clarity. Whenever I speak with my dad on my iPhone X, he sounds muffled and underwater. I always blamed it on his handset until I spoke to him on the Razer Phone 2.
All of a sudden, he was clear, easy to hear and understand and there was no more interference on the line. I was blown away.
The same can be said of messaging and email. I tend to use Google’s ecosystem and on iOS, it’s painfully restricted. On Android though, everything becomes much simpler, faster and freer. Emails are easier to find and read and they’re much easier to send. Especially if I need to send an attachment.
It’s all very intuitive and user-friendly, something I’d say Apple has lost in recent years.
Typing on the keyboard took some getting used to as it uses the Android layout rather than Apple’s but after a time I was fine with it. I’ve never been a fan of the swipe to type system you can use on Android and still aren’t, but Android’s predictive text is far easier and accurate than the one on iOS. That being said, going from one to the other has its challenges and if you switch, you’re sure to struggle for a while.
The screen itself, aside from the brightness and crispness, is responsive to touch and genuinely feels nice to use. Swiping and tapping always reacted exactly as I expected and it didn’t take long to get a handle on the Android shortcuts. All of which made my life much easier by comparison.
As did the plethora of options you have when using the Android OS. Downloading files, applications and images are as simple as clicking the link. It’s saved in your downloads folder and is ready to go. Coming from an iOS background, this was like a whole new world for me. I’m used to having to brute force my phone to download files and to be able to simply download was amazing.
Selfies and More
I’m no photographer, so to me, the cameras on the iPhone and Razer Phone 2 are comparable. However, the screen again makes all the difference. Looking at photos I took on my iPhone X on the Razer Phone 2 made them look so much better and the photos I took on the Razer Phone 2 looked great. There were also far more photography options when taking photos with the Razer Phone 2 so that my photos always looked their best.
Sadly, the Razer Phone 2 doesn’t include a 3.5inch headphone jack and instead comes with an adapter for the USB-C charging port. It’s not as elegant as the included Thunderbolt headphones that come with new iPhones though I just used Bluetooth headphones anyway.
However, using Bluetooth headphones compounded the issues I had with battery life. The Razer Phone 2 seems to chew through a fully charged battery very, very quickly. I tend to use and look at my phone quite a lot, so I need a phone that will be able to stay charged through heavy use. The Razer Phone 2 wasn’t quite up to the task. I had to resort to bringing a portable charger with me as otherwise, the phone would be dead after 3-4 hours.
I should note that this was with the phone running location services, Bluetooth, 4G and a fully bright screen.
It’s not a deal-breaker for me but is certainly the least impressive and most worrisome aspect of the Razer Phone 2.
Very Sharp Indeed
Overall, the Razer Phone 2 is an incredible handset that is more than up for (almost) everything you throw at it.
The solid, chunky and heavy steel design suited me perfectly. I prefer a larger phone so really enjoyed how it felt in my hand. The edges aren’t rounded and so it does tend to feel more like a brick, but again, I prefer this. Whether you do, is down to personal preference.
With a solid build, incredible screen and impeccable features, the Razer Phone 2 rises above being a gimmick. It’s not just a Razer-branded Android. It’s a worthy smartphone for any user regardless of whether they intend to game, use it for business or as an everyday phone.
When I have the chance, I’ll certainly be upgrading and saying goodbye to Apple forever.
Razer loaned a Razer Phone 2 unit to PowerUp! for the purposes of this review.
Product Name: Razer Phone 2
Easy to Use