Razer Phone 2 vs. Razer Phone: Should you upgrade?
Razer Phone 2
The Razer Phone 2 is a great follow up from the first Razer Phone. It addresses most of the Razer Phone's shortcomings while adding some premium features that help to justify the $800 price tag. Simply put, this is the best phone for high-end mobile gaming — think PUBG Mobile, Fortnite, VainGlory and other competitive mobile games.
Razer Phone 2
The Razer Phone was an ambitious first phone from Razer, a company best known for gaming laptops and accessories. It might have been a bit too ambitious at launch with too many flaws to hold up against other flagships, but now priced at $500, the Razer Phone is easier to recommend — flaws and all — for all the things it does really well.
Razer now has two gaming smartphones to offer, with the Razer Phone 2 offering decisive improvements across the board. If you bought the Razer Phone, it's worth upgrading, especially if you can flip the first phone for some extra cash to put toward the Razer Phone 2.
How do the two Razer Phones compare?
Razer has retained the overall design of the first Razer Phone with the most noticeable upgrades for the Razer Phone 2 being the glass back that allows for wireless charging and that stylish Chroma logo, along with changed placements for the front and back cameras.
However, it's on the inside that matters most, right? Let's take a look at those specs:
|Header Cell - Column 0||Razer Phone 2||Razer Phone|
|Software||Android 8.1 Oreo||Android 8.1.0|
|Display||5.72-inches Sharp IGZO|
2560 x 1440 resolution
120Hz refresh rate with UltraMotion sync
Wide Color Gamut (WCG)
Corning Gorilla Glass 5
|5.72-inch IGZO LCD 2560x1440|
120Hz, Wide Color Gamut (WCG)
Corning Gorilla Glass 3
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 845||Qualcomm Snapdragon 835|
|RAM||8GB LPDDR4X||8GB LPDDR4|
|Expansion||microSD class 10, up to 2TB||microSD class 10, up to 2TB|
Qualcomm Quickcharge 4.0+
|4000 mAh lithium-ion battery|
Qualcomm QuickCharge 4.0+
|Rear Cameras||12MP AF f/1.75 Wide|
12MP AF f/2.6 Zoom
Dual tone, dual LED flash
|12MP f/1.75 wide-angle|
12MP f/2.6 telephoto
Dual tone, dual LED flash
|Front Camera||8MP f/2.0, fixed focus||8MP f/2.0, fixed focus|
|Sound||24-bit THX certified DAC (headphone adapter only)|
Dual front facing speakers with individual amplifiers
|Stereo Front facing speakers|
Audio Adapter with THX certified DAC
|Security||One-touch fingerprint sensor||One-touch fingerprint sensor|
|Wireless||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.2, NFC||802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, NFC|
|Size||158.5 x 78.9 x 8.5 mm (6.24 x 3.1 x 0.33 in)||158.5 x 77.7 x 8mm (6.24 x 3.06 x 0.31 in)|
As you can see, some specs worked out well enough the first time that Razer didn't need to change a thing. That means you'll get 8GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, a massive 4,000 mAh battery, and a mostly stock software experience built on Android 8.1.
The Razer Phone 2 differentiates itself from its predecessor with a brighter display, wireless charging, water resistance, and that funky Chroma logo for a unique look. The camera software has been greatly improved for launch. While the first Razer Phone needed a major software update to fix the camera's issues, the Razer Phone 2's camera is outstanding by comparison. Still not as good as the Pixel's camera performance, but much better overall.
But let's be real — no one is buying a Razer Phone for the camera performance. Both of these phones are designed first and foremost for gaming, and both phones thrive during the most intensive gaming sessions. These phones are both absolute workhorses when it comes to gaming and watching media, but the Razer Phone 2 gets the edge with the brighter display and 2018's top Qualcomm processor.
Should you upgrade to the Razer Phone 2?
Those who bought the Razer Phone last year must be wondering if it's worth upgrading to the Razer Phone 2 just one year later. My opinion is if you're in the position to afford to buy the $800 Razer Phone 2 outright and you loved last year's offering you'll absolutely fall head over heels for the follow-up.
The Razer Phone 2 is objectively the better phone in nearly every way. It just feels more like a proper Android flagship this time around with the premium features most consumers have come to expect from an $800 smartphone. It also looks fantastic, front to back, and will definitely turn heads when you use it in public.
If money is tight, however, you can buy the first Razer Phone for as low as $500, and you'll still have a great phone for gaming.
Razer has refined its vision with the Razer Phone 2
The Razer Phone 2 can compete with the other top Android flagships in most categories, and is a downright great phone for gaming and watching media. Worth the investment for those bored with phones that all look the same.
A flawed first take
The Razer Phone couldn't live up to Android flagship expectations in 2017, but it's still a workhorse performer when it comes to gaming and media. It's notable device that's also essentially a murdered-out spiritual successor to the Nextbit Robin with top-end specs.
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Marc Lagace was an Apps and Games Editor at Android Central between 2016 and 2020. You can reach out to him on Twitter [@spacelagace.