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

Glowing bright

A brighter display with an insane 120Hz refresh rate
Top specs for gaming and media
Front-facing speakers powered by Dolby Atmos
Customizable Chroma logo on the back
Wireless charging and water resistance
Total fingerprint magnet
Camera performance
No headphone jack

Razer Phone

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 Phone

First try

Introduced the 120Hz refresh rate display
Great specs for gaming and media
Rugged aluminum frame with matte black finish
$500 is a more reasonable price point
The camera is still sub-par
Display lacks brightness
No headphone jack

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:

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 Razer Phone 2Razer Phone
SoftwareAndroid 8.1 OreoAndroid 8.1.0
Display5.72-inches Sharp IGZO2560 x 1440 resolution120Hz refresh rate with UltraMotion syncWide Color Gamut (WCG)Corning Gorilla Glass 55.72-inch IGZO LCD 2560x1440120Hz, Wide Color Gamut (WCG)Corning Gorilla Glass 3
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 845Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
ExpansionmicroSD class 10, up to 2TBmicroSD class 10, up to 2TB
Battery4,000 mAhQualcomm Quickcharge 4.0+4000 mAh lithium-ion batteryQualcomm QuickCharge 4.0+
Wireless ChargingYesNo
Rear Cameras12MP AF f/1.75 Wide12MP AF f/2.6 ZoomDual PDAFDual tone, dual LED flash12MP f/1.75 wide-angle12MP f/2.6 telephotoDual PDAFDual tone, dual LED flash
Front Camera8MP f/2.0, fixed focus8MP f/2.0, fixed focus
Sound24-bit THX certified DAC (headphone adapter only)Dual front facing speakers with individual amplifiersDolby AtmosStereo Front facing speakersDual AmplifiersAudio Adapter with THX certified DAC
SecurityOne-touch fingerprint sensorOne-touch fingerprint sensor
Wireless802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.2, NFC802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, NFC
Water ResistanceIP67None
Size158.5 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.

Marc Lagace

Marc Lagace was an Apps and Games Editor at Android Central between 2016 and 2020. You can reach out to him on Twitter [@spacelagace.