Not even a year after the original, Razer’s CEO Min-Liang Tan took to the stage tonight to officially unveil the Razer Phone 2. The device doesn’t completely revamp Razer’s mobile strategy, but it does fix many of the issues with the original including some major requests from fans.

During Razer’s presentation, the focus for the company was bringing a flagship phone and a gaming phone together. Regardless of where you stand on the gaming phone trend, there’s no denying that Razer’s hardware is great for mobile gaming. With the Razer Phone 2, though, the company is trying to make its device better for someone who still wants to use their device as a daily driver smartphone.

As far as the core specifications go, the Razer Phone 2 has the same 8GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, but it comes with the newer, more powerful Snapdragon 845 chipset. Razer has also paired it with better thermals to provide the best possible performance. Using a “vapor chamber” cooling system, benchmarks report better results on the Razer Phone 2 compared to even the OnePlus 6.

For software, Razer is adding some new features. Razer Cortex, a popular part of Razer’s software portfolio on PC, is coming to the Razer Phone 2. This gives users recommendations for games that are optimized for the phone and that are also recommended based on their tastes. It even lets gamers share recommendations with one another. Razer also mentioned that it has been working with the developers of PUBG Mobile to optimize the Razer Phone 2 for that hit game. Unfortunately, it runs Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box instead of Android 9 Pie.

The Razer Phone 2 also keeps the same huge 4,000 mAh battery which charges over USB-C, but with a bonus in tow. This time around, Razer is supporting wireless charging through the new glass back. The company has even launched its own wireless charger which has Chroma LED lighting effects built-in. On top of that, the Razer logo has Chroma effects too, and is fully customizable and can show lighting effects for incoming notifications as well. There’s still no headphone jack on the device, though.

There are some big improvements to the Razer Phone 2, though. It’s now IP67 water resistant but retains the same front-facing speakers. Thanks to a dedicated amp for each speaker, though, Razer has actually managed to make this year’s speakers even louder, topping out at 103db. The 120Hz display is also back, but this time it’s 50% brighter, maxing out at 580 nits. Razer has also managed to deliver compatibility with Verizon Wireless in the United States this time around.

The cameras have also seen some major improvements. Razer Phone 2 adopts a new dual-camera system which consists of a standard 12MP wide angle sensor with OIS, as well as a 13MP 2x telephoto lens. Both are IMX sensors, and there’s also a Full HD front-facing camera. Based on early samples, it does look like a solid improvement. Razer has also added portrait mode, a better panorama mode, and a new beauty mode as well, in addition to the low-light improvements.

As far as pricing is concerned, the Razer Phone 2 is $799, undercutting a lot of other major flagships but still a $100 increase from the original. Shipping starts “soon,” with pre-orders opening tonight. The “Mirror” finish will be available immediately with a matte “Satin” finish coming later in the year.

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Ben Schoon

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