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Razer Phone 2 Launch: Can it Break Free from a Gaming Phone Niche?

by Paul Brown | Oct 24, 2018

On October 10th 2018 Razer held an event, FLAGSHIP // GAMING in Los Angeles to make a number of new product announcements, including the Razer Phone 2.  The Razer Phone 2 is the successor to the original Razer Phone, which was launched in November 2017, and positioned as a gaming phone.  Strategy Analytics’ Wireless Smartphone Strategies service has been tracking Razer along with other game phone makers, who currently remain niche in the global smartphone market, with less than 2% volume share in 2017.

The Razer Phone 2 is trying to appeal to a broader audience though.  Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan talked of a dual pillar strategy when describing the Razer Phone 2 – one focused on flagship smartphone qualities, and one focused on superior gaming features.

As should be expected from a company who is best known for making gaming laptops, the experience of playing games on the Razer Phone 2 was very good.  The display was impressive both when playing games and watching video content, and the dual front speaker provided excellent (and loud) sound quality.  The phone also features Razer Cortex, a one-stop mobile app launcher that allows the user to discover curated content. Quickly launch games, and optimize settings.

Razer Phone 2: Gaming Specs
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Razer is also aiming to appeal to non-gamers.  During the product launch, Razer focused on flagship smartphone specs before talking about the gaming aspect of the phone.  Razer claims to have the world’s most powerful smartphone, and it is water resistant (IP67) even with the dual front speakers.  However, the biggest disappointment when trying out the Razer Phone 2 was the camera – photos did not look as sharp as those taken on the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 in the dimly lit product experience area.

Razer Phone 2: Flagship Specs
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The Razer Phone 2 also features a glass back design to allow for wireless charging.  This also allowed Razer to include a backlit Razer logo, powered by Chroma – which received one of the biggest cheers from the heavily gaming focused attendees in the room!  The backlit design is visually very appealing, and also changes color for different notifications (e.g. blue for Facebook, yellow for Snapchat), however, a big limitation to the experience is that the colors are not customizable.

Backlit Logo Powered by Razer Chroma
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Overall, the Razer Phone 2 provides an excellent gaming experience for those who want more than just casual smartphone gaming.  However, Razer is attempted to appeal to a wider audience by improving other specs of the phone.  Whether these are strong enough to win over non-gamers remains to be seen.

- Paul Brown

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