Moving from OnePlus 5T to Razer Phone 2

Stepping into the OnePlus universe was never my first choice. After facing numerous software-related issues on my BlackBerry Passport Silver Edition which I paid $700 for, the kind of phone I wanted to switch to didn't quite exist. While using my BlackBerry, for a first few weeks I believed that I was out of the Android ecosystem but it soon turned out that I was using one without even realizing (BlackBerry 10 was still Android underneath), and that too a deprecated one. One possible solution to the problem was to switch to an affordable developer-centric Android device and after some struggle to find a not-so-mainstream device, it ended up being a OnePlus 5T. It was a pretty rare-ish phone in the US back then (and its successors still are today) and looked down at for not being an iPhone or a Samsung, which is like the standard for phones over here. I ordered the higher-end model with 128GBs of internal storage and 8GBs of RAM on day one.

If I'd say that the phone wasn't good, it would be a straight-up lie: the phone was phenomenal. Every single thing about the phone felt the best and it left me with nothing to complain about. I did get reactions from iPhone users at my workplace, but people who looked at the phone complimented it for it's tall 18:9 (almost edge-to-edge) AMOLED screen. But like all the other phones that I used in the last sixteen years (since my Panasonic in early 2004), this one was not supposed to be the last.

I made an unplanned switch to Razer Phone 2 in the last week in August 2019 and I wouldn't call it an upgrade (probably a 'sidegrade', if that were a word?).

What I gained

Below are the improvements I found in 'Aura' (codename for Razer Phone 2) when comparing it to the 'dumpling' (codename for OnePlus 5T)

  • Higher-resolution (2560 x 1440) screen with the highest refresh rate (120Hz) in the industry
  • Razer Chroma logo with customizable colors and patterns
  • Dolby certified 'real' dual stereo speakers that were rated 'the best' in the industry back when it was released
  • Expandable storage once again
  • Wireless charging, first time for me
  • A slightly updated chipset, that performs better than the dumpling
  • Some cool tweaks by Razer in the stock ROM without any significant bloat

What I lost

On the flip side, below are the shortcomings I discovered within the first week of using the phone

  • No AMOLED display: I'm back to an IPS screen
  • Shorter screen: 16:9 against 18:9 on the dumpling
  • No earphone/headphone jack, though they provide an adapter in the box)
  • Weird placement of the power-key/fingerprint scanner, precisely in the center on the right-hand side of the device
  • Sub-par performance of mic on phone calls, leaving the person on other side complaining about my voice
  • Unintuitive form-factor and design meaning that the phone is not only heavy but also does not fit well in hands
  • No face-unlock like they do have in OnePlus phones
  • No notification LED on the front as it's now on the back in the form of the super-cool Razer Chroma logo
  • Smaller/laggy camera coupled with a stock camera app with lesser features
  • Weaker ROM development community
  • No dual-SIM support, not that I ever use two SIM cards in my phones
  • No sound slider, which I think you only find in OnePlus devices

Early conclusion

It's quite obvious that the list of drawbacks is larger than the list of benefits. Does that make it a downgrade?

I love the phone specifically for a few things which are:

  • Its resemblance to my ancient Windows Mobile Pocket PCs back from the early 2000s
  • Extra loud 'real' front-facing dual stereo speakers
  • Razer Chroma logo
  • The personality, rareness and overall feel of the phone

However, there are a few things I wish were different:

  • An AMOLED screen, even a 1080p panel would've worked
  • The power button could've been placed a little higher than where it is to make it a little easier to access it while holding the phone in human hands, the way humans do
  • A lower color temperature or at least a way to change it according to my preference as the high temperature could later be achieved using software or even by wearing a pair of blue-blocking glasses!

Final conclusion

No matter what others might say, I like my Razer Phone 2. :)