Razer Blade 15 (2019) overview
On the skin, this new Blade 15 doesn’t look a lot completely different from Razer’s award-winning predecessor: it’s nonetheless gorgeous, however not a lot has modified. As a substitute of tweaking the appears, Razer has focused on the internals. Which means massive upgrades: new graphics playing cards and CPUs, and a 240Hz display screen that’s good for esports.
That sounds nice, however costs have elevated – this mannequin prices £2,530 or $2,650, and a few are costlier. Is the Blade 15 nonetheless price it? This is our full in-depth overview.
The up to date Blade 15 is available in a number of configurations and it is referred to as the ‘Superior Mannequin’ nevertheless it’s usually identified and the 2019 version, too. Our mannequin contains an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q graphics card, a Ninth-gen Intel Core i7 CPU and a Full HD 240Hz display screen.
If you need the RTX 2070 Max-Q with a 4K touchscreen then it’ll price $2,900, however the Ninth-gen CPU is swapped for Eighth-gen and this configuration isn’t obtainable within the UK. It’s additionally attainable to mix the RTX 2070 Max-Q with a 144Hz Full HD display screen and the older Eighth-gn CPU to carry the value all the way down to £2,140 or $2,200.
The following step up contains an RTX 2080 Max-Q. If you need the 4K display screen and Ninth-gen CPU the value is available in at an eye-watering £three,150 or $three,300. The 240Hz Full HD mannequin is £2,880 or $three,000, and the 144Hz model is £2,610 or $2,700.
You may step all the way down to an RTX 2060, though that’s solely obtainable with the 144Hz display screen and the Ninth-gen CPU. It prices £1,890 or $2,000.
On the backside of the stack is a GTX 1060 Max-Q mannequin. It solely has the Eighth-gen CPU and a 60Hz Full HD display screen, and it prices £1,410 or $1,400. That’s low-cost, however you lose display screen options and graphical energy.
Final yr, a GTX 1070 mannequin with a 144Hz display screen would set you again £2,329 or $2,599.
View all of the fashions at Razer and you may also however them from Amazon.
The Blade has sturdy competitors from the Alienware m15. That machine additionally makes use of the RTX 2070 Max-Q and has Ninth-gen CPUs, and it’s obtainable with 144Hz or 240Hz Full HD screens or 4K 60Hz panels.
There’s not a lot distinction in value between the Blade and an equal Alienware: the m15 with the identical specification prices £2,600 or $2,480.
Take a look at our chart of the greatest gaming laptop computer.
Design & Construct
A lot of the Blade’s design options are unchanged. The machine continues to be constructed from anodized aluminium, with modern traces, sensible logos and no pointless extravagance. You’ve nonetheless received speaker grilles sandwiching the keyboard alongside slim bezels and an enormous glass trackpad.
This machine makes use of Razer’s Mercury White end, which is a limited-edition color that debuted final yr. This time round, it’s solely obtainable on the RTX 2070 machine with the 240Hz display screen.
It appears implausible – nevertheless it additionally makes the Blade appears fairly like a MacBook Professional from 2006. Handily, each specification is accessible in a subtler black shade for those who favor.
The Blade is thicker than final yr’s mannequin, nevertheless it’s nonetheless svelte – 18mm thick and 355mm vast, and with a 2.15kg weight. That’s the identical weight because the Alienware, and nonetheless just a little bit slimmer and narrower than Dell’s machine – Dell owns Alienware for those who’re not conscious.
Construct high quality is okay, too: the bottom is rock-solid and there’s solely just a little give within the display screen’s rear. We’d use a sleeve, however that’s prudent recommendation for any laptop computer at this value.
Across the edges the Blade delivers three USB three.2 Gen 2 ports and a Thunderbolt three connection that additionally helps USB-C. There’s an HDMI output, a mini-DisplayPort connector and one audio jack, and Gigabit Ethernet is barely included on entry-level fashions.
It’s an identical port allocation because the Alienware, though that machine goes additional by providing Killer Gigabit Ethernet on all fashions.
Keyboard & Trackpad
The shortage of exterior evolution on the Blade means its chiclet keyboard stays nearly unchanged. The keyboard appears sensible, with per-key Chroma RGB LED backlighting and a white end that matches the remainder of the pocket book.
The lighting is great: it’s supremely customisable, has 14 ranges of brightness and might be synchronised with different Razer peripherals. Cleverly, urgent a perform key highlights the choices on the perform row, and there’s a sport mode to disable probably ruinous buttons.
Razer’s keyboard does look the half, nevertheless it’s not with out issues. As a result of it is a chiclet keyboard, the buttons don’t have the journey, weight or snap of extra sturdy models. The keys solely have round 1.2mm of journey, and their typing motion is quick and lightweight – however not notably crisp. The Alienware m15 has extra journey and feels extra tactile.
Razer’s keys are high quality for mainstream video games, or slower titles. Informal esports gamers will get on high quality for essentially the most half too. Nevertheless, critical aggressive gamers – or simply individuals who take their gaming significantly – will desire a extra sturdy gaming keyboard with extra journey.
The Razer has its foibles elsewhere, too. There’s no numberpad – not like the Alienware – and the cursor keys sit comfortable with the remainder of the buttons, which might be awkward.
The glass touchpad stays huge, responsive and with full gesture help. It’s larger than the Alienware’s pad. Nevertheless, the 2 in-built buttons are too comfortable. It is high quality for utilizing Home windows and anybody who’s remotely critical about gaming ought to connect a USB gaming mouse.
Display screen & Audio system
The Blade’s Full HD display screen has a stonking 240Hz refresh fee. That matches the top-spec Alienware, and it’s designed for esports – as a result of it means screens will show video games that run at 200fps and past.
Titles like Overwatch, Fortnite and CS:GO can run at these speeds, and having a greater framerate and a extra responsive display screen could make the distinction between profitable and dropping if you’re competing – as a result of sooner picture processing means faster response instances. And, away from esports, it’s at all times a boon when you can also make video games smoother.
Most gaming laptops high out at 144Hz, so having almost 100Hz of additional tempo will assist in aggressive eventualities. Remember, although, that most individuals will discover that 144Hz is sufficient – at this finish of the market solely the keenest gamers will discover the bounce to 240Hz, and also you’re very a lot going to be getting diminishing returns. The Blade 15 additionally is available in 144Hz for those who like.
Elsewhere, the panel has slim bezels and a matte end. Sadly, there’s no Nvidia G-Sync. Gaming is already wonderful on this display screen, however it will have been even smoother with G-Sync tech.
High quality ranges are good. The brightness degree of 333cd/m2 is stable, and the black degree of zero.27cd/m2 is nice too – the previous means punchy high-end tones, and the latter delivers dingy darkish areas. They create a distinction ratio of 1,233:1, which is excessive sufficient to supply nice punch and depth.
The Delta E of 1.91 is great, and the display screen maintained affordable uniformity. The one challenge is the color temperature, which sits at eight,560Ok. That’s heat, and it implies that the display screen has a slight pink pall when brighter colors are considered.
That received’t make a distinction throughout video games, although. Total, the panel’s distinction, color accuracy and brightness are nice, and so they ship a punchy, satisfying gaming expertise with a great deal of vibrancy.
One ultimate advice: for those who go for the 4K OLED Blade 15, don’t assume that it’ll be good for HDR. That panel solely adheres to VESA DisplayHDR 400, which is a low-end HDR commonplace that makes nearly no distinction to content material.
The audio system are loud and have spectacular high-end punch, with clear tones on the high quality and a crisp treble sound within the center. Bass could be very weak, although, and the audio system might nonetheless have just a little extra quantity. We’d advocate a gaming headset.
Specs & Efficiency
The RTX 2070 Max-Q has the identical 2,304 cores and 8GB of reminiscence because the full-fat 2080 model of the GPU, however its base and increase clocks run at 885MHz and 1,185MHz. That’s in the reduction of from the 1,215- and 1,440MHz of the complete cell GPU with a view to enhance thermal efficiency.
However, it’s highly effective. It zipped by way of Ghost Recon: Wildlands’ Extremely benchmark at 52fps, which is seven frames higher than the GTX 1070 within the Alienware m15 – and its Complete Conflict common of 69fps is three frames higher. In 3DMark Sky Diver, the Razer’s results of 34,615 nearly matched the m15.
There’s loads of energy right here – however what duties can this GPU deal with? Fortunately, it’s in a position to run all of at this time’s high esports video games at greater than 200fps, which implies avid gamers can benefit from the 240Hz display screen.
The RTX 2070 will even deal with single-player video games at stable framerates – as its Ghost Recon and Warhammer benchmarks exhibit. There’s sufficient energy to run mid-range ray-tracing, too, and also you’ll be capable of output to VR headsets so long as you tone down some settings.
Nevertheless, this GPU received’t deal with 4K screens, widescreens or full-pelt VR.
The GPU is paired with a Core i7-9750H. It’s one among Intel’s newest processors, though there’s little distinction between this half and the i7-8750H that’s discovered in lots of extra machines. They each use Espresso Lake, and each have six Hyper-Threaded cores.
The i7-9750H runs at 2.6GHz with a single-core peak pace of four.5GHz and an all-core peak of 4GHz – marginally higher than the older chip. It’s paired with 16GB of two,666MHz DDR4 reminiscence.
The Core i7’s Geekbench results of 17,318 is okay, nevertheless it’s not in a position to match the Alienware’s 23,179. That machine might have had the older i7-8750H, nevertheless it had 32GB of reminiscence. The Razer’s PC Mark 10 rating of four,897 can be just a little behind the Alienware.
Alienware’s machine is persistently faster, and this may be defined by Razer’s CPU throttling. In simpler exams the Razer hit its all-core peak of 4GHz, however in harder benchmarks the cores ran between 2.5GHz and three.2GHz.
However, the Razer handles gaming, every day multi-tasking and loads of work instruments – it will solely battle with high-end work duties, like 4K video modifying and CAD design. Nevertheless, in case you are fascinated with that sort of work, the Razer doesn’t have a Core i9 possibility – however the Alienware does.
You may see all the outcomes beneath, additionally in contrast with the Asus RoG Scar 2 (GTX 1070), Aorus 15 X9 (RTX 2070) and Razer Blade Professional 17 (RTX 2060).
Elsewhere, the Blade has as much as a 512GB Samsung SSD that delivered spectacular speeds of three,277MB/s and 1,875MB/s. Connectivity is nice, with Intel’s AX200 Wi-Fi 6 chip that may deal with 802.11ac/ax alongside Bluetooth.
Final yr’s Blade was loud and intensely sizzling. This yr’s mannequin isn’t good, nevertheless it’s higher. Its inside temperatures are high quality: in benchmarks and stress-tests the CPU and GPU peaked at 80 and 74 levels.
Throughout gaming, the Razer did produce fan noise and warmth, nevertheless it’s not too unhealthy: the noise is comparatively modest and straightforward to drown out with audio system or a headset. There’s just a little extra noise throughout robust video games, nevertheless it’s nonetheless not unhealthy – a tad quieter than the Alienware. And, fortunately, the Blade stays impressively quiet and fairly cool throughout much less demanding titles.
The underside, wrist-rest and the world above the keyboard do get toasty throughout intense gaming classes, so we’d advise in opposition to utilizing the Blade in your lap, or on a cushioned floor. However this is identical state of affairs because the Alienware, and the Razer is just a little higher than final yr’s mannequin.
The Blade has a 65Wh battery, which is decreased from the 80Wh unit contained in the older mannequin however nonetheless larger than the 60Wh energy pack contained in the Alienware m15.
In a video playback take a look at with the display screen dimmed to 120cd/m2, the 2019 Blade lasted for six hours and nineteen minutes. That’s about an hour longer than the Alienware, however virtually two hours wanting the older Blade.
In a gaming take a look at the Razer lasted for nearly 90 minutes. That’s not notably good, and keep in mind that growing the display screen’s refresh fee will lower battery life – particularly pertinent with a 240Hz panel.
In brief, anybody who needs to do correct high-end gaming on the Blade might want to plug in. Should you’re away from the mains, you’ll solely get a restricted quantity of low-end gaming executed on this pocket book.
The Blade 15’s massive modifications for 2019 come on the within, and so they’re principally profitable. The 240Hz display screen gives unbelievable pace and good high quality, and the refresh fee is nice for esports. The RTX 2070 Max-Q has the tempo to deal with esports titles at this framerate, and it’s additionally received sufficient energy for single-player gaming.
Impressively, thermal efficiency has additionally improved since final yr – this machine continues to be loud and sizzling, nevertheless it’s not too unhealthy and no worse than rivals. And the Blade continues to look the half, with a slim, enticing design that’s extra mature and modest than the Alienware.
The one mis-step is the processor. It’s a stable chip that’s high quality for gaming and on a regular basis work, nevertheless it doesn’t attain its full potential on account of throttling. Should you want lashings of CPU tempo, look elsewhere.
Smaller points embody the best way the shallow chiclet keyboard received’t sate some avid gamers, mediocre battery life throughout gaming and the audio system lack bass.
Nonetheless, there’s quite a bit to love right here: the graphical grunt and 240Hz show make the Blade a wonderful machine for esports, and it’s a stable possibility for standard video games too. It’s additionally no costlier than equal Alienware programs. Should you’re after a classy, modern gaming possibility, the newest Blade is definitely a contender.