Razer Blade 15 (2020) overview: 300Hz for the win
“Razer’s Blade 15 is probably the most enticing gaming laptop computer cash should buy.”
- Glossy design
- Snug keyboard and touchpad
- Distinctive gaming expertise
- 300Hz refresh price
- Very best port choice
All different gaming laptops swim within the wake of the Razer Blade. It’s a design that others search to emulate, each in aesthetics and portability.
However with two years on the identical chassis, the Razer Blade could not wow in the identical means it as soon as did. The newest model is a refinement of the method, including extra efficiency and a quicker 300Hz display, with solely a few minor changes to the method.
Razer affords fashions as reasonably priced as $1,600, however my overview unit will price you $three,000. Does the Razer Blade nonetheless stand out sufficient to justify its premium, or has the competitors caught up?
Design and keyboard
The Razer Blade’s largest accomplishment just isn’t what it achieves, however what it fully avoids. It’s a gaming laptop computer that nixes each design cliche sometimes related to its rivals. It resists ornamentation and facade, as an alternative specializing in straight strains and minimal chrome. Sit it subsequent to the Acer Predator Triton 500 or the Alienware m15, and also you’ll see what I imply. The Razer Blade appears like a regular laptop computer.
That makes it a superb possibility for somebody who desires to make use of the gadget for duties other than gaming, particularly because it solely weighs four.6 kilos. It’ll match into your backpack simply as simply as a MacBook Professional 16-inch or Dell XPS 15. The machined aluminum constructed high quality is outstanding too, so long as you may forgive how shortly it picks up fingerprints.
There have all the time been exceptions to the Blade’s ethos, they usually contain glowing lights. On the lid, Razer’s iconic inexperienced snakes nonetheless gentle up. It’s been dimmed on the silver model of this laptop computer, however right here it nonetheless glows unashamedly. The identical is true of the RGB-laden keyboard, which is backlit per key in a spectacular style that has turn out to be synonymous with the Razer model.
Talking of the keyboard, Razer has made a small adjustment to the structure. The keyboard beforehand featured full-sized arrow keys, which compelled a separation between the query mark and shift key. Avid gamers could have appreciated the spacious arrow keys, nevertheless it was irritating when typing.
The structure is now extra typical, which I contemplate an improve. Coming from the Dell XPS 15, although, the keycaps really feel a bit small. It’s a minor quibble, however I’d prefer to see much less area between keys in a future design.
Press a key, and also you’ll be rewarded with unbelievable key fell. There’s loads of journey, with a satisfyingly springy mechanism that made me really feel snug instantly. The glass touchpad is a winner, too. It’s massive, responsive, and quiet. You gained’t discover a higher keyboard and touchpad on a gaming laptop computer.
Ports and safety
All of the bells and whistles are all right here, effectively past what your commonplace gaming laptop computer affords. Razer even throws in an IR digital camera above the highest bezel for Home windows Hiya facial authentication. It’s typical for gaming laptops to incorporate HDMI and loads of USB three.2 Gen 2. The Blade consists of each, with a complete of three USB-A and a single USB-C port.
Razer takes it additional, although, by together with each Thunderbolt three and a full-size SD card slot. Artistic professionals and content material creators will admire these, which may assist high-speed storage and fast entry to digital camera recordsdata. Their inclusion reveals how Razer desires to place the Blade.
Although you may energy the laptop computer by way of its Thunderbolt three port, Razer additionally affords a proprietary charging port on the left facet for full energy.
The Razer Blade even helps the most recent connectivity requirements, akin to Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1.
Homeowners like to make use of the Razer Blade for all the pieces from video enhancing to gaming, however the steadiness of its efficiency skews in direction of the latter. That has penalties for its efficiency in productiveness purposes which, although not poor, lags laptops that skew extra in direction of work than play.
This 12 months’s mannequin options the most recent 10th-gen Intel Core i7-10875H. Its eight cores and 16 threads are a giant step up from six-core processors featured in earlier generations, which is promising if you wish to use the Razer Blade for greater than gaming.
Within the Cinebench R20 multi-core benchmark, the most recent Razer Blade 15 represents a significant leap from final 12 months. Once more, it may possibly thank these additional cores and threads for the bump. The Razer Blade nonetheless lags behind another non-gaming laptops that use the identical processor, nonetheless. It’s 29% behind the Dell XPS 15, for instance.
Curiously, the Blade is a whopping 36% behind the Dell G5 SE. The G5 SE is a gaming laptop computer, nevertheless it makes use of an AMD GPU and CPU, together with the SmartShift know-how to share energy between the parts.
Video encoding in Handbrake tells an identical story. The Razer was 9% slower than the Dell XPS 15 and 19% behind the XPS 17.
That’s to not say the Razer Blade 15 is a foul selection as a content material creation laptop computer. When the GPU can be utilized, it’s fairly highly effective. For instance, it’s a succesful video rendering rig in an software like Adobe Premiere Professional. It exported a 2-minute 4K video clip to ProRes 422 in 7 minutes and 42 seconds. That’s a lot quicker than the configuration I reviewed final 12 months, which had a six-core Intel processor and an RTX 2070 Max-Q.
It nonetheless can’t beat choices just like the Dell XPS 17 or the Microsoft Floor Ebook three in these exams. Regardless of the Razer having a supercharged RTX 2080 Tremendous, the XPS 17’s RTX 2060 completed the identical render in Premiere 46% quicker. That’s what a bigger chassis and an improved thermal system buys you.
All variations of the Razer Blade come commonplace with 16GB of dual-channel RAM, and don’t permit for something extra. Most different performance-driven laptops supply as much as 32GB, together with each the Acer Predator Triton 500 and the Dell XPS 15.
The Razer Blade’s best efficiency energy is in gaming. It comes with both the Nvidia RTX 2070 Tremendous Max-Q or the 2080 Tremendous Max-Q. These new GPUs from Nvidia add just some extra frames per second (fps) than the non-Tremendous variations that preceded them. Happily, the Razer Blade was already a supremely highly effective gaming laptop computer.
Murderer’s Creed Odyssey is probably the most difficult take a look at recreation, and the Razer Blade nonetheless averaged 60 fps with graphics element at Extremely Excessive. This and Civilization VI have been the one two video games the place the Acer Predator Triton 500 pulled forward a bit, providing as much as eight% quicker body charges on the highest settings in each video games. Nonetheless, you’ll seemingly not complain in regards to the Razer Blade averaging 134 fps.
Going again to a 60Hz display feels downright clunky by comparability.
Elsewhere, the Razer Blade dominates. It carried out spectacularly in Fortnite and Battlefield V, surpassing the Triton 500 in each instances. In Battlefield V at Extremely, the Blade averaged 98 fps. Once I pulled the settings again to Medium, the system pushed out 122 fps, which is a brand new file for 15-inch laptops. For a laptop computer this small, that’s critically spectacular.
Fortnite was equally quick, with the Razer as soon as once more among the many quickest 15-inch laptops I’ve examined. It simply hit 110 fps at Epic settings. However the responsiveness actually got here to life with decrease settings. For instance, 161 fps with settings at Excessive felt extremely fluid. Going again to a 60Hz display on my XPS 15 felt downright clunky by comparability.
I even tried out Rocket League, which had no downside hitting its max of 250 fps on the highest graphics high quality. That’s not fairly 300, however the animations are unbelievably clean, all the identical.
These video games have been all performed on the native 1080p display decision. You would hook up with a higher-resolution exterior monitor, and I think it might deal with 1440p fairly effectively. Whereas 4K could be a stretch in some video games, turn-based technique video games like Civilization VI must be no downside.
The Razer Blade is, in fact, fairly costly. Although it’s equal to the $three,000 Asus ROG Zephyrus S15, it’s $400 greater than the Triton 500, regardless of delivering very related efficiency. The Alienware m15 will get you an identical package deal for nearly $800 cheaper. A few of these choices, such because the Triton 500, additionally supply G-Sync assist. The Razer Blade lacks this function, however the excessive refresh price is surprisingly good at avoiding display tearing.
Normally, the Razer Blade nonetheless runs scorching. Floor temperatures can get toasty throughout video games, although that’s not too stunning. The irritating half is temperatures at close to idle. With nothing operating, the palm rests and keyboard are nonetheless a bit heat, and that may be uncomfortable.
Show and audio system
Razer affords two 15.6-inch show choices, one for content material creators, and one for players. The gaming-oriented display, which I reviewed, is a 1080p show with the aforementioned 300Hz refresh price. The creator-focused possibility is a 4K show, meant for photographers and video editors who want that prime pixel rely. The 4K display additionally has a shiny end, a touchscreen, and a 60Hz refresh price.
Whereas the 4K display will little question supply a sharper picture, the 1080p display appears nice. Distinction is excessive at 1,zero10:1, and although it maxes out at simply 310 nits, the matte display does an important job of blocking glare. The display can also be pretty coloration correct, although you’ll must go for the 4K OLED panel if want a large coloration gamut.
The Razer Blade affords an honest set of upward-firing audio system. They’re neck and neck with the Dell XPS 15, although they fall in need of the MacBook Professional 16-inch. They’re nonetheless missing bass, and there’s definitely room for enchancment.
As a result of the Razer Blade doesn’t have G-Sync, its battery life doesn’t endure the identical destiny as different gaming laptops. These fashions, just like the Predator Triton 500, solely final a couple of hours in regular utilization.
The Razer Blade’s 5 hours isn’t something to put in writing residence about, in fact. Regardless of its 97-watt hour battery, you continue to can’t get by way of a full workday with no need a cost. Much less highly effective laptops just like the ROG Zephyrus G14 or Dell G5 SE can final an additional hour or so. Even the 4K Dell XPS 15 lasts as much as 7 hours.
In fact, all of it is determined by the way you’re utilizing it. In our lightest take a look at, which loops an area 1080p video, the Razer Blade endured slightly below 7.5 hours. When you’re operating heavy purposes or gaming, you may’t count on greater than round three hours on a single cost.
Which may not sound all that spectacular, however you gained’t discover a laptop computer with an RTX 2080 Tremendous that lasts this lengthy.
The bottom version
If you go to purchase a Razer Blade, you’ll encounter an “Superior Version” and a “Base Version.” The Superior Version is what I reviewed, and it’s the model that will get you the most recent components.
Nonetheless, the Base Version has its advantages. It affords the identical processor and reminiscence choices. You possibly can even decide for a similar 4K OLED display if you would like.
The variations come right down to the chassis and the refresh price. The Base Version maxes out at 144Hz for the 1080p mannequin, and the chassis is a bit thicker and heavier. The Base Version additionally affords a special choice of graphics playing cards, starting from the Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti as much as the RTX 2080 Max-Q.
Razer additionally affords a “Studio Version” that helps Nvidia’s RTX Quadro 5000 graphics and ships with Home windows 10 Professional.
The Razer Blade doesn’t demand you to make use of it in a sure means. It makes an attempt to fulfill the trendy gamer — the one who may also use their laptop computer for work or as a content material creator on the facet. The design of the Razer Blade isn’t as revolutionary because it as soon as was, however there’s no query it nonetheless does it greatest.
Is there a greater alternate options?
The Acer Predator Triton 500 affords related efficiency at a lowered price, as does the Alienware m15. These laptops look extra garish, nonetheless, and gained’t work in addition to day-to-day laptops.
When you’re in search of a extra muted design to match the Razer Blade, the MSI GS66 Stealth is a detailed rival. Its construct high quality isn’t as sturdy, and former variations haven’t carried out as effectively.
How lengthy will it final?
Like most premium laptops, the Razer Blade ought to final at the very least 4 or 5 years. Its construct high quality is unequalled, and the parts are all up-to-date. It comes with a typical one-year guarantee, however Razer affords three-year safety by way of its two totally different guarantee plans, beginning at $250.
Do you have to purchase it?
Sure. That is the most effective gaming laptop computer you should purchase, and it’ll perform nice in virtually each different setting, too.