The Blade 15 was among the finest gaming laptops of this past year. The initial version also had an Nvidia RTX 2060 GPU without a dedicated graphics card but at a hefty price. A few months later, Razer published the much more affordable NVIDIA Blade Base Model. This newest variation is a lot less expensive than the Advanced design, yet includes a GTX 1660 Ti GPU.
The less expensive model Blade 15 also has many of the same great features as the pricier models, such as its attractive design and long battery life. It may have a reduced GPU but it still performs well enough for most tasks, and it even includes Ethernet port. While the Blade 15’s 1080p, 144Hz display isn’t the brightest and it does get warm to the touch when gaming, these issues don’t stop us from loving this thin laptop.
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Pricing and configurations
The Razer Blade 15 will have Base and Advanced versions, respectively.
The Razer Blade 15 Base Model, the least expensive version in the latest iteration of this popular laptop, offers a fast processor and graphics card.
Our $1,799 review unit packs the same specs but includes a 144Hz display and upgrades the SSD to 256GB. From there, you can upgrade to an RTX 2060 GPU and a 512GB SSD for $1,899. The purchase price jumps to $2,099 when you bump up the GPU to an RTX 2070 Max
The most expensive configuration is a 4K OLED display, a 9th Gen Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD and GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q graphics. It costs $3299
The Blade 15 shares the same DNA as other Razer laptops. This base version is a little chunkier, but it s still the same commitment to design and performance.
To ensure the Razer Blade 15 stays sleek and distinctive, square-edged designs with a black metal finish are used.
With a minimalist design, unibody metal chassis and simple exterior, the Razer Blade 15 reminds me of MacBook Pro.
Offering many bells and whistles, the bottom model Blade 15 is a bit thicker than the Advanced model. The HP Omen 15 features a larger screen but weighs more – similar in size to the Razer 15, while weighing less.
The Razer Blade 15 Base Model has all of the necessary ports for any gaming situation, whether it be at home or on the go.
Connect to multiple 4K monitors, fast-charging peripherals, or other USB-C devices with the Thunderbolt 3 port on notebook computers.
Razer has taken advantage of the additional room on the left side with useful additions such as two USB 3.0 Type-A ports, a headphone jack, and an Ethernet port at the bottom for reliable connection.
The Razer Blade 15 comes with two display options: a 1080p panel built for 144Hz, or a 60Hz screen.
The 144Hz refresh rate on this panel was not overly bright, but accurately depicted every curl in Matthew McConaughey’s curly hair on the trailer for The Gentleman. Colors were also vibrant; ultraviolet light in an indoor garden was a saturated shade of eggplant purple. It’s a shame those brilliant colors aren’t able to reach their potential because the Blade 15 has below-average brightness.
The low brightness was not an issue in Hitman 2’s sunny Miami setting. Again, the panel was detailed enough that I could clearly see the bar code tattooed on the back of Agent 47’s bald head. The grandstand in the auto race mission was a nice turquoise tone and the rich shades of red, blue and yellow on the flags held by French, Danish and Swedish fans stood out against the gray backdrop of the track. If the panel was just a little brighter, those colors would have been more vibrant.
We found the Razer Blade 15 Base Model to display more colors than other models in its class.
Although the display on the Blade 15 reached 275 nits of brightness, it was much dimmer than the Omen 15 (320) or average screen brightness among gaming laptops.
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Keyboard and touchpad
The Blade 15’s chiclet keyboard is surprisingly decent, but I prefer the responsiveness of a mechanical keyboard when gaming. This laptop is quite thick and that affects the typing experience; even though these keys are made for thinner laptops, they’re still quite bouncy and require minimal force to actuate. (add/remove) I don’t expect as much for the price, but would like to be able to use more than a single zone of lighting.
I typed at an average of 124 words per minute on the 10fastfingers.com typing test, which is faster than my baseline 120-words per minute rate.
In the event that you thought only Apple makes an excellent touchpad, consider again. The Blade 15’s large 5.1 x 3.1-inch touchpad is soothing and responsive as my fingertips enjoyed gliding off the plush surface as I easily executed Windows 10 gestures including pinch-to-zoom and three-finger swipes to change between
The best thing about this laptop? Its dual-firing speakers.
The speakers did an excellent job of capturing the songs performance as airy, dream-like and crisp.
Gaming, graphics and VR
The new GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GPU with 6GB of VRAM is loaded in the Razer Blade 15, allowing it to smoothly play modern games on high settings. I tested out Hitman 2 and was able to get between 65 fps and 80 fps as I sneak around cops or stealthily take them down.
On our benchmark tests, the Razer Blade 15 outperformed all of its other rivals.
We didn t see the Blade top any laptop in this segment on our Hitman test. The Blade 15 managed an average of 80 fps and while that beat out a handful of laptops, it wasn’t one to come close to the gaming-centric laptops .
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The Blade 15 did well on the Grand Theft Auto V benchmark, with a stable 64 fps during our test. Your competition was below average in this regard as well, although the Omen 15 boasted 60fps and the ROG Zephyrus G GA502 managed 57fps.
Metro: Last Light is a demanding game, however the Razer Blade 15 Base Model played the post-apocalyptic first-person shooter at an impressive 55 fps.
If you are not in the mood to play games, Blade 15 excels at running day-to-day work tasks. I did not notice any slowdown when opening 20 browser tabs or having 1080p YouTube videos playing in the background and streaming multiple gaming streams on Mixer and Twitch.
The base model (19,542) of the Razer Blade 15 performed poorly in our performance benchmarks. However, playing games on the Blade 15 was a smoother experience when pitted against the AMD-powered ROG Zephyrus G GA502 (14,106).
The Razer Blade 15 was able to convert a 4K video to 1080p resolution in 10 minutes and 47 seconds. Morden notebooks required more time than the Blade 15, with the Omen series lasting 12 minutes 34 seconds and the ROG Zephyrus G GA502 taking 14 minutes 23 seconds.
Our Razer Blade 15 review unit came with a 256GB PCIe SSD and a 1TB, 5,400-rpm HDD. That storage duplicates 4.97GB of multimedia files in just 9 seconds for a speed of 565.5 MBps; which is faster than the Nvidia Omen 15 s 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD
The Razer Blade 15 Base Model has impressive battery life. The gaming laptop, with a runtime of 5 hours and 48 minutes on our battery test (continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits), outlasts similar competitors with GTX 1660 Ti graphics like the Omen 15 that only perseveres 3:05 before its battery dies Razer’s notebook computer lasts on average almost an hour more against the mainstream category (4:01) than any other model.
The metal chassis of the Razer 15 warmed up to temperatures beyond normal everyday use, but it became scalding hot after playing Hitman 2 for an extended period of time on high graphics settings.
The Razer Blade 15 was the first notebook we tested that exceeded our 95-degree comfort threshold when it reached 102 degrees Fahrenheit. The keyboard and battery reached 98 degrees and 93 degrees respectively. One minor drawback of the touchpad is that it becomes warm to the touch, at 88 degrees.
Great Balls of Fire: The Effects and Factors Behind Laptop Heat After playing Hitman 2 for a quarter-hour, my laptop reached 132 degrees at the hinge while 117 degrees could be found on the keyboard.
I’m glad Razer found a way to put the webcam on the top of the blade 15’s display, but its camera quality isn’t that great. Selfies I took inside our bright office were blotchy; edges of photos looked smeared and my face could be mistaken for a watercolor painting. On a positive note, the lens didn’t overexpose the lights hanging above me and the colors were pretty accurate.
The laptop’s webcam could potentially work in a bind, but it is recommended that you invest in an external webcam.
Software and warranty
The Blade 15 has a couple gaming-related programs packed into this: Razer Cortex and Razer Synapse. Both software have a beautiful interface, and are full of useful features.
Synapse allows you to set macros, change the lighting of your keyboard and switch between 144Hz and 60Hz refresh rates.
Razer Cortex, a similarly polished app, does everything you d expect from an optimization tool such as freeing up RAM and removing unneeded files. It also boasts special features that make gaming faster by improving performance. To turn on a process, you check it.
Other third-party software include Dolby Atmos for changing sound profiles and Nvidia’s GeForce Experience, a one-stop look for keeping drivers up to date in addition to acting as a hub for your gaming content.
The Blade 15 Base model runs Windows 10. This means that you can get bloatware, like Candy Crush Friends and Farm Heroes Saga.
Razer sells all Blade 15 models with a one year manufacturer’s warranty. We hope you enjoyed our Best and Worst Brands and Tech Support Showdown, which is only available to new subscribers of The Wirecutter Deals newsletter!
The Razer Blade 15 is an extremely good gaming laptop, but it might not be the best investment when you take into account what else is on the market. On the other hand, laptops with better graphics performance at a cheaper price don t have the same premium construction or long battery life. The HP Omen is an effective option if you re willing to sacrifice build quality and battery life for reasonable prices and better graphics power.
Pattern: Background story + Input text Trying to choose between the Blade 15 and Lenovo Legion Y740 is hard because they both have their strengths.
The extra money that you may spend on the Razer Blade 15 Base Model could have been much easier to justify if it wasn’t for the dim display and excessive overheating when performing major tasks. Despite these problems, the laptop is still recommended for gamers as its graphics performance is very good in a sleek design.