Gaming laptops are definitely gaining popularity by the day. You can tell by the fact that more and more brands have started to enter this fairly juvenile market. We saw Samsung come out with its Notebook Odyssey and Lenovo with its Legion Y740. However, brands like Razer are the veterans of this segment and won’t let anyone take it from them. Back at CES 2019, they announced their 15-inch Blade 15 and now it’s here.
Unlike traditional gaming laptops, the Razer Blade 15 is quite compact. So much, in fact, that you can confuse it for a normal laptop. But it is anything but normal, as we shall see shortly. This gaming laptop packs an amazing punch which is commendable considering its mere dimensions. Does it blow the competition out of the water? Let’s find out.
If I had a word for the Razer Blade 15’s design, it would be subtle. Unlike all other gaming laptops with their weird angles, shouty graphics, and extended rear ends, the Razer looks like a normal laptop and I really love that about it. It’s like you have a sleeper which everyone underestimates till it flexes its processing power, leaving the same crowd in awe.
Build quality is excellent as the Blade 15 made entirely from aluminum. Open the clamshell and you’re greeted with the beautiful Razer Chroma™ RGB backlit keyboard. The backlight on the Base model is single-zone, however, if you upgrade to the Advanced model, you get the option to assign a color to each key. Below the keypad, you have a large, responsive trackpad and on the sides, two upward firing speakers.
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Move up, and you get to see the display with the perfect-sized bezels, though the chin may be a bit larger than I would’ve liked. You get a normal looking hinge, unlike the 2019 Samsung Notebook Odyssey. On the top, you get a 1MP, 720p webcam, that’s nothing special but does what it’s supposed to do well.
Move to the back and you’ll see that it’s also fairly simple. You get the Razer logo in the middle, and that’s about it. As far as colors are concerned, you get two options: Black and Mercury White. As it is with gaming laptops, black seems to be the way to go. I mean, if nothing else, the RBG backlit keyboard looks gorgeous with a black chassis. However, this time, I might consider the white one just for the subtle, low-profile, and elegant look.
Being gaming, laptop, the Blade 15 needs to be a powerhouse that can take on anything you throw at this. Thankfully, this is exactly the case as, under the hood of every Blade, you get the 8th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-8750H CPU that normally runs at 2.2 GHz but can be clocked up to 4.1 GHz with TurboBoost. You can bump that up to a 9th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-9750H, that can go to a whopping 4.5 GHz on TurboBoost.
Coming to the graphics performance, you get a 6GB GDDR5 NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1060 Max-Q GPU as standard but it can be upgraded to a 6 GB GDDR6 NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 2060. However, if you think that isn’t enough, then in the Advanced model, you do have an option to upgrade to an 8GB GDDR5 NVIDIA® GeForce® RTX 2070 Max-Q and even an RTX 2080 if you want the very best.
Similarly, on the display, you get a 15.6″ 60 Hz 1920 x 1080 IPS sRGB panel as standard. If that’s not enough, then on the Advanced model, you can upgrade it to have a 144 Hz refresh rate. In case that still doesn’t cut it then, again on the Advanced model, you can get a 15.6″ 60 Hz 840 x 2160 IPS sRGB touch panel. The 4K IPS panel can be swapped for an OLED one if you want those vibrant colors on your Advanced model.
Coming to the memory, you get a 16 GB 2667 MHz DDR4 RAM across all variants and it can be upgraded to 32 GB if need be on the Base model and 64 GB on the Advanced. You do, however, get more storage options. On the Base model, you can either have a 128 GB SATA-III SSD with a 1 TB HDD or a 256 GB NVMe PCIe 3.0 SSD with a 2 TB HDD. On the Advanced model, you can either have a 256GB NVMe PCIe 3.0 x4 SSD or a 512GB NVMe PCIe 3.0 x4 SSD.
Lastly, we have the battery. The Base and the Advanced model have 65 Wh and 80 Wh units respectively and they’re both rated to last 6 hours by Razer. That, however, hasn’t been tested yet but in case if it’s true then it is a genuinely good battery especially considering that it can last this long with the 4K display or the 144 Hz refresh rate.
For a modern laptop with a slim profile and an aluminum unibody, the Blade 15 has a lot of ports for all your connectivity needs. You get 3 USB 3.1 ports, a Thunderbolt™ 3 port, an HDMI 2.0 out, a MiniDisplayPort 1.4 and, surprisingly, a Gigabit Ethernet. If you go for the Advanced model, however, you will have to do without the Ethernet slot.
In addition to that, you do have the 3.5mm headphone/mic jack, which seems to be a dying breed even in laptops. In all models of the Blade, you get an Intel® Wireless-AC 9260 card that supports IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth® 5.0.
Price & Verdict
Starting at $2399, the Razer Blade 15 is definitely expensive in normal laptop terms. However, even by gaming laptop standards, the Blade 15 is considered costly especially considering its small display and the specs you get with the entry-level device. You can go all-out on the specs but then the price will be way over $3000, which isn’t the best if you’re on a tight budget. Even with this high price tag, I’d still choose this over any other gaming laptop just because of its elegant design, excellent build quality, and overall perfect dimensions.