Razer Blade 15 Review (2019)

8.7 Total Score
Razer Blade 15 Review

The Razer Blade 15 is a sleek, powerful and relatively affordable option for gamers who have a low tolerance for compromise when it comes to specifications, power, performance, and battery life. 

PROS
  • Stylish, lightweight design
  • Excellent battery life
  • Solid overall and gaming performance
  • Good audio
CONS
  • Dim display
  • Shallow keyboard
User Rating: 5 (1 votes)

Razer recently created a powerplay for the 15-inch gaming laptop market with the Razer Blade 15, which is impressive with its sleek design and powerful performance. But because of the pricing, all players except the most deeply fed players could not have the fun – until now. The latest version of the Blade features the beautiful, durable design that we expect to combine with an Intel Core i7 processor and an Nvidia GTX 1060 Max-Q GPU. It is also one of the first Razer laptops that offers dual-storage and Gigabit Ethernet. The new Blade gives a masterclass in navigating the treacherous path between affordability and power. Here is our Razer Blade 15 Review.

Razer Blade 15 Review – Design

The Blade 15’s tiny, small rounded corners that give the laptop a boxy shape that evokes memories of epaulet-like shoulder pads that can be found on the powerhouses of those old-school women. Or maybe it’s like repeating Huey Lewis and The News ‘Hip To Be Square’ in my head. Anyway, it’s a funky, retro style that I’m digging.

Like all sheets, the majority of the Blade 15 is made of CNC aluminum every night. The lid (which is slightly visible in the middle) has a characteristic green three-headed snake from Razer that radiates a seductive glow. When I opened the lid, my eyes were fixed on the Chroma keyboard, which seemed to shine in its small hole in the shape of a star-shaped shell against the all-encompassing darkness of the space that forms the black aluminum chassis. To fully play back the brightness of the keyboard, the speakers are mounted on both sides of the recess with the on/off button snagged in the left speaker.

While Apple’s design is fully dependent on four USB-C ports and a headphone jack for data, video output and peripherals, the Blade 15 offers three full-size USB 3.1 ports, a Thunderbolt 3-compatible USB-C port of itself, a full-size HDMI output, a mini-DisplayPort, and a headphone jack. It is clearly better equipped for things like mice, external hard drives and office monitors, with much less need for a cumbersome dock.

Razer sticks to his lightweight game value because the Razer Blade 15 weighs 4.7 pounds and measures 14 x 9.3 x 0.8 inches. It is slightly lighter than the Alienware m15 (4.8 pounds, 14.3 x 10.8 x 0.7 ~ 0.8 inches) and the Asus ROG Strix Hero II (5.1 pounds, 14.2 x 10, 3 x 1 inch), but heavier than the MSI GS65 Stealth Thin (4.1 pounds, 14.1 x 9.8 x 0.7 inches).

Razer Blade 15 Review – Keyboard and TouchPad

The Chroma keyboards from Razer are always pleasing to the eye. I wish they were a bit more comfortable to type on. Despite their actuation force of 65 grams, the ultra-low travel keys have consistently reached a low point because of their short 1.2 mm key travel (1.5 mm is our accepted minimum). The chiclet-style keys lacked a significant pop. I got 65 words per minute with the 10 FastFingers type test, a little less than my usual 70 wpm.

With 5 x 3 inches, the Touchpad of the Blade 15 is absolutely enormous. Unlike the discontinued Blade 14, the 15-inch has omitted the discrete mouse buttons instead of the big pad. Windows 10 gestures such as pinch-to-zoom and three-finger swipes worked well. It was even easy to call up the action center. The lower corners of the touchpad were reasonably clickable for the mouse buttons on the right and left.

Razer Blade 15 Review – Display

The 15.6-inch matt panel of the Blade 15 is very lively so that actress Zoe Renee’s cherry red tights can appear on the screen during the Jinn trailer. Details were sharp enough to see the individual curls in the magenta and lilac locks of the girl. The 60-Hertz screen did not pose any problems for delivering sharp images while I played The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. I shot an orange-red fire column to an incoming bandit, causing him to fall to the ground and writhing with pain. I ran through with my sword and took the time to admire the luster of Geralt’s ash-gray locks before I went to my next enemy.

Based on our tests, the Blade 15 screen can reproduce 156 percent of the sRGB color gamut. It far exceeds the 110 percent mainstream gaming laptop average and 120 percent of the Hero II. The m15 and Stealth Thin are bound for 150 percent. But it would have been nice if the panel of the Blade 15 was brighter. With an average brightness of 257 nits, it did fall below the 284-nit category average. The Hero II, the M15, and the Stealth Thin also performed better with 276, 284 and 293 nits respectively.

Razer Blade 15 Review – Audio

Do not be fooled by the unobtrusive pair of top-mounted speakers – the Blade 15 gets pretty loud and stays relatively accurate. Listening to Pentatonix’s “Can’t Sleep Love”, I could clearly hear every part of the harmony of five people at the maximum volume. Thanks to a strong boost from the Dolby Atmos software, the sound managed to cover our entire medium-sized test lab. Of the six available settings (Film, Dynamic, Music, Game, Voice and Personalization), I noticed that Dynamic and Music produced the most pleasant results.

Hot on the trail of an annoying witch during Witcher 3, I walked confidently through the forest. The trees whipped wildly by an approaching storm, and the sounds of the strong wind filled the lab because a flute played softly in the background. No setting can, however, do anything to strengthen the bass. There were hints of when I listened to “Pon De River Pon Da Bank” from Elephant Man, but not enough to make a difference.

Razer Blade 15 Review – Gaming and Graphics

Armed with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q GPU with 6 GB VRAM, the Blade 15 has no problems getting solid frame speeds for even the most demanding titles on higher settings. During my Witcher 3 playthrough, I got into a band of bandits on horseback and hit one of the villains. His arm flew with a nice 59 frames per second on Ultra at 1920 x 1080. The settings went up to 65 fps when I dropped the settings to High.

When we performed the Rise of the Tomb Raider benchmark, the Blade 15 hit 37 fps, past the 33-fps mainstream gaming average. With a full 1060 GPU, the Hero II edged the blade with 38 fps, while the Stealth Thin and the m15 with their GTX 1070 Max-Q GPUs scored 44 and 49 fps respectively. During the Hitman test, the Blade gained 70 fps, accounting for an average of 65 fps. Again, Hero II edged ahead with 72 fps. The m15 and the Stealth Thin stood on a dead fire with 79 fps.

At the Grand Theft Auto V benchmark, the Blade 15 achieved 49 fps, which beat the category average of 44 fps. The Hero II (52 fps), the Stealth(61 fps) and the M15 (66 fps) were particularly better. With a score of 6.9 on the SteamVR Performance Test, the Blade 15 is a viable virtual reality candidate that beats the 6 mainstream average. The Hero II performed slightly better with 7.4, while the Stealth Thin and the m15 scored even higher at 9.5 and 10.1 respectively.

When you are not doing any graphically demanding task, the Razer Blade 15 switches to its integrated Intel UHD Graphics 630 GPU.

Razer Blade 15 Review – Performance

Despite being marketed as a game-rig, the Razer Blade 15 can do more than its fair share of productivity. I turned 30 Google Chrome tabs with a combination of Slack, Twitch streams and Netflix, and the 2.2-GHz Intel Core i7-8750H processor of the Blade 15 with 16 GB of RAM handled it all with confidence. The Blade 15 scored 18,771 on the overall performance test of the Geekbench 4, which closed the 18,234 mainstream average. With their own i7-8750H CPUs, the Stealth Thin produced 17,184, while the Asus Hero II and the m15 reached 20,690 and 21,450 respectively.

The Razer Blade 15 took 11 minutes and 13 seconds to transcode a 4K video to 1080p, which is slightly faster than the average of 11:32. The Stealth Thin lasted at 12:01, while the m15 and Hero II claimed 9:51 and 9:36 respectively.

This iteration of the Blade is the first to offer an option for double storage. The laptop’s 256GB NVMe PCIe SSD (with a 2TB 5400-rpm HDD) duplicated 4.97GB of mixed media files in 9 seconds for a file transfer rate of 565 megabytes per second, beating the category average of 295.3 MBps.

The Stealth Thin (512 GB M.2 SSD) scraped together a time of 193.3 MBps, while the Hero II (256 GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD) delivered a respectable 462 MBps. However, the dual 1TB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSDs of the m15 delivered a smoking 1,017 MBps.

Razer Blade 15 Review – Heat

All that aluminum looks great, but it can get pretty hot. I spent 15 minutes in Witcher 3 hunting for a witch. At the end of the allowed time, I measured the touchpad, the center of the keyboard and the Blade 15 chassis. The touchpad was a little warm at 93 degrees Fahrenheit, but the keyboard and the bottom touched 107 and 108 degrees, respectively. That is well above our comfort threshold of 95 degrees. After our game test was completed, we let the system cool down for 15 minutes and played full-screen HD video. The touchpad and the middle of the keyboard measured 85 and 92 degrees while the bottom reached a slightly warm 97 degrees.

Razer Blade 15 Review – Battery Life

When it comes to the life of the battery, Razer is usually on the bottom spot. But the Blade 15 turned in an impressive time of 6 hours and 9 minutes on our battery test (continuous web surfing with Wi-Fi at 150 nits brightness), beyond the normal average of 4:30 gaming. It surpassed both the MSI Stealth Thin (5:40) and the Asus ROG Strix Hero II (4:56), but could not surpass the Alienware m15 (6:25).

Razer Blade 15 Review – Conclusion

Over the years, Razer has created beautifully slim, extremely expensive gaming laptops, keeping price-conscious gamers out in the cold. Razer successfully resolves the situation with the basic model Blade 15. For $1,799 you get one of the lightest 15-inch gaming laptops in the world, with solid performance, dual storage options, a Gigabit Ethernet and more than 6 hours of battery life. However, you can get the basic model of the Alienware m15 for $1,379. It has similar specifications with a better screen and longer battery life, but you will get a shock on the RAM.

If you want more energy and can spend more, there’s the $1,945 Asus ROG Strix Hero II, which offers an Nvidia GTX 1070 Max-Q GPU and a screen with a refresh rate of 144Hz, but you’ll take a serious hit over the lifetime of the battery.

But overall, the Razer Blade 15 is a sleek, powerful and relatively affordable option for gamers who have a low tolerance for compromise when it comes to specifications, power, performance, and battery life.

Let us know your views on our Razer Blade 15 Review by sharing your thoughts with us in the comments section.

8.7 Total Score
Razer Blade 15 Review

The Razer Blade 15 is a sleek, powerful and relatively affordable option for gamers who have a low tolerance for compromise when it comes to specifications, power, performance, and battery life. 

PROS
  • Stylish, lightweight design
  • Excellent battery life
  • Solid overall and gaming performance
  • Good audio
CONS
  • Dim display
  • Shallow keyboard
User Rating: 5 (1 votes)
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