The latest laptops to be released from Razer are powerful ones with impressive features that rival desktop gaming setups. The Razer Blade 15 comes in two configurations, Base and Advanced, with this review focusing on the Advanced model. This gaming laptop is light, sleek and supports hardware that puts my recently upgraded desktop PC to shame. When I took it to mate’s place to put it through its paces, I was blown away at the power and graphics output it provides, however it comes at a significant price point and ran far too hot during games for my liking.
All Razer Blade 15 models feature a 10th gen Intel Core i7 processor, faster DDR4-2933MHz memory, additional USB-C 3.2 ports as well as Wi-Fi 6 A201. The differences then spread between the base and advanced models as below:
- 8-Core / 16 Threads i7-10875H CPU
- 300Hz Full HD, 3ms Response display
- GeForce RTX 2080 Super GPU
- 1TB SSD
- USB-C Charging in both ports
- SD Reader
- 6-Core / 12 Threads i7-10750H CPU
- 144Hz, 5ms Response display
- GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q
- 512GB SSD
I was initially disappointed the Advanced model didn’t feature an ethernet adaptor. I like to run wired devices on my home network given past experiences with unreliable Wi-Fi around the house. Given I didn’t have a choice, I was impressed with the Wi-Fi speeds when copying game data files across to the laptop with speeds ranging between 40-80mb/s. The thinness of this model is therefore only 17.8mm which is incredible, compared to 19.9mm for the base model to handle the ethernet port. Despite the thin profile, opening the 15.6” full HD screen doesn’t feel flimsy, it held it’s open position solidly and the built-in 720p webcam blends in with the black chassis and is almost unnoticeable.
The trademark green Razer logo looks great recessed into the top of the laptop lid. Other ports available on the Advanced model’s left side are power, 2x USB 3.2 ports, a USB-C & charge port, as well as an audio jack. On the right side there’s the SD card reader, a Thunderbolt 3 port, one USB 3.2 port and a HDMI 2.0B port for an external display. Whilst having three USB ports, these were quickly taken up by my external mouse, wireless headphone adaptor and USB Xbox game controller. There is a high likelihood you may need to purchase a USB adaptor if you use more devices in everyday use.
This advanced model’s keyboard features per-key RGB lighting and these are customised using the Razer Synapse software. The base model still features customisable RGB lighting, however its only single zone meaning one colour for the whole keyboard, which is my personal preference these days anyway. The profile of the keyboard doesn’t take up the full width of the laptop which is great as I often rest my left hand while using the mouse and usually end up hitting keys or accidentally swiping the trackpad. The laptop speakers sit either side of the keyboard area. Some big bonuses here are a full-sized right shift key and half-height arrow keys, and the caps lock featured a light indicator so you know if it’s on or not. It’s these small but innovative changes to standard laptop keyboard layouts that I noticed the most on this Razer Blade 15 Advanced.
The power button is featured at the top of the right speaker and I could not find it initially, not expecting it to be there, but I never accidentally pressed it which was great. The only downside to the otherwise sleek black colouring of this advanced model is it is very prone to showing fingerprints. Thankfully the laptop comes with a low-lint cloth as I ended up having to wipe the whole thing down after every use. I have experienced this before with laptops, but it was more evident with this model’s chassis design.
Given its size and profile, it was so easy to pack up to play at a mate’s house – much easier than lugging my desktop tower, monitor and peripherals bag. The battery pack was the bulkiest item to worry about, and I did bring an external mouse as gaming on a trackpad just isn’t my thing, though it had good responsiveness when I was preparing this review. I was glad I also bought some headphones as the speaker, despite being 7.1 surround, was bit too tinny for my liking. We settled in for a solid gaming session and had various games installed to put the Razer Blade 15 Advanced through it’s paces.
This advanced model utilises a full vapor chamber which is a custom cooling system for the Razer Blade 15 series. It features a vacuum-sealed copper chamber containing deionized water which turns to vapor, allowing heat to quickly and efficiently move away from components to integrated heat exchangers, which are in turn exhausted by dual fans.
I tested this laptop’s performance by playing games such as Hellpoint, the Everspace 2 prototype demo, Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Obsidian’s latest game, Grounded. Everspace 2 looked incredible even for a prototype and Tomb Raider required the highest graphical capability, so I pumped all graphics options up to ultra with RTX on. The laptop was plugged into power and I set the Razer Synapse performance settings to Boost for CPU and High for GPU. You could leave the performance settings to auto, which is the only setting available when you are running just on battery power, but I wanted to see how it handled these various games.
I have to say I was extremely impressed. It performed incredibly well on the Tomb Raider in-game benchmark, with the lowest FPS of 42, average of 56 and the highest FPS reached was 119. You could certainly hear the cooling fans whirring up as the graphics got more intense. I was thankful I was using headphones. The top of the laptop above the keys got very warm but not too hot to touch, and the internal fans were noticeably loud through most of the benchmark test. Once I quit the game and got back to this review, the heat had dissipated within a minute and the fans were silent.
After a few solid hours of playing various types of games however, I found there was a lot of heat coming from the laptop. Touching the area above the keyboard got extremely hot, and underneath was even hotter. It got so hot that it had started to warp the plastic table I was on. At that point I switched it off to cool down and after around 20 minutes it was back to normal. I’m sure there are stands you can get to slightly lift the laptop off the desk surface to improve airflow and avoid any damage, and I certainly wouldn’t be playing high-end games with the device on your legs.
In terms of battery power, at full charge when commencing writing this review, I was copying files across the network while typing and creating images. The battery indicator showed just over 6 hours remaining with Windows power settings set to better performance, chroma keys set to one colour and monitor brightness up full. That is very reasonable if you were using this laptop in a working environment or for video editing. However, once I started testing Shadow of the Tomb Raider with the above test settings, the battery indicator dropped to just 1.5 hours remaining. That means you will be wanting to be playing graphically intensive games on this laptop from a stationary powered position.
As a gamer, I was in awe of the power and performance of this laptop. It certainly outperformed my desktop PC and was much easier to take over to my mate’s place for a gaming session. The heat output was concerning though, to the point it started to warp the plastic fold-out tabletop I was on. I also had to constantly wipe down the laptop after use as it was very prone to fingerprints. But the biggest barrier of all for the specifications in this review unit is the price tag. Pricing for the Razer Blade 15 Base model starts from AUD3399 and the Advanced starts from AUD5399. There are options available through the Razer Store for swapping components out according to your preferences. This particular review model is valued at AUD6099 offering the RTX 2080 Super GPU, 1TB of storage for your favourite games, and the convenience of portability.
It’s certainly an impressively powerful laptop and it runs games like a dream. You would have to be a dedicated gamer on-the-go to consider outlaying that much for the top-end model, but even then your play time is restricted unless you plug into power. If you were a sponsored esports player in an established team, the Razer Blade 15 Advanced would no doubt play a big part in your game. I just can’t justify the huge price tag for the everyday gamer.
This review utilised a unit provided by Double Jump Communications for review purposes. For more information about the Razer Blade 15 Advanced and it’s incredible features, head over to the official Razer website.
Written by: @ChrisJInglis