Razer Blade 15 Review – Performance at a Price
The Razer Blade 15 inch is a ridiculously impressive piece of tech. When you look at the specs under the hood it’s difficult to believe it can even fit in such a small laptop. Something not much thicker than my phone shouldn’t be able to house an Nvidia RTX 2080 graphics card nor an i7 processor but here we are.
The fact is, it can and it does.
Compared to other laptops, this treats most applications as though they were nothing. Tasks that would make others chug and crash has this beast merely shrug. “What else have you got?” It asks me at almost every turn.
“How about this?” I replied.
Perhaps the biggest problem with having such a powerful laptop is the desire to push it. Immediately I want to do things like play games on their highest setting while editing a video, running chrome, and eating a burrito.
There’s no point owning such a device if you aren’t going to take it to the extreme. I quickly discovered It’s more than capable of these tasks which is awesome!
The downside is it still feels like a laptop.
Razer Blade 15 Review
I’m very attached to having a desktop computer. I like having a beefy unit running the grunt off to the side while my interaction is taken care of by separate and specifically chosen peripherals. Being able to pick and choose keyboards, mice and screens are quintessential to my PC experience.
While you can do this with the Razer Blade 15 laptops, at their price, you shouldn’t have to.
When it comes to keyboard and mouse, it’s ok but not amazing. Using it on the go is all fine and well but every opportunity I get I’ll plug a different device into it.
As far as trackpads go, it’s not too bad but it’s still a trackpad and the same goes for the inbuilt keyboard. Being able to customise every light individually is a neat touch but it doesn’t make it feel like how I want a keyboard to under my fingers.
Soundwise you’re absolutely going to need to plug something in. I think I understand why the speakers weren’t a priority. I mean, for privacy sake you’re probably going to be rocking headphones most of the time you use one of these anyway.
However, the sound was shockingly bad on my review unit. Having the volume up past 50% meant crackling and awful distortion from the speakers. I wouldn’t even bother.
The screen is quite nice but it’s again, most comfortable when raised up so your keyboard of choice is far below it. As far as quality goes, it does a great job of showing off games at a high frame rate as you’d want from a gaming laptop but it’s only a 1080 display and at this price point you just expect more.
I just still can’t see myself using it at home without a bunch of other kit.
On the go is where stuff gets impressive. It is, after all, a laptop so for most people part of the reason they buy one is so they can use it at any time. I can’t deny the coolness of being able to take this into a cafe and know I can work on almost any project I desire.
I happily edited an entire video mostly out and about and while the experience was nowhere near as comfortable as it would have been on my desktop set up at home, it was still entirely functional. I didn’t notice any real dips in quality aside from my own general comfort.
There were weird little quirks of a laptop, which I don’t necessarily think reflect poorly on the Razer Blade 15 but are still worth mentioning. When using Premiere Pro, for example, I couldn’t get a damn thing to load in full screen.
The workstations would freeze and while I could tell it was doing stuff, the visual feedback was null. If I stretched the window, rather than maximised, the whole program was fine – which in practice, felt exactly the same.
My only other issue with using it on the go is that while the battery life isn’t bad, you notice a severe drop in performance when unplugged. Obviously, you can change the settings to bump everything back up but then you’re not going to get anywhere near the advertised 6 hours of use.
This wasn’t a big deal for general tasks like word processing but when it came to editing video or playing games, you’re probably going to want to find an outlet to plug into.
Cool, In All Ways
I’ll also mention that while it did get quite warm in this tiny form factor I was free from noticing any overheating issues. The only thing that clued me into anything temperature-wise with this laptop was my own desire to go “Hrmm, I wonder how warm this is” and lift it up to touch the base.
As someone who grew up in sunny old Perth, Western Australia how hot a laptop gets and how it copes with this heat is of big importance to me. I can say, at least during a Melbourne winter, it was never an issue.
The freedom provided in this package is undeniably nice. I really did enjoy being able to take this thing literally anywhere and have confidence in what I could do with it. There’s something just so impressive in having a device so thin yet capable.
When I think of traditional gaming laptops they’re something you’d almost be embarrassed to lug out in public. If your shoulders didn’t hurt from carrying your team, they would from heaving around the laptop.
This was never a problem with the Razer Blade 15. I always felt kinda cool for having it with me. In that very particular, arsehole kind of way. I could tell people were trying to get a better look at it occasionally while I was in public. It has some street cred and will absolutely show you up wherever you go.
Sharpest Blade Let Down By its Handle
My complaint with the Razer Blade 15 is that it’s a laptop that’s flying too close to the sun on waxy wings. If you’re going to make a laptop this powerful, good and expensive then why not just commit?
Find a way to pair it with a proper mouse and keyboard you can use on the go. Give it some sort of raised monitor ability like we’re starting to see on other models.
I guarantee you there aren’t many out there who are going to drop $5000 on a laptop and then play all their games on a trackpad. I do understand the premium price is for that excellent portability but it’s just so hard to swallow when it doesn’t feel complete on its own.
It’s super cool that there is a laptop that can do all of these amazing things with such a small form factor but why not make it nicer to use?
For those who are after a laptop that they can have faith will do everything they want and not break their back from carrying it around, the Razer Blade 15 absolutely fits the bill. It’s capable, sleek, lightweight and looks cool as hell. The price tag will be what keeps most people away and honestly, rightly so.
At this price, I want the comfort and quality of my desktop on the go. While it has the latter, when it comes together as a complete unit of sound, screen, and touch, it’s not quite there.
A Razer Blade 15 was provided by Razer for this review
Game title: Razer Blade 15
Game description: The world's smallest 15.6" gaming laptop, the Razer Blade 15, is available in two different models - Base and Advanced. All models have options for the latest 9th Gen Intel® Core™ processors and NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ graphics, combined with ample memory and fast storage options.
Powerful enough to do anything I wanted
Keyboard, mouse, screen, and sound are underwhelming