Razer recently made a power play for the 15-inch gaming laptop market with the Razer Blade 15, which impressed with its svelte design and powerful performance. But due to its pricing, all but the most deep-pocketed gamers couldn’t get in on the fun — until now.
Starting at $1,599 (reviewed at $1,799), the latest iteration of the Blade features the lovely, durable design we’ve come to expect paired with an Intel Core i7 processor and an Nvidia GTX 1060 Max-Q GPU. It’s also one of the first Razer laptops to offer dual storage and Gigabit Ethernet. The new Blade gives a master class in navigating the treacherous road between affordability and power.
The Blade 15 is an ’80s throwback in the best possible way. It’s teeny, tiny rounded corners gives the laptop a boxy shape that conjures up memories of epaulette-style shoulder pads found on those old-school women’s powersuits. Or it might just be I have Huey Lewis and The News’ “Hip To Be Square” stuck on repeat in my head. Either way, it’s a got a funky, retro style that I’m digging.
Like all Blades, the majority of the Blade 15 is made of its midnight CNC aluminum. The lid (which has some noticeable flex in the middle) has Razer’s trademark verdant three-headed serpent casting a seductive glow.
When I opened the lid, my eyes were transfixed on the Chroma keyboard, which, settled in its slight recess, looked like a cluster of stars shining against the all-encompassing darkness of space that is the black aluminum chassis. To fully play up the luminosity of the keyboard, the speakers are mounted on either side of the recess with the power button surreptitiously nestled away in the left speaker.
Razer’s sticking to its lightweight gaming cred, as the Blade 15 weighs 4.7 pounds and measures 14 x 9.3 x 0.8 inches. It’s 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 inches), but heavier than the MSI GS65 Stealth Thin (4.1 pounds, 14.1 x 9.8 x 0.7 inches)
The razer blade 15 2018 h2 15.6-inch matte panel is very vibrant, allowing actress Zoe Renee’s cherry-red leotard to pop on the screen during the Jinn trailer. Details were sharp enough that I could see the individual ringlets in the girl’s magenta-and-lilac locks.
The 60-Hertz screen had no problem delivering crisp graphics as I played The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. I shot an orangey-red column of fire at an incoming bandit, causing him to drop to the ground, writhing in agony. I ran him through with my sword and took time to admire the sheen of Geralt’s ashen-white locks before moving onto my next foe.
Based on our testing, the Blade 15’s screen can reproduce 156 percent of the sRGB color gamut. It easily surpassed the 110-percent mainstream gaming laptop average as well as the Hero II’s 120 percent. The m15 and Stealth Thin tied at 150 percent.
But it would have been nice if the Blade 15’s panel were brighter. Averaging 257 nits of brightness, it fell short of the 284-nit category average. The Hero II, the m15 and the Stealth Thin also did better at 276, 284 and 293 nits, respectively.
Don’t let those unassuming pair of top-mounted speakers fool you — the Blade 15 gets pretty loud while remaining relatively accurate. Listening to Pentatonix’s “Can’t Sleep Love,” I could clearly hear every part of the five-person harmony on maximum volume.
The sound managed to cover our entire medium-size test lab, thanks to a sizable boost from the Dolby Atmos software. Out of the six available settings (Movie, Dynamic, Music, Game, Voice and Personalize), I found that Dynamic and Music delivered the most pleasing results.
Hot on the trail of a nuisance witch during Witcher 3, I strode confidently through the forest. The trees whipped wildly due to an upcoming storm, and the sounds of the strong wind filled the lab as a flute played softly in the background.
However, none of the settings could do anything to enhance the bass. There were hints of it when I listened to Elephant Man’s “Pon De River Pon Da Bank,” but not enough to make a difference.
Keyboard and Touchpad
razer blade 15 2018 h2 Chroma keyboards are always a sight to behold — I just wish they were a little more comfortable to type on. Despite their 65-gram actuation, the ultralow travel keys consistently bottomed out, due to their short 1.2 millimeters of travel (1.5mm is our accepted minimum). The Chiclet-style keys lacked any significant pop.
I managed 65 words per minute on the 10FastFingers typing test, which is slightly below my usual 70 wpm.
At 5 x 3 inches, the Blade 15’s touchpad is absolutely massive. Unlike the discontinued Blade 14, the 15-inch has ditched the discrete mouse buttons in lieu of the large pad. Windows 10 gestures such as pinch-zoom and three-finger swipes worked well. It was even easy to summon the Action Center. The bottom corners of the touchpad were passably clicky for right-and-left mouse buttons.
Armed with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q GPU with 6GB of VRAM, the Blade 15 has no problems getting solid frame rates on even the most demanding titles on higher settings.
During my Witcher 3 playthrough, I charged into a band of bandits on horseback, striking one of the villains. His arm flew off at a beautiful 59 frames per second on Ultra at 1920 x 1080. The settings jumped to 65 fps when I dropped the settings to High.
When we ran the Rise of the Tomb Raider benchmark, the Blade 15 hit 37 fps, slinking past the 33-fps mainstream gaming average. With a full 1060 GPU, the Hero II edged out 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.
Despite being marketed as a gaming rig, the Blade 15 can do more than its fair share of productivity work. I ran 30 Google Chrome tabs with a combination of Slack, Twitch streams and Netflix, and the Blade 15’s 2.2-GHz Intel Core i7-8750H processor with 16GB of RAM handled it all with aplomb.
The razer blade 15 2018 h2 scored 18,771 on the Geekbench 4 overall performance test, edging out the 18,234 mainstream average. Sporting their own i7-8750H CPUs, the Stealth Thin produced 17,184, while the Asus Hero II and the m15 attained 20,690 and 21,450, respectively.
The Blade 15 took 11 minutes and 13 seconds to transcode a 4K video to 1080p, which is just a bit faster than the 11:32 average. The Stealth Thin took 12:01 to finish, while the m15 and Hero II posted times of 9:51 and 9:36, respectively.
This iteration of the Blade is the first one to offer a dual-storage option. The laptop’s 256GB NVMe PCIe SSD (with a 2TB 5,400-rpm HDD) duplicated 4.97GB of mixed-media files in 9 seconds for a file-transfer rate of 565 megabytes per second, scorching the 295.3 MBps category average.
The Stealth Thin (512GB M.2 SSD) scraped together a time of 193.3 MBps, while the Hero II (256GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD) delivered a respectable 462 MBps. However, the m15’s dual 1TB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSDs delivered a smoking 1,017 MBps.
When it comes to battery life, Razer is usually on the bottom rung. But the Blade 15 turned in an impressive time of 6 hours and 9 minutes on our battery test (continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness), sailing past the 4:30 mainstream gaming laptop average. It outlasted both the MSI Stealth Thin (5:40) and the Asus Hero II (4:56), but couldn’t top the Alienware m15 (6:25).
All that aluminum looks great, but it can get pretty hot. I spent 15 minutes in Witcher 3 hunting down a witch. At the end of the alRazer made a strong play in the 15-inch gaming laptop market recently with the Razer Blade 15. This sleek design and powerful performance impressed. However, the price of the Razer Blade 15 meant that not everyone could enjoy the experience.
The Blade’s latest iteration starts at $1,599 (reviewed as $1,799). It features the same durable design that we love paired with an Intel Core CPU and an Nvidia GTX1060 Max-Q GPU. This is also the first Razer laptop to feature dual storage and Gigabit Ethernet. The Blade is a masterclass in how to navigate the tricky road between power and affordability.
The Blade 15 is a throwback to the 1980s in the best way possible. The laptop’s tiny, rounded corners give it a boxy look that brings back memories of the epaulette-style shoulderpads found on old-school women’s powersuits. It could be that I’m listening to Huey Lewis or The News’ “Hip To Be Square” on repeat. It’s got a retro, funky style that I love.
The Blade 15’s majority is made from its midnight CNC aluminium. Razer’s signature three-headed serpent, a verdant and three-headed snake, casts a seductive glow on the lid.
As I opened the lid, I was captivated by the Chroma keyboard. It looked almost like a cluster star against the black aluminum chassis. The speakers are mounted on each side of the recess, with the power button hidden in the left speaker. This allows the keyboard to shine at its full potential.
The Blade 15 is 4.7 lbs and measures 14×9.3×0.8 inches. Razer has remained true to its lightweight gaming cred. It is slightly lighter than the Alienware m15 (4.8 x 10.8×0.70.8 inches) or the ASUS ROG Strix Hero II (5.8 x 10.3×1 inches), but it is heavier than the MSI MSI GS65 Stealth Tin (4.1 x 9.8×0.7 inches)
razer blade 15 2018 h2 15.6 inch matte panel was very bright, allowing Zoe Renee’s cherry-red leotard and trailer for Jinn to stand out. The details were so sharp that I could see individual ringlets in the magenta-and lilac hairs of the girl.
The 60-Hertz screen delivered crisp graphics while I was playing The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt. An orangey-red column, of fire, was shot at an intruder bandit. He fell to the ground and began to writhe in pain. Before moving on to my next foe, I ran him through using my sword.
Our testing shows that the Blade 15’s screen reproduces 156 percent of the sRGB colors gamut. It easily beat the mainstream gaming laptop’s average of 110 percent and the Hero II’s 120%. Stealth Thin and the m15 were tied at 150 percent.
It would have been nice to see the Blade 15’s panels shiner. It averaged 257 nits of brightness and was below the 284-nit standard. The Hero II, m15, and Stealth Thin did also better with 276, 284, and 293 nits respectively.
The Blade 15’s top-mounted speakers are not a glaring display of loudness. They can be quite accurate and the volume is impressive. When I listened to Pentatonix’s song “Can’t Sleep Love”, I was able to hear the entire five-person harmony at maximum volume.
Thanks to the Dolby Atmos software, the sound was able to cover our entire test lab of medium size. Dynamic, Music and Voice were the best settings.
Following a nuisance witch in Witcher 3, I confidently strode through the forest. As the upcoming storm whipped the trees, the sounds of strong wind filled the lab. A flute softly played in the background.
None of the settings did anything to improve the bass. Although there were some hints when I listened Elephant Man’s “Pon De River Pon Da Bank”, it wasn’t enough to make any difference.
Keyboard and touchpad
Razer’s Chroma keyboards have a beautiful look to them. I wish they were more comfortable to type on. The ultralow travel keys, despite their 65-gram weight, consistently fell to the bottom due to their 1.2 millimeters travel (1.5mm is our minimum). The Chiclet-style keys did not have any pop.
On the 10FastFingers typing exam, I averaged 65 words per minute. This is slightly lower than my normal 70 words per hour.
The razer blade 15 2018 h2 touchpad measures 5×3 inches. The 15-inch Blade 15 has a large touchpad and no discrete buttons, unlike the Blade14. Windows 10 gestures like pinch-zoom or three-finger swipes were well-received. Even summoning the Action Center was easy. The touchpad’s bottom corners were too clicky to be used for the right-and left mouse buttons.
The Blade 15 is equipped with an Nvidia GeForce 1060 Max-Q GPU and 6GB of VRAM. It can easily achieve solid frame rates even on the most difficult titles at higher settings.
My Witcher 3 playthrough saw me charge into a group of bandits riding on horseback and striking one of them. His arm flew at an amazing 59 frames per second using Ultra at 1920×1080. When I changed the settings to High, the speed increased to 65 frames per second.
The Rise of the Tomb Raider benchmark showed that the Blade 15 achieved 37 frames per second, surpassing the 33-fps average for mainstream gaming. The Hero II had 38 frames per second, and the Hero II had 38. Stealth Thin, m15, and their GTX 1070 Max Q GPUs achieved 44 and 49 frames per seconds, respectively.
The Blade 15 is a gaming rig but can also do a lot of productivity work. I used 30 Google Chrome tabs to run a mix of Slack and Twitch streams. The Blade 15’s 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-8750H processor and 16GB RAM handled all of this with ease.
Geekbench 4 overall Performancetest gave the Blade 15 an 18,771 score, beating the 18,234 average. The Stealth Thin was equipped with their own i7-8750H CPUs. The Asus Hero II and m15 achieved 20,690 and 21,450 respectively.
The razer blade 15 2018 h2 took just 11 minutes and 13 second to convert a 4K video from 4K to 1080p. This is a little faster than the average 11:32. The Stealth Thin finished in 12:01, while the Hero II and m15 took 9:51 and 9 minutes, respectively.
The Blade’s first iteration offers dual storage. The 256GB NVMePCIe SSD laptop (with a 2TB 5,400rpm HDD) duplicated 4.97GB of mixed media files in just 9 seconds. This translates to a file transfer rate of 565 megabytes per sec, which is well above the 295.3 MBps category.
The Stealth Thin (512GB SSD M.2 SSD), managed a time of 193.3 MBPs, while Hero II (256GB SSD M.2 PCIe SSD) achieved a respectable 462 MBPs. The m15’s dual 1TB PCIe M.2 SSDs produced a stunning 1,017 MBps.
Razer usually ranks at the bottom of battery life. The Blade 15 managed to beat the average of 4:30 minutes for continuous web surfing using Wi-Fi at 150 nits brightness. The Blade 15 outperformed the MSI Stealth Thin (5.40) and the Asus Hero II (4.56), but it couldn’t beat the Alienware m15 (6.25).
It looks amazing, but the aluminum can get very hot. I spent 15 minutes hunting down a witch in Witcher 3. At the end, I measured the touchpad and the middle of my keyboard, as well as the undercarriage for the Blade 15. Although the touchpad was slightly warm at 93 degrees Fahrenheit the keyboard and underside reached 107 and108 degrees respectively. This is well beyond our 95-degree comfort threshold.
Photos taken with the Blade 15’s integrated webcam at 720p looked great from first glance. My brown skin looked perfect, with a small amount of visual noise. However, a quick zoom revealed the blurred lines in the photo.
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lotted time, I measured the touchpad, the middle of the keyboard and the undercarriage of the Blade 15. The touchpad was a bit warm at 93 degrees Fahrenheit, but the keyboard and the underside hit 107 and 108 degrees, respectively. That’s well above our 95-degree comfort threshold.
At first glance, photos taken with the Blade 15’s 720p integrated webcam looked pretty good. Outside of a little bit of visual noise, my brown skin looked flawless, but a quick zoom revealed all the fuzziness in the photo.