The most exciting thing about gaming laptops is their potential versatility. It is great that you can play AAA titles at ultra-settings on a thin-and-light laptop. But what makes a great everyday laptop is its capability to blaze through photo editing, having a dozen tabs open etc. Many gaming laptops can do all these things. However, they lack the finer details of what makes a laptop great. That is a good battery life, an excellent trackpad, good speakers and great build quality.
Razer’s new Blade 15 is an expensive laptop, but that price gets you many things. Things that are otherwise missing from lesser priced gaming laptops. The most expensive model has the 8th Gen six core i7, Nvidia GTX 1070 with Max-Q, full HD 144 Hz display, and a 512 GB SSD. The Razor Blade 15 can do the above mentioned tasks with proficiency.
This new model has a squared-off unibody design and has the smallest footprint of any 15.6-inch laptop. There is no flex on the keyboard, the palm rest or on the display. It is a thin-and-light laptop. It weighs about 2 kg and is just 0.68 inches thick. On the sides, the Blade has three USB-A ports, one USB-C Thunderbolt 3 HDMI, mini DisplayPort, 3.5 mm audio jack and a reversible power jack. It misses out on the SD card slot which would have been great for creative work.
However, upon research it came out that the device gets really hot under heavy workload. It is a gaming device, therefore, it is expected to game for long hours without getting too hot. Sadly, it is not the case with the blade. It seems like the spec sheet has outgrown the chassis design. You can forget about trying to use it on your lap.
The blade uses “vapour chamber cooling system”. This is supposed to dissipate heat under the machine and move it away from you. The system works well enough to not let the machine overheat and shutdown but you can still feel the heat on your hands. The heat is only an issue when you are doing heavy-processing like gaming, video editing etc., otherwise the blade runs cool and quiet.
The Blade 15 powers through latest games with ease. It can run a variety of titles at ultra-settings and over a 100 FPS with ease, including games like Counter Strike: Global Offensive, Overwatch, Rainbow Six: Siege. Meanwhile, there is a “gaming” performance mode which increases the fan speed. It also boosts the GPU and additional 100 MHz while also providing an additional 300 MHz for the VRAM. It gives an additional 10-15 FPS boost to your gameplay. However, this makes the laptop a little bit noisier.
Razer’s default display is a 60 Hz FHD panel with the option of upgrading to a 144 Hz FHD panel or a 60 Hz 4K panel. The gamers would be best served to upgrade to the 144 Hz panel and video editors etc. would be best served with the 4K option. The display does a solid job with colour reproduction, contrast and saturation. The keyboard offers a good tactile experience and extensively customizable RGB lighting options. But one shortcoming is that the right shift key is to the right of the arrow key, which can be very difficult to get accustomed to. The touchpad is a Precision touchpad and it is great. It is a big touchpad, supports all the gestures of Windows 10 and is pleasant to use.
A surprising omission from the laptop is the Windows Hello support, via fingerprint or facial recognition. It is 2018 and a laptop at this price point should have had it.
The Blade 15 has great performance, sleek design, and user customizations. Unfortunately, it can get really hot under heavy workload. It has great build quality, sound and battery life, better than most other current gaming laptops and can game like a desktop. Additionally, it is thin and light hence offering great portability. This makes the Razer Blade 15 a great gaming laptop.