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Razer Blade 15 (2018) review

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Plenty of us love to play games, but we also have jobs and computing needs outside the arena. We want the best of both worlds — something as sleek as a MacBook, but with the horsepower of a desktop command station. It’s a goal Razer has always shot for with the Blade, but past iterations made compromises to stay on target.

With the 2018 Blade, though, Razer may have finally done it without any downsides – aside from the price. The new Blade starts at $1,900 for an 8th-gen Core i7, Nvidia GTX 1060 Max-Q graphics, 16GB of RAM, and a 256GB solid state drive. Our review unit, upgraded to GTX 1070 Max-Q and a 512GB SSD, was a whopping $2,600.

See Also :Razor blade 15in laptop

A masterclass in laptop design

Razer has always tried to market itself as the Apple of gaming, focusing on devices that are expensive, but also innovative and robust. Past versions of Razer laptops, however, have strayed almost too far into the Apple camp. Laptops like the Razer Blade 14 and Razer Blade Stealth looked very much like matte black MacBooks. Yes, yes, there’s only so many ways to design a metal rectangle, but the resemblance was uncanny.

The new Razer Blade 15 bucks that trend with a fresh take on the thin-and-light gaming laptop. It’s still refined, and it still has a unibody aluminium chassis, all black except the growing green snake logo on the lid. However, Razer has ditched the indented lines on the top and rounded corners in favour of a simpler, boxy look. It’s a striking aesthetic that ensures no one will again mistake the Blade for a MacBook. The new Blade is also slightly trimmed down from 0.7 to 0.66 inches yet has become only more durable in the process. Good luck finding any flex or give anywhere on this device.

Great inputs, a questionable keyboard layout

Razer Blade has a history making PC peripherals, so we expect the company’s integrated keyboards and touchpads to be excellent — and for the most part, it’s a home run. The touchpad is now considerably larger than before, stretching across the palm rests more than any laptop other than the MacBook Pro. The smooth, glass surface uses Windows Precision Touchpad drivers, meaning gestures are responsive. It’s hands-down one of our favourite touchpads on any machine, rivaling the excellent Surface Book 2 and the XPS 15.

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The keyboard is good, but more divisive. It’s not the key travel, RGB lighting options, or even spacing that’s the issue — all of that is great. The problem is the layout. Located in the bottom right corner of the keyboard, right between the shift key and the question mark, is an up-arrow key. While this means you get a full-sized up and down arrow key, the trade-off doesn’t feel worth it. We found ourselves consistently hitting the up-arrow key instead of typing a question mark. While we familiarized ourselves with it after a time, there’s no sidestepping the fact that Razer made a completely unnecessary change to the standard layout.

Less bezel, faster refresh rate

One of the reasons Razer claims it moved to a 15.6 screen was a wider availability of high-quality panels to choose from — and that shows on the Razer Blade. There’s now three options: 60Hz 1080p, 144Hz 1080p, and a 60Hz 4K touchscreen. We think most people will want the midrange 144Hz 1080p model, which is what Razer sent us for review. The higher-end 4K model aimed at video editors, while the lower-end option is more for less intense gaming, or shoppers who find even the base Razer Blade expensive.

Though it doesn’t top our tests in any category, the Razer Blade has a fantastic IPS panel on it. The colours in games really pop, thanks to its wide colour gamut and low average colour error at 2.16. In no area does it compete with something like the 15-inch MacBook Pro or the Dell XPS 15 (especially in contrast or Adobe RGB colour gamut), but compared to your average gaming laptop, this thing dominates. Even if you go for the 1080p model, games look fantastic, and the image quality is among the best you’ll find on a gaming laptop. But let’s be honest — it comes to games, what people interested in this laptop really care about is the smooth 144Hz screen.

The sharpest blade in the toolkit

The Razer Blade 15 features the Intel Core i7-8750H, which is an extremely fast CPU. Its multi-core score in Geek bench destroys mainstream chips like the Core i7-8650U in the Surface Book 2, or the 7th-gen Intel Core processor in the previous Razer Blade.

Don’t underestimate its gaming skills

None of the advances Razer made in terms of design or function would matter if it cut corners in gaming. Fortunately, the opposite is true. The Razer Blade now includes the option of either the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q or 1070 Max-Q. The 1070 is new to the Blade this year, and it’s what we tested in our benchmarks and gaming tests.

The Razer Blade handles 1080p gaming no sweat, easily hovering around 80 frames per second in most games at max settings. Even in a demanding game like Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, the Razer Blade churned out 53 frames per second with Ultra settings. No, you can’t play at 60 FPS in every game – but you can in most. That’s impressive given the new Blade’s size. Consider, for example, HP’s Spectre x360 15-inch. 

Solid battery life completes the puzzle

All of this would be for naught if the Razer Blade lacked decent battery life, but we can report the Blade lasts long enough to at least hang with the rest of its competitors.

We saw around seven and a half hours of battery life consistently, whether it was in day-to-day productivity work, or in our video loop test. That’s not anywhere near what you’ll get with battery life champs like the Surface Book 2, but compared to your average gaming laptop, you’ll be getting well over twice the life on a charge.

The Blade did struggle in more intensive benchmarks like our demanding web browsing test, where it only lasted 4 hours and 25 minutes. Keep that in mind before buying. The Blade performs well for a gaming laptop and felt adequate in our use, but it can’t compare to smaller, less powerful laptops built with frequent travel in mind.

See Also :Razer blade 15 2018 h2

Pros

Beautiful, thin design

Excellent gaming performance

Impressive battery life

Robust build quality

High refresh rate display

Cons

Questionable keyboard layout

Runs hot


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Razer Blade 15 (2018) review

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