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Razer Blade 15 (2020) check: 300 Hz for victory

“Razer’s Blade 15 is the most attractive gaming laptop you can buy for money.”

Sleek design

Comfortable keyboard and touchpad

Exceptional gaming experience

300Hz refresh rate

Ideal port selection

All other gaming laptops swim in the course of the Razer Blade. It is a design that others want to emulate in both aesthetic and portable terms.

But with two years on the same chassis, the Razer Blade may not be as impressive as it used to be. The latest version is a refinement of the formula that offers more power and a faster 300 Hz screen with just a few minor adjustments to the formula.

Razer offers models for up to $ 1,600, but my test device costs $ 3,000. Does the Razer Blade still stand out to justify its premium, or has the competition caught up?

Design and keyboard

The Razer Blade’s greatest achievement is not what it accomplishes, but what it completely avoids. It is a gaming laptop that defeats any design cliché that is normally associated with its rivals. It resists decorations and facades and instead focuses on straight lines and minimal chrome. Put it next to the Acer Predator Triton 500 or the Alienware m15 and you will see what I mean. The Razer Blade looks like a normal laptop.

This makes it a good option for someone who wants to use the device not only for games but also for other tasks, especially since it only weighs 4.6 pounds. It fits in your backpack as well as a MacBook Pro 16-inch or Dell XPS 15. The quality of machined aluminum is also exceptional as long as you can forgive how quickly fingerprints are captured.

There have always been exceptions to the blade’s ethos and they include glowing lights. Razer’s iconic green snakes still shine on the lid. It’s dimmed on the silver version of this laptop, but it still glows outrageously here. The same applies to the RGB-loaded keyboard, which is backlit per key in a spectacular way and has become synonymous with the Razer brand.

Speaking of the keyboard: Razer has slightly adjusted the layout. The keyboard was previously equipped with full-size arrow keys, which forced a separation between question mark and shift key. Players may have appreciated the roomy arrow keys, but it was frustrating to type.

The layout is now more conventional, which I consider an upgrade. However, the keycaps on the Dell XPS 15 feel a bit small. It’s a minor issue, but I would like to see less space between the buttons in a future design.

If you press a key, you will be rewarded with a fantastic key press. There is a lot to travel with a satisfactorily springy mechanism that made me feel comfortable straight away. The glass touchpad is also a winner. It’s big, responsive, and quiet. You won’t find a better keyboard or touchpad on a gaming laptop.

Ports and security

All the bells and whistles are here, far beyond what your standard gaming laptop offers. Razer even throws an IR camera over the top bezel for Windows Hello face authentication. It is typical for gaming laptops to include HDMI and lots of USB 3.2 Gen 2. The blade contains both with a total of three USB-A and a single USB-C connector.

However, Razer goes one step further by including both Thunderbolt 3 and a full-size SD card slot. Creative professionals and content creators will appreciate it, which can support high-speed storage and quick access to camera files. Your photo shows how Razer wants to position the blade.

Although you can power the laptop through the Thunderbolt 3 port, Razer has a proprietary charging port on the left for full performance.

The Razer Blade even supports the latest connectivity standards like Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1.

performance

Owners like to use the Razer Blade for everything from video editing to gaming, but the balance of its performance tends towards the latter. This has ramifications for performance in productivity applications, which are not bad, but lag behind laptops that tend to work rather than play.

This year’s model features the latest 10th generation Intel Core i7-10875H. The eight cores and 16 threads are a major advance over the six-core processors of previous generations. This is promising if you don’t want to use the Razer Blade just for gaming.

In the Cinebench R20 multi-core benchmark, the latest Razer Blade 15 is a significant leap over the previous year. Again, it can thank these additional cores and threads for the bump. However, the Razer Blade lags behind some other non-gaming laptops that use the same processor. For example, it is 29% behind the Dell XPS 15.

Interestingly, the blade is a whopping 36% behind the Dell G5 SE. The G5 SE is a gaming laptop, but uses an AMD GPU and CPU, as well as SmartShift technology to share the performance between the components.

Handbrake video encoding tells a similar story. The Razer was 9% slower than the Dell XPS 15 and 19% behind the XPS 17.

That doesn’t mean the Razer Blade 15 is a bad choice as a content creation laptop. If the GPU can be used, it is quite powerful. For example, it is a powerful video rendering rig in an application like Adobe Premiere Pro. It exported a 2 minute 4K video clip to ProRes 422 in 7 minutes and 42 seconds. This is much faster than the configuration I checked last year, which had an Intel processor with six cores and an RTX 2070 Max-Q .

Options like the Dell XPS 17 or the Microsoft Surface Book 3 are still unsurpassed in these tests. Although the Razer has a charged RTX 2080 Super, the XPS 17’s RTX 2060 finished the same rendering in Premiere 46% faster. That’s what a bigger chassis and improved thermal system mean to you.

All versions of the Razer Blade are equipped with 16 GB of dual-channel RAM as standard and no longer allow anything. Most other performance-oriented laptops offer up to 32 GB, including the Acer Predator Triton 500 and the Dell XPS 15.

Gaming performance

The greatest power of the Razer Blade is gaming. It comes with either the Nvidia RTX 2070 Super Max-Q or the 2080 Super Max-Q. These new Nvidia GPUs add just a few frames per second (fps) than the previous non-super versions. Fortunately, the Razer Blade was already an extremely powerful gaming laptop.

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is the most challenging test game, and the Razer Blade still reached an average of 60 fps with graphics details at Ultra High. This and Civilization VI were the only two games in which the Acer Predator Triton 500 came up a bit and offered up to 8% faster frame rates with the highest settings in both games. Still, you probably won’t complain about the Razer Blade, which averages 134 fps.

Returning to a 60 Hz screen feels chunky by comparison.

Elsewhere, the Razer Blade dominates. Fortnite and Battlefield V performed spectacularly and exceeded the Triton 500 in both cases. In Battlefield V at Ultra, the blade achieved an average of 98 fps. When I pulled the settings back to medium, the system released 122 fps, which is a new record for 15-inch laptops. This is really impressive for such a small laptop.

Fortnite was similarly fast, and the Razer was again one of the fastest 15-inch laptops I’ve tested. With epic settings, it easily reaches 110 fps. But responsiveness really came alive with lower settings. For example, 161 fps with settings at high felt incredibly smooth. The return to a 60 Hz screen on my XPS 15 felt chunky by comparison.

I even tried the Rocket League, which had no problem reaching its maximum speed of 250 fps with the highest graphics quality. That’s not quite 300, but the animations are still incredibly smooth.

These games were all played with the native screen resolution of 1080p. You could connect to a higher resolution external monitor and I suspect it would handle 1440p quite well. While 4K would be a stretch in some games, turn-based strategy games like Civilization VI shouldn’t be a problem.

The Razer Blade is of course quite expensive. Though it’s equivalent to the $ 3,000 Asus ROG Zephyrus S15, it’s $ 400 more than the Triton 500, though it offers a very similar performance. With the Alienware m15, you get a similar package for almost $ 800 cheaper. Some of these options, such as B. the Triton 500, also offer G-Sync support. The Razer Blade lacks this feature, but the high refresh rate is surprisingly good to avoid tearing the screen.

In general, the Razer Blade is still running hot. Surface temperatures can be roasted during the game, but that’s not too surprising. The frustrating part is idling temperatures. Since nothing is running, the palm rests and the keyboard are still a bit warm, and this can be uncomfortable.

Display and speakers

Razer offers two 15.6-inch viewing options, one for content creation and one for gamers. The game-oriented screen I tested is a 1080p display with the above-mentioned refresh rate of 300 Hz. The option focused by the creator is a 4K display, which is intended for photographers and video editors who need this high number of pixels. The 4K screen also has a glossy surface, a touchscreen and a refresh rate of 60 Hz.

While the 4K screen undoubtedly offers a sharper picture, the 1080p screen looks great. The contrast is high at 1,010: 1, and although it is maximum at only 310 nits, the matte screen excellently blocks the glare. The screen is also fairly color accurate, though if you need a wide range of colors you’ll need to go with the 4K OLED panel.

The Razer Blade offers a decent set of speakers shooting up. They are on par with the Dell XPS 15, although they lag behind the MacBook Pro 16-inch. They still lack the bass and there is certainly room for improvement.

Battery life

Because the Razer Blade doesn’t have G-Sync, its battery life doesn’t suffer the same fate as other gaming laptops. These models, like the Predator Triton 500, only last a few hours in normal use.

The five hours of the Razer Blade are, of course, nothing to write home about. Despite the 97-watt-hour battery, you still can’t get through a full working day without needing a charge. Less powerful laptops like the ROG Zephyrus G14 or the Dell G5 SE can last an extra hour. Even the 4K Dell XPS 15 lasts up to 7 hours.

Of course, it all depends on how you use it. In our lightest test, where a local 1080p video is repeated, the Razer Blade took just under 7.5 hours. If you run heavy applications or games, you can expect no more than 3 hours on a single charge.

That may not sound that impressive, but you won’t find a laptop with an RTX 2080 Super that lasts that long.

The basic edition

The Razer Blade Base Edition

When you buy a Razer Blade, you will encounter an “Advanced Edition” and a “Base Edition”. I have reviewed the Advanced Edition and it is the version that gives you the latest parts.

However, the Base Edition has its advantages. It offers the same processor and memory options. You can even opt for the same 4K OLED screen if you want.

The differences depend on the housing and the refresh rate. The Base Edition reaches a maximum speed of 144 Hz for the 1080p model, and the case is slightly thicker and heavier. The Base Edition also offers a different selection of graphics cards, from the Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti to the RTX 2080 Max-Q.

Razer also offers a “Studio Edition” that supports Nvidia’s RTX Quadro 5000 graphics and comes with Windows 10 Pro.

Our opinion

The Razer Blade does not require you to use it in any particular way. It tries to satisfy the modern player – the one who could also use his laptop for work or as a content creator. The design of the Razer Blade is no longer as revolutionary as it used to be, but there is no question that it is still the best.

Are there any better alternatives?

The Acer Predator Triton 500 offers similar performance at reduced costs to the Alienware m15. However, these laptops look brighter and do not work as well as everyday laptops.

If you’re looking for a subdued design that matches the Razer Blade, the MSI GS66 Stealth is a close rival. The build quality is not that good and previous versions didn’t work as well.

How long it will take?

Like most premium laptops, the Razer Blade should last at least four or five years. The build quality is second to none and the components are all up to date. It comes with a standard one-year warranty, but Razer offers three years of protection with two different warranty plans, starting at $ 250.

Should you buy it

Yes. This is the best gaming laptop you can buy, and it works great in just about any other environment.

Editor’s recommendations




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