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Razer Blade 15 (2018)

We've given the latest Razer Blade a thorough test to see if it delivers what it sets out to achieve.

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You may have noticed that we here at Gamereactor have been pretty keen on Razer's various products over the last couple of years. We've simply been taken in with their renewed focus on more anonymous aesthetic, sublime build quality, and quality components, at a fairly high price. It's been a period defined by the high level of ambition, and we're of the opinion that the culmination of this is the new Blade 15. This flagship model has in a relatively short period of time gone through a whole range of iteration, some better than others, but it is clear from first glance, that this the latest model on the market (even if it does not come with GeForce 2080 MaxQ) is something much more significant.

For those of you who have preferred MacBooks such as ourselves (possibly though due to unrelenting social pressure), it must be said that Blade 15 is the best laptop we've ever had the pleasure of getting to know.

Razer Blade 15 (2018)Razer Blade 15 (2018)Razer Blade 15 (2018)

And with the danger of sounding like someone moving in circles, it starts and ends with quality, both external and internal. Not that this has been a problem with the Blade since its introduction a few years ago. From the outset, Razer chose to use an aluminium casing instead of paper-thin plastic that still to this day persists, and with subtle green backlighting and a slightly less discreet green Razer logo engraved in the otherwise black-black cabinet. The original felt almost subdued. The same is true here, it's just that everything is so much better. First of all, we are still treated to aluminium, but this time it is all more angular, more box-shaped. It feels delicious and looks great. The split mouse button on the trackpad has been removed in favour of a very subtle click, the computer's rubber strips on the bottom raise the cabinet slightly, so it is very quiet when idle.

It is in the design where the big changes are as Razer has integrated a number of small but crucial quality of life improvements that transform it from a gaming laptop with the typical compromises that come with the territory to a jack of all trades that excels at everything. At a glance, it looks like a black MacBook Pro. High praise indeed as Razer Blade aims to give you everything - performance and design in one package. It looks like an ultrabook but houses the power of a dedicated gaming machine. On the one side, we find a USB-C, a USB 3.0 port, HDMI and Displayport, while two more USB 3.0 ports, as well as a jack connector, is on the other. All of this and the laptop is still only 17.3 millimetres thin, making it the world's smallest 15.6-inch gaming laptop, at least according to Razer, and it weighs just over 2kg. All of this with a solid case that virtually has no flex at all.

Razer Blade 15 (2018)

Let's quickly move on to the screen, another very impressive aspect of the Razer Blade 15. We're getting 15.6 inches, and without the thick bezel we've seen with previous models, it's just 4.9 millimetres here. We're also getting 144Hz in 1080p, it's also possible to get 4K/60Hz, but we prefer the former. Meanwhile, there's 100% sRGB support, but during our test period tests showed an average of 257 NITS brightness, which is just dark enough, but the colour rendering is so well calibrated that we didn't notice it right away. As we mention there is the option of a 4K screen as well, and then you're also getting touch functionality. Again we're not too bothered about that.

The reviewed unit sported a 2.2 GHz i7.8750H processor, 16GB 2667Mhz DDR4 RAM, and a GTX 1070 Max-Q, in addition to a 512 GB M.2 NVMe SSD. Together these make for a 3DMark test score of 15788 on Fire Strike, handily beating its primary competition, the MSI GS65 8RF Stealth Thin, which achieved a test score of 12331. It manages this without reaching the deafening sound levels of previous Blade models - we generally expect an idle sound level of around 30dB, and Blade 15 came in at 29dB. Meanwhile, when pushed with gaming and demanding editing work we noted an average of 46dB which is slightly above average. Blade 15, unfortunately, gets a bit warm under heavy use, and during a longer session with The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, we recorded 49 degrees (centigrade) underneath the unit where the primary intakes are located.

Razer Blade 15 (2018)

Still, you don't need to doubt Blade 15 as a dedicated and efficient gaming machine, nor write it off as a work tool. The result is that Blade 15 is extremely effective for both things, whether it is games you want to experience, either on the go (which is easy thanks to the 94Wh battery), or in the home, or just to have it as a work computer. The price is more competitive now that RTX-supported models are hitting the market soon, and it's comparable in price to a MacBook Pro 15.

Despite the strong competition from the GS65 and the Asus Zephyrus series, Blade 15 stands as a milestone for Razer, a culmination of the journey it began a number of years ago with the aim of designing laptops that work almost perfectly for everything. Is it absolutely perfect? No, but nothing ever is. But as the perfect companion to the consumer who wants to do a little bit of everything? Yes, it is a masterpiece, and furthermore, the best laptop this reviewer has ever laid hands on.

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