Razer Blade Review

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Editors' rating:
The Pros

Svelte design; Strong gaming performance; Solid battery life

The Cons

Dimmer-than-average display; Shallow keyboard

Verdict

The Razer Blade 15's sleek new look is refreshing, and the laptop offers long battery life. But the display could be brighter, and the keyboard isn't comfortable.

The Razer Blade has never looked better. The laptop ($2,599 as tested; $1,899 to start) has gone through a complete redesign that's made it thinner and sleeker than ever, with thin bezels around a 15-inch display, a massive touchpad and, of course, a colorful keyboard with Razer's Chroma lighting running on the latest version of Razer Synapse. You also get longer battery life than competing machines provide. But I wish the screen were brighter, and the thinner design means a keyboard with less travel. Overall, however, the new Blade looks as good as it performs.

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Design

Razer has completely retooled the look of the Blade, and it really is drop-dead gorgeous. The corners are slightly more squared off, giving it an edgier look (no pun intended) that's still classy. The chassis is still black aluminum, but Razer's green, tri-headed-snake icon is still the lower-back tattoo of laptop logos, and its presence here does kill some of the elegance.

Lifting the lid reveals a 15.6-inch display with minimal bezel (though there's still enough up top to keep the webcam there), a Chroma-enabled keyboard with RGB lighting flanked by speakers, and a large trackpad on the black aluminum deck.

At 4.6 pounds and 14 x 9.3 x 0.7 inches, the Blade is still portable and svelte. The MSI GS65 Stealth Thin is lighter (4.1 pounds, 14.1 x 9.8 x 0.7 inches), but both the PowerSpec 1510 (6.5 pounds, 15.3 x 10.8 x 1.3 inches) and the Asus ROG Zephyrus M GM501 (5.5 pounds, 15.1 x 10.3 x 0.8 inches) are larger and heavier.

On the left side of the laptop, there's a pair of USB 3.1 ports, a headphone jack and a power jack. While USB Type-C can't deliver enough power for a gaming notebook, Razer's proprietary adapter is a similar shape and is reversible, which I appreciated. The right side of the laptop has a Thunderbolt 3 port (which you could plug into a graphics amp, if you so choose), a USB 3.1 port, HDMI output, a mini DisplayPort and a Kensington lock slot.

Display

The 15.6-inch, 144-Hz full-HD screen on the Razer Blade is perfectly usable, and it looks great with such minimal bezel. But it's not as bright or as vivid as competing gaming-notebook displays. When I watched a 1080p trailer for Mission: Impossible - Fallout, I could make out Henry Cavill's back sweat (gross) in a fight scene, but the skies over the movie's European locales weren't as blue and clear as they should have been. When I played Middle-earth: Shadow of War, the green grasses around an orc fortress weren't as lively as on other displays, and shadows in a fortress muted colors.

Razer's display covers 112 percent of the sRGB color gamut, falling short of the premium-gaming average of 133 percent, as well as the PowerSpec 1510 (113 percent), the Asus ROG

Zephyrus M GM501 (120 percent) and the MSI GS65 Stealth Thin (150 percent).

MORE: Laptops with the Best Display Brightness

The Blade's panel is also dimmer than the rest of the field, registering an average of 260 nits on our light meter. The average is 281 nits, and it trails the Zephyrus (286 nits), the Stealth Thin (293 nits) and the PowerSpec (306 nits).

Keyboard and Touchpad

With just 1 millimeter of travel and 72 grams required to actuate the keys, the keyboard on the new Razer Blade isn't all that comfortable. I bottomed out constantly, and at 103 words per minute on the 10fastfingers.com typing test, I was slightly slower than my usual 107 wpm. My error rate also doubled from 2 percent to 4 percent.

The Blade has a really spacious 5.0 x 3.1-inch touchpad with Microsoft's Windows 10 Precision drivers. It instantly responded to every gesture I threw at it, from simple pinch-to-zooms to four-finger swipes to open Task View and the Timeline.

Audio

The Blade's speakers produce clear sound, but I wish they were louder. I listened to Hozier's "Take Me to Church," and while the vocals, keys and background chorus were balanced, the sound barely filled a midsize conference room. That's plenty usable, but I prefer a bit more sound. It sounded louder when I played Middle-earth: Shadow of War, but footsteps were hard to hear over clear forces and loud swords clanging.

MORE: I Spent More Than $200 on Headphones: You Should Too

The laptop comes with Dolby Atmos software preloaded, but the audio didn't get any better when I fiddled with those settings.

Gaming, Graphics and VR

With Nvidia's GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q graphics, the Blade can tackle most intensive games on high settings. When I played Middle-earth: Shadow of War at 1080p on Ultra settings, it ran between 58 and 63 frames per second. Dropping the settings down to Very High got me a smoother 69 to 89 fps.

Razer's laptop ran the Rise of the Tomb Raider (1080p, Very High) benchmark at 77 fps, handily surpassing the premium-gaming average (57 fps), the PowerSpec 1510 ( 56 fps, GTX 1070), the Asus ROG Zephyrus M GM501 (53 fps, GTX 1070 Max-Q) and the MSI GS65 Stealth Thin (44 fps, GTX 1070 Max-Q).

Razer's laptop ran the Rise of the Tomb Raider (1080p, very high) benchmark at 77 fps, handily surpassing the premium-gaming-laptop average.

On the Hitman benchmark (1080p, Ultra), the Blade ran the game at 82 fps, falling below the average (85 fps) and the Zephyrus (88 fps) but besting the PowerSpec (60 fps) and the Stealth Thin (79 fps).

The Blade ran Grand Theft Auto V at 66 fps, beating the PowerSpec (60 fps) but falling below the Zephyrus (70 fps) and the average (76 fps)

MORE: The Best PC Games to Play Right Now

On the SteamVR performance test, the Blade scored a 10 out of 11, making it a solid option for an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive.

Performance

Our Razer Blade came with an Intel Core i7-8750H CPU, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD. That's plenty for your average workload. I had 25 tabs open in Google Chrome, including one streaming a 1080p episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, and didn't see any hint of a slowdown.

On the Geekbench 4 overall performance test, the Blade earned a score of 19,011, which is higher than the premium-gaming laptop average of 17,372 as well as the scores from the MSI GS65 Stealth Thin (17,184, Intel Core i7-8750H) and the PowerSpec 1510 (14,223, Intel Core i7-7700HQ). The Asus ROG Zephyrus M GM501 was faster (20,590, Intel Core i7-8750H).

The Blade took 12 seconds to transfer 4.97GB of mixed media files, for a rate of 424 MBps. That's a little slower than the average (486.8 MBps) and the Zephyrus (509 MBps), but the PowerSpec (391.5 MBps) and the Stealth Thin (193.3 MBps) were slower to copy files.

It took Razer's laptop 40 seconds to pair 65,000 names and addresses in our Excel macro, which is faster than the average (0:44), the Stealth Thin (0:54) and the PowerSpec (1:08) but slower than the Zephyrus (0:35).

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Lastly, it took the Blade 11 minutes and 46 seconds to convert a 4K video to 1080p in HandBrake, which is slower than the average (10:02) and the Zephyrus (9:43) but speedier than both the Stealth Thin (12:01) and the PowerSpec (14:00).

Battery Life

The Blade ran for 5 hours and 54 minutes on Laptop Mag Battery Test 2.0, making it slightly longer-lasting than other gaming notebooks. The test continuously browses the web, watches videos and runs through graphics tests at 150 nits of brightness. The premium-gaming average is 3:35, the Asus ROG Zephyrus M GM501 ran for 2:47 and the MSI GS65 Stealth Thin came in just behind at 5:40.

Heat

The Razer Blade runs just a little warmer than I'd like. After we streamed 15 minutes of HD video from YouTube, the bottom of the laptop measured 96 degrees Fahrenheit, which is just over our 95-degree comfort threshold. It measured 94 degrees between the G and H keys and 84 degrees on the touchpad.

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When I played Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, the keyboard reached 110 degrees, the touchpad climbed to 90 degrees and the bottom measured a scorching 129 degrees.

Webcam

The images from the new Razer Blade's 720p webcam are a bit on the dim side. In a photo I took at my desk, I appeared in shadow, and my light-blue shirt appeared slightly darker on-screen. However, a few wrinkles in my shirt and the popcorning on our ceiling appeared really sharp.

Software and Warranty: The New Synapse

Razer has kept the preinstalled software on the Blade to a minimum. The big deal here is Razer Synapse 3. This is the first laptop we've received with Version 3 of the software, which allows you to control the keyboard lighting (Razer calls this Chroma), customize macros and check on system performance. The new version is far more difficult to use than Synapse 2, with lots of hidden features, but you can get it to do all of the same things the old version did.

The new Synapse 3 software allows you to control the keyboard lighting, customize macros and check on system performance.

Otherwise, the rest of the preinstalled software is what you'll find on any Windows 10 PC, including two versions of Candy Crush, as well as Disney Magic Kingdoms and Hidden City: Hidden Object Adventure.

MORE: The Best Laptops for Every Need

Razer sells the 15-inch Blade with a one-year warranty. See how the laptop performed on our Tech Support Showdown and Best and Worst Gaming Brands ranking.

How Much Does a Razer Blade (15-Inch) Cost?

The 15-inch Razer Blade I reviewed -- which has an Intel Core i7-8750H CPU, 16GB of RAM, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q graphics, a 512GB SSD, and a 1080p, 144-Hz display -- costs $2,599.

Downgrading that to a 256GB SSD shaves the price down to $2,399. A model with GTX 1060 Max-Q graphics and a 512GB SSD is $2,199.

MORE: Best Laptops Under $500

The base model -- which has GTX 1060 Max-Q graphics, a 256GB SSD and a 60-Hz, 1080p display -- is $1,899. A $2,899 model with GTX 1070 graphics, a 512GB SSD, and a 4K, 60-Hz touch-screen display will be available later in June.

Bottom Line

The Razer Blade's new design makes it an absolute stunner. Razer continues to be one of the few laptop makers regularly challenging Apple in the design department -- the Blade's thin design and minimal bezels make it a beauty. We also appreciated that it lasts longer than other gaming notebooks on a charge. However, the display should be brighter for this much dough.

The Blade isn't the only thin gaming notebook in town, however. The MSI GS65 Stealth Thin is almost as small, and lasts nearly as long, but includes a more vivid display. It's also cheaper, at $2,199 for a similar configuration.

But if you care a lot about looks and Razer's Chroma colors, the new 15-inch Blade will serve you well.

Credit: Laptop Mag

CPU 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-8750H
Operating System Windows 10 Home
RAM 16GB
RAM Upgradable to 32GB
Hard Drive Size 512GB SSD
Hard Drive Speed n/a
Hard Drive Type M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD
Secondary Hard Drive Size
Secondary Hard Drive Speed
Secondary Hard Drive Type
Display Size 15.6
Highest Available Resolution 3840 x 2160
Native Resolution 1920x1080
Optical Drive None
Optical Drive Speed n/a
Graphics Card Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 with Max-Q Design (8GB)
Video Memory 8GB
Wi-Fi 802.11ac
Wi-Fi Model Intel Wireless-AC 9260
Bluetooth Bluetooth 5.0
Mobile Broadband
Touchpad Size 5.0 x 3.1 inches
Ports (excluding USB) Lock Slot
Ports (excluding USB) HDMI
Ports (excluding USB) USB 3.1
Ports (excluding USB) Mini DisplayPort
Ports (excluding USB) Thunderbolt 3
Ports (excluding USB) Combo Headphone/Mic Jack
USB Ports 4
Warranty/Support one-year warranty
Size 14 x 9.3 x 0.7 inches
Weight 4.6 pounds
Company Website www.razer.com
Add a comment
31 comments
  • jafar Says:

    what is the booting time when it start and shutdown time and restart time please tell me

  • Former Razer Blade 15 owner Says:

    I have already RMA'd mine, Razer still has quality control issues, buyer beware ..now i have to wait up to 3 weeks to get a refund!

  • Connor Davis Says:

    I run a small online business and thought man I will get a sweet computer so I bought the newest razer blade. Well, that was the worst idea I have had in a long time. I bought it in September and sent it back to get fixed 10 days ago because it wouldn't boot. Just got it back to find out that I have streaks of dead pixels all over the screen...sending it back again after weeks of missed business and tracking down an old college computer. Please beware when buying! the only $2,500 laptop on the market that doenst work after 2 months´╗┐

  • Lenny Says:

    Razer is total overpriced hype garbage. <-- Period! My 4 year old gen 3 I5 with its 1070 out performs my co-workers Razer gen 7 I-7 with Core with 1070 by nearly double. There is no excuse for that. Razer has become Alienware and if you dont know what I mean by that then I cant help you.

  • Sang Kee Says:

    For anybody wondering why the SteamVR performance is so low. My 512GB 2017 Razer Blade gets a 6.6. Not sure how they got a 6 (even with the 256gb model).

    Side note, where can readers find what categories the laptop they are reading about are in? 'Category average' means little if I readers don't know exactly what is or makes up that category and if it isn't current. Where can this information be found?

  • Najib Dajani Says:

    I love your reviews, thank you. However, every review should clearly state the type of panel the display uses (TN, IPS, etc.). I am not sure why this information is usually omitted.

  • KABLAMM Says:

    Don't know where you're getting your battery times from - mine's getting 3.5 hrs at best after endless tweaking. Also at 14" it is a bit too small. I'm considering returning mine.

  • Alex Jameson Says:

    This laptop and its company are absolute rip offs. The 'customer support' is bogus and crap, everything they provide is overpriced and overhyped. All of the gimmicks/cool stuff that they do not mean JACK SHIT once your boner for them dies out 3-4 days within buying the product. So please, save your money like I did

  • Igor Alexander Says:

    The baterry is an issue and the support terrible.

    After sales support???Does not work at all!!!!
    The demans 100 USD just to look at your laptop if out of warranty and they dont sell any spare part.
    Go for a ASUS ROG or Alienware and you get a better deal.

  • Alberto Martinez Says:

    Purchased a brand new Blade gaming laptop and all USB ports did not work properly 2 of them did not work at all and 1 USB port worked erratically... customer service was terrible and the company never fixed the USB ports and made me waste my own money because I had to ship the laptop to them for service... absolutely disappointed, I would never buy a Blade gaming laptop.

  • n13L5 Says:

    Comparing a 2016 Blade to an older Aorus X3 v3 is a bit of a joke, no?

    just B.I.A.S. or did you get paid for that?

    2016 models are X3 v5 and v6...

  • Spencer Says:

    Hi Sherri, what is your source on the 1.1mm key travel distance and 58g of force needed to depress the keys?

  • Jose Duarte Says:

    Hello wanted to know that laptop is more complete if the new RAZER BLADE 2016 or MACBOOK PRO

  • YouWahtDaPuncake Says:

    where can i buy one of these cause it looks awesome and it may be good cause i need one

  • Antonio Olmedo Says:

    @Adondriel The razer blade lasts 3 hours playing "DOOM" on medium settings at 1080p

  • Ethan Trombley Says:

    I really feel something is fishy about her gaming benchmarks. As they are inconstant with a 970m and its performance. On The Witcher 3 she was able to produce way above an average 970m, yet on metro last night she was way below the average 970m. I hope she checks her numbers and re runs her test.

  • heather Says:

    These computers are the biggest waste of money and time. Don't ever buy one, they're god awful and unreliable.

  • Hime Nakazono Says:

    Crispogi, you are correct that it is not a 4k display, however, it does NOT charge through the thunderbolt 3 port, it has a separate ac port.

  • Crispogi Says:

    QHD+ display not 4k -_-. And it charges with usb type c with thunderbolt 3 and not a regular charging port. Is this a review or what?

  • Adondriel Says:

    @Dominic you realize that the power draw from any graphics chip will drain the battery in about 5 minutes right? the battery life she is refering to is for non-gaming usage.

  • D. Mazzetti Says:

    Lookin' good, Sherri! Hot momma! And I thought the Razer Blade was sexy! Woooooooweeee gurl you got the threat level on orange baby!

  • Jack P. Says:

    Rather critical comment "Sorry Sherri, that was a horrible review"... I have to disagree, I found it thorough and informative. Despite reading through this article with the sole intent of discovering what temps would be like under load myself, I got enough of an answer based on the article.

    This review would be horrible if the commentary consisted of "The Razer blade is good". Next time, take a minute to consider all of the points she touched before you flame for an accidental oversight. Being a test laptop, perhaps she was not allowed to install or run games on the laptop. I think the temperatures produced from her Hulu test are probably pretty similar or slightly cooler than what you can expect from her results from 15 minutes of Hulu. Or, if you want to be conservative, shave off 5% of the 2015 model's temps under load.

  • Jonnnn Says:

    One of the Razer reps was on video saying, as you pointed out, that the cooling system and fan blade spacing was completely redesigned for this 2016 model. Can you tell me if the unit is any quieter than the 2014 and 2015 models when doing some intense gaming?

    One of their claims to fame is that the cooling system creates less noise than the previous models.

  • Gomez Says:

    Quick question: you said it has 1.1 travel on the keys. Isn't that what the stealth had? The 2015 blade had 1.5 did they decrease it? Can you please verify?

  • Douglas Black Says:

    Does feel rather sponsored- but then again, with all the product placement in laptopmag reviews, maybe they don't want to be taken seriously.

  • Dominic Says:

    @Marke If no one criticises low battery life, it won't ever be improved. That's why its a point. Why isn't there a laptop with a 980m that lasts 8 hours? People need to chuck more money at battery technology so it advances with everything else :)

  • Marke Says:

    Sherri your a good reviewer but why is the short battery life in gaming notebooks a con, remember that this laptops are not same as the macbooks gpu that only has a 55watt TDP and gaming notebooks that have the 970m and 980m would not reach that 8 hour average, i have yet to find a laptop that has a 980m that actually last 8 hours. gaming laptops with powerful gpus is not equal to macbook pro with a week gpu.

  • Shannon Says:

    Sorry Sherri, but that was a horrible review. You failed to mention the heat during it's main purpose, gaming. Also, why wasn't the noise output listed? These can be massive cons and should be noted as such in pros and cons.

    Honestly feels like a sponsored review.

  • MrMeister Says:

    I'd say that the battery life is exceptional for a thin and light gaming laptop, of course the Alienware would have better battery life since the design is fairly thick.

  • Douglas Black Says:

    The display is QHD+, not 4k. Please correct this.

  • Interested Says:

    Hi Sherri, great review! Can you tell us which SSD the 256 models comes with?

    Thanks!

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