Laptop Mag Verdict
The Razer Blade 15 gets even more lovely with a stunning 4K OLED display, powerful performance and solid battery life.
Sleek, gorgeous design
4K OLED display is extremely bright and vivid
Great overall gaming and overall performance
Good battery life
Runs hot while gaming
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Leave it to Razer to make an already beautiful laptop that much more of an opulent spectacle. The latest iteration of the Razer Blade 15 Advanced adds a mesmerizing 4K OLED to the mix. In addition to all that eye candy, you get a powerful Intel Core i7 processor, an Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q GPU and a swift SSD. But that doesn't mean the laptop isn't without flaws. For one, the $3,299 price is cost-prohibitive to many potential consumers. It also runs hot while gaming. But for such a beauty of a system, it might be worth saving up and investing in a cooling pad.
Razer Blade 15 OLED pricing and availability
I've spent the past week enjoying mobile OLED goodness with the $3,299 model of the Blade 15. It comes with a 2.6-GHz Intel Core i7-9750H processor with 16GB of RAM, a 512GB NVMe SSD, an Intel UHD 630 Graphics GPU, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q GPU with 8GB of VRAM and a 4K OLED touch panel.
The $1,399 base model has a 2.2-GHz Intel Core i7-8750H CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 128GB NVMe SSD with a 1TB 5,400-rpm hard drive, an Intel UHD 630 Graphics GPU, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPU with 6GB of VRAM and a 1920 x 1080 with a 60Hz refresh rate.
With the mid-tier iteration, you get a 2.2-GHz Intel Core i7-8750H CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB NVMe SSD, an Intel UHD 630 Graphics GPU, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q GPU with 8GB of VRAM and a 4K 60Hz touch panel.
Razer has fully embraced its retro-chic aesthetic, which means that this iteration of the Blade looks exactly like the previous system -- downright pretty. The chassis is made from jet-black aluminum with more pointed edges. The company's three-headed snake emblem glows seductively, inviting your fingers to explore, and you should since the metal is resistant to fingerprints.
The interior kind of looks like a sparkly box of jewels, thanks to the Chroma keyboard and its bright, glittering LEDs. Like all modern Razer laptops, there's a speaker on either side of the keyboard deck with the power button located at the top of the right speaker. The display is surrounded by a rather narrow bezel. The thickest part is the bottom where a glowing Razer logo resides.
Weighing 4.9 pounds and measuring 13.9 x 9.3 x 0.7 inches, the Blade 15 sits between the Alienware m15 (4.8 pounds, 14.9 x 9.9 x 0.7 inches) and the HP Omen X 2S (5.2 pounds, 14.3 x 10.3 x 0.8 inches). The Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED weighs the same as the Blade, but it is slightly thicker at 15.6 x 10.6 x 0.8 inches.
On the left, you get two more Type-A ports, a headset jack and a proprietary power jack.
The Blade 15's 4K display is absolutely bewitching. How can it not be? It's OLED. Colors during the Gemini Man trailer were vivacious. I was particularly taken with the pale yellow trail as the gatling-gun-fired bullets cut across the scene, blooming into a red-orange plume of destruction upon impact with the counter. Details were so clean, that the fine furrows in Will Smith's forehead and tiny red wounds were clearly visible.
Gaming is a feast for the eyes on the Blade 15. Playing through Far Cry New Dawn, I was impressed with the golden yucca plants and the bluish-green hummingbird buzzing about it, trying to feed. The verdant pastures were dotted with neon pink flowers. Details were clear enough that I noticed the bark on each tree. Some had the usual textured surface you'd expect, while others were stripped bare due to grazing by local fauna and others were covered in moss.
The Blade 15's colorful cavalcade is a result of the panel's ability to reproduce an impressive 243% of the sRGB gamut. It just outclasses the 147% premium gaming laptop average as well as the Aero 15 (200%) and the Omen X 2S (107%). The Alienware m15 was the only laptop able to hold off the Blade at 265%.
The Blade 15 was easily the brightest laptop in our test lineup. Averaging 438 nits, the notebook easily outshone the 309-nit average as well as the Omen X 2S (306 nit), Aero 15 (357 nits) and the Alienware m15 (376 nits).
With most laptops, you'll want to invest in a pair of noise-cancelling headphones or computer speakers. Not this one. The Blade 15 produces robust audio out of those slim speakers. And although it does have Dolby Atmos software to enhance the audio, when I disabled it, the Blade 15 sounded no worse for wear.
Out of the six presets (Dynamic, Music, Movie, Game, Voice and Personalize), I found myself torn between Music and Dynamic. Music gave Estelle's "Sweetly" body, particularly when it came to her confident alto, but the bass was a bit boomy, which muddied some of the finer points on the track. Dynamic significantly toned down the bass, letting me really enjoy the vocals and the snares.
As I was exploring the vast land of Hope Valley in Far Cry, I noticed the wind gently whipped through the trees accentuated by nearby birds chirping. It downright bucolic until someone shouted "Enemy sighted!" The air was punctuated by heavy gunfire layered over the heavily synthed fight music.
When it comes to looks, Razer's Chroma keyboards are one of my favorites in the industry. The company's Synapse 2.0 software uses 16.8 million colors, per-key lighting and a wide variety of effects to create some of the prettiest keyboard setups around. I really like the new Pen feature that lets you essentially draw the light pattern you want.
As far as typing goes, I continue to be amazed by Razer's ultra-low profile keys. With their 1 millimeter key travel, the keys should be shallow, but the 76 grams of actuation force gives springy feedback. I easily hit my 70 word-per-minute average on the 10fastfingers typing test.
You'll never be lacking for space on the Blade 15's 5.1 x 3.1-inch touchpad. Navigating web pages and documents was a breeze as were multitouch gestures like pinch-zoom, two-finger scroll or three-finger tap.
Gaming, graphics and VR
Armed with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q GPU with 8GB of VRAM, the Blade 15 is a beautiful beast. It's almost as lovely as the carnage I unleashed in Far Cry. Hiding out in a tall patch of yellow flowers, I moved closer to the unsuspecting Highwayman whose eyes widened in shock as I grabbed them and jammed my knife into their throat at 44 frames per second at 4K on Ultra settings. The frame rate rose to 56 fps on high and 78 fps when I switched to High at 1920 x 1080.
When we ran the Rise of the Tomb Raider benchmark, the Blade 15's 50 fps failed to match the 66-fps premium gaming laptop average. It was more than enough, however, to beat the m15 (49 fps) and the Aero 15 (46 fps) with their Nvidia RTX 2070 Max-Q GPUs. The winner among the four, at 61 fps, was the Omen X 2S with its RTX 2080 Max-Q GPU.
Switching over to the 1080p Shadow of the Tomb Raider test, the Blade 15 reached 61 fps, holding off the Aero 15 and m15, which hit 52 and 40 fps, respectively. The Omen X 2S obtained 64 fps, barely defeating the 64-fps average.
The Blade notched 79 fps on the 1080p Hitman benchmark, which is below the 109-fps category average, as well as the Aero 15 (83 fps), the m15 (102 fps) and the Omen X 2S (111 fps). However, when we switched to 4K, the Blade 15 came out on top at 51 fps, while the m15 and Aero 15 reached 48 and 41 fps, respectively.
Things were looking up for the Blade 15 on the 1080p Grand Theft Auto V test in which it hit 81 fps, matching the Omen X 2S. That was just enough to beat the 77-fps average along with the m15 (76 fps) and the Aero 15 (70 fps). On the 4K version, the Blade 15 achieved 41 fps, topping the 31-fps category average, the m15's 25 fps and the Aero 15's 21 fps.
During the 1080p Middle-Earth: Shadow of War test, the Blade 15 reached 86 fps, beating the m15's 83 fps and the Aero 15's 79 fps. However, it fell short of the 96-fps average and the Omen X 2S' 98 fps. But the Blade 15 came out top during the 4K version of the test with 40 fps. The m15 and Aero 15 obtained 38 and 34 fps, respectively.
If you were worried about the Blade 15's VR capability, don't. The laptop maxed out the SteamVR Performance Test at 11, matching the average and the m15 and Omen X 2S. The Aero 15 slightly missed the mark with 10.9.
The Blade 15 is more than a gaming laptop. Its 2.6-GHz Intel Core i7-9750H processor with 16GB of RAM makes the system a capable workhorse. I streamed an episode of Canon Busters on Netflix, with 20 open Google Chrome tabs -- some running Twitch, while others ran YouTube and TweetDeck. I also had Far Cry New Dawn running in a window, and the Blade 15 showed no signs of lag.
The laptop scored 22,186 on Geekbench 4.3, a synthetic benchmark measuring overall performance. It's below the 24,850 premium gaming laptop average, but still in range of its competitors. Powered with their own Core i7-9750H CPUs, the Omen X 2S and Aero 15 hit 23,019 and 22,339, respectively. The m15 and its Core i7-8750H processor notched 22,029.
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During the Handbrake test, the Blade 15 took 11 minutes and 56 seconds to transcode a 4K video to 1080p. That's slower than the 9:29 category average. The Aero 15 finished at 10:53, while the Omen X 2S clocked in at 10:26 and the m15 finished at 9:10.
The Blade 15's 512GB NVMe SSD took only 7 seconds to duplicate 4.97GB of multimedia files, which translates to a transfer speed of 727 megabytes per second. Its speed is below the 762MBps average, but it was enough to soundly defeat the Alienware m15 (462.7MBps, 500GB NVMe PCIe SSD) and Aero 15 (485MBps, 512GB SSD). However the Omen X 2S' 1TB NVMe SSD topped them all with 848MBps.
As pretty as OLED panels are, they do a number on your battery life. The Razer Blade 15 lasted only 4 hours and 12 minutes on the Laptop Mag Battery Test, which consists of continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits. Still, it was better than the 3:13 average, the Omen X 2S (2:20), the Gigabyte Aero 15 (3:38) and the Alienware m15 (3:51).
Instead of heat pipes, the Blade 15 employs a full vapor chamber in its custom cooling system. Using deionized water, the liquid quickly turns to vapor, which allows heat to dissipate quickly.
I went rollicking through the varied terrain of Far Cry New Dawn for 15 minutes. After, I measured the touchpad, center and undercarriage of the system. I got scores of 97, 121 and 129 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. All of the scores are above our 95 degree comfort threshold. And while I used the notebook in my lap, I wouldn't recommend placing it on bare legs.
We remeasured the system when it had a chance to cool off. The touchpad was below our comfort threshold at 84 degrees, while the middle and bottom measured 98 and 103 degrees, respectively.
The Blade 15's 720p webcam is grainy, but it delivers pretty accurate color. The shooter captured the orange, purple and black in my hair, signifying that I am long overdue for a hair appointment. However, my face looked as if I had accidently put on the mosaic filter, which was a little jarring.
Software and Warranty
Like most good laptops, the Blade 15 doesn't have much in the way of branded software outside of Razer Synapse. The laptop also has the gamer-centric Nvidia GeForce Experience preinstalled, which comprises a suite of utilities designed to optimize your gaming experience.
The notebook also has Windows 10, which means that it's unfortunately loaded with some bloatware like Farm Heroes Saga, but it's a light touch compared with other systems.
The $3,299 Blade 15 has always been a beautiful laptop, but with a 4K OLED panel, it's a head-turner from the inside out. Equipped with a Core i9 processor and an Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q GPU, the notebook has more than enough power for play (and work, if you're so inclined.) And despite that beautiful yet power-sapping display, it managed to last more than 4 hours on our battery test.
If you're dead set on an OLED panel, but want to save a few bucks, consider the $2,499 Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED, which offers similar performance on the gaming and overall performance front. However, the screen is not as vivid as the Blade 15's, and it doesn't last as long on a charge.
But if you're looking for a thin-and-light gaming laptop that serves up power, speed and endurance with a beautiful 4K OLED display, the Razer Blade 15 is a cut above the rest.
Credit: Laptop Mag
Razer Blade 15 (OLED) Specs
|CPU||2.6-GHz Intel Core i7-9750H processor|
|Graphics Card||Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q GPU/Intel UHD 630 GPU|
|Hard Drive Size||512GB|
|Hard Drive Speed||n/a|
|Hard Drive Type||NVMe SSD|
|Highest Available Resolution||3840 x 2160|
|Native Resolution||3840 x 2160|
|Operating System||Windows 10 Home|
|Optical Drive Speed||n/a|
|Ports (excluding USB)||Thunderbolt 3, HDMI 2.0, Headset, Mini DisplayPort, Proprietary, USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A|
|Size||13.9 x 9.3 x 0.7 inches|
|Touchpad Size||5.1 x 3.1 inches|
|Warranty/Support||1 year limited warranty|
|Wi-Fi Model||Intel Wireless-AX200|
Sherri L. Smith has been cranking out product reviews for Laptopmag.com since 2011. In that time, she's reviewed more than her share of laptops, tablets, smartphones and everything in between. The resident gamer and audio junkie, Sherri was previously a managing editor for Black Web 2.0 and contributed to BET.Com and Popgadget.