Razer Blade 15 review: A real treat if you’ve got the cash | Engadget
Luxury probably isn’t the first word that comes to mind when you think of gaming laptops, especially with some looking, shall we say extra, with and built into their lids. But with its excellent performance, superb build quality, understated design and a very Luxurious price, it really feels like it’s crossed the line into handheld gaming opulence.
Now, it’s true that the 2022 Blade 15 looks almost identical to previous models, which makes some people feel like it needs a facelift. But even after all these years, I still love the clean lines and sturdy aluminum chassis of the Blade 15. That said, I wish Razer added full RGB support to the backlit logo on the lid. I know neon green is kind of Razer’s thing, but on a high end machine like this it just seems weird that you can’t set it to the color you want.
- Excellent build quality
- Lots of configuration/screen options
- Strong performance
- New 1080p webcam
- Port pre-selection
- Just decent battery life
- Proprietary power plug
Inside, the Blade has a large glass touchpad which is one of the best you can get on a Windows laptop. New for 2022 are larger keycaps as well as Razer’s signature per-key Chroma lighting. Another subtle design tweak is that instead of having a separate cutout for the laptop speakers, this year Razer used lasers to etch the grille directly into the deck, which improves rigidity. while maintaining that minimalist aesthetic. There’s also a new 1080p webcam for 2022, which is a welcome upgrade from the 720p cameras on older systems. And finally, you get a plethora of connectivity, including two USB-C ports (one with Thunderbolt 4), three USB-A ports, HDMI, a headphone jack, and even a full-size SD card reader.
On our , there’s a 15.6-inch 240Hz QHD display, which strikes a great balance between size and resolution. I just wish it was a little bit brighter. Razer says all of the Blade’s LCDs are said to put out around 300 nits of brightness. But using a light meter, I measured closer to 275 nits. That’s fine for most situations, but if you’re in a sunny room, the colors might look a little washed out. Alternatively, Razer offers 144Hz and 360Hz panels on other models. And just this week, Razer announced , so there’s a wealth of displays to choose from.
Performance and game
Moving on to performance, Razer offers the latest 12th Gen Intel H-series processors and Nvidia RTX 30-series GPUs. The downside is that these components don’t come cheap, with the Blade 15 2022 departure to $2,500 for an i7-12800H, 16GB of RAM and an RTX 3060 Ti, before going over $4,000 for a fully loaded model with an i9 chip, 32GB of RAM and a 3080 Ti.
Now, I have to point out that the configurations only exceed 1TB of storage. But for those who want even more space, the Blade 15 has two M.2 slots, only one of which is ready for use. So if you’re ready to remove the laptop’s bottom panel and SSD cover, inserting another drive should be fairly straightforward. Remember to use single-sided modules, as double-sided M.2 sticks will not fit.
You get what you pay for, because the Blade 15 can play with the best of them. In Shadow of the Tomb Raider on the highest graphics settings at 1920 x 1080, our Core i7, RTX 3080 Ti unit achieved 124 fps, which is just a little lower than the , and that’s with its optional mobile graphics dock at 1 $400. (That’s a grand total of $3,200 for those counting.) Results were similar in other titles as well, with the Blade 15 hitting 86 fps in Metro Exodus on high settings and 81 fps in Forza Horizon 5 on Ultra.
Really, the Blade 15’s biggest weakness (aside from its price) is battery life. In our local video test, it only lasted 5 hours and 42 minutes. It’s similar to what we got from the Asus Flow Z13 (5:38), which, if you remember, is a PC gaming tablet. But compared to more traditional rivals, the Blade 15 lasted three hours less than the (7:57) and four hours less than the And in the real world, it’s not much better. The Blade 15 struggled through two games of Teamfight Tactics back to back, which involved about an hour and 15 minutes of relatively light play. I should also note that when you run out of battery, Blade performance also suffers, with frame rates in Shadow of the Tomb Raider dropping down to around 45 fps.
The other annoyance is Razer’s charging brick. While the proprietary connector is forgivable given its 230-watt power adapter, its right-angle design means that if you plug it in wrong, you’ll block one or maybe two of the laptop’s USB-A ports. Honestly, high-powered power delivery via USB-C can’t happen soon enough.
While the Blade 15 isn’t as sleek or portable as the last generation of 14-inch gaming machines, there’s something to be said for having a great luxury alternative. Sure, it’s really expensive, and its 15.6-inch screen and 4.4-pound body mean you might not be able to throw it in your typical messenger bag. But it has top-notch components, a solid frame that exhibits next to no flex, and impressive performance in a sleek and (relatively) understated design. Well, other than that big glowing logo.
In a way, the Blade 15 is a fantastic take on a modern desktop replacement, especially for people like me who don’t want to lug around a giant 17-inch rig. Unlike the ROG Flow Z13, you don’t have to worry about a separate graphics dock to get maximum frame rates. And with a host of ports, you can leave all your dongles and adapters at home. So while the Blade 15 might not make sense for anyone on a budget, if you have the funds this thing is a real treat.
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