Like everyone else, Razer has been releasing updated versions of its notebooks with RTX graphics cards. The Razer Blade 15 refresh comes in a variety of different versions, with a choice between the sizes of the NVMe SSD hard drive inside being one of the custom options.
Something we found odd was the choice of having two very different laptops sold under the same name. The regular base model has a GTX1060 and a 60Hz panel while the advanced model, with the same name, sports an RTX graphics card and a 144Hz IPS panel within a slimmer frame. The advanced model also comes in a 4K screen variety. The panelling on the sides of the screen is 4.9mm wide, which gives the consumer plenty of monitor real-estate, but it would have been nice to see the top and bottom edges have the same width as the thicker edges somewhat damage the overall impression.
The monitor quality is quite good, particularly the green hue appears vibrant yet natural and none of the colours look artificial or overexposed in their reproduction of black or grey hues. The base brightness of the screen is reasonably comfortable on the eyes and should one want to change something about it, everything can be controlled via Razer's Synapse 3, which is still the best overall management software on the market. When on the topic of colours, all of them are 100% sRGB. The computer is quite light, weighing in at just over two kilos and measures 17.8mm x 235mm x 355mm.
The different versions that the laptop comes in are not quite the same in more ways than one. The base model, for example, has an ethernet port whereas the advanced model didn't have the space to integrate one. Using Intel's wireless AC9260 we were immediately provided with some fine speeds through the office's ultra-powerful wi-fi connection but we still missed a wired connection, especially when so many games are over 50GB to download.
GTX1060 with a SATA harddrive and 128GB SSD: £1,479.99
RTX 2060: £2,199.99
RTX 2070: £2,449.99
RTX 2080: £2,849.99
The prices above are all for models with a 512GB hard drive. The two smaller versions also come in a 256GB hard drive although we don't recommend it. By default, the laptop comes with 16GB of RAM that can be upgraded to 64GB of DDR4 2667Mhz or 32GB for the base model. All models do, however, use Intel i7-8750H CPUs and the Intel HM370 chipset.
The keyboard is, of course, an RGB-controlled one with Chroma, but there are no individually illuminated keys on the base model, that's a feature exclusive to the advanced version. The mouse trackpad is beautifully made and feels great to use and we must, once again, praise the glass plates used.
There are three USB 3.1 ports, a USB-C port with Thunderbolt 3, and an HDMI 20B as well as a mini display port integrated. The speakers are decent but if you prefer using headphones the chassis is adorned with a headphone jack as well. The chassis itself is well-rounded in aluminium with Razer's green USB ports.
Although our test copy wasn't the top of the line 2080 version but the RTX2070 MaX-Q version, it seems to be a fairly optimal match with the evaporation chamber cooling system. There are two large fans within, a huge copper plate which is connected to almost everything and the back has two sets of cooling ribs with 68 ribs on every 0.1mm thickness.
We measured 33dB when the laptop was pushed, which is the lowest volume we've measured for a long time and during normal use, the laptop was completely silent. The CPU temperature runs 36/83 while the GPU reaches 34/71. The CPU is somewhat up there but if you want to change it, you have the option of 100% manual control.
And then to our test results:
Time spy extreme: 2924
Time spy: 6502
Port Royale: 3667
Fire Strike Ultra: 4115
Fire Strike Extreme: 7799
Fire Strike: 15241
Assassin's Creed Odyssey
Middle-earth: Shadow of War
The Division 2
Far Cry 5
Total War: Warhammer II
In summary, the benchmarks are lower than the RTX 2080 machines we've tested in the past but with acceptable numbers for most games and over 60FPS in all the newer shooters. The fact that the CPU-heavy games like Total War: Warhammer II and Assassin's Creed Odyssey don't score higher is to be expected.
When using the laptop for gaming, we got about an hour and a half's worth of battery life before we had to hit the charging station but more sensible office use gave us about six and a half hours, making the machine perfect for study and work purposes. The lower temperature and low noise level make the laptop very attractive as a combination machine, however, one has to consider the price of it as well.
The Razer Blade is still an ultra-portable gaming laptop and Razer has really worked hard to end up with a reasonable temperature, battery life and noise level for the updated version. Now we just want versions with a more powerful processor and GPU.