The Razer Blade 15 is a mainstay among gaming laptops, the trailblazer for a group of thin and attractive mobile machines of the 2010s. Your competition has caught up in lots of ways, but the premium appear and feel of the classic Blade 15 design continues to be top-class. The 2020 version of the Blade 15 Advanced Edition (starts at $2,599; $2,999 as tested) boasts mainly internal upgrades-our pricey review unit includes an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super (Max-Q) GPU and a 300Hz display-while some smaller tweaks iteratively increase the design. The performance doesn’t stand an even above competitors, but none can quite match the combo of aesthetics and performance together. Assuming you have deep pockets, you’ll enjoy its definitively premium feel, power, and long battery life, however the Editors’ Choice Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX502 is an improved value, and the Acer Predator Triton 500 offers similar performance for less.
The Proven Blade Design, With Some Tweaks
This 2020 update is mainly internal-component upgrades and modest exterior tweaks, so almost all of what you’re seeing may be the tried-and-tested Blade 15 design of past models. It’s still a sleek, lightweight chassis that feels high-quality because of its fully machined aluminum build. The Blade 15 is constantly one of well known gaming notebook computer designs, even though others have swept up to the trend-setter, it’s still just about the most premium options available.
My only design quibble can be an ongoing one with the lid logo. The logo remains green, but I much choose the understated black-on-black etched version applied to the most recent version of the business’s Blade 13 Stealth. While I understand Razer really wants to stay loyal to its long-serving symbol, I cannot help but feel the colour choice clashes with the sleek all-black look and undermines the style.
In conditions of build, Razer didn’t prioritize thinness most importantly here, because the extra few millimeters are worth a lot more regarding thermals and performance than they are in portability. (Many manufacturers have relaxed on relentless trimming as the key goal, sometimes even slightly increasing thickness.) For laptops that shoot for top-end power, it’s an advisable trade-off. More specifically, the Blade 15 Advanced Model measures 0.7 by 14 by 9.25 inches (HWD) and weighs 4.73 pounds, which is slightly heftier than (and about the actual size of) the 2019 version.
That doesn’t make it the lightest slim gaming laptop, partly because of the metal chassis, with the Acer Predator Triton 500 (4.63 pounds), the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX502 (4.55 pounds), and the 14-inch Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 (3.52 pounds) weighing in at less. Even the dual-screen Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 manages to be lighter, which is admirable on its part. They are finally all in the same tight weight class, and we do love the ROG Zephyrus G14’s size and style and the ROG Zephyrus Duo 15’s innovation, however the Blade 15 still retains its place as a top-notch build.
The 2020 Blade 15 Advanced Model has some physical changes, though. Chief included in this is a slightly updated keyboard layout, which we saw reflected in the newest Blade 13 Stealth, too. The older layout featured full-size arrow keys, which necessitated a half-length Shift key on the proper side. I could speak from experience that unusual design made me often hit the up arrow when I was going to grab Shift, and it had been a common enough issue that Razer has heeded the cries of its users and changed it to a far more standard layout.
The brand new design shrinks the arrow keys and only a full-size Shift key on that side since they’re lesser-used keys for some users anyway, and it fixes the mis-hit problem…
Otherwise, the keyboard is quite comfortable to type on (if slightly on the shallow-travel side), and each key is individually backlit with customizable lighting. The touchpad also remains best in class, being among the most comfortable to use on any Windows laptop, with extremely smooth panning and an excellent feel.
There are a few additional external changes in the kind of ports. The 2020 version carries a UHS-III Sdcard reader, and also USB Type-C ports that support charging (as well as the power jack and brick that charge the laptop).
Altogether, the Blade 15 includes two USB Type-C ports (one with Thunderbolt 3 support, and both with 20-volt PD 3.0 charging), three Type-A USB 3.1 ports, an HDMI connection, and the Sdcard reader. That is clearly a generous mix.
Component Check: Blazing Fast Display and High-End Parts
There’s yet another major physical change on our model, even though it really is one you can quite definitely see, you’d be forgiven for not noticing it on first look. The entire HD (1,920-by-1,080-pixel) display now has a blistering-fast 300Hz refresh rate, an attribute that commenced making its way right into a batch of high-end gaming laptops this season. It’s certainly an attribute for enthusiasts, since only hardcore competitive gamers even look for 120Hz or 144Hz displays.
A 300Hz refresh rate kicks it up a significant notch, and, when you could see diminishing returns as you get above, say, a 144Hz screen, you really can take advantage of the upgrade in competitive multiplayer games with low visual fidelity. Higher frame rates mean smoother gameplay, although GPU and processor should be able to push a casino game that high. We’ll observe how the brand new Blade 15 has the ability to perform in these situations a lttle bit later in the performance section, but first let’s see what we’re dealing with.
The Blade 15 technically will come in two flavors, the bottom Edition and Advanced Edition. As stated, ours may be the latter, plus they are technically different laptops because of dissimilarities in both chassis and internal design. THE BOTTOM Edition starts at $1,599, a more affordable entry way, but we’re focusing here on the more premium Advanced Edition.
The Advanced Edition starts at $2,599, and with that you will get an Intel Core i7-10875H processor, 16GB of memory, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super (Max-Q) GPU, a 512GB SSD, and the 300Hz full HD display. Our review configuration may be the next thing up, which is $2,999 for the same processor, memory capacity, and display, but an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super (Max-Q) GPU and a 1TB SSD. There are two more content-creator-focused versions above ours that include professional features such as a 4K display and/or a Quadro GPU. But our tester machine reaches the reasonable pinnacle for PC gamers, so let’s observe how our configuration performed.
Performance Testing: Competing at the very top Level
With regard to performance comparisons, I pitted the 2020 Blade 15 against some equivalent competition. They are all 15-inch-screen laptops that fall somewhere within the high-end cost range, around $2,000, varying by this configurations we received for review at that time. You will find their names and specs in the table below.
It’s worth noting that the other Blade 15 found in these comparisons may be the OLED-screen-bearing version that arrived a lttle bit later in 2019, instead of the first model launched this past year. It had been chosen because its processor was updated from the first 2019 model and it matches the GPU in the 2020 version, therefore is more relevant here. You can attribute a huge part of its extra-large price to the (gorgeous) OLED screen.
Productivity, Storage, and Media Tests
PCMark 10 and 8 are holistic performance suites produced by the PC benchmark professionnals at UL (formerly Futuremark). The PCMark 10 test we run simulates different real-world productivity and article marketing workflows. We make make use of it to determine overall system performance for office-centric tasks such as for example word processing, spreadsheet jockeying, web browsing, and videoconferencing. PCMark 8, meanwhile, includes a storage subtest that people use to determine the speed of the system’s boot drive. Both tests yield a proprietary numeric score; higher numbers are better. (See more about how precisely we test laptops.)
The 10th Generation Intel processor does well within a close-run contest, with the Triton 500 pulling ahead. The 2020 Blade 15 is enough capable at multitasking, though this test really serves as confirmation of the minimum expectations for a notebook computer of the caliber. It’s fully with the capacity of everyday multitasking given its game-ready components, and will certainly serve as your general-use machine. The SSD is snappy, aswell, which can make both your files and games load faster.
Next is Maxon’s CPU-crunching Cinebench R15 test, which is fully threaded to employ all available processor cores and threads. Cinebench stresses the CPU instead of the GPU to render a complex image. The effect is a proprietary score indicating a PC’s suitability for processor-intensive workloads.
Cinebench is normally an excellent predictor of our Handbrake video editing trial, another tough, threaded workout that’s highly CPU-dependent and scales well with cores and threads. In it, we put a stopwatch on test systems because they transcode a typical 12-minute clip of 4K video (the open-source Blender demo movie Tears of Steel) to a 1080p MP4 file. It’s a timed test, and lower email address details are better.
We also run a custom Adobe Photoshop image editing benchmark. Using an early on 2018 release of the Creative Cloud version of Photoshop, we apply a number of 10 complex filters and effects to a typical JPEG test image. We time each procedure and add up the full total execution time. Much like Handbrake, lower times are better here.