Hey guys – it’s been some time since I’ve written a review. Truth is, life’s been pretty busy for me lately and I’ve also thoroughly
enjoyed my GS65, which I’ve had for about a year now.
But now with the addition
of RTX powered laptops, my interest has perked again and I started searching for the best of the bunch. My first choice after some deep research? The Razer Blade 15 Advanced.
tried the Razer Blade in the past and, truth be told, there’s always been something that was just a deal breaker for me. Whether it be cost, green backlit keys, difficult keyboards(RBP), so-so screens, etc – there was always something that led me elsewhere for my daily driver (typically to MSI). But this year is different, as it looks like Razer has done a tremendous job eliminating all the compromises.
I won’t say it’s perfect, but it’s close enough for me. After a couple of weeks, I’m really loving this machine more and more…even after I dropped it. Yes – I dropped it! Long story, but I’ll explain more below.
My review of the updated 2020 Razer Blade 15 Advanced is available over here, while my review of the 2021 Blade 15 Advanced is available here and the review of the most recent 2022 Blade 15 is available here.
Specs as reviewed
Razer Blade 15 Advanced
Screen 15.6 inch, 1920 x 1080 px, IPS equivalent, 144 Hz, matte
Processor Intel 8
th Gen Coffee Lake i7-8750H CPU, hexa-core 2.2 GHz (4.1 GHz boost)
Video Intel HD 630 and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q with 8GB GDDR6 VRAM
Memory 16 GB DDR4 2666Mhz (2×8 GB DIMMs)
Storage 512 GB M.2 NVMe (Samsung PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
Connectivity Intel Wireless AC 9560, Bluetooth 5.0
Ports 3x USB-A 3.1 gen2, 1x USB-C with Thunderbolt 3, HDMI 2.0, mini-DP, mic/earphone, Kensington Lock
Battery 80 Wh, 230 W charger
Size 355 mm or 13.98” (w) x 235 mm or 9.25” (d) x 17.8 mm or .70” (h)
Weight 2.1 kg (4.63 lbs)
Extras individually lit RGB keyboard, large clickpad, HD Windows hello webcam, stereo speakers
Razer offers the Blade 15 in several other variants. We’ve also looked at the newer model with the 240 Hz display and the optical-mechanical keyboard
in this other article.
Update: Here are our thoughts on the updated Razer Blade 16 and Blade 18 2023 generations, which are larger and heavier designs, but also significantly more powerful.
Design and build
The design of the 2019 Razer Blade 15 Advanced model is exactly the same as the Razer Blade 15 of last year. With the exception of half an mm thickness bump, everything on the outside is pretty much the same. Since I never reviewed it before, I’ll be more detailed though.
The overall feel of the machine is nothing but solid. Every way you hold it or handle it spells quality. Coming from my GS65, this is a huge improvement. The GS65 is almost the same thickness, but creaks when holding it one-handed from the front, which is not the case with the Razer Blade.
A lot of this is due to the chassis being an aluminum unibody. In fact, the palm rest/keyboard is CNC milled out of a solid piece of 6061-T6 aluminum, rather than being a piece of stamped aluminum with a plastic inner chassis that many other manufacturers use. This process adds a lot more strength and durability, which is why I was hard pressed to notice any keyboard flex at all. It exists, but you have to press really hard to see it.
And it’s a good thing this was made to be durable, because, as I mentioned before, I dropped mine. Let me be clear – I have never dropped a laptop before. I technically didn’t drop this one either, rather one of my kids did and neglected to tell me. Unfortunately, my machine dropped from a 3-foot high surface and landed on the back corner on a stone tile floor.
The fact that the laptop still works fine and only suffered minimal damage, says a lot about its robustness. You can visibly see the extent in my pictures. Sure, it’s not pretty, but it could have been a lot worse. My GS65 no doubt would have had a broken plastic hinge, had it taken the same fall. So kudos to Razer on having one of the thinnest gaming laptops that is arguably one of the sturdiest as well.
Onto some more specifics now. The lid is also comprised of aluminum. It’s smooth and rectangular, with no rounded edges, except on the corners. In the center is the typical green Razer logo. The logo glows, but you can turn the lighting off if desired. I’d prefer they remove the green and offer a model that is just etched instead. They do have a mercury white model that is silver and a more subtle logo. I’ll probably be putting a skin on mine, as I find the logo too unprofessional to carry around.
Lifting the lid is a one-finger job, but it’s certainly not that easy to get your finger under the lip. Truth is, the crease is too small and requires you to use your fingernail for the most part. And because this laptop is so symmetrical, it can be difficult to figure out which side is the one that opens, especially in the dark. You do get used to it though.
With the lid open, you can see the screen with the same small bezels as last year. Up above is a tiny webcam, which is better than the nose cam on the XPS 15, but this one is special as it’s actually a Windows Hello webcam as well. Finally, a gaming laptop manufacturer figured out how to win me over!
Down below you have your keyboard and trackpad, which I’ll get more into in a bit. Flanking both sides of the keyboard are a pair of top facing speakers. Finally, there’s the power button, which is subtly located at the top of the left speaker.
As I described before, the laptop is very rigid with the lid open. It’s not only easy to handle but comfortable to use as well. The edges on the front of the palm rest are a tad sharp, but it really hasn’t bothered my wrists too much, as the laptop is very thin.
There are no IO options on the front and back of the laptop, but there are plenty of ports on the sides. The right gets one USB 3.1 Type-A slot and a USB-C slot that is compatible with Thunderbolt 3. There’s also a mini-DP and an HDMI port, so plenty of options for external monitors. On the left-hand side, there are two more USB-A slots, a microphone/mic combo, and a reversible proprietary power adapter. On paper, I wasn’t a fan of this power jack, but after using it for some time, I’ve learned to like it. Here’s why.
The durability of the adapter seems superior to the typical round barrels and I finally don’t feel like I’m going to tear the jack from the motherboard if something snags my cord by accident. It’s also an L-shaped cord so you can have the cord point towards the back or the front. I’m not entirely sure I’d use it going forward all that much, as it blocks the USB port, but it’s nice to have the option I guess.
Finally, the bottom is also made of the same metal as the rest of the laptop. There are two long and sturdy footpads that span the entire width, and the rest is decorated with properly placed vents for the Razer Blade’s cooling system.
All in all, if I haven’t made it clear, I will right now: the Razer Blade 15 Advanced is a well designed and well-built laptop. It’s not very often that I get everything I want in a thin and light gaming machine, without sacrificing something key. As far as I know, there’s nothing else out there that’s this thin, has top graphics, has robust build quality, has small bezels, speakers facing the right direction and a Windows Hello cam. Usually, you’re lucky to get 4 out of 6.
Keyboard and trackpad
The Razer Blade 15 comes with a Chroma keyboard, which means that each key is individually backlit and can be changed to any color desired.
Yes, much of the competition has already done this with their keyboards as well, but Razer was the first to introduce it, and in my opinion, do the best with it. I’ve seen Acer’s, MSI’s and Gigabyte’s, but the Razer Blade has the best looking colors and effects.
My biggest gripe with Razer’s Chroma in the past has been their neglect to add backlighting on the secondary functions of the top row of keys, making it near impossible to use the multimedia functions at night. This dates back to when
the Razer Blade Stealth first came out a few years ago. I’m glad Razer finally came to their senses and finally made things right.
Update: Looks like Razer went back to the non-backlit secondary functions on their newer optical-mechanical keyboard variant, available on some configurations.
We’re talking about this particular keyboard in this review.
The keyboard itself is pretty good to type on. I won’t say it’s great, as the
older 2014 Razer Blade has better key feedback and travel. I took my standard typing test when I first got the laptop and only scored 50 wpm with a bunch of mistakes – below average for me. I did get used to it though and scored 59 with nearly no mistakes after about a week of use.
The culprit is partially the keyboard’s feedback. I learned to type a little harder over time and was able to adjust for the most part. But the other problem was the quirk in the keyboard layout. The up arrow key is between the ? key and the right Shift, thus I frequently accidentally hit the up arrow when trying to capitalize letters, making it difficult to type in Word.
Luckily, there’s a clever fix I came up with that’s holding me over until I get more used to the keyboard layout. In Razer Synapse, I was able to remap the up arrow to also act as the right shift key. I lose the ability to use the up arrow though, but I can change profiles pretty easily if I want it back (I very rarely need it anyway). It stinks that I have to do this, but I’m pretty sure I’ll adapt over time. Other than that, the keyboard layout is pretty logical and I’m happy with it.
Razer Synapse makes the keyboard even more powerful, not only because of the lighting effects, but also with the Hypershift keys you can set up. For example, I have Fn-Enter set up to change my keyboard profile to enable and disable my shift modification on the fly. I also have my favorite programs launching with it (Fn-C for Chrome for example). Synapse also allows you to switch the multimedia keys to require hitting Fn or not. You can also disable the Windows key and Alt-Tab while gaming. There are also a lot of performance toggles that can be set in the software, but I’ll get more into that later. Needless to say, Synapse has come a long way and is quite polished.
The trackpad on this laptop is absolutely fantastic. It’s easily the best trackpad I’ve ever used on a Windows laptop and very close to, if not, exactly like using a MacBook trackpad. It’s large, smooth and accurate.
It uses Windows precision drivers and is able to be customized in Windows settings. All the multitouch gestures worked great for me and I had no trouble using the trackpad for everyday use. This is the first Windows laptop I’ve ever used where the pinch to zoom on the trackpad feels natural and “phone-like”. It more than makes up for the lack of a touchscreen.
If there’s anything to complain about though, it’s the lack of palm rejection. The trackpad is so big that I accidentally touch the trackpad every now and then when I’m typing. For some reason palm rejection is absent from the drivers, so it results in the mouse moving, or worse, an accidental tap. I’ve learned to adjust my right palm to avoid it, but I’m not sure everyone has the hands to do so.
The 2019 Razer Blade 15 gets a matte 15.6-inch IPS equivalent panel with FHD resolution and 144 Hz refresh rate. It’s made by LG and looks great.
The max brightness I was able to achieve was 299 nits, which is plenty for indoor use and good enough for outdoors. The contrast ratio wasn’t as high as with other panels I’ve seen in the past, but it’s still not too bad. All it means is the black levels are a little less black.
The good news is I have zero backlight bleed on my panel. I can’t guarantee that all will be as lucky as me, but Razer has typically been good with minimizing panel light bleed on their laptops.
I took some measurements on my Spyder4Pro sensor and here’s what I got:
Panel HardwareID: LG Phillips LGD05C0;
Coverage: 96% sRGB, 68% NTSC, 73% AdobeRGB;
Measured gamma: 2.2;
Max brightness in the middle of the screen: 299 cd/m2 on power;
Contrast at max brightness: 530:1
Native white point: 7000 K;
Black on max brightness: 0.56 cd/m2.
As you can see, the brightness distribution is a little dimmer in the lower section. It’s nothing I can see with the naked eye though, so I don’t think it’ll bother anyone.
Out of the box, the screen was pretty much calibrated already, as my colorimeter did practically nothing to improve it.
The last thing to note of is the lack of GSync support on this laptop. The panel supports it, but Razer has decided to keep it off for the battery savings. It’s probably for the best since it’s really only useful for games that perform over the max refresh rate, and 144Hz is tough to achieve on AAA titles anyway, even for a 2080. Still, it would have been nice to have as a BIOS option
like with Asus laptops. Regardless, I’ll take the battery life over GSYNC any day.
Bottom point, the display panel is great as it is and one of the highlights of the machine. I certainly won’t miss the one they had on the old 14” version.
There’s also a 240Hz screen option on some of the newer Blade 15 configurations, and
you can find more about it from this other article.
Hardware and performance
The Razer Blade 15 comes with some of the top hardware available for laptops these days. The model I received has an i7-8750H processor, 16GB of RAM, the RTX 2080 Max-Q GPU and a 512 GB M.2 NVMe SSD. The memory is dual-channel and each slot is occupied with an 8GB stick. If desired, you can upgrade to 32GB, but it’ll require replacing both sticks.
The NVMe drive is also upgradeable. It currently has a Samsung PM981, which is a pretty fast drive. See my Crystal disk mark benchmark for the speeds. There’s only one slot though, so if you need more space, you’ll have to settle for replacing the current drive.
Fortunately, these upgrades are pretty simple to accomplish. The bottom cover is held in by 10 Torx screws and pops right off once removed. Once opened, you have easy access to both the RAM and the M.2 slot.
As far as performance goes, this laptop has some teeth. The hexacore i7-8750H is pretty much the gold standard CPU for high-end laptops these days. Expect multicore use to boost to 3.9Ghz for the most part, as long as temperatures allow. There is some throttling that occurs, which I’ll get more into later, but for the most part, you’ll never notice it.
The GPU is the Max-Q variety, which means it’s an RTX 2080 with lower clock speeds and a TDP of up to 90W. Razer has the default clock set at 990 MHz, but expect to see boost clocks reach as high as 1550 MHz in real life (with a maximum potential of 1850 MHz), power and thermals permitting. Sure, it’s not as powerful as a full-voltage RTX 2080, but it’s still plenty fast.
The Razer Synapse software has some pretty decent performance toggles that you can (and should) take advantage of. There are three performance modes which are pretty self-explanatory: Balanced, Gaming and Creator. I pretty much just leave it on Gaming, but you can run cooler and quieter on Balanced mode if you’re limiting yourself to productivity tasks.
In each mode, the fan profiles are also changed, but you can also take manual control of the fan speeds if desired. You can even control the max refresh rate if you want the GPU to do less work.
If you’re interested in synthetic benchmarks, I took a number of them. For these tests, I left the fans on Auto and switched to the Gaming mode. Here were my results:
3DMark 11: 20810 (Graphics – 27900, Physics – 12020);
3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 17417 (Graphics – 20522, Physics – 16475);
3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 7574 (Graphics – 7847, CPU – 6331);
3DMark 13 – Port Royal (RTX) Graphics: 4363;
Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: 4978;
PCMark 10: 5242;
GeekBench 4.3.3 64-bit: Single-Core: 4995, Multi-core: 21587;
CineBench R15: OpenGL 100.81 fps, CPU 1059 cb, CPU Single Core 167 cb;
I also ran some of them with a -120 mV undervolted CPU profile, PAIRED with maximum fan speeds in Razer Synapse. Here’s what I got:
3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 17554 (Graphics – 20692, Physics – 16460);
3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 7651 (Graphics – 7884, CPU – 6557);
3DMark 13 – Port Royal (RTX) Graphics: 4414;
Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: 5078;
GeekBench 4.3.3 64-bit: Single-Core:4960, Multi-core: 21880;
CineBench R15: OpenGL 101.06 fps, CPU 1185 cb, CPU Single Core 167 cb;
Not a drastic difference, but there was some nonetheless. The temperatures were definitely cooler though, so for heavy loads, it’s certainly beneficial to ramp the fans up manually.
I also ran some testing on games. All gaming tests were done on the Auto fan profile in Gaming mode.
Battlefield V (DX 12, Ultra Preset, Ray-Tracing OFF) 95-115 fps
Battlefield V (DX 12, Ultra Preset, Ray-Tracing ON) 55-65 fps
Battlefield V (DX 12, Ultra Preset, Ray-Tracing OFF) Synapse Balanced Mode 80-95 fps
Final Fantasy XV (Ultra) 80-115 fps
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (DX 11, Ultra Preset, Hairworks Off) 105-120 fps
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (DX 11, Ultra Preset, Hairworks On) 85-95 fps
Battlefield V is the only title I have that supports Ray Tracing, and it’s up to you whether the performance hit is worth it for the prettier graphics. It does look nicer with RTX, but I prefer better framerates.
That said, this thing runs extremely well with games, however, it’s also excessively hot, both with the internals and externally. More on that in a bit.
The HWinfo logs below include details on the performance and temperatures while playing Battlefield V, Final Fantasy XV and Witcher 3 with the default settings and Gaming mode.
Here’s what happens when we switch to the Balanced mode instead.
And here’s how the speeds and temperatures are affected when undervolting the CPU and sticking to the Gaming mode.
We’ll further talk about undervolting in the next section.
Lastly, here’s what to expect when playing games on battery.
The good news is even without Ray-tracing, the 2019 Razer Blade outperforms the previous version by a pretty good margin, especially since that was only limited to a 1070 Max-Q GPU. But that doesn’t mean that version should be ignored, as the price breaks for last years model are pretty attractive.
If you’re like me though, you’ll probably want to stick with the 2019 model and get that Windows Hello cam and those properly backlit secondary keys. If that’s the case and you don’t want to pay close to $3000 for a laptop, your other options are the RTX 2060 and the RTX 2070 Max-Q. The 2060 is arguably the best value, and either way, you’re going to be making good use of that 144Hz screen. We’ve also taken a closer look at the RTX 2070 Max-Q variant wth the 240 Hz screen option
in this article.
Emissions (noise, heat), Connectivity and speakers
The Razer Blade 15 utilizes the same vapor barrier cooling system that was used in the 2018 model, tethered to two fans. It’s hard to compare apples to apples with the traditional style of heat-sinks, but I’m convinced that this style does something to help remove heat better.
The picture below and
this video better illustrate the implementation.
Truth is, the temperatures are somewhat similar to what I’ve seen on other machines. But that alone doesn’t mean the vapor chamber isn’t helpful. There are so many other factors that go into the heat buildup, and if you try and sort it out, you quickly realize it’s a jumbled mess. Here’s why.
The CPU on this machine is clocked high. 3.9 GHz is a lot for 6 cores and an impossibility for pretty much every thin and light laptop to keep under control. Add in that the power limit of the CPU is set at 60W for short bursts, so you’re pretty much going to ramp up those temperatures pretty heavily for the first 5 minutes of any game.
Now, look at the GPU. It’s an RTX 2080 that’s been downclocked to perform as best as possible. This means that Razer is aiming to keep the voltage and power as high as possible to provide the best performance, without overheating the unit. Like other manufacturers, they push the limit as far as they can on performance and rightfully so, because now it’s in your control to turn things down.
So, I accept that these machines get so hot. My only reservation is that I can’t predict what the long term effects of having a CPU hit 99C are. Fortunately, it only happens briefly in the first couple minutes before the TDP limit drops back down to 45W, and then the temperatures start to level out – but it’s still in the 90s for some games.
There’re many tricks to making the temps better. The easiest one is to use the Balanced profile in Razer Synapse. I’m not exactly sure what this does to the CPU while gaming, but my temps were lowered by a few degrees in my testing. During normal use though it’s significantly cooler and quieter than using the other profiles.
Another option is to switch to a 60Hz screen refresh in Synapse and use VSync in games. This will limit the game to 60fps, which the RTX2080 will most likely crush at medium loads. It won’t save your CPU, but the lessened load on the GPU will likely shave a few degrees off across the heat sink. Still, this would be a last resort option and not something we’d recommend.
The last option requires some third party software. Using Intel XTU or Throttlestop to undervolt your CPU is a great way to save on power draw and heat generation. I undervolted mine to -130mV and immediately saw a 4-5C drop in temps across the board. Additionally, if you use Throttlestop, you can limit the clock speeds to something like 3.6 GHz or lower, which will help as well.
The fan noise is pretty tolerable for the most part. On auto, with normal use, the fans are barely audible. During moderate use, the fans will ramp up to a low hum, 35dB at ear level and 42dB at the unit itself. Gaming results in some louder fan levels though, with 43dB at ear level and 55dB at the unit. Maxing the fans out manually increases the noise level to 50dB. This is a Max-Q laptop, so in Nvidia settings, you can enable Whisper mode if the fan noise bothers you, however that takes a toll on performance though, as the clock speeds become more throttled.
*Daily Use – Netflix clip in EDGE for 30 minutes
*Load – playing Battlefield V for approximately 30+ minutes on ultra FHD settings
For connectivity, the Intel AC 9560 module provides access to WiFi and Bluetooth 5.0. There’s no Ethernet on this laptop, unfortunately, but you don’t really need it. I maxed out my internet connection at 480Mbps while 30 feet away from my router. Throughout my use, I experienced no problems with connectivity whatsoever.
As for the audio, there’s a speaker on each side of the keyboard. They aren’t large by any means, but the sound is full and they are facing the right direction. The speakers hit a max amplitude of 72dB on my sound meter, and I was able to record bass as low as 60Hz. Overall, very good speakers for a gaming laptop.
There’s a tiny HD webcam located above the screen, which in all honesty is nothing special by itself. In low light, the image is grainy. Even in full light, you can see some pixelation in the images. It’s pretty typical for a gaming laptop though.
What makes it stand out from the rest is the added IR blaster next to it, allowing it to work as a biometric webcam. This means the Windows Hello feature is enabled and you can unlock Windows merely by looking at the webcam. I haven’t seen this in a gaming laptop since the
Alienware 17 a few years ago, so I’m glad someone else finally did it.
However, I want to say it’s the best Windows Hello cam I’ve ever used, but I can’t, unfortunately. The reason I’m saying this is because it does have some limitations. I think the size of the IR blaster and the image quality of the webcam make a huge difference in how it works in the dark. It can work at night, yes, but it takes a little longer than a Surface Pro or the HP Spectre do. I’m not going to make a big deal about it though, because it is after all good enough, and far better than not having it at all.
This Razer Blade has an 80 Wh battery, which is about the typical size these days. On HWinfo, it detects it as 83.4Whr with 0% wear. I did some testing to see how long the battery would last in certain scenarios. Luckily this unit has Optimus on board, so the results were pretty decent.
Here’s what I got on my laptop, with the screen set at 40% brightness, roughly 120 nits.
9.44 W (~8 h 30 min of use)– idle, Best Battery Mode, screen at 0%, Wi-Fi ON;
12.4 W (~6 h 27 min of use)– text editing in Google Drive, Better Battery Mode, screen at 40%, Wi-Fi ON;
13.9 W (~5 h 45 min of use)– 1080p Youtube fullscreen in Chrome, Better Battery Mode, screen at 40%, Wi-Fi ON;
13.1 W (~6 h 6 min of use)– 1080p Netflix fullscreen video in Edge, Better Battery Mode, screen at 40%, Wi-Fi ON;
13.5 W (~5 h 55 min of use)– 4K fullscreen .mkv video in the Movie app, Better Battery Mode, screen at 40%, Wi-Fi ON;
21.8 W (~3 h 40 min of use)– browsing in Chrome, Better Performance Mode, screen at 40%, Wi-Fi ON;
54.5 W (~1 h 28 min of use)– Gaming – Witcher 3, Maximum Performance Mode, 60fps, screen at 30%, Wi-Fi ON.
The charging port is proprietary to Razer, having a robust three pin adapter. It’s also reversible, although, with the L shaped adapter, I’m not sure how having the cable come towards you would be beneficial. The good news though is that the 230W power brick is pretty compact, so you probably wouldn’t want to buy a third party adapter anyways. You still get the same adapter if you opt for the 2060 or 2070 versions. As a side note, the Blade cannot charge via the USB-C port.
Price and availability
The 2019 Razer Blade Advanced is available at many retailers, including Amazon and Best Buy. It’s also available directly through Razer’s website. There are multiple models available with the 144Hz screen, prices ranging from $2300 to $3000. Options include GPUs from the RTX 2060 to 2080.
There’s also a 4k touch version available with an RTX 2070, if that’s your desire. And special “Mercury white” models are available, although in a limited fashion.
Follow this link for updated configurations and prices at the time of this article.
The 2019 version of the Razer Blade 15 really won me over this year. I’ll admit I was tempted last year, but I wanted to wait and see how it was received. I’m glad I waited though because I didn’t expect them to make a model with an RTX 2080 in it, which is a significant bump from the 1070 in the previous generations.
For me, the biggest draws to the machine are the build quality, the compact size, the screen, and even the biometrics. I’ve been waiting forever for someone to finally put Windows Hello on a high-end ultraportable and Razer finally made it happen.
My own review of the updated 2020 Razer Blade 15 Advanced is available over here.
I wish I hadn’t dented mine, but I’m kind of glad that I at least got to validate the build quality for you guys. The unibody chassis really makes a difference and if I was going to drop a laptop, I’m glad it was this one – any other and I’m afraid the damage would be a lot worse.
At the end of the day, The Razer Blade sits a little higher in cost than some of the competition. The MSI GS65 was my second choice, being $200 less expensive, but actually with a smaller SSD.
I don’t have the 2019 version but I did have the 2018 GS65, which is very close to the same. Given the difference in build quality and extra storage, I can say with certainty that the $200 premium is justified.
What I like about this machine over the GS65 is pretty simple – it just seems more polished. The design is robust, the software has a purpose and works well, the trackpad is huge and works flawlessly, the screen is great and they’ve added biometrics into a tiny bezel.
It’s still an expensive machine though, and that’ll be a real deal breaker for many. The 2060 version is no slouch though and probably holds the most value out of the three. I haven’t tested it, but I’m sure there’s some overclocking potential, and given a 230W power adapter for that model as well, you’ll probably have some options.
Some improvements I’d like to see in the future include fixing the key feedback, as well as adjusting the layout. I can’t be the only one annoyed by the arrow key placement. The other thing that would be nice is a second M.2 slot. Razer is becoming one of the last manufacturers to have only a single drive option in their laptops and there’s really no reason for it.
In the end, I’m pleased with the laptop and am looking forward to using it in the future. Which is good because I think I’m stuck with it anyways since I dented it, haha. This model really suits my needs though and I think after I update the RAM and SSD, I’ll truly be very happy with it.
So that wraps up my review of the Razer Blade 15 Advanced for now. Since I’ll have it for a while, this article will be developing with further testing results, so keep an eye out if I add more. And if you have any questions or comments or anything you want me to add, please do so in the section below.
Derek Sullivan Derek Sullivan - Review Editor
. In addition to being a tech enthusiast, I have a career as a Biomedical Engineer. I enjoy taking things apart, figuring out how they work, and finding ways to make them better. My other hobbies include spending time with my family, "Do it yourself" projects such as home automation, and running.
March 2, 2019 at 7:32 pm
Hi! Did you manage to notice any coil whine or annoying noise while using it?
March 2, 2019 at 11:15 pm
Not on my unit. I'm admittedly not that sensitive to it though. There is a slight high pitch sound when the fan ramps up at certain speeds, but it's the fan, not coil whine. Other than that the laptop sounds pretty normal to me.
March 3, 2019 at 11:26 pm
Would love to see the GPU overclocked and CPU undervolted gaming results.
Would raising the back of the laptop a inch or so help with CPU temps or using a laptop cooler?
March 4, 2019 at 5:35 am
I'll try to get some results posted soon. I'm also about to repaste as well.
To answer your other question, it'll help sure, but only a couple degrees. The air flow is from the bottom so forced cooling is certainly a benefit. All my testing was on a lapdesk made of wood with holes on the bottom.
March 3, 2019 at 11:42 pm
"The last thing to note of is the lack of GSync support on this laptop. The panel supports it, but Razer has decided to keep it off for the battery savings. It’s probably for the best *since it’s really only useful for games that perform over the max refresh rate*, and 144Hz is tough to achieve on AAA titles anyway, even for a 2080."
AFAIK, that's exactly the opposite of where it's useful at (i.e. when your average frame rates are *below* the max refresh rate). It has no effect in the usecase you described, that would be Fast Sync, I think.
March 25, 2019 at 2:28 am
Yes, that is true, adaptive sync is only useful below the screens refresh rate. Also, I believe this entire statement is a bit off, AFAIK, the laptop does support GSync, but only via the mDP which is directly wired to the dGPU.
March 5, 2019 at 11:10 pm
How is the gaming performance when you connect it with an external 2k or 4k display? I am really interested in knowing that. WoOuld you test that please?
Also, why does one have to repaste on a $3000 laptop? Razer should do it as standard. I would void my warranty , not to mention I would be afraid to do it. Would you post any difference in performance after doing it to yours?
Finally will opening the back panel and upgrading the RAM & SSD on our own void the warranty?
March 5, 2019 at 11:26 pm
I only have an ultrawide monitor now so it's going to result in some subjective results for you. 2k displays should have the same results though. The laptop will probably even run cooler since the framerates will be capped at 60fps unless you have a fast monitor.
Every laptop sold has a standard stamp paste job. It's done that way because these things are made in China and it produces similar results no matter how bad a job you do of applying it. It's the same with undervolting – Intel chooses a voltage that will work for all their CPUs. If you want a fine tuned laptop with a proper paste job, it'll cost more. If you're uncomfortable doing it yourself, I recommend purchasing a machine from a retailer that does so, such as HIDEvolution. They aren't that expensive and do a good job.
I'll certainly post results when I'm done. Opening the cover doesn't void your warranty though, provided you don't damage anything while doing your upgrade. Repasting might but the 3rd party retailers claim it doesn't as long as they do it.
March 5, 2019 at 11:12 pm
Also, Thanks for an excellent and thorough review (please attend to my requests in the seperate comment).
I am considering using something like this as my primary laptop for Windows Gaming & Linux coding.
March 9, 2019 at 5:47 am
Would you say this laptop would be perfect for 3D Architectural Modeling? I don't play any games on my computer (XBox One S for that). I'm a BIM Manager at an architectural firm, using Autodesk Revit 95% of my time, working on large collaborative school project models of 100MB – 350MB (stored on network – no RJ45 kind of worries me). All renderings are exported through the Autodesk Render Cloud and rarely take more than 10 – 20 minutes for super high-quality photo-realistic images since they're off-loaded. I do orbit in 3D shaded views and model in 3D a lot.
Outside of work, I run a custom Revit Content Development company where I create 100's of small, but sometimes complex (parametric), 3D Revit models for building product manufacturers.
I am currently using an Alienware 17 R4 (i7-7820HK @ 2.9 GHz, 16 GB RAM, GTX 1080, 256 SSD + 1 TB HDD, Windows 10 Pro 64-bit, 1440p non-touch). Alienware has been super solid with minimal bugs, but I'm tired of lugging around the 9.75 lb. beast in a bag full of excessive peripherals. I'm ready to drop the weight in my daily carry significantly! But I need to know that performance will be equal or better to what I'm running now, as I also want to get into Lumion 9 for Rendering and Animations.
These Razer Blade specs all out-rate the Alienware on Passmark (and out-rate the Dell Precision 7730 with Quadro GPU's for less money). The IT Manager wants to go with Dell 7730 due to having Quadro cards. But I think this is a better alternative since it's 3 lbs. lighter than the 17" Dell (4 lbs. less than the Alienware), costs less, and gets better Passmark scores, and the GeForce GTX card has proven to be very stable in the Revit environment. I connect to two external displays at work through HDMI and Mini-DP.
I run Aptana Studio to write HTML 1.0 Strict to develop my website. I use Affinity Photo instead of Photoshop and and I use Adobe Premiere Elements (no subscription) for video editing, along with Camtasia Studio 7 for screen capture Revit Training Tutorials. I will also stream live piano recordings through Facebook Live with an audio interface through USB and OBS Studio, along with the Logitech C920. Think the Razer is the right choice?
Would your next recommendation for something almost the same, but with RJ45, be the MSI GS65, or Acer Triton 500, or something else?
Looking forward to your feedback.
March 9, 2019 at 6:40 am
If you've been used to the AW17, this one will be just fine. Unless you've had compatibility issues, I don't think you need to go it and get a Quadro card or anything. GeForce cards take care of most cad softwares. If not the Razer blade, yes the GS65 is a good alternative. You might even consider the GS75 since you're already used to a 17" screen.
March 9, 2019 at 9:07 am
Awesome – thanks very much! If I do go with the Razer Blade, I may hold out for that upcoming OLED display since I do Content Creation and not Gaming, and would surely skin it Matte Black. I can see that Up Arrow placement driving me bananas though, so I would certainly have to override that key as you have suggested. Keyboard layout and Ethernet may be the two reasons I go with the MSI instead, which after more and more research, looks like the way I'm leaning now. Decisions, decisions. Thanks again.
November 3, 2019 at 12:25 pm
"My biggest gripe with Razer’s Chroma in the past has been their neglect to add backlighting on the secondary functions of the top row of keys, making it near impossible to use the multimedia functions at night. This dates back to when the Razer Blade Stealth first came out a few years ago. I’m glad Razer finally came to their senses and finally made things right."
I just bought an 2019 advanced model and the multimedia icons are never backlit. How on earth did you enable that? I didn't find anything in Razer Chroma Studio and could not believe it would not be possible. Your article gives me hope it can be set up the way anyone (but Razer?) expects it to work. Any hints?
November 3, 2019 at 2:14 pm
I'm afraid you might have a version with the older key caps that don't light up. I'm also reviewing the brand new optical switch Razer blade model and it's the same with that one. It appears that not all of their newest models have the correctly backlit keys. Terrible call on their part…
March 14, 2019 at 8:53 pm
What an excellent review! Always high quality stuff. You guys and NoteBookCheck are super cool :). I had a couple of questions though. I'm trying to buy an ultraportable gaming laptop, and I'm between the Aero 15-X9 RTX 2070 Max-Q, Triton 500 2080 Max-Q, and the Razor Blade 2070 Max-Q. Contrary to what many seem to beleive, you can actually turn off G-Sync on the Triton 500 and enable Optimus (I think you guys mentioned that in an update to the review), which means it should have enough battery life to get me through the day. I plan on using the laptop for gaming and I will dock it to a TB3 station at home to get a "desktop" setup with an external monitor.
Just trying to get some advice on what I should choose. The Triton 500 will have better graphics for only slightly more money, but slightly worse battery life (even with G-Sync disabled). I think the Razer has the best build quality, is more upgradable, and has Windows Hello, which is nice. Which of the two laptops have superior thermals? Mainly looking for a combo of GPU power, battery life, and best thermals.
Also, on the Aero 15 – I heard it has crap thermals, which is why I'm straying away from that laptop more and more. I also kind of hate how it looks.
March 15, 2019 at 3:30 am
Tough call. If pricing is that close, I'd lean towards the Triton. The extra graphics and extra M.2 slot is pretty hard to pass up on. I haven't personally held that version of the Triton but if Andrei scored it that high, it's safe to say it's a good buy.
March 15, 2019 at 3:51 am
The Triton is going to be very difficult to upgrade, though. It would be really hard to access the internals and would require almost complete disassembly. I don't know why this is so hard for me to decide on. I guess something about the Razer just speaks to me. Maybe it's the more muted design or something but it just looks nicer. I'm so afraid of making the wrong decision lol. I know the Razer will still have superior battery life, even if I turn off G-Sync and enable Optimus on the Triton 500 RTX 2080 Max-Q (I think, any reason why this could be wrong?). Some of the features of the Razer I really like though: it seems to have superior build quality, looks nicer (IMO, especially with DBrand skin), Windows Hello, and is more upgradable. It also seems to have slightly better software and whatnot.
I guess my question really boils down to: how much of a performance difference is there between the Triton's RTX 2080 Max-Q and the Razer's 2070 Max-Q? The difference is USD $100 ($2499 vs $2399). At the end of the day, I can get used to slightly worse graphics if I can get all of the features of the Razer Blade. Additionally: the battery life of the Triton 500 is pretty bad, will it increase by standards comparable to the Razer blade just by turning off G-Sync and turning on Optimus?
Thanks man! <3
March 15, 2019 at 4:05 am
Yeah those are all valid arguments. Sounds like you should go for the Razer Blade then. Honestly, you wouldn't regret it. I put a d-brand skin on mine and I'm perfectly happy with how it looks now. I take it in the office all the time.
March 15, 2019 at 4:11 am
But…that RTX 2080! Is it worth?
March 25, 2019 at 6:31 am
Probably my favorite all in one laptop! But how much battery life will I get when I editing in 8k on better battery mode?
March 25, 2019 at 2:32 am
I believe that the laptop do support GSync, but only via the mDP which is directly connected to the dGPU. So, GSync for external monitors if true. Comments?
April 25, 2019 at 4:18 am
Yes, Gsync is supported on Gsync monitors. This is true for all of the RTX graphics cards as far as I know.
April 16, 2019 at 5:53 am
I have the RTX 2080 Blade. I tried two separate sets of 3200mhz 32gb RAM kits. The Kingston Hyper X and G-Skill Ripsaw models. Both show the 3200mhz in Windows and BIOS but every game freezes a few seconds after starting.
I'm running a Memory Diagnostic now.
I feel like I am missing a step or need to enable some setting. Any counsel is welcome.
April 25, 2019 at 4:15 am
Sorry for the late reply – I've been on vacation the past week. Technically, 3200mhz ram isn't supported on this CPU so it may not even run at that speed even if you et it to work. Have you checked HWinfo to see how fast it's running?
April 27, 2019 at 1:00 am
Razer has stated the specs at 3200mhz in the press release ans FAQ. The hwmonitor, bios, and internal monitor all show the upgrade at 3200mhz. However, when starting any game the entire system crashes/freezes.
After contacting Razer I was told this is a known issue but have no timeline to resolution. A little frustrating after buying two kits, installing two kits, and returning 2 kits.
April 28, 2019 at 7:12 pm
Are the cooling good enough? Will the cpu/gpu heat damage the internals? In the long run, would it make the rb15 less reliable and last for shorter period of time?
May 13, 2019 at 9:28 am
Will you be writing a review for the new Razor Blade 15 Advanced OLED 4K Touch with the RTX 2080 Max-Q? I am eyeing this as my next laptop and am really curious as to the benefit of the touch screen, but it doesn't release until the end of May or early June, I've been told.
June 3, 2019 at 1:41 pm
I'd love to get their take on the 4K OLED Blade too, has anyone reviewed it yet yuu know of?
June 4, 2019 at 11:42 pm
Haven't seen any reviews on it yet unfortunately. I'm interested as well.
June 3, 2019 at 8:55 am
Hey, thanks for the awesome review. Can you please do a comparison for best laptop for music production? I'm thinking between the razer blade, dell xps 15 and Lenovo x1 extreme. Music production doesn't use much GPU and is only CPU intensive. I'd like to hear your thoughts on it.
June 7, 2019 at 10:28 am
Great review, thanks. Is the Blade your top 15 inch 2080MQ laptop? What is your favourite 17 inch 2080MQ laptop? Do you prefer to game on a 15 or 17 inch screen, what are the pros and cons of both?
June 7, 2019 at 3:28 pm
It's mine, yes, but there are some pretty good alternatives out there as well. I think if I were to go to 17", it would be a close call between the RB 17 and the GS75. I do prefer 17" gaming, however both those laptops have FHC screens and I'd prefer QHD at that size.
June 7, 2019 at 9:11 pm
Thanks. Great advice. What do you think the quietest 2080mq you guys have tested is?
June 9, 2019 at 11:26 pm
I can't really say since I haven't used that many 2080mq devices in order to make a good comparison, sorry.
June 17, 2019 at 11:51 pm
I'm looking to purchase a new laptop after I come back from deployment. I've been looking at the Zyphrus S and this Razer 15. Biggest thing for me is cooling, as I enjoy playing MMOs while traveling and have an issue with hot keyboards on my older laptops. Could you please provide more input on what laptop would run with lower temperatures? Which build quality would last longer due to the better cooling?
Thank you for your assistance!
September 3, 2019 at 5:00 pm
Thanks for the review !
Purchased the mercury white version with the 2070maxq and i7 9750h.Razer took a very interesting route with regards to temperatures. They limit the CPU power consumption to 45w, no PL1 of 60w and no PL2 of 80w. My first problem was, that you can not see this in XTU. In the Futuremark stresstest the CPU was permanently boosting to 4.1 Ghz and than throttling due to reaching the powerlimit (not thermal limit). Razer undervolts by -100mV out of the box, I was able to increase this to -135mV on the core and added -50mV to the GPU. I set the maximum CPU multiplies to 33 for all cores and 36-34 for less cores. With these settings I am constantly below 80 degrees in stress tests (both CPU and GPU), the CPU runs permanently all cores at 3.3Ghz and the noise is surprisingly low for such a thin machine. For people that need maximum CPU power, this is not the best Laptop, it balances noise and gaming performance very well. The area above the keyboard gets hot under load.
September 14, 2019 at 6:58 am
I'm interested in this particular modell. It's delightful to know Razer tunes the lastest model quite well and and has better thermal by sacrificing performance to a lesser extent. During your daily usage, have you encountered BSOD, screen not responding, mouse cursor stuttering or any issues with reference to quality control? I saw these issues in a youtube review, and several BSOD reports from Reddit, Razer Insider, Notebookreview and Linus Tech Tips. Not sure if it's hardware issue or just bad software compatibility/optimization from Nvidia.
September 14, 2019 at 7:50 pm
I was getting bsod occasionally but since I stopped undervolting it's been fine. I was probably pushing it too far. Haven't had one in months though since I stopped.
September 14, 2019 at 8:51 pm
Wow that's interesting. So I guess except that some BSODs are caused by Nvidia driver issues, the others could be because some CPUs are just not capable of undervolting 100mV.
Thx for sharing.
September 23, 2019 at 11:21 am
Thanks for the reviews. It's the most helpful and detailed I have read so far. My question is: Is there a size limit to the NVMe ssd we put in that extra slot? (512gb, 1TB, etc.)
Also, why do we have to replace both RAM sticks in order to upgrade?
September 23, 2019 at 1:19 pm
I have a 2 tb nvme in right now. Works great.
You should try and match your ram sticks to maximize performance and reduce errors. If you mismatch sticks, your ram will only run as fast as the slowest stick. There's a chance it won't even boot too.
September 24, 2019 at 12:14 am
Thanks for the answer. From what I understand reading your reviews, this laptop doesn't have an extra nvme ssd slot, which means I have to take out the factory ssd that comes with it, right? When you did it, which method did you use for the data and windows os transfer? I'm also considering wiping the factory ssd and try to sell it. Did you do that too or is there a better way to use it?
I'm grateful for your advice!
September 24, 2019 at 1:36 am
I always do a fresh install.
October 24, 2019 at 7:42 pm
On my unit there is no noticeable Coil Whine, but if I put my ears on the keyboard I can her a whistle. I know it sounds extreme but is that natural for a laptop this thin with the power it packs?