Razer Blade 15 Advanced review (mid-2021 models, RTX 3080 and 3060, QHD 240Hz)

34 Comments

  1. Drew

    July 21, 2021 at 9:37 am

    Nice review. Good of you to mention the screen flickering too as I've read a lot of Reddit users complaining about that particular issue especially on the QHD ones.

    But with all things said and done: Razer Blade 14 or Razer Blade 15?

    • Derek Sullivan

      July 21, 2021 at 6:20 pm

      I'd personally go for the Razer Blade 15, based on screen size alone. But even taking that out of the equation, I still think I'd lean towards the 15 because of the hardware features. Fhd camera, faster SSD are nice to have and I liked the fact I didn't hear fan oscillating as much on the Razer blade 15.

      The RB14 would be my recommendation only for those that are intent on having the most portable powerhouse possible. The size difference is night and day. For me, I don't mind the heft – I like bigger screens and quieter fans.

  2. R

    July 23, 2021 at 9:50 pm

    Liked the review.

    The much weaker rtx cards in these Razer products feel like a deal breaker for their price point. I'm currently thinking if I should instead just get a Legion 7 with a 3080, instead of this Razer Blade 15 with a 3070. I'd be saving money & getting a much more powerful product. Shame really, because the razer really is a much better looking machine.

    • Derek Sullivan

      July 23, 2021 at 10:19 pm

      I feel exactly the same way. That's why I have an order in for the Legion 7 3070, which should have near identical performance to the 3080 Razer Blade but for sub $2k. I should have it by next week I think too.

      I also had a 3080 version which is on backorder until November…

      • R

        July 23, 2021 at 11:14 pm

        I think MSi are even more conservative with their GS66 model. As you pointed out the Razer had some issues, but have you heard of battery bloat associated with their laptops? Do they just use lower quality batteries/worse QC. It's also good to point out that the Blade 15 base models are so much worse than the advanced, with many of the refreshes you pointed out on the advanced model missing on the base.

        Do you think it's worthwhile to wait for the 11th gen Legion 7, or pull the trigger on the AMD Legion 7? I'm a bit worried I buy the amd version, then the intel one thats around the corner is significantly better.

      • Derek Sullivan

        July 23, 2021 at 11:57 pm

        Only reason to get the Intel version is if you need Thunderbolt or want pcie gen4 ssds. Otherwise I don't see the point in paying more for the Intel version. The battery life will definitely be better with the Ryzen version(which is already not so great due to the iCue software on the Legion 7).

        Personal preference, but I am probably sticking with Ryzen for this gen of laptops. Every Ryzen I have tested in the past few months has performed very well so far and the CPU doesn't need to hit 90w to do it.

      • Derek Sullivan

        July 24, 2021 at 12:04 am

        I forgot to answer the battery bloat question. Battery swelling is a problem across all laptop brands. Defective batteries are usually the cause. I've heard of it being an issue with Razer before, but it's really a problem across all brands. If you type in a laptop brand and battery swell into Google, you'll see tons of results.

      • Derek Sullivan

        July 25, 2021 at 10:31 pm

        FYI Legion 7i 3080 popped in stock on Lenovo today. Ships this week too!

      • R

        July 28, 2021 at 2:52 pm

        Yeah I ordered the 7i with a 3080. Unfortunately the 3070 models wouldn't ship for months. Now I'm worried about slow ram! I hope they didn't cheap out.

      • Derek Sullivan

        July 28, 2021 at 3:02 pm

        I have one arriving today. Will let you know.

      • Derek Sullivan

        July 29, 2021 at 3:27 am

        So I checked HWinfo and this is the RAM that's installed: 8ATF2G64HZ-3G2E2
        It's Micron and according to a picture on eBay, it's 1Rx8…. So probably slower. I haven't run any benchmarks yet nor tried my other ram kit. Probably won't get to that until the weekend. Disappointing that Lenovo would cheap out like that on their highest end model though.

      • R

        July 28, 2021 at 3:12 pm

        I look forward to your review!!

        I've also heard that the intel legion 7i has advanced optimus, while the amd versions only have a mux switch – this is pretty significant imo, and pretty underreported. You can see the differences on the data sheets provided by Lenovo.

        Intel:
        https://psref.lenovo.com/syspool/Sys/PDF/datasheet/Lenovo_Legion_7_16ITHg6_Datasheet_EN.pdf
        AMD:
        https://news.lenovo.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Lenovo-Legion-7_AMD_16in_6thGen_Datasheet_NDA.pdf

      • Derek Sullivan

        July 28, 2021 at 3:19 pm

        Yeah I have no idea why either. It's weird because the Legion 5 I just reviewed has advanced Optimus and yet the Legion 5 Pro didn't. Both had the same CPU, ram, etc

      • R

        July 29, 2021 at 4:01 pm

        Oh that's so disappointing. I had a feeling they'd cheap out on the ram, hence why I purchased the model with 16gb ram installed instead, so I can replace it myself.

      • Derek Sullivan

        July 31, 2021 at 4:30 am

        Just to follow up. Turns out the RAM in the Legion 7 isn't that bad. The 1Rx8 16GB modules perform just as well as my kit does. Could be that it's just the 8GB modules that are underperformers. It could also be that Intel CPUs aren't as reliant on the RAM type as Ryzen CPUs are.

  3. Dave

    July 24, 2021 at 10:12 am

    Hello,

    again the best and most comprehensive review out there. I really like the detail, especially when paying such a high price.

    You’ve mentioned the anti fingerprint coating. Is there a difference between the newest Razer Blade 14 and this review unit? Or does it feel like they already applied this to the 14”?

    • Derek Sullivan

      July 24, 2021 at 12:45 pm

      The coating is not on the Blade 14. It's only on the 15 and the upcoming 17. It makes a difference for sure, but it still smudges. I think it was easier to clean with the coating though.

  4. Phil

    July 28, 2021 at 9:02 am

    Hello which app did you used for undervolting the cpu? Xtu or throttles top?

  5. Martín

    August 26, 2021 at 1:31 am

    Hi Derek!, do you know if the flickering issue has been fixed?

    Thanks.

    • Derek Sullivan

      August 26, 2021 at 2:29 am

      I haven't heard anything but I'll reach out and see.

    • Derek Sullivan

      August 26, 2021 at 2:16 pm

      According to my source at Razer, they found out the cause of the flickering and resolved it in the latest batch. Apparently it was only a small batch that was affected, which included all the review units. I'm glad they fixed it.

  6. Jim

    September 12, 2021 at 6:07 am

    In his review for the Asus Zephyrus S17, Andrei mentioned that the S17's HDMI and Thunderbolt 4 ports are hooked through the iGPU rather than the dGPU. Can you speak to whether the Thunderbolt 4 and HDMI ports on the Blade 15 Advance are hooked to the iGPU or dGPU?

    • Derek Sullivan

      September 14, 2021 at 6:30 pm

      I didn't test for that, sorry. I did just reach out to Razer to see if they knew. Hopefully I'll hear back shortly.

      • Jim

        September 15, 2021 at 12:25 am

        Thanks, Derek.
        I really want to know about the Blade 17, but I figured the 15 is a good proxy for that while you wait to get your hands on a 17.

    • Derek Sullivan

      September 15, 2021 at 2:38 am

      Jim,

      I just got a response. "They were iGPU initially but there is a new firmware update that will flip it to dGPU. This is for the Advanced model of the Blade 15 as it's not yet available for the Base model."

      That's good news that they restored it to the dGPU where it belongs. But that doesn't necessarily mean the Blade 17 will be in the same boat. I'll be sure to test it when I get a unit though. Hopefully soon

  7. Leo

    September 12, 2021 at 4:52 pm

    Hi Derek, I just got my unit and it is affected with the flickering issue, do you know how to fix it?

    Thanks.

    • Derek Sullivan

      September 14, 2021 at 6:33 pm

      Last I heard from my Razer rep was that it was a cable shielding issue and they sourced a different cable to resolve the problem.

      You can go through support and hopefully they fix your issue by swapping laptops out. But if you're in your return window, I almost want to sway people that way and just reorder. That way you're not stuck with the problem if it really isn't resolved.

  8. David B

    September 16, 2021 at 2:19 pm

    Hello! Thanks for this review. I'm considering a Blade 15 Adv (RTX 3060) as my next purchase and it looks like it has the upper hand against my other frontrunner (Dell XPS 15 with an RTX 3050Ti) on GPU performance and potential longevity.

    I've been seeing a lot of noise about the screen's refresh rate being capped at 60Hz when on iGPU and only going up to 240Hz on the dGPU, with the change causing a signfificant colour/contrast shift when switchign between the two. Is this something that Razer could address in subsequent firmware updates? Would you consider this something to weigh on the decision?

    • Derek Sullivan

      September 16, 2021 at 2:31 pm

      I didn't even notice that being an issue. For me it was 240hz on both GPUs. Perhaps that is something that is now part of the firmware to prevent the flickering I was seeing though?

      Regardless, you should be able to manually change the refresh rate in Intel graphics control panel.

      The color shift could be due to advanced Optimus. I've seen this on other laptops and it occurs if they aren't using the same color profile for both Intel and Nvidia settings. Forcing them to both use the same profile should solve the problem.

    • Andrei Girbea

      September 16, 2021 at 4:45 pm

      There should be a setting in the Intel graphics control that fixes that. I know I ran into something similar on some other laptops, but can't recall off the top of my mind what I had to change to fix it.

      • David B

        September 16, 2021 at 5:15 pm

        I've seen other people recommend a custom rate tool called CRU to create a setting and then select that. Considering I'm currently working on a screen with a 60Hz rate now I don't think this is something I would notice, but it would be nice to have a half-measure of say 120Hz as a choice for the intel-run refresh rate. This is more of a future-proofing concern for me (it will need to last 5 years in my mind).

        The colour shift was more concerning, so it's good to know there is an easy fix (though odd that Razer has it set that way to begin with).

        Thanks both!

      • Andrei Girbea

        September 16, 2021 at 5:32 pm

        But as far as I can tell this was an issue with some older Nvidia drivers on the Blade 15 Base around the beginning of the year, and later fixed with an update. Have you seen it mentioned recently?

      • David B

        September 16, 2021 at 6:36 pm

        Sorry. Couldn't see a button to reply to your later comment.

        The threads I've see about this have their latest comments in May (see links below), but no resolution to the problem. So far, they all offer solutions wither with third party or Nvidia control. Funnily enough, I found them when I was looking to see if Razer had a fix for the flickering problem this review mentions (I can see it's been fixed by Razer now).

        If it's fixed, as you say, then that's great and my choice comes down to how much money I want to part with.

        The threads:
        https://www.reddit.com/r/GamingLaptops/comments/mblnm6/razer_blade_15_advanced_2021_qhd_240_hz_60_hz/

        https://insider.razer.com/index.php?threads/razer-blade-screen-refresh-rate-is-not-working-properly.72562/

        The suggested fix using CRU:
        https://www.reddit.com/r/razer/comments/n7uavk/tips_razer_blade_15_advanced_21_qhd_igpu_above/

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