The word “luxury” surely doesn’t come to mind when you think of a gaming laptop, especially because some of them can appear a little, shall we say, excessive, what with their bright light bars and dot matrix displays that are built right into the lids. However, the Razer Blade 15 truly feels like it has crossed the line into portable gaming opulence with its excellent performance, superb build quality, understated design, and very luxurious price in Razer Blade 15 2018 H2
Indeed, the 2022 Blade 15 is visually indistinguishable from its predecessors, prompting some to wonder if it isn’t time for a redesign. The Blade 15’s simple design and solid aluminium body have held up well over the years, and I continue to appreciate them. To be honest, I wish the Razer logo on the lid was lighted with full RGB capability. I get that neon green is Razer’s thing, but it seems strange that you can’t change the colour on a high-end laptop like this.
The Blade’s huge glass trackpad is among the greatest found on a Windows laptop, and it can be found inside the device. The bigger keycaps and Razer’s trademark per-key Chroma lighting are both new for 2022. Similarly, this year Razer used lasers to engrave the grille right into the deck, which enhances rigidity without sacrificing that minimalist appearance. The up-firing speakers now sit flush with the deck, eliminating an unsightly cutout. In 2022, there will also be a new 1080p webcam, a significant improvement above the 720p cams found on current systems. There is also a full-size SD card reader, an HDMI connector, a headphone jack, and two USB-C connections (one of which supports Thunderbolt 4).
The 15.6-inch 240Hz QHD screen on our $3,700 review unit is an excellent compromise between screen size and resolution. The light could use just a tad bit more intensity. All of the LCD screens on the Blade, according to Razer, should be capable of producing roughly 300 nits of brightness. A light metre gave me a reading of about 275 nits, though. That works excellent in the vast majority of cases, but in a very bright space, the colours may look a little muted. On the other hand, Razer offers models with both 144Hz and 360Hz displays. There are a plethora of displays to chose from, and just this week, Razer unveiled a new 240Hz OLED option.
The Intersection of Efficiency and Playability
When it comes to processing power, Razer offers the latest Intel H-series processors and Nvidia RTX 30-series graphics processing units. The 2022 Blade 15 starts at $2,500 for an i7-12800H processor, 16 GB of RAM, and an RTX 3060 Ti graphics card, and goes all the way up to a jaw-dropping $4,000 for a fully-loaded model with an i9 processor, 32 GB of RAM, and an RTX 3080 Ti graphics card. Please note that the maximum storage space for any configuration is only 1TB. But if you need even more space, the Blade 15 has two M.2 slots, just one of which is used right out of the box. Thus, swapping out drives should be easy provided you’re willing to take apart the laptop and uncover the SSD. Only use single-sided modules, as double-sided M.2 sticks won’t fit.
However, the Blade 15 lives up to its billing as a top-tier gaming laptop. We were able to get 124 frames per second in Shadow of the Tomb Raider at full settings and 1920 by 1080 resolution on our Core i7, RTX 3080 Ti computer, which is just a hair lower than the Asus Flow Z13, which costs $1,800 and has a mobile graphics dock that costs an additional $1,400. (If you’re keeping track at home, you’ll see that this adds up to $3,200.) The Blade 15 achieved 86 frames per second in Metro Exodus at high settings and 81 frames per second in Forza Horizon 5 at Ultra.
Power of a Battery
The Blade 15’s main flaw is its battery life, which is much worse than its price. It finished in just 5 hours and 42 minutes on our local video rundown test. That’s very comparable to the results we saw with the PC gaming tablet Asus Flow Z13 (5:38). However, the Blade 15’s battery life was more than three hours shorter than the Alienware x14’s (7:57) and more than four hours shorter than the Asus Zephyrus G14’s (12:23). (9:45). (9:45). And things aren’t any better out there in the real world. A total of 1 hour and 15 minutes of very light-duty gaming was too much for the Blade 15, but it managed to finish 2 rounds of Teamfight Tactics in a row. Shadow of the Tomb Raider’s framerate drops to roughly 45 fps when running on batteries, which is something else to keep in mind.
The Blade 15 is a large, high-end alternative to the current 14-inch gaming laptops, but it’s not as elegant or portable. It’s not cheap, and with a 15.6-inch screen and 4.4-pound body, it probably won’t fit in your everyday messenger bag. However, it is made with high-quality parts, has a sturdy frame with virtually no flex, and delivers exceptional performance while maintaining a sleek and (relatively) unobtrusive design. Except, of course, for the enormous, blinking logo.
The Blade 15 is a wonderful take on a modern desktop replacement, which will appeal to people like me who don’t want to haul around a huge 17-inch rig. With the ROG Flow Z13, you won’t need a dedicated graphics dock to reach peak performance. There are plenty of ports on this gadget, so you won’t even need any dongles or adapters. As a result, the Blade 15 is not something you should buy if you’re trying to save money, but if you’re not strapped for cash, it’s a great delight.