When my PC gaming neighbor announced that he had just purchased a new gaming laptop, I was somewhat annoyed he hadn’t come to me for laptop shopping advice. Then he told me he had gotten the new RTX 2060 version of the Razer Blade, and I couldn’t be all that put out, because that’s very likely what I would have recommended in the first place.
This new version of the Blade, introduced at CES 2019, is virtually unchanged from the previous model, at least on the outside. Inside are new Nvidia GPUs from the RTX line. There are also a few tiny chassis adjustments to accommodate the new parts, plus a webcam that works with Windows Hello facial recognition.
But, so what? RTX GPUs and Intel Core i7-8750H CPUs are already common. What really sets the Razer Blade apart is the design and build quality, and to a lesser extent, the custom software.
Keeping up with bezel wars
The biggest jump in design came last year, when the Blade made a much-needed leap from a 14-inch screen to a 15-inch one, while keeping the footprint roughly the same and shaving down the screen bezels (the border around the display) to almost nothing.
This review version has the added benefit of Razer’s optional Mercury White color scheme, which is only available in this RTX 2060 configuration. Along with a 512GB SSD and 144Hz 1,920×1,080-pixel display, it’s a hefty $2,349 (£2,200, AU$3,899). Considering the hardware, design and extras, that may not be completely outrageous, but remember that pricing for laptops with the previous-gen Nvidia GTX 1060 GPU could easily get down to $899 or so — with slower processors and less storage, of course.
In the Blade series, jumping up to the RTX 2070 or 2080 can add up to $700. In the opposite direction, Razer still sells a GTX 1060 configuration (just the Blade, without the “Advanced” tag) for $1,599.
Razer Blade 15
|Price as reviewed||$2,349, £2,200, AU$3,899|
|Display size/resolution||15.6-inch, 1,920×1,080-pixel display|
|CPU||2.2GHz Intel Core i7-8750H|
|Memory||16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,666MHz|
|Graphics||6GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060|
|Networking||802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 5.0|
|Operating system||Windows 10 Home (64-bit)|
Speed vs. style
If you’re investing in a Razer Blade, you’re more interested in design, style and comfort than raw frame rate-pushing power. Why do I say this? Because for around the same $2,300, you can get a Lenovo Legion Y740, with the higher-end Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q GPU.
But that’s not necessarily the right answer. Especially if you spend a lot of time on nongaming laptop tasks, or use this as your main everyday laptop, these aesthetic and ergonomic choices become much more important.
In its white-and-silver edition, the Blade has a sophisticated professional look, and closely resembles a MacBook Pro ($1,009 at Amazon). Unlike many other gaming laptops, you won’t catch any flack for pulling this out at a corporate meeting (most likely just jealous stares).
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