Razer Blade 15 Review: A real treat if you have cash

Luxury is probably not the first word that comes to mind when you think of gaming laptops, especially with some looking, say extra, from, and embedded in their covers. But with excellent performance, fine workmanship, unobtrusive design and very luxury price, it really seems to have surpassed the line to portable gaming wealth.

Design

Now it’s true that the 2022 Blade 15 looks almost identical to its predecessors, making some people think it needs a facelift. But even after all these years, I still love the clean lines of the Blade 15 and the sturdy aluminum casing. That said, I wish Razer would add full RGB support to the illuminated logo on the lid. I know neon green is kind of like Razer, but on a premium machine like this, it feels weird not to be set to any color you want.

Pros

  • Perfect workmanship
  • Lots of configuration / screen options
  • High performance
  • New 1080p webcam
  • Pre-port selection

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Just OK battery life
  • Proprietary power plug

The Razer logo on the Blade 15 lid lights up, but you only have one color option: neon green.
Sam Rutherford / Engadget

On the inside, the Blade has a large glass trackpad, which is one of the best you can get on a Windows laptop. New for 2022 are the larger keycaps with Razer’s signature Chroma lighting for each key. Another subtle design tweak is that, instead of the pronounced cutout for the speakers pointing up the laptop, Razer used lasers this year to etch the grille directly onto the deck, improving stiffness while maintaining a minimalist aesthetic. There’s also a new 1080p webcam for 2022, which is a welcome upgrade to 720p cameras on older systems. And finally, you have tons of connectivity, including two USB-C ports (including one with Thunderbolt 4), three USB-A ports, HDMI, a headphone jack, and even a full-size SD card reader.

Display

The 2022 Blade 15 is available with a wide variety of display options including LCD and OLED with refresh rates up to 360Hz.
Sam Rutherford / Engadget

Ours has a 15.6 inch 240Hz QHD display that strikes a perfect balance between size and resolution. I just wish it was a little brighter. Razer says all Blade LCDs are expected to emit around 300 nits of brightness. But using the light meter, I measured closer to 275 nits. This is fine for most situations, but if you’re in a sunny room, the colors may appear slightly faded. Alternatively, Razer offers 144Hz and 360Hz panels on other models. And just this week, Razer announced, so there are tons of displays to choose from.

Performance and games

Moving on to performance, Razer offers the latest 12th Gen Intel H-series processors and Nvidia RTX 30-series GPUs. The downside is that these components don’t come cheap, with the 2022 Blade 15 starting in $ 2,500 for the i7-12800H, 16GB RAM and the RTX 3060 Ti, then a staggering $ 4,000 for a fully loaded i9, 32GB RAM and 3080 Ti model.

New for 2022 in the Blade 15 is the 1080p webcam, up from 720p on previous models.
Sam Rutherford / Engadget

Now, I should note that the configurations only have 1TB of storage. But for those wanting even more space, the Blade 15 has two M.2 slots, only one of which is filled out of the box. So, if you want to remove the bottom panel of your laptop and the SSD cover, it should be pretty straightforward to throw in a different drive. Just remember to use single-sided modules, as double-sided M.2 sticks will not fit.

However, you get what you pay for as Blade 15 can play with the best of them. In Shadow of the Tomb Raider on top graphics settings at 1920 x 1080, our Core i7, RTX 3080 Ti hit 124 fps, which is a tad less than the optional $ 1,400 mobile dock. (That’s a total of $ 3,200 for those counting.) The results were similar for the other titles as well, with Blade 15 hitting 86fps in Metro Exodus on high settings and 81 fps in Forza Horyzont 5 on Ultra.

Battery life

Due to its strong components, Razer uses a proprietary power socket for the Blade 15 charging block.
Sam Rutherford / Engadget

Really, the biggest weakness of Blade 15 (apart from the price) is battery life. In our local video summary test, it only lasted 5 hours and 42 minutes. This is similar to what we got with the Asus Flow Z13 (5:38) which, if you remember, is a PC gaming tablet. But compared to more traditional rivals, Blade 15 lasted over three hours shorter than (7:57) and four hours shorter than A in the real world is not much better. Blade 15 struggled through two games with Team fight tactics back-to-back, which was about an hour and 15 minutes of relatively light play. I should also note that when you run out of battery the Blade’s performance drops as well, with frames per second in Shadow of the Tomb Raider drops to around 45 fps.

The second problem is that the Razer brick is loading. While the patented connector is forgivable given its 230-watt power supply, its right-angle design means that if you plug it in incorrectly you will block one or two of your laptop’s USB-A ports. Honestly, delivering a lot of power over USB-C isn’t coming fast enough.

End

As you'd expect from Razer, the newest Blade 15 keyboard supports RGB lighting for every key.
Sam Rutherford / Engadget

While the Blade 15 isn’t quite as sleek and portable as the latest variation of 14-inch gaming machines, there is something to be said for having a large, luxurious alternative. Sure, it’s really expensive, and its 15.6-inch screen and 4.4-pound body mean you might not be able to toss it in your typical messenger bag. But it has top-notch components, a strong frame that essentially exhibits zero flexibility, and impressive performance in a neat and (relatively) toned-down design. Well, apart from that big glowing logo.

In a way, the Blade 15 is a fantastic take on a modern desktop replacement, especially for people like me who don’t want to carry around a giant 17 inch platform. Unlike the ROG Flow Z13, you don’t have to worry about a separate graphics station to get peak frames per second. And thanks to multiple ports, you can leave all your dongles and adapters at home. So while Blade 15 doesn’t make sense to anyone on a budget if you have the funds, this thing is a real treat.

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