Is the Razer Blade 15 worth it?

A review of the gaming and productivity laptop that could replace your MacBook Pro

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If you’re a PC gaming enthusiast, you’ve no doubt heard of the Singaporean/US tech company Razer, and their well-respected line of gaming electronics and peripherals.

They’re best known for their gaming machines built for flawlessly running games like Call of Duty: Warzone, Apex Legends, or Metro Exodus in compact, laptop-style designs.

Razer’s line of Blade laptops includes:

While the Pro and Stealth exist on opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of intended use, the Razer Blade 15 Base Edition stole our attention for its balance of internal specs and external build quality, making it perfect for both gaming, productivity and general use.

But at its price point, is it a worthy replacement for go-to general-use laptops like the MacBook Pro? Does it have all the same productivity features? Does it make any compromises on its gaming abilities? Which is better value?

…and most importantly, is it durable? Can it stand up to typical use and abuse, and how long will it last before the internal technology becomes dated?

While we love products that are built to serious standards of durability, this Razer laptop does not make any ‘extreme rugged’ claims, so we won’t be reviewing it as such. We will however look at how it stacks up in toughness compared to similar models.

So, join us for a comprehensive review, taking a deep-dive into the internal and external specs as we try to answer the question–is the Razer Blade 15 worth it?

First up, let’s take a look at the build.

Razer Blade 15 Build

Before we take a look under the hood of the Razer Blade 15, let’s assess its build.

As laptops are designed to be portable, it’s important that the chassis, hinges, and inner architecture can withstand being thrown in backpacks, repeatedly flung open and closed, and generally take a few knocks and bumps.

As we mentioned, this is no military laptop, and thus cannot be thrown against walls or drowned for 30 minutes like many other products featured on our site.

Build quality

Razer Blade Black

However, it’s no slouch when it comes to toughness with the following build quality specs:

  • 0.7 inch thickness
  • Aluminum Frame
  • Anodized bonding
  • 4.5 lbs weight

The electro-chemical anodized bonding makes the already tough Aluminum chassis even more durable, so if you’re comparing the strength and impact resistance of the Razer Blade 15 to a MacBook Pro, the Blade wins on this reason alone.

You can get the Base Edition in two color variations: Black or Mercury White.

Note that, on the Black edition, fingerprints are easily visible. Conversely, any scratches will be slightly more visible in Mercury White, but the slightly rough texture of this color variation hides fingerprints well.

Ports and connections

As a gaming device that should easily double up as a workstation if necessary, ports and connectivity are essential.

The Razer Blade 15 Base Edition has 9 ports, which include:

razer blade 15 ports 02
  • Thunderbolt™ 3 (USB-C)
  • USB Type-A
  • HDMI 2.0b
  • Kensington Lock
  • Power
  • USB Type-C
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • 3.5mm Combo Audio

As well as physical ports, the Razer Blade 15 also features Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) and Bluetooth® 5.1, making it well-equipped to deal with basically any peripheral you might want to hook it up to.

We particularly liked the LAN Cable Ethernet port and HDMI ports that make the laptop perfectly suited for streaming via the internet cable. You can quickly import high-quality images and videos and throw them up on a large screen for editing.

Screen and display

As for the screen, the entire range of Base Edition models offer different display options when it comes to resolution and Hz.

We’re looking at the Razer Blade BASE 15 2020 update, which is outfitted with the following display:

  • 15.6” FHD screen
  • 1920 x 1080 resolution at 144Hz
  • 100% DCI-P3 color space range
  • HDR400 True Black

Users will be impressed with the 1ms response time with no ghosting, which is a marked increase from the previous year’s Razer Blade model.

Further enhancements include the infinite contrast ratio and richer colors, however, the refresh rate is sacrificed for enhanced resolution, capped at 144Hz on this model.

This will likely only matter to serious or competitive gamers, who can upgrade to the Blade 15 Advanced Edition to get between 240 and 360Hz refresh rates for smoother visual fidelity.

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Keyboard and Touchpad

Speaking of casual vs. competitive gamers, the keyboard on the Base and Advanced Editions of the Razer Blade 15 may be the thing that ends up persuading you one way or the other.

While the Base Edition does feature the proprietary Razer Chroma RGB lighting, it is single-zone only, able to display a range of 16.8 million colors but for the whole keyboard.

The Advanced version however is able to deliver programmable per-key lighting. This might not seem like a huge deal, but for the gamers out there who value maximum color customization and effects to complement your games or playstyle, it’s important.

The Razer Blade 15’s keyboard is ‘chicklet style, with keys that are bouncy, light, and fairly shallow, without the strong tactile actuation response that you would get from a mechanical keyboard.

If you’re familiar with the 2019 Razer Blade 15 keyboard layout, the current version is mostly the same with one difference–the shift key has been elongated, and the Up/Down keys have been reduced in size to compensate.

As for the touchpad, it’s a generous 13cm by 8cm and is kitted with Microsoft Precision Touchpad support for totally smooth, precise control with productivity gestures that you’ll be familiar with if you’ve used a Windows laptop before.

Editor’s note: One of my biggest concerns when I transitioned from Macbook Pro, was the quality of the touchpad. However, in my opinion, Razer’s glass touchpad is the best in class; it feels very natural and responsive. Does it feel exactly the same as with the Macbook Pro? No, but once you get used to it, you can ditch your mouse (except for when you’re gaming, of course).

FPS gamers will probably want to use their preferred gaming mouse over the touchpad however, which is easily possible through the USB Type-C Port.

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Battery

Now to the battery.

As a gaming laptop, the power demand is quite significant, especially considering the performance benchmarks on this model (which we’ll get to in a second).

The 60.8 Whr battery has been independently tested to give between 4 and 6 hours of battery life without charging, depending on the kind of usage.

Editor’s note: I never get 6 hours, even if I use it on “battery friendly power mode”. But up to 5 hours is realistic…

You’ll need to have the power cable by your side for CPU-intensive tasks such as gaming and video editing, but could quite easily spend a few hours browsing the internet, word-processing, or doing schoolwork without the cable.  

When it does run out however, the cool-looking 180W power adapter brick will be able to bring it to full charge in about 1.5 hours.

One solution we found to mitigate the constant fan noise as well as improving the battery life when not plugged in – was to set up the Power Plan mode on level 2 (out of 4).

razer blade battery plans
Razer Blade Battery Plans

Storage

The Razer Blade 15 is fitted with a 512GB SSD M.2 2280 drive. This is different from 2019 model, which featured mixed M.2 and SATA III drive slots.

This change was made most likely to reduce the unit’s weight, however comes at the expense of making user hard drive expansion slightly more difficult, requiring specialist tools for disassembly.

With the physical specs out of the way, let’s turn our attention to the meatier stuff–the Razer Blade’s performance.

Razer Blade 15 Performance

This Razer product manages to maximize its performance for a device with such a small footprint.

Not only are the internal specs good enough to perform multiple intensive operations, but Razer offers tools to optimize performance and fine-tune your machine.

Razer Cortex is a three-part optimization system that aims to boost system and gaming performance. It does this by managing non-essential processes and apps, utilizing machine learning for predictive FPS, and automatically removing junk files.

razer base blade razer cortex
Razer Base Blade | Razer CORTEX Software for maintaining and improving performance
Editor’s note: for most of our windows machines we used CCleaner with great results. However, Razer Cortex does a great job in keeping your system run smoothly, so we found no reason to install any additional ‘cleaners’.

Let’s take a further look at each critical performance component, piece-by-piece.

CPU

The Blade 15 Base model runs on 10th Gen hexa-core i7-10750H processors (2.6GHz / 5.0GHz). To get an idea of the speed, you can compare it to the previous 2019 model’s 9th Gen Core i7-9750H, with the 2020 edition running approximately 12-15% faster.

Competing laptops that feature the same intel i7-10750H CPU run on average 10-20% faster than this model, suggesting that the Razer Blade 15 is not the best-optimized machine with this processor due to certain limiting factor.

However, at its price point, the speed is not noticeably lacking. The MSI GE65 Raider 9SF for example sets a slightly higher benchmark for processing speed while featuring the same i7-10750H CPU but costs around $900 more.

For a compact unit that comes in at under $2000, the Razer Blade Base 15 does pack some respectable speed, but it isn’t a powerhouse that matches that of high-end gaming laptops.

GPU

razer blade base gpu
razer blade base gpu

As for the Blade’s graphics card, it uses the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 with Max-Q (8GB GDDR6 VRAM).

Despite using the previous generation GPU in place of the newer ‘Super’ Max-Q, it’s still able to run the intensive contemporary games like Metro Exodus with all settings turned to max, with the exclusion of ray-tracing, which will likely reduce the fps to lower than 60 when turned on.

The newer RTX 2070 Super Max-Q available in the Advanced Edition however would only offer a minor 5–10% increase in graphics processing speed, which most people probably wouldn’t justify for a $400 increase in price.

Price

The Razer Blade 15 Base Edition costs around $1,799.

As a unit that can handle both CPU-intensive productivity tasks such as video editing as well as run modern-day games quite capably, it offers much more than similar models like the 2021 16-inch MacBook Pro, which starts at $2399.

Whether it is truly ‘worth it’ depends on your intended use, and the various advantages and disadvantages of the machine that emerge over longer use.

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  • Ray-tracing: The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 is powered by the NVIDIA Turing GPU architecture and brings...
  • More frames: Incredible performance paired with the fast 144Hz 15. 6" full HD thin bezel display helps...
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Razer Blade 15 Base Gaming Laptop 2020: Intel Core...
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  • Supercharger: The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti graphics is a blazing-fast supercharger for today’s most...
  • More frames: Incredible performance paired with the fast 144Hz 15. 6" full HD thin bezel display helps...
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  • Ready to connect: Fully loaded with Wi-Fi 6, Gigabit Ethernet, Thunderbolt 3, USB type-A and type-C...
Bestseller No. 3
Razer Blade 15 Base Gaming Laptop 2020: Intel Core...
  • More power:The 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10750H processor provides the ultimate level of performance with up...
  • Ray-tracing: The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 is powered by the NVIDIA Turing GPU architecture and brings...
  • More frames: Incredible performance paired with the fast 144Hz 15. 6" full HD thin bezel display helps...
  • Thin and compact: The CNC aluminum unibody frame houses incredible performance in the most compact...
  • Ready to connect: Fully loaded with Wi-Fi 6, Gigabit Ethernet, Thunderbolt 3, USB type-A and type-C...

Last update on 2021-04-13 at 09:29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Razer Blade 15 Pros & Cons

To help you make the right decision, we’ve scoured online reviews for the Razer Blade 15 to figure out the most commonly referenced pros and cons for the machine, which you can view below:

ProsCons
+ Capable gaming and productivity machine– Runs very hot during gaming sessions
+ Lots of ports and connectivity options– Fairly expensive for some previous generation specs
+ Above-average durability for a gaming laptop– Single-zone RGB keyboard only
+ Great touchpad, one of the best in class– Short battery life
+ Thin and easily portable– Could get noisy even in normal use, if you set it up on ‘best performance’ profile.

Razer Blade 15 Alternatives

In case you were wondering how the Razer Blade Base stacks up against similar models, check out the below table for a quick comparison, including key features for both gaming and productivity.

Razer Blade 15 | Comparison

wdt_IDModelReleaseSizeCPUGPUDisplayPrice (approx.)
1Razer Blade 15 Base Edition202015.6”6-core i7-10750H (up to 5.0GHz)NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 with Max-Q (8GB GDDR6)1920 x 1080 FHD 144Hz$1,799
2MacBook Pro202016.0”6-core i7-9750H (up to 4.5GHz)AMD Radeon Pro 5300M (4GB GDDR6)3072 x 1920 Retina up to 60Hz$2,399
3Lenovo Legion 7i202015.6”I7-10750H (up to 5.0GHz)NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 with Max-Q (8GB GDDR6)1920 x 1080 FHD 144Hz$1,529
4Asus ROG Zephyrus M15 GU502202015.6”6-core i7-10750H (up to 5.0GHz)NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 with Max-Q (8GB GDDR6)3840 x 2160 4K UHD 60Hz$2,860
ModelReleaseSizeCPUGPUDisplayPrice (approx.)

Razer Blade 15 Quick Questions

Is the Razer Blade 15 Base Edition worth it?

Well, understanding exactly what you intend to use it for will help you find out. Read the following answers to some common questions about the Razer Blade 15 to figure out if this is the best machine for your needs.

Most Durable Keyboard | Rugged Ratings

What to check next: The Most Durable Keyboard. On the surface, it seems as if the differences between keyboard brands and models could be largely aesthetic, and the notion of ‘strength’ and ‘durability’ would be less relevant in this product category. There are a variety of different keyboard types and underlying technologies that suit a broad range of different functions and vary greatly in terms of expected working lifetime.


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