Razer’s Blade 15 Base isn’t necessarily broken, but you can use the tweak anyway. This symbolizes the company’s excellent design cuts. You are stuck in a loop that bends in much the same way as last year and previous year.
The notebook’s all-aluminum construction is still impressive to see and use. Yes, unlike some of the gaming laptops we reviewed recently, they have a webcam. However, the effect it provides is getting stale, and Razer hasn’t addressed all the annoyances that have existed since this design debuted in 2018. It’s a magnet for fingerprints and smudges, and for laptops starting at $1,699.99, it’s embarrassing that there’s no biometric login method. Each time you log in, you’ll need to enter your password or PIN.
It’s no longer ahead in terms of design, as Razer hopes. Some competing machines, such as the Asus Zephyrus G15 and MSI GS66 Stealth, are thinner, lighter, and cheaper to use blades with the same (or better) features. 2021 could be a year that other manufacturers will overtake or overtake.
We have to wait to see if Razer’s next step for this laptop is more exciting than what the early 2021 models offer, but some of the improved specs on the inside feel a bit fresh. The $2,199 high-end “basic” configuration I tested has Razer’s first QHD screen mounted on a laptop with an Nvidia RTX 3070 graphics chip. This is a new specification for 2021, and Razer is the first to launch a machine with both. However, there are some problems with the starting block.
I’ll go into a little bit of detail, but it should be noted that if you toggle the wrong settings, the latest Nvidia drivers can make the blade somewhat unusable. By default, the built-in Razer Synapse software uses Nvidia Optimus, a technology that switches between integrated and dedicated graphics as needed for efficiency and performance. Unfortunately, when I install the latest GeForce drivers from Nvidia and always try to switch to using the RTX 3070 as a dedicated GPU, the image is no longer displayed. You need to completely reset your device and erase all data from your device. As of the date of publication, this notebook is actually to be It’s a bit broken.
Razer says they are working on a solution with Nvidia and I’m sure they’ll figure it out. However, it is fair to test this computer with an outdated driver. Just like everyone who buys this laptop should do now. Even with old software, given the specific specs of this RTX 3070, the performance is as good as expected in the game. Razer recently started publishing detailed specifications of the GPU on its site (which can vary significantly at the discretion of the manufacturer) as requested by Nvidia.
The RTX 3070 graphics chip in this configuration has a clock speed of 1,290 MHz (up to 1,410 MHz) and a maximum power consumption of 95 W. Naturally, given the thin build of this laptop, the GPU can’t run rough compared to MSI’s GP66 Leopard. But that’s not to say that you can’t play the game. However, in its current state, other intensive tasks like exporting 4K video also do not perform well. I’ll cover it later.
Red Dead Redemption 2 Running at 1440p with the Ultra Graphics setting gives you an average of 53 frames per second. Shadow of the Tomb RaiderIt also averaged 46 frames per second when I ran it at its highest setting with the rate racing shadow set to Ultra. I wanted to test more games easily, but unfortunately I ran out of space on the 512GB SSD that was included by default with the Blade 15 Base. Of course, I did a number of things to do more testing, but this amount of storage is insulting on my $2,199 laptop. It’s a trivial comfort to be able to add more NVMe M.2 storage in the second open slot, but you’ll have to pay for that. Go back to the test and play open world games Horizon Zero , I set all the graphics tricks to ultra and ran at an average of 71 frames per second.
The Blade 15 Base is a bit inferior compared to the new Asus Zephyrus G15, which features a QHD screen and a slightly more powerful RTX 3070 (same clock speed but a higher 100W power limit). In practical use, you can see that Asus’ laptop performs better with a few extra frames per second like we did. Otherwise, the performance should be similar. In short, it almost meets the criterion for smooth gameplay of 60 frames per second at QHD resolution, and it can be reached in most cases by lowering the graphics setting by a few or two.
Interestingly, both laptops make more money to get the RTX 3080 out of a thin laptop next to pointless. This machine uses an RTX 3080 clocked at 1,245MHz and 95W and, like the MSI GS66 Stealth, which has a QHD screen priced at $2,599, it performs pretty much in QHD gaming. Doing some research can really put your money in your pocket.
Like my experience with MSI’s QHD screens, I was amazed that Razer’s QHD 165Hz refresh rate panel was the first to be used on a laptop. The viewing angle is wide and the color is rich, but it is accurate, and of course the large pixel density improvement looks fantastic. The jump from 1080p to 1440p stands out for everyday tasks like playing or playing games in the browser. Text pops out clearly, and when you watch content or play games in native QHD resolution, you’ll have a better experience than the 1080p panel can offer. I think it’s worth paying the premium, and the extra $200 Razer is asking for is on par with other manufacturers.
As mentioned earlier, Nvidia’s driver (at the time of publication) is causing some problems with the Blade 15 Base. We haven’t found any issues during gaming or during normal use, but our ability to do things like export 4K video is severely limited. The most terrible example of this is the Adobe Premiere Pro test. Here’s the project in 5 minutes and 33 seconds. edge See how long it will take. Using the default driver it took 6 minutes and 40 seconds. I went on to download new drivers to see how much I could improve. The same test took only 3 minutes and 46 seconds. This is where we expect performance to these specs.
If you’ve used one of Razer’s blade laptops in the past few years, you’ve basically used it all. If not, you can be treated with a keyboard and trackpad. The keyboard has backlit keys and you can colorfully or subtly customize the color or lighting pattern to your liking. The layout is ideal for the 9th to 5th workflows as well as for gaming, as Razer has fixed the problematic arrow keys since last year’s model. Unlike all other laptops currently manufactured by Razer, this laptop doesn’t have a Windows Hello enabled IR webcam or other biometric login method. A disappointing omission, but sadly not new. In a June 2018 review, that year’s Blade 15 was criticized for the same issue, mentioning that it looks like a fingerprint reader, but not one power button that should be.
The port arrangement should suit most people, but this base model is one of the key areas that differs from the more expensive Blade 15 Advanced model. Both have a Thunderbolt 3 port and an HDMI 2.1 port (supporting up to 4K resolution at 120 frames per second) in common. Other than that, Ethernet only applies to the basic configuration, while the high-end models have a variety of dedicated ports and features, including a UHS-III full-size SD card reader, Windows Hello IR webcam, and charging up to 20V via USB. C, with Bluetooth 5.2 and Wi-Fi 6E. I’m willing to turn my ethernet port into Base’s SD card reader, but buying one on a 15-inch Razer gaming laptop will cost you at least $2,499. Then you will lose the Ethernet port. The strategy of separating ports based on model cost is outdated, given that this machine is almost as available to creators and gamers as high-end models.
The last thing we’ll cover is heating and cooling. Razer suffered a bit from past models. While playing the game, this is also awesome, but it doesn’t look noticeably worse than before. Also, even during the intensive load, it hasn’t crossed the limits of what I think is a noisy laptop. Also, a 65Wh battery can last about 6 hours. This is Razer’s claim to life, and my experience matches that in battery saver mode.
The Blade 15 is a competent and well-designed gaming laptop, and first-time buyers will love it for a number of reasons. This particular configuration is noteworthy as the first base with a beautiful QHD display, and the RTX 3070 works well for both gaming and productivity. However, there may be cases in which biometrics and SD card readers are lacking because the Step-up Advanced model includes both. Aside from that, it’s hard to give the Blade 15 Base a pass again when it’s easy to find other similarly priced thin and light gaming laptops with versatility and sleek design.
Photo from Cameron Faulkner / The Verge