The Razer Blade has long been the centre of Razer’s laptop lineup, but while the slim Razer Blade Stealth and expensive Blade Pro have recently undergone updates, the more affordable Blade has largely been overlooked: the basic design has not changed since 2013 even though Razer has continued to update the internal hardware over time.
But with the most recent Razer Blade redesign, which entirely overhauls the stale Blade design, that has changed. With a fresh appearance, a larger 15.6-inch display, the most recent Core i7 CPUs from Intel’s eighth generation, and NVIDIA’s Max-Q architecture, the Blade should be able to go head-to-head with the best gaming laptops on the market.
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The new design is the initial greatest change. Razer has improved its older Blade models’ 14-inch panels to a 15.6-inch screen (a move that helps differentiate the middle-of-the-road Blade from the Blade Stealth, which got upgraded from a 12-inch to a 13.3-inch model last year).
The relatively small Blade isn’t becoming bigger to match the larger screen; instead, Razer is doing away with the thick bezels that dominated the previous model, which makes the laptop itself 0.4 inches wider than the previous one. When you see the new Blade in person, it’s simple to believe that it is the smallest 15.6-inch gaming laptop available. Additionally, Razer is improving the appearance of the laptop by keeping the black metal body but removing the ridges that around the Razer emblem on the lid and squaring up the rounded corners.
There are also significant alterations on the inside. For the new 15.6-inch display, Razer now provides three alternative options: a 60Hz 1080p version that comes with the Blade’s least expensive configuration, a 144Hz 1080p version created for those seeking the finest gaming experience, and a 4K touchscreen option with 100% Adobe RGB colour compatibility. (Unfortunately, NVIDIA’s G-Sync display technology is not supported; according to Razer, this was done in order to better concentrate on battery saving.) In addition, a new, larger touchpad with integrated buttons and compatibility for Windows Precision Touchpad drivers has replaced the previous, two-button model.
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User-replaceable components are another excellent addition to the upgraded Blade. The Blade has 16GB of RAM and 256GB to 512GB of M.2 SSD storage as standard, but customers can upgrade that to up to 32GB of RAM and 2TB of internal storage if they so want.
Razer is keeping things quite straightforward when it comes to the actual inside components. The six-core i7-8750H CPU from Intel, which is available in all new Blade models, has a base frequency of 2.2GHz and a maximum turbo frequency of 4.1GHz. A GTX 1060 or GTX 1070 graphics card, both featuring Nvidia’s Max-Q design optimizations, are available for the graphics side of things.
In terms of connectivity, Razer is providing a Thunderbolt 3 port, a Mini DisplayPort port, an HDMI port, three USB 3.1 Type-A ports, and a new, proprietary charging port. The Blade can drive three displays simultaneously through those three ports in addition to the built-in screen. The new Blade has an 80Wh battery, which Razer claims should provide as good as or better endurance than the old model despite having a larger screen and a hexacore processor. However, we’ll have to wait and see how well that holds up in the real world.
The new Blade is currently on sale for $1,899.99, which includes a 256GB SSD, a GTX 1060, and a 60Hz display. With some more expensive GTX 1070 models also available, the 144Hz model starts at $2,199.99 (GTX 1060, 512GB SSD), while the 4K model (GTX 1070, 512GB SSD) at the top of the line at $2,899.99.
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The revised Razer Blade, which addresses a number of the laptop’s long-standing issues and offers a design and set of specifications that, should things hold up in real-world use, might well be the greatest portable gaming laptop ever, appears to be an interesting, new take on the current model overall.