Razer Blade 15-inch 2018: The thin laptop that’s packing a punch
With its 15.6-inch screen and chunky form factor, the 2018 model of Razer’s Blade laptop is designed to look imposing.
But what’s nice about the new form factor is that it makes very good use of the space that’s available to it, with an edge-to-edge display that minimises the two side bezels to avoid any unnecessary bulk.
The same is true of the trackpad, which extends almost all the way from the bottom of the notebook to the keyboard, which is a chiclet rubber dome affair that stops short of the left and right of the laptop’s chassis to make way for a pair of speakers.
So features-wise, the Blade 2018 is packing a lot into a neat chassis. Read on as we dive a little deeper into the laptop’s specs.
There are five main models of the Razer Blade 2018, ranging from £1699 all the way up to £2549.
We’ll get into how these five differ in a moment, but at a glance they range from the base £1699 model, which features a 1080p 60Hz screen, a GTX 1060 GPU, and 256GB of storage, up to the £2549 model which comes packing a 4K screen, GTX 1070, and 512GB of storage.
The new Razer Blade is expected to be available in the UK in mid-June.
Razer Bade 2018 design and features
Compared to Razer’s previous laptops, the Blade 2018 has a much less rounded, and more square design.
When you place it next to the company’s recent smartphone effort, the Razer Phone, the design aesthetic starts to make a lot of sense. Curves are out, and straight lines combined with RGB lighting are in.
But it’s what’s contained within those straight lines that’s important, and the Razer Blade 2018 is packing a lot inside this chunky shell.
There are three different displays for example, ranging from a 1080p 60Hz panel, up to a 144Hz panel at the same resolution, and finally topping out at a 4K screen (which inevitably sacrifices high refresh rates in favour of its beastly resolution).
Then in terms of storage you can choose between 256GB and 512GB, both of which are based off a single M.2 stick.
You’ve got a choice of two different graphics cards: the Nvidia GTX 1060 and GTX 1070 (both Max-Q designed, meaning they’re optimised for both thinness and lightness). Both CPU and RAM are consistent across the range, with an 8th Gen 6-core Intel i7 CPU and 16GB of RAM respectively.
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These are specs that place the Blade purely in gaming territory as opposed to productivity, but if it’s going to be doing gaming then it’s going to do it well.
The core of doing gaming well is a vapour-chamber-based cooling design complete with a pair of fans on its underside, which Razer claims will offer 30% more thermal design power (TDP), meaning that the system should hopefully be able to run at full tilt without having to throttle to keep its components from burning to a crisp.
The bottom of the Blade, showing off the dual-fan design
Obviously, though, we’ll have to wait until we get the laptop for a full review before we can properly evaluate these claims.
In terms of ports you’ve got a fairly standard selection here. There’s a Thunderbolt (type-C), USB 3, HDMI, and Mini DisplayPort on the right along with a Kensington lock, and on the left of the chassis you’ve got a pair of USB 3 type-A ports, a 3.5mm headphone jack and a proprietary power connector.
When we asked Razer why it saw fit to stick with a proprietary connector rather than adopting USB-C, it said simply that USB-C’s maximum power draw wouldn’t be enough to power the laptop, which draws between 200W and 230W of power.
Yes it’s a proprietary connector, but USB-C just doesn’t have the power Razer needs
There’s a small amount of pre-installed software planned for the laptop, but from what we could see it’s all pretty useful stuff. Razer’s Synapse software can be used to set hotkeys, turn on ‘game mode’ (which disables common Windows shortcuts while you’re gaming), and can set the laptop between four different performance modes.
The keyboard is also fully Chroma compatible, so you’ll be able to set up exactly the kind of RGB lightshow as on the rest of Razer’s peripherals.
The Razer Stealth 2018 ticks most of our boxes for a modern premium laptop. It’s sleekly designed, doesn’t waste any space, and is packing exactly the kind of hardware we’d hope to see in a laptop in 2018 (sorry, AMD).
But the real test will come with extended use, when we’ll get to finally see if the cooling solution is as good in practice as it looks on paper.