Razer Blade 15 review: A real treat if you have the cash

Luxury probably isn’t the first word that comes to mind when you think of gaming laptops, especially with some, shall we say, extra looks with and embedded in their lids. But with its excellent performance, superb build quality, understated design, and a very luxury price, it really does feel like it’s crossed the line into portable gaming opulence.

Design

Now it’s true that the 2022 Blade 15 looks almost identical to previous models, which makes some people feel like it needs a facelift. But even after all these years, I still love the Blade 15’s clean lines and sturdy aluminum chassis. That said, I wish Razer would add full RGB support to the backlit logo on the lid. I know neon green is kind of a Razer thing, but on a premium machine like this, it seems weird that you can’t set it to whatever color you want.

advantages

  • Excellent build quality
  • Lots of setup/display options
  • strong performance
  • New 1080p webcam
  • Previous port selection

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Just OK battery life
  • Patented power plug

The Razer logo on the Blade 15's lid lights up, but you only have one color choice: neon green.

Sam Rutherford/Engadget

Inside, the Blade has a large glass trackpad that’s one of the best you can get on a Windows laptop. New for 2022 are larger keys along with Razer’s signature per-key Chroma lighting. Another subtle design tweak is that instead of having a distinctive cutout for the laptop’s speakers, this year Razer used lasers to etch the grille directly into the deck, improving rigidity while maintaining that minimalist aesthetic. There’s also a new 1080p webcam for 2022, which is a welcome upgrade from the 720p cameras on older systems. And finally, you get a ton 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.

To show

The Blade 15 2022 is available with a variety of display options, including LCD and OLED with refresh rates up to 360Hz.

Sam Rutherford/Engadget

In our, there’s a 15.6-inch 240Hz QHD display, which offers a great balance between size and resolution. I just wish it was a little brighter. Razer says that all Blade LCDs are supposed to pump out around 300 nits of brightness. But using a light meter, I measured closer to 275 nits. That’s fine for most situations, though if you’re in a sunny room, colors may look slightly washed out. Alternatively, Razer offers 144Hz and 360Hz panels on other models. And just this week, Razer announced, so there’s a plethora of screens to choose from.

performance and gaming

Moving on to performance, Razer offers the latest 12th Gen Intel H-series CPUs and Nvidia RTX 30-series GPUs. The downside is that these components are not cheap, with the 2022 Blade 15 from in $2,500 for an i7-12800H, 16GB of RAM, and an RTX 3060 Ti, before hitting $4,000 for a fully loaded model with an i9 chip, 32GB of RAM, and a 3080 Ti.

New for 2022 on the Blade 15 is a 1080p webcam, up from 720p on previous models.

Sam Rutherford/Engadget

Now, I must point out that the configurations top only 1TB of storage. But for those who want even more space, the Blade 15 features two M.2 slots, only one of which is filled out of the box. So if you’re willing to remove the laptop’s bottom panel and SSD cover, throwing in another drive should be pretty straightforward. Just remember to use single-sided modules, because double-sided M.2 sticks won’t fit.

However, you get what you pay for, because Blade 15 can play with the best of them. In Shadow of the Tomb Raider On the highest graphics settings at 1920 x 1080, our Core i7 unit, RTX 3080 Ti hits 124 fps, which is just a touch lower than the , and that’s with its optional $1,400 mobile graphics dock. (That’s a grand total of $3,200 for those keeping score.) Results were similar across other titles as well, with the Blade 15 hitting 86fps on metropolitan exodus on high settings, and 81 fps on force horizon 5 in Ultra.

Battery duration

Due to its robust components, Razer uses a proprietary power connector for the Blade 15 charging brick.

Sam Rutherford/Engadget

Really, the biggest weakness of the Blade 15 (besides its price) is its battery life. In our local video roundup test, it lasted just 5 hours and 42 minutes. That’s similar to what we got from the Asus Flow Z13 (5:38), which, if you recall, is a PC gaming tablet. But compared to more traditional rivals, the Blade 15 lasted three hours less than the (7:57) and four hours less than the And in the real world, it’s not much better. The Blade 15 struggled to make it through two games of team fight tactics back to back, which involved around an hour and 15 minutes of relatively light gameplay. I should also note that when it’s running low on battery, the Blade’s performance suffers as well, with frame rates at Shadow of the Tomb Raider going down to around 45fps.

The other annoyance is Razer’s charging brick. While the proprietary connector is forgivable due to its 230-watt power adapter, its right-angled design means that if you plug it in the wrong way, it will block one or possibly two of the laptop’s USB-A ports. Honestly, high-wattage power delivery over USB-C can’t come soon enough.

To wrap

As expected from Razer, the latest Blade 15 keyboard supports per-key RGB lighting.

Sam Rutherford/Engadget

While the Blade 15 isn’t quite as stylish or portable as the latest generation of 14-inch gaming machines, there’s something to be said for having a great luxury alternative. Sure, it’s really expensive, and its 15.6-inch screen and 4.4-pound body mean you might not be able to throw it in your typical messenger bag. But it has top-notch components, a strong framework that exhibits basically zero flex, and impressive performance in a sleek and (relatively) slim design. Well, aside from that big shiny 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 lug around a giant 17-inch rig. Unlike the ROG Flow Z13, you don’t need to worry about a separate graphics dock to get maximum frame rates. And thanks to a plethora of ports, you can leave all your dongles and adapters at home. So while the Blade 15 doesn’t make sense for someone on a budget, if you have the funds, this thing is a real treat.

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