The Razer Blade 2019 may look identical to the 2018 model, and that’s largely true, but a lot has changed inside to earn the new meteoric price tag.
This year, the most notable change is the introduction of Nvidia RTX graphics to the Razer Blade platform – and to great effect, to be sure – along with surprisingly improved battery life. Plus, the 2019 model finally adopts the Windows Hello infrared camera for secure facial login.
Razer Blade news
This is definitely the most improved Razer Blade laptop to date, but those improvements will certainly cost you. If you can afford it, however, know that Razer has at last made good on a truly complete gaming laptop package.
Here is the 2019 Razer Blade configuration sent to TechRadar for review:
CPU: 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-8750H (hexa-core, 9MB cache, up to 4.10GHz)
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 (8GB GDDR6; MaxQ); Intel UHD Graphics 630
RAM: 16GB DDR4 (2,667MHz)
Screen: 15.6-inch FHD matte (1,920 x 1,080, 144Hz, IPS, 100% sRGB)
Storage: 512GB SSD (NVMe PCIe 3.0 x4)
Ports: 1 x Thunderbolt 3; 3 x USB 3.1; 1 x mini DisplayPort 1.4; 1 x HDMI 2.0; headphone jack
Connectivity: Intel Wireless-AC 9560 (802.11ac); Bluetooth 5.0
Camera: HD webcam with Windows Hello (1MP, 720p)
Weight: 4.63 pounds (2.10kg)
Size: 13.98 x 9.25 x 0.70 inches (355 x 235 x 17.8mm; W x D x H)
Price and availability
For a 15-inch Razer Blade with Nvidia GeForce RTX graphics inside, Razer wants a whopping $2,299.99 (£2,199, AU$3,899) to start. That price gets you a model rocking RTX 2060 graphics that drive a 144Hz, 1080p display paired with 512GB of SSD space.
From there, you can upgrade to an RTX 2070 Max-Q graphics chip paired with just a 256GB SSD for $2,399.99 (£2,399.99, AU$4,099) or with a 512GB SSD for $2,599.99 (£2,449.99, AU$4,399) – both with the same 144Hz Full HD display.
Razer’s RTX 2080 Max-Q graphics option (our review configuration) comes paired with a 512GB SSD for $2,999.99 (£2,849.99, AU$5,099) and drives the very same 1080p display. If you want a 4K display at a 60Hz refresh rate, Razer sells that model with RTX 2070 Max-Q graphics and a 512GB SSD for $2,899.99 (£2,749.99), but not currently in Australia.
Across all of the above options, you’ll find a hexa-core Intel Core i7-8750H processor paired with 16GB of DDR4 memory that can be expanded on your own to up to 64GB. In summary, the Razer Blade is once again one of the most expensive gaming laptops around relative to what’s inside.
For instance, the Razer Blade model with RTX 2070 graphics and a 1080p display costs just as much as a similarly-configured 15.6-inch Gigabyte Aero 15: $2,399.99. However, Gigabyte’s laptop offers a far larger 1TB SSD and larger battery capacity.
Of course, the 17.3-inch Asus ROG Zephyrus GX701 is the most expensive RTX laptop we’ve reviewed yet, starting at $3,299.99 (£3,299.99, about AU$4,600) for the same graphics, processor and memory capacity – but with a larger, 1080p display and a 1TB SSD.
Considering that you can get a gaming laptop with RTX 2060 graphics from Asus or MSI for literally half as much as Razer is charging for a laptop with RTX 2080 graphics (knowing it won’t be nearly as premium of a build), definitely think about how important those graphical gains are to you.
Still clad in the same all-black, unibody aluminum shell, the Razer Blade keeps the exact same angular shape for 2019 that we saw in last year’s model, replete with the more subtle RGB lighting of last year – down to just the keyboard and Razer logo on the lid.
At 0.70 inches (17.8mm) thin, this year’s Razer Blade is marginally thicker than before, but just as hefty at 4.63 pounds (2.10kg). This, too, is a laptop just 14 inches wide with a 15-inch display, thanks to those thinner screen bezels.
Par for the course, the Razer Blade keeps the webcam in its proper position above the screen while implementing narrow bezels. At just 720p, it produces an awfully grainy picture, though it’s serviceable for video calls – just don’t try to broadcast yourself playing games with this webcam.
Razer’s keyboard luckily still feels fantastic, and continues to offer quite forceful feedback for an island-style keyboard. Sadly, Razer still hasn’t fixed the keyboard’s layout problem, with the ‘up’ arrow key sitting between the ‘Shift’ and ‘?’ keys. This makes typing out questions a major pain, accidentally pressing the up arrow and adding a question mark to the line above where we are typing – constantly. We would readily take smaller arrow keys if it led to a more sensible layout otherwise.
As for Razer’s trackpad, it feels similarly excellent, but again is still wracked by one tiny flaw: the tracking surface is a little too close to the laptop’s edge, which causes mild palm rejection issues when navigating the operating system. We haven’t noticed this issue while typing specifically on this year’s model, which is a plus, but for this much cash, the experience should be flawless.
Lastly, we’re glad to see Razer finally bring Windows Hello facial recognition to its Blade webcam array. Unfortunately, it’s not the fastest or most elegant implementation of the feature, being a little slower than other flagship laptops we’ve tested and blasting a garish red light in our faces while scanning.
Razer nailed it all over again with the Razer Blade’s display … because it’s the same display as last year. This is no bad thing. With a matte coating that’s surprisingly effective at deflecting glare, this screen may only be 1080p, but it’s certainly making the most of it.
Much of this beauty comes through the screen’s 144Hz refresh rate, which smooths out the animations and motion by outpacing the frame rates that the GPU inside is capable of. This is the best scenario for Nvidia’s new ray tracing and deep learning supersampling (DLSS) techniques for rendering lighting in games, with dips in frame rate due to these intense features somewhat being buoyed by this refresh rate.
Again, the 100% sRGB color gamut makes for quite a wide variety of colors supported at impressive accuracy and vibrancy. The screen calibration done by Razer on the assembly line helps a lot here, too.
- First reviewed March 2019
- Images Credit: TechRadar