The latest lot of gaming laptops have finally hit our shores. Last year it was all about squeezing gargantuan GTX 1070 and 1080 cards into laptops. Now, they're smaller, a little quieter, and they even come with ray-tracing.
The inclusion of the RTX cards are the biggest difference this year, bringing the potential of ray-tracing and AI-powered GPU techniques to a laptop. Beyond that, the Advanced Model allows users to expand the RAM and storage after purchase, allowing for a maximum of 64GB 2667Mhz DDR4 RAM and a 2TB SSD.
Razer Blade 15 2019 (Advanced Model)
WHAT IS IT?
Razer's iconic gaming laptop, updated.
Nvidia RTX 2070 Max-Q
16GB DDR4 2667Mhz
512GB NVMe PCIe SSD
15.6-inch Full HD 144Hz, 1920 x 1080 IPS, 100% sRGB
17.8 x 235 x 355mm, 2.1kg (as tested)
$3899 to $5099 ($4399 as tested)
I've updated some of the test suite for 2019. Given that updated Total War is due out very soon, Total Warhammer 2 is out of the testing suite. I've also dropped Ashes of the Singularity, and have focused around a series of games with unique engines that people are more likely to play on a regular basis.
So going forward, expect to see these quite frequently: Monolith's Middle-earth: Shadow of War, the superbly optimised Forza Horizon 4, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and a completely new entrant in The Division 2. 3D Mark's Fire Strike remains a staple for testing as well.
1080p is the maximum resolution of the Blade 15 - the 4K model isn't coming to Australia - and all tests below were run at that resolution. Tests were also run on Nvidia's 419.67 drivers.
You're not hitting that magical 144fps mark, but the combo of the CPU and the RTX 2070 means there's plenty of overhead in current AAA games, and should be fine at 1080p for the next couple of years to come (with some adjustments to presets).
There's two kickers here. As always, the Razer Blade comes at a premium. The model I tested will set you back around $4399, but you can get the same CPU, storage, RAM, high refresh rate screen and GPU for around $3000. Other manufacturers are starting to catch up to Razer with their style and functionality too. MSI's GS65 Stealth line offers similar specs in a 1.9kg chassis, edging closer and closer to making a gaming laptop a comfortable daily driver. ASUS is doing interesting things too, like bringing the keyboard to the front edge of their laptop and implementing a virtual keypad into the touchpad.
The days when the Razer Blade wasn't just a gaming laptop - it was weird, and awesome.
In any case, the modern Blade 15 will definitely get the job done. The RTX 2070 Max-Q model also offers plenty of headroom, which is important if you want to make the most out of that 144Hz screen. But are Razer's design chops so far ahead of the field that people are happy to pay the excess premium?
That question is getting harder and harder to answer. I'll be back with more laptops soon, and I've heard on the grapevine that there's a ton of competition due to be announced at Computex this year. Stay tuned.