The Razer Blade 15 was one of our favorite midsize gaming laptops of 2018, thanks to a slim, sturdy design, multicolored backlit keyboard, slim bezel and powerful CPU and GPU combinations, topping out at an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070. It also cost a lot, starting at $1,899 and going up to $2,899, putting it out of the range of many.
A new version, keeping the name but making some hardware and design tweaks, is now available, and at a lower starting price of $1,599 (£1,480, AU$2,999). One pleasant surprise is that the new Razer Blade 15 adds support for dual storage drives, both SSD and HDD versions, and it adds Gigabit Ethernet support. Most of the other changes, however, are cost-cutting moves.
The body, while similar, is a hair thicker, at 0.78 inch thick. The cooling system is a simple heat pipe instead of a liquid chamber. The keyboard has a single lighting zone for everything, so while you still get millions of color options, you can only view them one at a time. The biggest hardware cut may be the battery, which goes from an 80Wh capacity to 65Wh.
And if you"re thinking of making this your main gaming rig, note that the graphics card -- always the most important part -- tops out at an Nvidia 1060 Max-Q, not the 1070 available in the more-expensive Razer Blade 15. The 1060 is actually fine for mainstream PC gaming at 1,920x1,080 pixels, but may not be as future-proof as you"d want in a long-term investment.
Similar parts, in a thick, clunky, plastic laptop can be found for $999 or less, so what you"re paying for here is the excellent build quality and design, the slim body, the great screen, the keyboard and lighting features, and the wide storage options. Plus a chance to show off a Razer-branded laptop for less than before.
But if you want to splurge on the "classic" model, which is thinner, has better GPU and screen options, per-key lighting and a better battery, there"s also a new version of that. The hardware is the same, but Razer is now offering the Blade 15 in a Mercury White color, which is a welcome break from all that black and green.
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