Supreme build quality
For years, the Razer Blade lineup has been revered as one of the most powerful, compact, and sexy laptops out there. There are laptops that may excel more in one of these three categories, but the Blade has consistently struck that perfect balance of muscle power and exceptional build quality.
The Blade 15 Advanced is Razer’s top-line 15-inch laptop, packing only the highest end Nvidia RTX cards, high end 10th gen Intel processors, a beautiful screen, and a massively satisfying keyboard and trackpad. The end result is something that’s perfect for gaming with the best performance possible. For the few moments you’ll just be using the Blade Advanced as a laptop to travel with, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by its sophisticated yet sturdy build quality, as well.
Hower, there are a few concerns with the Blade 15 Advanced, aside from the price. If you’re primarily interested in a gaming laptop with high refresh rates, then it makes little sense to pay an extra $300 for the 4K 60Hz OLED touchscreen when the $3,000 Blade 15 Advanced version has a 1080P 240Hz panel.
This is also not the best time to buy a flagship gaming laptop, since both Nvidia and AMD are due to release their next generation of graphics processors later this year. The Nvidia RTX 2080 Super is the current top-of-the-line GPU, but it’s also part of the first generation of processors that support ray tracing. It would be surprising if the upcoming generation does not showcase a significant improvement in ray tracing technology over the current generation, to say the least.
About the Razer Blade 15 Advanced (2020)
This laptop stands as one of the best gaming laptops out there, bar none. Most other laptops in this category fail to prioritize both portability and power, instead compromising on one of these qualities in service of the other. However, the Blade 15 Advanced performs well in both categories, thanks to its top-line processors, its slim chassis, and its decent battery life.
To really test how far we could go with the Razer Blade 15 Advanced, we tested the flagship 4K OLED model listed below:
- Processor: Intel Core i7-10875H
- Memory: 16 GB DDR4-2933 MHz
- Storage: 1 TB SSD
- Display: 15.6” OLED 4K Touch 60Hz, factory color calibrated (1080P, 240Hz screen also available)
- Ports: 3 x USB 3.2, 1 x USB-C 3.2, 1 x Thunderbolt 3, 1 x SD Card Reader, 1 x HDMI, 1 x headphone jack
- Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super with Max-Q (RTX 2070 Super also available)
- Wireless: Intel Wireless-AX201, Bluetooth 5.1
- Battery: 80 Watt-hours
- Weight: 4.85 lbs
- Dimensions: 0.70" x 9.25" x 13.98"
- Warranty: 1 year limited warranty
For scale of reference, let’s look at the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 and the MSI Raider GE75, two popular gaming laptops that weigh under six pounds. They’re both notably cheaper than the Razer Blade Advanced, but they’re also not industry leaders in both portability and power.
I love the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14. It’s an amazing gaming laptop with a five-hour battery life, a svelte and compact chassis, and a relatively inexpensive price tag. For the majority of gamers and power users, the Zephyrus G14’s Nvidia RTX 2060 Max-Q, a mid-range GPU, is more than enough power to get through a busy day of high-load tasks. However, if you need a portable monster comparable to a professional game development rig (i.e. something capable of running horribly optimized VR games at 4K 120 FPS), you’ll need to look at something as powerful as the Razer Blade Advanced.
Meanwhile, the MSI Raider GE75 is a fairly thin, powerful gaming laptop thanks to its full-power Nvidia RTX 2070 GPU. Even though it performs nearly as well as the Razer Blade Advanced in every benchmark, the GE75 Raider costs over $1,000 less than the Blade 15 Advanced. Why? It has a much worse screen, a less rugged (but still good!) 17-inch chassis, and most importantly, a whimpering 1.5 hour battery life. Unless you’ll always be next to a power outlet, it’s simply too impractical to truly be a portable all-in-one workstation.
What We Like
The all-aluminum chassis feels like it could survive a hurricane
The Razer Blade 15 Advanced looks like the laptop equivalent of a Doberman Pinscher show dog. While I certainly wouldn’t recommend trying it, I feel that I could hit this laptop with a hammer and it would be fine. I’m sure that this laptop isn’t that durable, but it’s certainly built solidly enough to take the tumble of a daily commute and maybe a few tosses and drops.
This premiumness translates to everything else about the laptop. The keyboard is springy, with smooth matte keycaps that don’t rattle. The trackpad is huge and easy to glide on. The 4K touch screen is a gorgeous and glossy portal to game on.
Inside, the Blade Advanced’s cooling is so efficient that when I played Portal 2, the laptop’s fans never even turned on. Like any laptop, it runs hot when running AutoCAD or Red Dead Redemption 2, but I was impressed that it managed to keep cool enough to sit on my lap for mild gaming—many laptops get noticeably hotter when playing even older games like Portal 2.
All around the sides, there’s also a great collection of ports, including a sturdy power connector that bends at a 90 degree angle and a USB-C Thunderbolt port to connect power, external GPUs, and many other components.
The Blade Advanced performs like a Ferrari
Yes, comparing a top-line laptop to a top-line car is cliche, but hear me out: they’re both mad expensive, mad sexy, and mad powerhouses. The Razer Blade Advanced we tested packed a 4K OLED Touchscreen, an Nvidia RTX 2080 Super Max-Q, an Intel Core i7-10875H, 16GB RAM, and a 1TB SSD. There are technically more specced-out laptops out there with a Core i9 processor or 32GB of RAM, but those laptops are seldom for gaming; the Razer Blade Advanced’s specs are basically the gaming laptop ideal.
Unsurprisingly, the Blade Advanced blazed through our benchmarks, either topping or near-topping our previous bast laptop scores this year. So, here’s the big question: can the Blade Advanced shine in real-world apps and tasks?
The Razer Blade Advanced had the best Intel CPU we’ve tested so far, and the second-best CPU overall, with only the AMD Ryzen 9 in our Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 showing stronger performance. It got 6600 points in Geekbench 5 Multi-Core, compared to the Zephyrus G14’s 7735 points and our Dell XPS 15’s 9th gen Intel Core i9’s score of 6534 points. In Cinebench, the Blade 15 Advanced scored 2882 points, while the Zephyrus G14 scored 3931 points and the Dell XPS 15 scored 2617 points.
In real-world testing, this means that the Blade Advanced’s 10th gen Intel Core i7 is wicked fast and ideal for CPU intensive tasks, from photo and video editing software to grand strategy games. While the Blade Advanced isn’t quite as powerful as a professional-grade desktop workstation, it is absolutely one of the best laptops available for light to moderate video editing on the go.
As for the Blade Advanced’s GPU performance, it scored as well as you’d expect from a machine with a flagship Nvidia RTX 2080 Super Max-Q mobile GPU: it blew the competition away. In 3DMark’s Firestrike benchmark test, the Blade Advanced scored 17,535 points. It was the highest score we’ve seen all year, but we will note that the much cheaper MSI GE75 Raider with an Nvidia RTX 2070 (not the less powerful Max-Q edition) scored 17,434 points. Below that, the ROG Zephyrus G14’s RTX 2060 Max-Q nagged 13,122 points.
When we pitted the Blade Advanced against the MSI Raider and the ROG Zephyrus G14 for gameplay performance, we regularly saw the Blade Advanced give the highest FPS output (except for one game).
In Metro2033 Redux, the Blade Advanced pumped out 123 frames per second at 1080P, followed closely by the MSI Raider’s 116 FPS, and with the ROG Zephyrus G14 trailing behind at 80 FPS. In Metro Exodus, we saw similar results of the Blade Advanced on top, closely followed by the MSI Raider, and the ROG Zephyrus far behind that.
What’s interesting is that in Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the MSI GE75 Raider slightly outperforms the Razer Blade Advanced despite having the weaker GPU. In the Benchmark, with all graphics settings maxed out, the MSI Raider managed to churn at 90 FPS while the Blade Advanced could only run at 83 FPS.
While this would usually suggest that the Blade Advanced is poorly optimized in some way, it was actually Tomb Raider’s fault— the graphics at 1080P were buggy, so we had to run the Blade Advanced’s benchmark at 4K. If it could have run at 1080P, it should have outperformed the GE75 Raider.
However, regardless of the frames the GPU produces, the panel we tested maxes out at 60Hz. If you prefer a high refresh rate to a high resolution, then you should look at the 1080P 240Hz screen, instead. It doesn’t look as crisp as the 4K OLED screen, but it’s still a great screen for both gaming and everyday use.
Its keyboard, trackpad and display are all phenomenal
Unsurprisingly for a $3,000+ machine, its 4K OLED display is stunning to look at. It’s bright, it’s saturated, it’s mostly color-accurate, and it has amazing contrast. It puts my Macbook Pro display to shame, and it’s even touch-enabled.
Sadly, this beauty comes at a cost, as its refresh rate is only 60Hz. A 4K 120Hz display is admittedly a bit too difficult to drive with most modern laptop GPUs, but I feel that the Razer Blade Advanced’s RTX 2080 Super is one of the few that could have taken advantage of having such an advanced display. On the bright side, you can always plug the laptop in to an external monitor of your choice.
While the monitors come factory calibrated for color accuracy, neither display is perfect. While its glossy finish helps the colors pop, it also makes working in bright rooms a little more difficult. The screen is, however, capable of producing 400 nits of white light to counteract this. It also has very rich contrast and saturation ratios, so as long as you don’t catch the sun’s reflection, you should be able to see your screen with no hitches.
Things are much brighter (pun intended) regarding the Blade Advanced’s keyboard. You can customize each key’s RGB LED as you want thanks to the Razer Chroma software. I set my test model to a pink and blue twinkling sky effect.
When you type on the keyboard, you’ll notice the keys are well spaced out, provide excellent travel, are very easy to press on, and provide excellent tactile feedback while remaining quiet. It’s a keyboard that’s just a delight all around, perfectly suited to any task out there.
The trackpad works well, although it’s otherwise unremarkable. It’s large, its surface is smooth and easy to glide across, and it handles grease well. My biggest problem with it is that it’s too sensitive. It often picked up my palm as another finger, triggering several finger gestures as a result. This is fine for people who don’t lay their hands on their chassis, but for people like me, it will cause endless frustration.
It’s a small step forward for the Razer Blade lineup
The Razer Blade Advanced is an amazing laptop that spares no expenses, but so is every other Razer Blade before it. It’s about what we expected for the 2020 top-spec model, so it’s not worth upgrading if you got, say, the top-spec 2019 or 2018 version. That said, while it’s not a revolutionary new step for Razer, it’s still a pleasant upgrade in the lineup, with better performance, display, and battery life than ever.
What We Don’t Like
Do you need this much performance, given the cost?
Yes, the Razer Blade Advanced is one of the top-performing laptops on the market. Yes, it’s beautiful. Yes, it’s comfortable. However, is all it offers worth the $3,299 it will cost you? I can’t answer that for you, but I can suggest points to think about so you can determine whether the Blade Advanced is right for you.
If it’s the combination of power and portability that have drawn you to the Blade Advanced, there are few competitors that can match its fine balance. The biggest concern here is that the extra money for the 4K 60Hz display upgrade is hardly worth it, considering its 1080P display version has a 120Hz refresh rate that’s better suited for gaming.
If you want a machine that’s future-proof for the next decade, I’d wait to purchase a gaming laptop until the end of the year. The Razer Blade 15 Advanced has the most powerful mobile GPU on the market today, but that won’t be true anymore in a few months. Nvidia is only a few months away from releasing its next generation of GPUs, and AMD will likely follow suit.
The Nvidia RTX 2000 series is the first generation of GPUs to support ray tracing. It can be expected that this upcoming generation from both AMD and Nvidia will contain considerable improvements in ray tracing performance, since this technology is so new.
Even if you decide that you don’t want to consider the next generation of graphics processors, waiting until their release will net you some sweet discounts on laptops with Nvidia RTX 2000 series GPUs.
On the other hand, the Razer Blade 15 Advanced’s Intel i7-10875H CPU is probably strong enough to handle the latest AAA game releases for a long while. Graphics performance, and by extension gaming performance, are rarely bottlenecked by the CPU, since they are designed to offload the majority of the work to the GPU. In today’s AAA games, we hardly saw a performance discrepancy between the 10th-gen Intel i7 and the 8th-gen i7.
If you need the most CPU power you can get, you cannot upgrade the Razer Blade 15 Advanced’s processor to a 10th gen Intel Core i9 or an AMD Ryzen 9. For everyone else, it will come down to how the Nvidia RTX 2080 Super’s ray tracing will perform over time.
It has an average battery life for a gaming laptop
When we test laptops, we set them to give the maximum performance possible and we have them cycle through a set of popular web pages until the laptop dies. In a shock to nobody, the Razer Blade 15 Advanced died somewhat quickly when we ran this test, as it managed to live this way for three measly hours.
But the thing about gaming laptops is that they're power hogs, and that goes double for one with a super bright 4K screen. When the Razer Blade 15 Advanced is optimizing for battery life, I can squeeze a few more hours out of it. Its battery isn't beefy enough to survive an entire work day, but it should be enough to leave the power cord in the bag with confidence if you just want to browse the web on a three-hour flight.
In other words, its battery life is nothing revolutionary, but it's also not abhorrently short. It's just enough for quick bursts of YouTube throughout the day.
Razer Synapse is a bit too meddlesome
At this point, if you’ve looked into a Razer product, you know that Razer controls half of the features behind some proprietary software. It’s annoying but expected for something like RGB lighting configuration, but it was a huge problem when attempting to get the best performance out of our Razer Blade 15 Advanced.
For a Windows PCs, Windows 10 gives you power settings that either prioritize battery life or performance. However, Razer Synapse also has its own similar setting, meaning that getting optimal performance from your laptop takes a longer process than usual.
So if you get a Razer Blade of any kind, remember: check Razer Synapse and make sure all performance settings are configured to prioritize performance over power consumption or battery life.
It sounds OK for a $3,000 laptop
The sound was never the selling point of this laptop, but I would expect a premium $3,000 laptop to have great sound anyway. Unfortunately, the Blade Advanced has an unbalanced sound that lacks bass and lower-mids. Should you use headphones, the sound is still not perfect, as it lacks depth and rumble.
You can mitigate the sound imperfections with an external DAC/Amp, but it wouldn’t have cost Razer much money to just integrate a better one into the machine before shipping it.
Should You Buy It
Between its stellar solid-aluminum chassis, its ergonomic keyboard and trackpad, its brilliant display, its slim form factor, and its impeccable performance, there is not much to fault on this laptop. $3,300 is nothing to scoff at, but the Razer Blade Advanced is undeniably one of the best laptops money can buy.
However, if you don’t need the best thing on the market, and you just need something great, there are so many excellent options out there for $2,500 or less. The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 is an awesome $1,449 gaming laptop for people who move around a lot, and the MSI GE66 10SFS (the GE75 Raider’s 15.6-inch cousin) offers an RTX 2070 Super, 32GB of RAM, and a 240 Hz panel in a 0.9-inch thick package for $2,200.
You don’t need to spend $3,300 on a laptop just to get the kind of power the Blade 15 Advanced offers. What that money buys you is not only the power but also the durable build quality, the brilliant display, the excellent keyboard, and a great user experience. If you can buy it, you almost certainly won’t regret it.
Meet the tester
Emily is a staff writer for Reviewed, mainly focused on reviewing laptops and other consumer tech. During her free time, she lives in Hyrule and draws about her adventures.
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