Tech Review: Razer Blade 2015

December 26, 2016
Posted in Featured, Tech
December 26, 2016 Juddy Allen

Tech Review: Razer Blade 2015

I’ve recently come into possession of a Razer Blade 2015 gaming laptop. (it fell off a truck) Yes that’s razer with an “e”. A relative new comer to the gaming notebook scene, Razer has unbelievably become one of, if not the, top tier laptop maker.

Sitting at 14-inches, and as thick as a dime, and constructed from milled aluminum, it has the look of a sleek Macbook. If someone were unfamiliar with the brand they would probably mistake this laptop as an ultra-portable. While it has a sleek and slim body, it is packing gargantuan massively built muscles. In it’s 14″ form factor sits a true quad-core processor, dedicated graphics, and a QHD+ Sharp IGZO touch screen.  I’m currently typing on a  screen sporting a resolution of 3200×1800. Its beyond a doubt, a very nice looking screen, but at 14 inches, I’d say its overkill, albeit subjective, mine is the opinion, you’d be hard pressed to see the difference between this, and 1080p on a 14″ screen, especially when you account for the awful Windows scaling.

This machine boasts an I7-4720hq processor a true quad-core (eight threads) processor, with a TDP of 45 watts.  At this Level of power consumption, combined with the machines svelte form makes for a powerful machine. Adding to the laptop is the GTX 970m graphics chip, based on the Nvidia Maxwell architecture. A year old now, the chip remains more than powerful enough for anything you throw at it,  with high/ultra details at playable frame-rates. Playable as long as you don’t wish to play any recent gaming titles above the 1080p standard.

The unit comes in two ram configurations: 8, or 16 Gigabytes of plenty fast DDR3.  Mine is equipped with 16GB so i’ve room to multitask like a pro.  The storage is handled by an PCIe SSD, options include 256GB, 512GB, and an incredible 1TB. As with all Solid State Disks the larger they are, the better the write speeds will be. To be honest, its those read speeds that make it special, Booting in 5 seconds is beautiful.

Build quality of the Razer Blade is really what makes its special. other laptop manufacturers offer machines with similar specs but none, other than Apple offer a build this nice. It has a aluminum matte black chassis. Metal top and bottom, with little to no flex anywhere, except perhaps on the bottom panel. where the dual fans have air intake vents. The touch panel equipped version weighs in at a very solid  4.3 lbs. while the 1080p one sits at 4.16 lbs.  The 2015 model has 3 USB type A ports in a quaint Razer green, a 3.5mm combo mic/stereo headphone jack, a regular plain HDMI port without any fancy colors. There is a power jack of course

So you’ve decided to buy an 8 gig model and upgrade the ram yourself. Well, I’ve got some bad news for you. Once you take off the bottom cover, you’ll notice the ram is soldered to the main board, the SSD however, is not. You can upgrade the M.2 PCIe SSD, and probably at a cheaper price than doing so through Razer.

The QHD screen on this laptop is bright without being overly so. at 300 nits of brightness, and 75% Adobe RGB it has the same specs of other high end laptops. The type of screen is what will make movie watchers, and game players smirk a little bit.  Contrast ratios on these types of screens aren’t very high, though they do sport very bright and accurate colors, it may not be best suited for these types of media. Matte screens provide better contrast, great color, and lack the glossy reflections.

The Razer Blade’s keyboard is quite simply my favorite set of keys I’ve ever tapped on. While technically the 1.3mm of key travel is a bit on the short side, the keyboard gives a satisfying click with every stroke. The mouse pad is great too, while not in the same league as Apple’s haptic feedback, and glorious mouse drivers, they are head and shoulders above most any Windows equivalent.

To summarize I love this laptop, and will use it everyday …that is until the 2016, GTX1060 equipped one falls off a truck. Then that one shall be my baby. This one, I’ll remember fondly but will shun because of the throttling issues. You see when you combine a Haswell based I7 processor with a GTX 970m you produce a ton of heat. In a laptop this thin, you simply cannot displace said heat fast enough. The gfx card remains below 80 C.  but the CPU often hits 90 degrees causing the laptop’s fans to kick in, trying their best to get rid of all that hot air.  Sometimes they are unsuccessful, and the processor is required to lower its clocks to lend a hand in lowering temps.  This doesn’t happen too often but, every now and again is often enough. Still, with it’s heat issues I’d consider this laptop a solid purchase and say with confidence if you buy one, you won’t be sorry you did.

 

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Juddy Allen

Avid history enthusiast, especially when drunk, and ranting about liberals. I served in the war, don't you worry about which one. 8 years in the navy did things to me. I refuse to talk to someone when pee'ing, them or me, I often have the urge to check if they're getting it into the bottle. I can hold a note singing for 7 minutes.
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