Notebookcheck

Razer Blade 15 (i7-8750H, GTX 1070 Max-Q, FHD) Laptop Review

Sebastian Jentsch (translated by Martin Jungowski), 07/05/2018

Overachiever. As a successor to the high-class 14-inch Blade, Razer has introduced a new compact gaming notebook with 15-inch edge-to-edge display. Find out how well the slim gaming notebook performed against its competitors in our extensive review.

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Razer Blade 15

Many manufacturers have tried in the past to combine a high level of performance with decent portability and a sophisticated design, and Razer was one of them. Last year, their 14-inch Blade hit all the right spots. It featured a Kaby Lake CPU combined with a GTX 1060 GPU, and it scored very well not just on Notebookcheck.

This year’s 15.6-inch Blade is the spiritual successor to this 14-inch gaming powerhouse. Thanks to its very narrow bezels, its footprint is almost on a par with regular 14-inch notebooks.

However, a brand-new gaming notebook needs to offer much more - especially when it is carrying the Razer name. Accordingly, the manufacturer has opted to equip the Blade 15 with Intel’s latest Coffee Lake CPU with six cores, and offers two GPUs to choose from: a GTX 1060 Max-Q and a GTX 1070 Max-Q. In the display department, the available options include an FHD and a 4K panel - just like last year. Unlike last year, this year’s panel choices include a 144 Hz option.

The competition is fierce, to say the least. MSI’s GS65 8RF Stealth Thin for example, which is equipped almost identically, Gigabyte’s Aero 15X v8, or the new Schenker Key 15 (Clevo P955ER). All competitors are slim & light gamers - they are less than 20 mm (~0.8”) thick and between 1-2 mm (~0.04” – 0.08”)  thicker than the Blade 15.

As is quite common these days the Razer 15 is offered in various configurations. The base model starts at $1,899 and can be purchased on razer.com, as well as several retailers in Germany, France, Great Britain, the USA, Canada, and China. Our review unit was the more expensive better equipped $2,599 model.

Blade 15 Blade 15 Blade 15 Blade 15 Blade 15
CPU Core i7-8750H Core i7-8750H Core i7-8750H Core i7-8750H Core i7-8750H
GPU GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q
RAM 16 GB DDR4-2666 16 GB DDR4-2666 16 GB DDR4-2666 16 GB DDR4-2666 16 GB DDR4-2666
SSD 256 GB 512 GB 256 GB 512 GB 512 GB
Screen FHD (60 Hz) FHD (144 Hz) FHD (144 Hz) FHD (144 Hz) 4K (Touch, 60 Hz)
Preis $1,899 $2,199 $2,399 $2,599 Euro -
Razer Blade 15 models
Razer Blade 15 models
Razer Blade 15 2018 (Blade Series)
Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q - 8192 MB, Core: 1215 MHz, Memory: 8000 MHz, GDDR5, ForceWare 389.04, Optimus
Memory
16384 MB 
, 2x 8 GB SO-DIMM DDR4-2666, dual-channel, all slots occupied, 32 GB max
Display
15.6 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel 141 PPI, multitouch, LGD05C0, IPS, FHD, 144 Hz, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel HM370
Storage
Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW512HMJP, 512 GB 
, SSD. Slots: 1x M.2 Type 2280
Soundcard
Realtek ALC298 @ Intel Cannon Lake PCH
Connections
3 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 USB 3.1 Gen2, 1 Thunderbolt, 1 HDMI, 2 DisplayPort, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: 1x 3.5 mm combo
Networking
Intel Wireless-AC 9260 (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 5.0
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 17.3 x 355 x 235 ( = 0.68 x 13.98 x 9.25 in)
Battery
80 Wh, 5209 mAh Lithium-Polymer
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: 1 MP (720p)
Additional features
Speakers: 2.0 (Dolby Atmos), Keyboard: Chiclet RGB, Keyboard Light: yes, 230 W power supply, cleaning cloth, manual, Razer Synapse, Razer Chroma, 12 Months Warranty
Weight
2.056 kg ( = 72.52 oz / 4.53 pounds), Power Supply: 670 g ( = 23.63 oz / 1.48 pounds)
Price
2900 EUR

 

Case

Razer’s cases have been highly praised in the past, and the new 17.3 mm (~0.7”) thin case (without rubber feet) is no exception. The conclusion that we first drew back in 2016 with the Razer Blade 14 still stands: solid as a rock.

Quote: “The new Razer Blade is the slimmest gaming notebook of its class. It offers more screen real estate and more performance.”

The case is still an aluminum unibody (sort of) with a removable bottom cover. It is completely sealed off at the top, with just the keys, touchpad, and power button protruding through machined openings.

Rigidity has been very high on Razer’s agenda, and accordingly the case is incredibly warp resistant. In fact, we have barely ever seen such a rigid and solid design. We were completely unable to warp or flex the case - except for the fan vents of course. The display lid turned out to be very resistant to punctiform pressure and only slightly warped when exposed to torsional forces.

The hinge is the icing on the cake. It is almost perfectly balanced, and minor teetering only occurred when we jerked the device around rapidly. The display lid can be opened one-handed.

Razer Blade 15 2018
Razer Blade 15 2018
Razer Blade 15 2018
Razer Blade 15 2018
Razer Blade 15 2018
Razer Blade 15 2018
Razer Blade 15 2018
Razer Blade 15 2018
Razer Blade 15 2018
Razer Blade 15 2018
Razer Blade 15 2018
Razer Blade 15 2018
Razer Blade 15 2018
Razer Blade 15 2018
Razer Blade 15 2018
Razer Blade 15 2018
Razer Blade 15 2018

By and large, the design has definitely become more square-edged - gone are the bevelled and rounded edges of the 14-inch predecessor. The matte-black design with the green Razer logo on the display lid and the almost coy inside have remained unchanged. Design-wise, the nigh bezel-less display makes for a brand-new look.

The keyboard’s Razer Chroma backlight can be widely adjusted with profiles, according to the time of day, or current usage.

Razer Blade 15 2018
Razer Blade 15 2018
Razer Blade 15 2018
Razer Blade 15 2018
Razer Blade 15 2018
Razer Blade 15 2018
Razer Blade 15 2018
Razer Blade 15 2018

The new Blade 15 is just 10 mm (~0.4”) wider than its Blade 14 predecessor and just as deep, but 0.7 mm (~0.03”) slimmer. You can deselect all other competitors in order to see a direct comparison between the old and the new in our Size Comparison chart below.

The 18 mm (~0.7”) slim MSI GS65 is slightly deeper and wider than the Blade 15, as is Gigabyte’s Aero 15X. The Asus GM501 and Schenker Key 15 are significantly bigger due to their wider display bezels.

Please note that we had the GTX 1070 SKU in review. The GTX 1060 model is slightly lighter and at just 16.8 mm (~0.66”) also slimmer.

small, medium, large: Blade Stealth, Blade 15, Blade Pro
small, medium, large: Blade Stealth, Blade 15, Blade Pro

Size Comparison

Connectivity

Ports

The selection of ports has remained largely identical to its predecessor. In other words: it still lacks a card reader and an RJ45 Ethernet port but in return now offers a MiniDisplayPort 1.4 in addition to HDMI 2.0. Professionals and gamers alike will approve of the fact that thanks to Thunderbolt 3, the new Blade 15 can drive up to three external displays simultaneously.

The USB-C Gen2 port supports Thunderbolt 3 and can be used to connect external GPUs such as the Razer Core X or V2. It is also much faster than regular USB 3.1 Gen1. The notebook features three regular USB-A 3.0 ports, an audio combo jack for headset and microphone, and a Kensington lock.

Port distribution was certainly a big plus. Given that all ports are located towards the rear of the device they will most likely not get in the way of a mouse hand, neither left nor right.

left: power, 2x USB-A 3.0, audio combo jack
left: power, 2x USB-A 3.0, audio combo jack
right: Thunderbolt 3, USB-A 3.0, HDMI 2.0, MiniDisplayPort 1.4, Kensington lock
right: Thunderbolt 3, USB-A 3.0, HDMI 2.0, MiniDisplayPort 1.4, Kensington lock

Communication

Wi-Fi performance is of utmost importance given the lack of Ethernet connectivity. Previous Razer notebooks were equipped with a Killer Wireless-AC 1535 modem, the new model features Intel’s Wireless-AC 9260 with Bluetooth 5.0 instead. It performed on a par with Killer’s Wireless-AC 1550 (MSI GS65 & Schenker Key 15) and Intel’s Wireless-AC 9560 (Asus GM501). The at this point in time almost ancient Wireless-AC 8265 modem in Gigabyte’s Aero 15X failed to keep up with its competitors when transmitting data.

The built-in webcam (1 MP/720p) with its microphone array is plain fare that can be found on pretty much every other regular notebook as well. Unlike Dell's XPS the Blade’s webcam remained at the top of the display. Accordingly, chat partners are not forced to look up your mouth or nostrils.

Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Schenker Key 15 Coffee Lake
Killer Wireless-AC 1550 Wireless Network Adapter
685 MBit/s ∼100% +1%
Asus Zephyrus M GM501
Intel Wireless-AC 9560
683 MBit/s ∼100% 0%
Gigabyte Aero 15X v8
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
682 MBit/s ∼100% 0%
Razer Blade 15 2018
Intel Wireless-AC 9260
681 MBit/s ∼99%
MSI GS65 8RF-019DE Stealth Thin
Killer Wireless-AC 1550 Wireless Network Adapter
660 MBit/s ∼96% -3%
Average of class Gaming
  (141 - 702, n=145)
591 MBit/s ∼86% -13%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Schenker Key 15 Coffee Lake
Killer Wireless-AC 1550 Wireless Network Adapter
677 MBit/s ∼100% +5%
MSI GS65 8RF-019DE Stealth Thin
Killer Wireless-AC 1550 Wireless Network Adapter
662 MBit/s ∼98% +3%
Razer Blade 15 2018
Intel Wireless-AC 9260
643 MBit/s ∼95%
Asus Zephyrus M GM501
Intel Wireless-AC 9560
585 MBit/s ∼86% -9%
Average of class Gaming
  (213 - 691, n=145)
521 MBit/s ∼77% -19%
Gigabyte Aero 15X v8
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
379 MBit/s ∼56% -41%

Security

The notebook features a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 2.0 and a Kensington lock. Unfortunately, it lacks a fingerprint reader.

Software

Included with the Blade 15 is Razer’s cloud-based configuration tool named Razer Synapse 3. All settings, such as performance profiles, keyboard backlight, (Razer) periphery settings, and other things are saved online and can be restored at any time. For example, on a LAN party where you only brought part of your equipment.

In addition, you receive a software and gaming bundle for a limited time, which, among other things includes VR games such as “Arizona Sunshine” or the popular “Cuphead”. According to Razer, this bundle is worth more than $100.

The downside is that Razer Synapse requires an online account, which we consider unnecessary.

Razer Synapse
Razer Synapse
Razer Synapse
Razer Synapse
Razer Synapse
Razer Synapse
Razer Synapse
Razer Synapse
Razer Synapse
Razer Synapse

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BIOS

The notebook’s BIOS setup is similar to that of other gaming notebooks. Compared to desktop PCs and motherboards it is fairly limited.

BIOS
BIOS
BIOS
BIOS
BIOS

Warranty

By default, Razer sells its notebooks with a 12-month limited warranty.

Maintenance

Maintenance is fairly straightforward, and all it requires is a Torx T5 screwdriver. Once a total of 10 screws have been undone the entire bottom cover can be removed. The inside features a complex cooling system with two fans (CPU and GPU are soldered onto the motherboard) as well as the rest of the internal hardware. More specifically: two DDR4 slots, the Wi-Fi modem, and the battery that is held in place by screws. A single M.2 slot is pretty poor for a 15.6-inch device, especially considering that in favor of a bigger battery the notebook lacks a 2.5-inch drive bay.

Razer Blade 15 2018
Razer Blade 15 2018
Razer Blade 15 2018
Razer Blade 15 2018
Razer Blade 15 2018
Razer Blade 15 2018
Razer Blade 15 2018
Razer Blade 15 2018

Scope of Supply

Not much can be found in the Razer 15’s box. A microfiber cleaning cloth and a small user guide - that is it. The GTX 1070 model’s power supply is a 670 g (1.5 lb) heavy 230-W unit measuring 17 x 7 x 2.5 cm (6.7” x 2.8” x 1”) while the GTX 1060’s power supply is just 200 W. For a Max-Q notebook, a 230 W power supply seems quite excessive. Clevo includes a 150-W power supply with its P955ER Barebone (which in return is rather on the low-end).

Accessories

Razer’s eGPU case is obviously compatible, and so is the cheaper Core X. After all, the price of $499 for the Razer Core V2 certainly scared off many potential buyers, especially considering that a GPU is not even included in this price. The new box supports the latest Nvidia GeForce and AMD Quadro, XConnect, and Radeon (Pro) chips. Reboots are not necessary thanks to Thunderbolt plug & play.

The Core X has quite a few benefits over the Core V2:

  • Lower price ($299 instead of $499)
  • Standard 650-W ATX power supply (before: 500-W slim)
  • 100-W laptop charging (before: 65-W)
  • GPU width up to 3 slots (before: 2.2 slots)

The downside: the Core X lacks the V2’s USB and Ethernet ports, and can thus no longer be used as a docking station for additional peripherals.

Other accessories include a 15.6-inch protective sleeve and a laptop stand named Chroma which features three USB ports.

Razer Core X versus Razer Core V2
Razer Core X versus Razer Core V2
The new Razer Core X is much cheaper ...
The new Razer Core X is much cheaper ...
... but cannot be used for additional peripheral anymore.
... but cannot be used for additional peripheral anymore.

Input Devices

Keyboard

The width of the keyboard is absolutely identical to its predecessor’s, the Blade 14’s. Considering the Razer 15’s almost identical footprint this did not really surprise us.

The keyboard itself was very stiff and evenly robust. The force required to bend it inwards in the middle is much higher than what you would normally see during regular typing sessions.

Key travel is fairly short, and feedback is well defined but not particularly firm. Key stroke is only slightly cushioned and thus rather stiff. Overall, we would have preferred a more defined and better feedback. Keyboard clatter was average, and thus neither particularly loud nor particularly quiet.

As mentioned before the anti-ghosting keyboard features the Razer Chroma backlight with more than 16.8 million colors, and can be individually configured via the included Razer Synapse software.

The (German) keyboard layout was not ideal. Due to the extra FN key at the bottom right, the arrow keys had to be moved leftwards, which led to occasional mistakes even after a significant amount of getting-used-to time. A key’s secondary assignment was almost impossible to decipher due to the fact that it was not backlit and printed in a light Gray. In slightly dark environments it became almost impossible to read.

All things considered the keyboard was decent, but far from perfect.

The Razer Chroma keyboard backlight can be adjusted based on activity.
The Razer Chroma keyboard backlight can be adjusted based on activity.

Touchpad

The Blade 15 no longer features its predecessor’s dedicated mouse buttons. While some traditionalists will certainly mourn their abstinence the technical development is all but impossible to resist, as can be seen on MSI's and Gigabyte's notebooks as well. At least the touchpad is a Microsoft Precision ClickPad.

Thanks to its large size of 13 x 8 cm (5.1” x 3.2”) it was very pleasant to use, and it turned out to be very smooth and responsive. Multitouch worked flawlessly - zooming and two-finger scrolling worked every time during our test period.

Display

FHD (left) and 4K Touch (right)
FHD (left) and 4K Touch (right)

The Blade 15 is available with three different panel options: two FHD (1920x1080) and one 4K (3840x2160) panel. The more expensive FHD panel features a 144 Hz refresh rate, which makes for a smoother overall gaming and multimedia experience. Razer has opted against G-Sync in order to increase battery life.

The 4K panel offers a touch layer and is supposed to cover AdobeRGB completely. As such, it is clearly geared towards professionals and creative users while gamers will be better off with the FHD panel.

286
cd/m²
280
cd/m²
307
cd/m²
274
cd/m²
290
cd/m²
304
cd/m²
251
cd/m²
261
cd/m²
280
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 307 cd/m² Average: 281.4 cd/m² Minimum: 13 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 82 %
Center on Battery: 290 cd/m²
Contrast: 967:1 (Black: 0.3 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 2.85 | 0.8-29.43 Ø6.3, calibrated: 1.39
ΔE Greyscale 2.4 | 0.64-98 Ø6.6
94% sRGB (Argyll 3D) 60% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.34
Razer Blade 15 2018
LGD05C0, IPS, 1920x1080
Gigabyte Aero 15X v8
LGD05C0, IPS, 1920x1080
MSI GS65 8RF-019DE Stealth Thin
AU Optronics B156HAN08.0 (AUO80ED), IPS, 1920x1080
Schenker Key 15 Coffee Lake
LGD05C0, IPS, 1920x1080
Asus Zephyrus M GM501
AUO B156HAN07.1 (AUO71ED), IPS, 1920x1080
Response Times
5%
-5%
10%
38%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
17.2 (8.8, 8.4)
16.8 (8.4, 8.4)
2%
17.6 (9.2, 8.4)
-2%
15.2 (7.6, 7.6)
12%
6.6 (3.4, 3.2)
62%
Response Time Black / White *
12 (6.8, 5.2)
11.2 (6, 5.2)
7%
12.8 (7.6, 5.2)
-7%
11.2 (6, 5.2)
7%
10.4 (5.2, 5.2)
13%
PWM Frequency
Screen
19%
7%
1%
-30%
Brightness middle
290
313
8%
254
-12%
309
7%
307
6%
Brightness
281
300
7%
262
-7%
291
4%
296
5%
Brightness Distribution
82
78
-5%
89
9%
91
11%
89
9%
Black Level *
0.3
0.33
-10%
0.22
27%
0.31
-3%
0.25
17%
Contrast
967
948
-2%
1155
19%
997
3%
1228
27%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
2.85
1.29
55%
2.37
17%
2.96
-4%
5.74
-101%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
6.27
2.04
67%
4.71
25%
5.14
18%
11.32
-81%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 calibrated *
1.39
1.84
-32%
1.41
-1%
1.94
-40%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
2.4
0.69
71%
1.58
34%
2.88
-20%
6.44
-168%
Gamma
2.34 103%
2.43 99%
2.48 97%
2.33 103%
2.48 97%
CCT
6718 97%
6550 99%
6785 96%
6725 97%
8395 77%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
60
60
0%
60
0%
60
0%
60
0%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
94
94
0%
92
-2%
93
-1%
93
-1%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
12% / 17%
1% / 5%
6% / 3%
4% / -19%

* ... smaller is better

According to Razer, every single panel is individually calibrated as part of the manufacturing process. Unfortunately, the results of our tests do not support this claim. Our review unit’s 144 Hz LGD05C0 panel showed very similar DeltaE deviations for grayscale and colors as the Schenker Key 15’s exact same panel.

In terms of color accuracy the Blade 15 was unable to keep up with the X-Rite Pantone certified Gigabyte Aero 15X (also equipped with the same LGC05C0 panel). Subjectively, the display seemed fairly natural and accurate out of the box.

CalMAN: grayscale
CalMAN: grayscale
CalMAN: saturation
CalMAN: saturation
CalMAN: ColorChecker
CalMAN: ColorChecker
CalMAN: grayscale (calibrated)
CalMAN: grayscale (calibrated)
CalMAN: saturation (calibrated)
CalMAN: saturation (calibrated)
CalMAN: ColorChecker (calibrated)
CalMAN: ColorChecker (calibrated)

Our measurements returned results very similar to the other identically equipped devices. All three notebooks offered a contrast ratio of around 1,000:1, a black level of 0.3 nits, and an average maximum brightness of just 280 nits; not enough for outdoor, but certainly enough for indoor usage.

Like many of its competitors, the Blade 15’s display also suffered from some screen bleeding. Our review unit showed minor halations in the bottom left corner in particular.

Razer Blade 15 vs. sRGB (94%)
Razer Blade 15 vs. sRGB (94%)
minor screen bleeding
minor screen bleeding
Razer Blade 15 vs. AdobeRGB (60%)
Razer Blade 15 vs. AdobeRGB (60%)

Response times, on the other hand, were top notch. Just 12 ms for black-to-white and 17.2 ms for gray-to-gray are impressive for an IPS display. A TN panel would offer even shorter response times at the expense of viewing angles. Speaking of which: those were absolutely perfect on the Blade 15.

outdoors
outdoors
subpixel geometry
subpixel geometry
viewing angles
viewing angles

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
12 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 6.8 ms rise
↘ 5.2 ms fall
The screen shows good response rates in our tests, but may be too slow for competitive gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 8 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (25.9 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
17.2 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 8.8 ms rise
↘ 8.4 ms fall
The screen shows good response rates in our tests, but may be too slow for competitive gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 6 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (41.5 ms).

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM not detected

In comparison: 54 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 10647 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 588200) Hz was measured.

Performance

Razer has equipped its Blade 15 with a Coffee Lake hexa-core CPU. The Core i7-8750H features 9 MB of L3 cache and is specified at 45-W TDP - just like its quad-core Kaby Lake predecessors.

The 14 nm chip’s high core count becomes of particular advantage in parallelized application loads. For example, the older Core i7-7700HQ (Razer Blade 2017) is outperformed by more than 30% in the Cinebench R15 multi-core test.

While other CPUs are not available, Razer does offer two different GPUs: a GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q and a GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q. Both GPUs are optimized for thermal management instead of performance.

By default, the Blade 15 is equipped with 16 GB of DDR4 RAM (2x 8 GB), which can be upgraded to 32 GB. Storage options include a 256 or 512 GB M.2-2280 NVMe SSD, and can be upgraded up to 2 TB.

CPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
HWiNFO
GPU-Z
AS SSD Benchmark
CrystalDiskMark
LatencyMon

Processor

Intel’s Core i7-8750H is one of the most powerful notebook CPUs currently available. The hexa-core processor runs at a base clock speed of 2.2 GHz and can turbo boost up to 4.1 GHz, depending on load and performance mode. The latter can be selected in the Synapse software, and users can choose between Balanced and Gaming. Due to the notebook’s overly excessive noise emissions under load we have opted for the Balanced option.

single-core rendering (performance mode: Balanced)
single-core rendering (performance mode: Balanced)
single-core rendering (performance mode: Gaming)
single-core rendering (performance mode: Gaming)
multi-core rendering (performance mode: Balanced)
multi-core rendering (performance mode: Balanced)
multi-core rendering (performance mode: Gaming)
multi-core rendering (performance mode: Gaming)
Performance Mode Balanced Performance Mode Gaming
single-core rendering Cinebench R15 3,000 - 4,100 MHz (avg. 4,000 MHz) 3,900 - 4,100 MHz (avg. 4,000 MHz)
multi-core rendering Cinebench R15 2,500 - 3,600 MHz (avg. 2,900 MHz) 2,800 - 3,900 MHz (avg. 3,200 MHz)
GPU loadUnigine Heaven 4.0 2,200 - 4,000 MHz (avg. 3,700 MHz) 2,200 - 4,000 MHz (avg. 3,900 MHz)

As can be seen in the table above turbo boost is applied rather cautiously. Accordingly, all competitors are faster in Cinebench R11.5’s and R15’s multi-core tests. The Asus GM501 in particular benefitted from its thicker chassis.

Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
Gigabyte Aero 15X v8
Intel Core i7-8750H
175 Points ∼100% +2%
MSI GS65 8RF-019DE Stealth Thin
Intel Core i7-8750H
175 Points ∼100% +2%
Schenker Key 15 Coffee Lake
Intel Core i7-8750H
175 Points ∼100% +2%
Razer Blade 15 2018
Intel Core i7-8750H
172 Points ∼98%
Asus Zephyrus M GM501
Intel Core i7-8750H
170 Points ∼97% -1%
Average of class Gaming
  (79 - 206, n=384)
150 Points ∼86% -13%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Asus Zephyrus M GM501
Intel Core i7-8750H
1168 Points ∼100% +19%
Gigabyte Aero 15X v8
Intel Core i7-8750H
1133 Points ∼97% +15%
Schenker Key 15 Coffee Lake
Intel Core i7-8750H
1103 Points ∼94% +12%
MSI GS65 8RF-019DE Stealth Thin
Intel Core i7-8750H
1053 Points ∼90% +7%
Razer Blade 15 2018
Intel Core i7-8750H
983 Points ∼84%
Average of class Gaming
  (196 - 1408, n=385)
719 Points ∼62% -27%
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit
MSI GS65 8RF-019DE Stealth Thin
Intel Core i7-8750H
2 Points ∼100% +3%
Schenker Key 15 Coffee Lake
Intel Core i7-8750H
1.99 Points ∼100% +2%
Gigabyte Aero 15X v8
Intel Core i7-8750H
1.98 Points ∼99% +2%
Razer Blade 15 2018
Intel Core i7-8750H
1.95 Points ∼98%
Asus Zephyrus M GM501
Intel Core i7-8750H
1.92 Points ∼96% -2%
Average of class Gaming
  (0.71 - 2.34, n=386)
1.661 Points ∼83% -15%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Asus Zephyrus M GM501
Intel Core i7-8750H
13.29 Points ∼100% +26%
Gigabyte Aero 15X v8
Intel Core i7-8750H
12.93 Points ∼97% +23%
Schenker Key 15 Coffee Lake
Intel Core i7-8750H
12.55 Points ∼94% +19%
MSI GS65 8RF-019DE Stealth Thin
Intel Core i7-8750H
11.82 Points ∼89% +12%
Razer Blade 15 2018
Intel Core i7-8750H
10.51 Points ∼79%
Average of class Gaming
  (1.13 - 15.8, n=487)
7.04 Points ∼53% -33%

The Blade 15 did not do particularly well in our Cinebench loop. Like most other Coffee Lake notebooks, performance suffered immensely after the first iteration. Accordingly, the difference between a Coffee Lake and a usually more consistent Kaby Lake notebook dwindles.

0102030405060708090100110120130140150160170180190200210220230240250260270280290300310320330340350360370380390400410420430440450460470480490500510520530540550560570580590600610620630640650660670680690700710720730740750760770780790800810820830840850860870880890900910920930940950960970Tooltip
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64 Bit
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.95 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
10.51 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
172 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
983 Points
Help

System Performance

All GTX 1070-equipped notebooks performed very similarly. In both, PCMark 8 and PCMark 10, the largest disparity between the fastest and the slowest contender was a meager 4%. Boot times were very short thanks to the Blade 15’s fast PCIe SSD.

PCMark 10 - Score
Schenker Key 15 Coffee Lake
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, Samsung SSD 970 EVO 500GB
5213 Points ∼100% +3%
Asus Zephyrus M GM501
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 8750H, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
5194 Points ∼100% +3%
MSI GS65 8RF-019DE Stealth Thin
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ-000L7
5095 Points ∼98% +1%
Gigabyte Aero 15X v8
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
5059 Points ∼97% 0%
Razer Blade 15 2018
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW512HMJP
5046 Points ∼97%
Average of class Gaming
  (2603 - 6620, n=88)
4917 Points ∼94% -3%
PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2
Schenker Key 15 Coffee Lake
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, Samsung SSD 970 EVO 500GB
5687 Points ∼100% +1%
Gigabyte Aero 15X v8
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
5676 Points ∼100% +1%
Asus Zephyrus M GM501
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 8750H, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
5662 Points ∼100% 0%
Razer Blade 15 2018
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW512HMJP
5637 Points ∼99%
MSI GS65 8RF-019DE Stealth Thin
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ-000L7
5621 Points ∼99% 0%
Average of class Gaming
  (2484 - 6515, n=285)
4877 Points ∼86% -13%
Home Score Accelerated v2
MSI GS65 8RF-019DE Stealth Thin
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ-000L7
4665 Points ∼100% 0%
Razer Blade 15 2018
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW512HMJP
4658 Points ∼100%
Asus Zephyrus M GM501
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 8750H, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
4627 Points ∼99% -1%
Schenker Key 15 Coffee Lake
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, Samsung SSD 970 EVO 500GB
4510 Points ∼97% -3%
Gigabyte Aero 15X v8
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
4504 Points ∼97% -3%
Average of class Gaming
  (2554 - 6093, n=300)
4188 Points ∼90% -10%
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
4658 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
5637 points
Help

Storage Devices

Our review unit was equipped with a Samsung SSD, and the PM961 is one of the fastest M.2 SSDs currently available. On paper, Toshiba’s 512 GB SSD that can be found in Gigabyte’s Aero 15X was unable to keep up in most situations. The MSI GS65 (Samsung PM981) and Asus GM501 (Samsung SM961) were just as fast as the Blade 15, and the Schenker Key 15 (Samsung 970 EVO) turned out to be slightly faster. Subjectively speaking all devices were comparably fast.

Razer Blade 15 2018
Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW512HMJP
Gigabyte Aero 15X v8
Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
MSI GS65 8RF-019DE Stealth Thin
Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ-000L7
Schenker Key 15 Coffee Lake
Samsung SSD 970 EVO 500GB
Asus Zephyrus M GM501
Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
AS SSD
-28%
4%
29%
-4%
Score Total
3806
2536
-33%
4122
8%
4701
24%
3649
-4%
Score Write
1450
939
-35%
2051
41%
2200
52%
1446
0%
Score Read
1584
1092
-31%
1346
-15%
1661
5%
1471
-7%
4K Write
93.55
80.44
-14%
107.15
15%
131.9
41%
90.23
-4%
4K Read
46.45
23.36
-50%
48.94
5%
53.59
15%
43.42
-7%
Seq Write
1520.94
1163.11
-24%
1834.04
21%
2325.46
53%
1580.23
4%
Seq Read
2375.98
2212.97
-7%
1266.1
-47%
2685.36
13%
2090.99
-12%
Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW512HMJP
CDM 5/6 Read Seq Q32T1: 3280 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Write Seq Q32T1: 1527 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Read 4K Q32T1: 342.5 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Write 4K Q32T1: 296.2 MB/s
CDM 5 Read Seq: 1371 MB/s
CDM 5 Write Seq: 1483 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Read 4K: 39.23 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Write 4K: 94.15 MB/s

GPU Performance

Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1070 is slightly thwarted by the Max-Q design, but the DirectX 12 CPU is still a perfect match for games. In 3DMark 13’s Fire Strike, the Blade 15 was trailing the Asus GM501’s standard GTX 1070 by just 8% (3DMark 11: 9%).

Unigine Heaven 4.0 (performance mode: Balanced)
Unigine Heaven 4.0 (performance mode: Balanced)
Unigine Heaven 4.0 (performance mode: Gaming)
Unigine Heaven 4.0 (performance mode: Gaming)
Render test GPU-Z (performance mode: Balanced)
Render test GPU-Z (performance mode: Balanced)
Render test GPU-Z (performance mode: Gaming)
Render test GPU-Z (performance mode: Gaming)
Performance Mode Balanced Performance Mode Gaming
Unigine Heaven 4.0 Benchmark 1,354 MHz (core) / 8,000 MHz (VRAM) 1,405 MHz (core) / 8,600 MHz (VRAM)
Render test GPU-Z 1,544 MHz (core) / 8,000 MHz (VRAM) 1,633 MHz (core) / 8,600 MHz (VRAM)
The Witcher 3 (Full-HD / Ultra) 1,380 MHz (core) / 8,000 MHz (VRAM) 1,430 MHz (core) / 8,600 MHz (VRAM)

Unlike the CPU whose turbo boost characteristics were rather disappointing, the GPU did very well in this respect. Of all Max-Q devices the Blade 15 scored the highest 3DMark scores, and it more often than not was also the fastest in the gaming benchmarks as well.

Enabling the Gaming performance profile in Razer’s Synapse software overclocks the Blade 15’s GTX 1070. Instead of 1,544 MHz the core runs at 1,633 MHz (base speed 1,215 MHz), and the 8 GB large GDDR5 VRAM runs at 8,600 instead of 8,000 MHz. Accordingly, performance benefitted from this setting. In 3DMark 11, the overclocked GTX 1070 scored 17,251 instead of 14,676 points (+18%). In addition to the GPU, the CPU is overclocked in this particular performance profile as well.

3DMark - 1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
Asus Zephyrus M GM501
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
17046 Points ∼100% +8%
Razer Blade 15 2018
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q
15748 Points ∼92%
Gigabyte Aero 15X v8
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q
15156 Points ∼89% -4%
MSI GS65 8RF-019DE Stealth Thin
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q
14780 Points ∼87% -6%
Schenker Key 15 Coffee Lake
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q
14146 Points ∼83% -10%
Average of class Gaming
  (385 - 40636, n=415)
10147 Points ∼60% -36%
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU
Asus Zephyrus M GM501
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
21925 Points ∼100% +10%
Razer Blade 15 2018
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q
19969 Points ∼91%
Gigabyte Aero 15X v8
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q
19162 Points ∼87% -4%
MSI GS65 8RF-019DE Stealth Thin
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q
18687 Points ∼85% -6%
Schenker Key 15 Coffee Lake
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q
17680 Points ∼81% -11%
Average of class Gaming
  (513 - 50983, n=487)
11630 Points ∼53% -42%
3DMark 11 Performance
14676 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
26862 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
12707 points
Help

Periods of sustained loads were no problem for the Blade 15’s GTX 1070 Max-Q whatsoever. In our 60-minute long “The Witcher 3” loop (FHD/Ultra) GPU boost was utilized throughout the entire test. On average, the GPU ran at 1,380 MHz (1,430 MHz in the Gaming profile) - a highly respectable performance given the Blade’s very slim case.

012345678910111213141516171819202122232425262728293031323334353637383940414243444546474849505152535455565758Tooltip
The Witcher 3 ultra

Gaming Performance

The GeForce GTX 1070 is powerful enough to run current games in the display’s native FHD resolution at high to maximum details. Even demanding games such as “Kingdom Come Deliverance or “The Evil Within 2” ran at a minimum of 50 FPS. Less demanding games, such as “Rocket League”, even ran at more than 100 FPS and benefitted from the panel’s high 144 Hz refresh rate.

The Witcher 3 - 1920x1080 Ultra Graphics & Postprocessing (HBAO+)
Asus Zephyrus M GM501
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 8750H
59.4 fps ∼100% +11%
Razer Blade 15 2018
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H
53.5 fps ∼90%
MSI GS65 8RF-019DE Stealth Thin
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H
52.7 fps ∼89% -1%
Gigabyte Aero 15X v8
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H
52.4 fps ∼88% -2%
Schenker Key 15 Coffee Lake
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H
50.2 fps ∼85% -6%
Schenker Key 15 Coffee Lake
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H
49.8 fps ∼84% -7%
Average of class Gaming
  (12.6 - 115, n=188)
45 fps ∼76% -16%

The Blade 15 would easily be able to handle most games at WQHD (2560x1440) as well. 4K (3840x2160), on the other hand, would be too much for the GPU. Accordingly, the FHD panel is the better choice for gamers.

low med. high ultra
The Witcher 3 (2015) 99.453.5fps
Resident Evil 7 (2017) 142117fps
Rocket League (2017) 196fps
Playerunknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) (2017) 12084.6fps
F1 2017 (2017) 11279fps
Middle-earth: Shadow of War (2017) 9171fps
The Evil Within 2 (2017) 51.550.5fps
ELEX (2017) 94.173fps
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus (2017) 97.491.8fps
Call of Duty WWII (2017) 11094fps
Kingdom Come: Deliverance (2018) 70.253.3fps

Emissions

System Noise

System noise is one of the most obvious challenges for all gaming notebooks, particularly those that are very slim. When idle, the Blade 15 was still decently and pleasantly quiet. The fans were off most of the time, and more often than not the laptop was completely silent. From up close we noticed a very minor coil whine, but it was inaudible from a normal seating distance.

Low load workloads, such as office tasks, watching videos, or browsing the web, caused the fans to rev up occasionally. However, under medium workloads (for example, installing Windows updates or other software, booting, launching applications, etc.) the notebook’s cooling system became increasingly obnoxious and more than just noticeable.

System noise when idle
System noise when idle
System noise under load
System noise under load
Noise level speakers
Noise level speakers

As expected, all hell broke loose in 3D workloads. A maximum of 46-49 dB(A) is very loud considering the Max-Q design. The Schenker Key 15 and Gigabyte Aero 15X (with the fan profile set to Gaming) were even louder while the MSI GS65 was significantly quieter under load. Considering this already borderline noise profile we advise you to avoid the Gaming performance profile on the Blade 15. Otherwise, the device will cross the 50 dB(A) line.

Noise Level

Idle
29 / 30 / 38 dB(A)
Load
46 / 46 dB(A)
  red to green bar
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Audix TM1, Arta (15 cm distance)   environment noise: 29 dB(A)
Razer Blade 15 2018
8750H, GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q
Gigabyte Aero 15X v8
8750H, GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q
MSI GS65 8RF-019DE Stealth Thin
8750H, GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q
Schenker Key 15 Coffee Lake
8750H, GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q
Asus Zephyrus M GM501
8750H, GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
Average of class Gaming
 
Noise
-4%
4%
-5%
-2%
-1%
off / environment *
29
29
-0%
30
-3%
30
-3%
29
-0%
29.5 (27.7 - 32, n=192)
-2%
Idle Minimum *
29
30
-3%
30
-3%
31
-7%
30
-3%
31.6 (28 - 41.7, n=613)
-9%
Idle Average *
30
31
-3%
31
-3%
37
-23%
31
-3%
32.9 (28 - 46.6, n=613)
-10%
Idle Maximum *
38
35
8%
34
11%
43
-13%
33
13%
34.7 (28 - 50.4, n=613)
9%
Load Average *
46
49
-7%
43
7%
45
2%
49
-7%
40.3 (30.3 - 58, n=614)
12%
Witcher 3 ultra *
49
51
-4%
42
14%
46
6%
50
-2%
Load Maximum *
46
54
-17%
44
4%
46
-0%
52
-13%
47.6 (38.9 - 64, n=614)
-3%

* ... smaller is better

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highshearing rangehide median

Temperature

Heat management without throttling too much is one of the biggest challenges of slim notebooks, and simply opting for the Max-Q GPU does not do the trick. Razer’s attempt to solve this problem is the use of vapor chambers instead of the regular heat pipes that can be found on most gaming laptops. Basically, a liquid trapped in a vacuum tube evaporates rapidly in order to dissipate the heat away from the source.

To quote Razer:

Extremely slim graphite-based nanoparticle blockers reduce hot spots and deliver precise control of heat. High-performance low-noise fans and two integrated heat exchangers just 0.1 mm (~0.04”) thin work together for maximum heat dissipation in order to keep the heat away from the user.

The vapor chamber is twice as heavy as the Blade 14's
The vapor chamber is twice as heavy as the Blade 14's
Thermal module for CPU and GPU
Thermal module for CPU and GPU
Comparison with the 14" Blade's heat pipes
Comparison with the 14" Blade's heat pipes

It all sounds wonderful so far, but unfortunately the combination of high-end hardware and an ultra-slim design still make for very high surface temperatures. When idle, the surfaces remained nice and cool. Under load, however, the laptop got incredibly hot. After our 60 minute long “The Witcher 3” test we measured up to 53 °C (~127 °F) at the top and 55 °C (~131 °F) at the bottom. Gaming on your lap is thus not an option. Our stress test (a full hour of FurMark and Prime95 simultaneously) resulted in even higher temperatures of up to 56 °C (~133 °F) at the top and 59 °C (~139 °F) at the bottom.

Granted, these hot spots were located towards the rear of the case and thus far away from the user. Still, the surface area around the WASD keys and the palm rests became unpleasantly warm. By and large, the Blade 15 performed as expected and it fit right in. The Gigabyte Aero 15X, the MSI GS65, and the Schenker Key 15 got similarly hot under load.

The Witcher 3 (performance mode: Balanced)
The Witcher 3 (performance mode: Balanced)
The Witcher 3 (performance mode: Gaming)
The Witcher 3 (performance mode: Gaming)
stress test (performance mode: Balanced)
stress test (performance mode: Balanced)
stress test (performance mode: Gaming)
stress test (performance mode: Gaming)
Full load top (Optris PI 640)
Full load top (Optris PI 640)
Full load bottom (Optris PI 640)
Full load bottom (Optris PI 640)

Internal temperatures were very high as well, although the Blade 15’s managed to keep them far below critical levels. During our stress test (FurMark & Prime95 simultaneously) the CPU throttled down to just 1,700 MHz and reached a maximum of 89 °C (~192 ° F; no throttling with Gaming mode selected). The GPU ran at a reduced clock speed of just 1,025 MHz and reached a slightly lower maximum of 83 °C (~181 °F).

The selected performance profile did not affect temperatures noticeably. In both, Balanced and Gaming, CPU and GPU showed similar temperatures when running “The Witcher 3” or our stress test.

Max. Load
 52 °C
126 F
56 °C
133 F
54 °C
129 F
 
 48 °C
118 F
52 °C
126 F
45 °C
113 F
 
 43 °C
109 F
43 °C
109 F
42 °C
108 F
 
Maximum: 56 °C = 133 F
Average: 48.3 °C = 119 F
55 °C
131 F
59 °C
138 F
50 °C
122 F
52 °C
126 F
52 °C
126 F
47 °C
117 F
47 °C
117 F
47 °C
117 F
44 °C
111 F
Maximum: 59 °C = 138 F
Average: 50.3 °C = 123 F
Power Supply (max.)  44 °C = 111 F | Room Temperature 22 °C = 72 F | Voltcraft IR-900
Razer Blade 15 2018
8750H, GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q
Gigabyte Aero 15X v8
8750H, GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q
MSI GS65 8RF-019DE Stealth Thin
8750H, GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q
Schenker Key 15 Coffee Lake
8750H, GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q
Asus Zephyrus M GM501
8750H, GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
Average of class Gaming
 
Heat
7%
15%
-2%
10%
13%
Maximum Upper Side *
56
53
5%
49
12%
57
-2%
52
7%
45.4 (28 - 68.8, n=579)
19%
Maximum Bottom *
59
65
-10%
63
-7%
65
-10%
49
17%
48.9 (25.9 - 78, n=577)
17%
Idle Upper Side *
33
26
21%
24
27%
33
-0%
31
6%
30.8 (21.6 - 46.8, n=530)
7%
Idle Bottom *
34
30
12%
25
26%
33
3%
31
9%
31.5 (21.1 - 50.3, n=528)
7%

* ... smaller is better

Speaker

The Blade 15 is equipped with a 2.0 sound system with support for Dolby Atmos. The speakers are located to the left and right of the keyboard underneath a very fine mesh speaker grill. By and large, the sound was neither here nor there. Maximum volume (82 dB(A)) and bass were slightly better than on its toughest competitor, the Aero 15X. In return, the latter had more balanced and precise mids.

Subjectively speaking sound performance was acceptable, although high peaks and specific sounds quickly frayed and mashed up. As is often the case, we highly recommend using external speakers or headphones for a more enticing gaming experience.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2042.241.72536.134.23129.632.54033.333.35026.430.56326.131.18024.937.910024.240.712522.34116021.448.120021.754.825022.257.231520.558.340018.962.950018.865.263017.763.980017.470.1100017.273.8125016.874.1160017.173.620001772.125001770315017.267.9400017.265.1500017.262.1630017.261.4800017.255.71000017.2511250017.147.5160001740.3SPL29.681.8N1.347.5median 17.2Razer Blade 15 2018median 62.1Delta1.9939.144.635.64028.430.433.537.726.428.525.527.429.23028.932.324.532.921.141.520.748.520.955.919.561.218.465.118.366.417.567.61867.918.665.317.469.216.765.817.264.517.365.917.26817.257.317.256.417.261.117.36617.262.217.259.61754.129.777.51.342.2median 17.4Gigabyte Aero 15X v8median 62.21.86.8hearing rangehide median Pink Noise
Frequency diagram (checkboxes can be checked and unchecked to compare devices)
Razer Blade 15 2018 audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (82 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(±) | reduced bass - on average 12.1% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (7.6% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | higher mids - on average 7.4% higher than median
(+) | mids are linear (5.6% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(±) | reduced highs - on average 5% lower than median
(+) | highs are linear (6.7% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (19.6% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 64% of all tested devices in this class were better, 6% similar, 30% worse
» The best had a delta of 6%, average was 18%, worst was 37%
Compared to all devices tested
» 41% of all tested devices were better, 6% similar, 53% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Gigabyte Aero 15X v8 audio analysis

(±) | speaker loudness is average but good (78 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 16.8% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (11.6% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 4.3% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (5% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 3.6% away from median
(±) | linearity of highs is average (9.1% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (16.6% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 44% of all tested devices in this class were better, 11% similar, 45% worse
» The best had a delta of 6%, average was 18%, worst was 37%
Compared to all devices tested
» 23% of all tested devices were better, 6% similar, 71% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Energy Management

Power Consumption

Power consumption was inconspicuous by and large. An average of 14-21 W when idle is quite normal for a gaming notebook equipped with a Core i7-8750H and a GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q. The Gigabyte Aero 15X and the Schenker Key 15 consumed similar amounts of power. Only the MSI GS65 was significantly more energy efficient. Under load, all systems were very close to each other (12% maximum deviation). The Asus GM501 was living proof that a GTX 1070 without Max-Q design requires a lot more energy.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.1 / 0.1 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 14 / 17 / 21 Watt
Load midlight 95 / 179 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Razer Blade 15 2018
8750H, GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q
Gigabyte Aero 15X v8
8750H, GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q
MSI GS65 8RF-019DE Stealth Thin
8750H, GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q
Schenker Key 15 Coffee Lake
8750H, GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q
Asus Zephyrus M GM501
8750H, GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
Average of class Gaming
 
Power Consumption
-1%
15%
1%
-17%
-31%
Idle Minimum *
14
14
-0%
7
50%
14
-0%
16
-14%
20.6 (3.9 - 113, n=574)
-47%
Idle Average *
17
18
-6%
11
35%
17
-0%
19
-12%
26.2 (6.8 - 119, n=574)
-54%
Idle Maximum *
21
22
-5%
20
5%
22
-5%
26
-24%
31.3 (8.3 - 122, n=574)
-49%
Load Average *
95
91
4%
98
-3%
102
-7%
103
-8%
105 (14.1 - 319, n=565)
-11%
Load Maximum *
179
173
3%
182
-2%
157
12%
223
-25%
166 (21.9 - 590, n=564)
7%
Witcher 3 ultra *
141
142
-1%
132
6%
130
8%
164
-16%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Life

Unfortunately, battery life was shorter than on the Aero 15X or the GS65. While the former has a much larger battery (94 Wh vs 80 Wh) the latter was much more energy efficient. The differences were most obvious in our Battery Eater Readers test, where the Blade 15 lasted for a meager 6:22 hours while the Gigabyte notebook ran out of power after 12:42 hours and the MSI laptop after 8:27 hours.

In our real-world video (5:24 hours) and Wi-Fi test (5:22 hours), both at a normalized display brightness, the Blade 15 was able to catch up somewhat but still failed to keep up with its competitors. Playing games is a massive drain on the battery, and the Blade 15 powered off after just north of one hour. Performance was reduced slightly on battery - "The Witcher 3” ran around 20% slower on maximum details. Most other high-end laptops run much slower on battery.

Thanks to support for Optimus, the Blade 15 is able to switch between the dedicated Nvidia GPU and the integrated Intel UHD Graphics 630 GPU on demand. Otherwise, battery life would have suffered immensely - a big disadvantage considering the notebook’s slim design. Support for G-Sync would be counterproductive on a slim notebook such as the Blade 15, as can be seen on the Asus GM501.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
6h 22min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
5h 22min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
5h 24min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 12min
Razer Blade 15 2018
8750H, GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 80 Wh
Gigabyte Aero 15X v8
8750H, GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 94.24 Wh
MSI GS65 8RF-019DE Stealth Thin
8750H, GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 82 Wh
Schenker Key 15 Coffee Lake
8750H, GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 55 Wh
Asus Zephyrus M GM501
8750H, GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 55 Wh
Average of class Gaming
 
Battery Runtime
83%
17%
-10%
-35%
-14%
Reader / Idle
382
762
99%
507
33%
301
-21%
237
-38%
324 (39 - 1174, n=569)
-15%
H.264
324
504
56%
356
10%
159
-51%
241 (88 - 504, n=117)
-26%
WiFi v1.3
322
513
59%
362
12%
220
-32%
164
-49%
244 (78 - 622, n=238)
-24%
Load
72
156
117%
81
13%
89
24%
70
-3%
78.4 (18 - 202, n=535)
9%

Verdict

Pros

+ impressive performance considering the form factor
+ slim, lightweight, and robust case
+ cleverly positioned ports
+ high-quality material
+ decent input devices
+ thin display bezels
+ well-made case
+ RGB backlight
+ powerful tools
+ classy design
+ 144 Hz panel
+ NVMe SSD

Cons

- Razer software requires an account
- very loud for a Max-Q design
- surfaces susceptible to dirt
- no card reader, no RJ45
- 12 month warranty
- high temperatures
- just one M.2 slot
Razer Blade 15. Review unit courtesy of Razer Germany.
Razer Blade 15. Review unit courtesy of Razer Germany.

The Razer Blade 15 is one of the best slim gaming notebooks available.

The classy, sturdy, and elegant case puts both the Clevo P955ER Barebone (Schenker Key 15Eurocom Q6) and the MSI GS65 Stealth Thin, in their place. Only the Gigabyte Aero 15X gets close in terms of case design and quality.

Both devices were head-to-head on most categories, but in the end the Gigabyte prevailed thanks to its longer battery life, and made it onto our Top 10 list accordingly. Otherwise, the Blade 15 was almost always on a par with the 15X - except for the missing card reader and Ethernet port - be that input devices (RGB-backlit keyboard), display (144 Hz), emissions, or performance.

The combination of Core i7-8750HGeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, and NVMe-SSD is ideal for everyday applications and all current games, although the Blade 15 got very loud and hot under load.

All told, we can give the Blade 15 our full endorsement despite its high price. Those, who travel quite frequently and prefer to leave the power supply in their bags, should probably take a closer look at the Gigabyte Aero 15X instead.

Razer Blade 15 2018 - 06/27/2018 v6
Sebastian Jentsch

Chassis
90 / 98 → 91%
Keyboard
81%
Pointing Device
88%
Connectivity
65 / 81 → 80%
Weight
63 / 10-66 → 94%
Battery
83%
Display
89%
Games Performance
95%
Application Performance
97%
Temperature
72 / 95 → 76%
Noise
76 / 90 → 84%
Audio
68%
Average
80%
87%
Gaming - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Razer Blade 15 (i7-8750H, GTX 1070 Max-Q, FHD) Laptop Review
Sebastian Jentsch, 2018-07- 5 (Update: 2018-07- 6)