Sunday, August 1, 2021
LaptopsWindows laptops

Razer Blade 15 Advanced review (mid-2021 models, RTX 3080 and 3060, QHD 240Hz)


Now that I’m done reviewing the Razer Blade 14, it’s a warm welcome to come back to the Razer Blade 15.  I really did like Razer’s new AMD 14” model a lot.  But one of the things I think I missed was the 15” screen.  Especially since I’ve been using those or 17” screens for the past decade.

The new mid-2021 Razer Blade 15 Advanced model is also very familiar to me, as I’ve owned the previous model for so many years.  But there are some significant upgrades to this year’s model that make me interested in upgrading.

And because of a little trouble that I had with the screen on one of my review units, I got to review both the RTX 3060 model and the RTX 3080.  You’d think the GPU was the only difference there, but the chassis is actually significantly thinner on the 3060 model, which I was really impressed with.

So the following review will be sort of a blend of both units, since I spent about a week a piece with each of them.

Specs as reviewed – Razer Blade 15 Advanced

Razer Blade 15 Advanced
Screen 15.6 inch, 2560×1440 px, IPS equivalent, 240 Hz, matte, 100% DCI-P3, 2ms response
with Advanced Optimus/GSync
Processor 11th Gen Intel Core i7-11800H 8C/16T 2.4Ghz base 4.6Ghz boost, 24MB cache
Video NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 with 6GB GDDR6 VRAM 70-80W
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 with 8GB GDDR6 VRAM 90-105W
Advanced Optimus with Intel iRis Xe iGPU
Memory 16 GB DDR4 3200Mhz (2x8GB DIMMS)
Storage 1TB M.2 NVMe (Samsung PM9A1 PCIe 4.0) with spare PCIe 4.0 x4 slot on 3080 model
single SSD slot on 3060 model
Connectivity Intel AX210 Wifi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2
Ports 3x USB-A 3.2 gen2, 2x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4 and PD 3.0 support, 1x HDMI 2.1, UHS-III card reader, mic/earphone, Kensington Lock
Battery 65Whr (3060 model), 80Whr (3080 model), 230 W charger
Size 355 mm or 13.98” (w) x 235 mm or 9.25” (d) x 15.88 mm or .62” (h) for 3060 model
16.99 mm or .67” for the 3080 model
Weight ~2 kg (4.4 lbs) for 3060 model
~2.1 kg (4.6 lbs) for 3080 model
Extras individually lit RGB keyboard, Windows Hello FHD webcam, stereo up-firing speakers

Design and exterior

Full disclosure, I’m a current Razer Blade 15 owner and I’ve been reviewing Blades for quite a few years now.  I’m very familiar with them and their design hasn’t had a full overhaul in a while.  So I’ll probably be referring more along the lines of what has changed/improved a lot more than as if this were my first time seeing the device.

That said, the overall design of this year’s Razer Blade is almost identical to that of the Razer Blade 15s of 2019-2021.  And that’s not a bad thing.  The Blade has always been a minimalist look and resembles the Macbook in many ways, so it’s hard to change what works.

The major change this year is the overall thickness of the laptop.  The RTX 3070 and 3080 models are now .67” thin and the RTX 3060 model goes even further to reach .62” thin.  Very impressive!

I had both the 3060 and 3080 models in hand and I can actually say I could tell the difference between the two right away.  In fact, I wasn’t even aware of the difference until I first picked up the RTX 3080 model, prompting me to look it up.

The build quality is the same as always.  It’s a unibody construction, milled out of a single piece of aluminum.  The clearances and tolerances are tight, so everything fits together nicely.  I noticed no creaks or weaknesses anywhere on the casing.

Handling the laptop is very intuitive and easy.  The weight is around 4.4 pounds for the 3060 version and 4.6 lbs for the 3070/3080 models, and it’s balanced evenly, so picking up the laptop from an edge is pretty natural.

The laptop is black in color, so fingerprints are going to show up easily when you handle it.  But this year Razer included an anti-fingerprint coating on the chassis.  I’m still seeing smudges on the aluminum after extended use, but it’s just not as bad as before.

The only drawback to this coating is it makes the chassis a little slipperier than before.  I’m guessing it’s a Teflon coating or something, which would make sense since that’s usually used to reduce friction on aluminum.  It’s just something to be careful about while handling.

Now let’s talk about the design. 

The laptop lid is pretty plain, with the exception of the standard glowing green Razer logo. I prefer not having a green logo and I definitely don’t like it glowing, so if I were to buy this laptop, I would probably cover it with a Dbrand skin.  But at least you can turn the logo lighting off in Synapse if you wanted to.

Opening the lid is a simple one-finger action.  The hinge is just sturdy enough to support the lid but also make it easy enough to manipulate.  Assuming the touchscreen model has the same hinge, you shouldn’t be disappointed.

Once open you get a good look at the screen with its thin bezels.  The bottom bezel is a little thicker than the rest, but it’s still respectable.  Boy would it look amazing if Razer could cram a 16:10 16” screen in there.

The camera is centered on the top bezel, which is FHD now and also Windows Hello enabled.  Very nice upgrade, especially considering the pandemic is increasing my webcam usage by a lot.

The palmrest is pretty standard with your keyboard and trackpad.  More on those later.  Stereo speakers flank both sides of the keyboard.  There’s also a power button located in the upper portion of the right speaker.  Finally, note that some of the exhaust from the fans is located between the hinge on this model.

For IO, starting on the right, we have a USB-C port that supports Thunderbolt 4 and PD 3.0 charging.  There’s also a USB-A port and an HDMI 2.1 port.  Lastly, there’s a full-sized SD memory card reader.

On the left, there’s another USB-C port, also supporting Thunderbolt 4 and PD charging.  On this side, there are two more USB-A jacks, a headphone/mic combo, and a proprietary power port.  I’ve been using this port for a long time.  It’s a little stiff but really solid.  I like it second only to Lenovo’s reversible connection, and that’s saying a lot.  These reversible connections are so much more robust than the traditional barrel connections.

The bottom of the laptop is pretty much the same as the previous Razer Blade 15s.  Long sturdy feet lift the laptop high enough for good air intake.  The openings on the bottom plate are right on top of the fans.  Finally, there are exhaust cutouts on the other side of the foot, right where the radiators are.  It’s a good design and it seems to work well.

Normally I criticize manufacturers for using the same design for more than a couple years.  But this design seems to work well, so I can see why Razer is resisting overhauling it.  Rather than drastic changes, they are sticking with subtle improvements and I think it’s the right call.

Keyboard and trackpad

The keyboard is identical to last year’s model, so if you’re familiar with Razer keyboards, you’ll know exactly what to expect.  I’ll admit, I easily adapted to this keyboard – but I’m a long-time Razer Blade user, so I’m a little biased.

New Blade users will probably need to get used to the shorter keystroke.  The feedback is also a little lighter than other competitor brands.  It makes the typing experience very quick, once you get used to it.  But until then, your error rate might be higher.

I said this with the Razer Blade 14 and I’ll say it again here.  I think it’s time for Razer to update their keyboard.  Maybe not the feedback, but at least increase the keystroke depth.  I’d rather them do this than shave another millimeter off the chassis.  My opinion though.

The keyboard layout is very intuitive, with the keys all being properly spaced apart.  All the keys are in the right place, in my opinion.  The shift keys are also very large, which is something other manufacturers miss in order to fit their key agenda.  The only keys I don’t like are the up/down arrows which are a split shared key.

The keyboard has per-key RGB through their Chroma brand.  It looks just as good as always and the Synapse software is intuitive to use.  There are quite a lot of effects you can use to make your keyboard look unique.  I personally like Fire, with purple and teal as the hot and cold colors.  Looks so cool!

The trackpad is still amazing as well.  It’s a glass trackpad and identical to the Razer Blade 15 and works perfectly.  It’s large, smooth, and tracks well.  It’s also a clickpad so you can click the lower corners to right and left-click.  The feedback on my presses was firm and felt satisfying.

Nothing to change here – it’s probably the best Windows trackpad you can get.

Screen

The 15.6” QHD screen on this model is something I’ve been looking forward to seeing.  And it really is a nice sight to see.  The resolution is 2560×1440 px and the screen refresh rate is 240Hz, both fast and sharp.

It’s a panel made by Sharp, with a reported color gamut of 100% DCI-P3, so the colors really pop out.  The viewing angles are stellar and there’s even no backlight bleed on my panel.  All good stuff here.

The only thing I would have wanted more is for the screen to be a little brighter.  At 270 nits, it falls a little below average compared to the competition.  It’s acceptable for most indoor use, but when you get alongside a bright window or especially outside, the glare is just too much.

I took some measurements on my X-rite i1 Display Pro sensor and here’s what I got:

  • Panel HardwareID: Sharp LQ156T1JW03 (SHP1529)
  • Coverage: 153% sRGB, 105.4% AdobeRGB, 108.4% DCI-P3;
  • Measured gamma: 2.2;
  • Max brightness in the middle of the screen: 270 cd/m2 on power;
  • Contrast at max brightness: 1227:1
  • Native white point: 5950 K;
  • Black on max brightness: 0.22 cd/m2.

As you can see, the results validate Razer’s specs.  The contrast ratio is also very good, so using this panel in the lowest light setting still provides a good image.

There is a problem with this screen that I came across and it’s pretty much the reason why I got a second Razer Blade to review.  On the 3060 Blade which has the same screen, I experienced some flickering, so Razer swapped it out with the next available unit, under the assumption it was a defective screen.

Turns out the model I have now has the same problem.  But after a bit of deductive reasoning, I discovered the problem might actually be caused by WiFi interference.  Turning Wifi off solved my issue, and turning it on triggered it again.  To make it even stranger, the problem only happened when connected to certain Wifi 6 routers.  It didn’t happen at my home, where I only have Wifi 5.

My temporary fix was to turn the Wifi antenna strength down to 3 in Device Manager.  It removed the flickering and is a band-aid, but it’s far from a solution.  But what I can deduce from this is the Wifi antenna (which are probably located in the screen) are causing some interference which is disrupting the screen and causing flickering.

I did reach out to Razer about this, of course, and they are investigating and working on a fix.  Hopefully, they’ll have a solution soon.  In the meantime though, if you’re considering a new Blade 15, perhaps focus your attention on the 165Hz QHD screen, which is also 100% DCI-P3 and probably just as good.

There’s also a 4k touchscreen option available for content creators, but this is limited to the top-specced design.  And there’s an FHD 300Hz panel for FPS gamers, which also has a low response time, but is limited to 100% sRGB.  If you’re really bent on having the 240Hz QHD screen, I’d say be patient and see if Razer solves this flickering issue first.

Hardware and performance

Both models of this laptop have an 11th Gen Intel Core i7-11800H processor which is an octa-core.  This CPU has a base clock of 2.6Ghz and boosts at 4.6Ghz, so it’s plenty powerful enough for almost anything you can throw at it.

The CPU is actually overkill for many games and routine tasks.  Throughout my usage, at no point did I think I needed more power.  The main draw to this CPU is that Intel finally found a way to catch up to AMD in performance, as well as implement PCIe 4.0.

Like I said before, I was lucky enough to try out two models.  The first model I tested had an RTX 3060, which has 6GB of VRAM.  This model has a TGP of 70W, but can boost to 80W using Dynamic Boost 2.0.  For this model, it was bundled with 16GB of RAM (2x8GB sticks)

The other model I tested had an RTX 3080 with 8GB of VRAM.  This card has a TGP of 90W and can boost up to 105W.  This model was paired with 32GB of RAM, which were 16GB sticks in each bay.

I must add that Razer implements Advanced Optimus and a MUX on these Blade 15 configurations with the QHD screen, which seems to work very well here. This allows the system to seamlessly switch between the iGPU and dGPU and create a direct connection between the internal screen and the dGPU with games, ensuring you’re getting pretty much the best gaming experience that the hardware is capable of. Not all screen options get Advanced Optimus though.

And since I brought up the RAM, I did get to inspect the RAM on the 3080 model to see if it was dual ranked.  The good news is it is, so there’s no worry about having any sort of performance drop from using cheap RAM.  At least that is for the 32GB units.  I, unfortunately, didn’t have time to inspect the 16GB on the 3060 model.

The SSD for both units is a 1TB Samsung M.2 980 Pro PCIe 4.0 NVMe drive.  Razer isn’t fooling around here because this is a serious SSD with some blazing fast speeds.  See my CrystalDisk results for plugged in and on battery.

Let me step in and say that this is the first time I’ve seen a stock SSD on a laptop that I would actually consider keeping.  When purchasing a new laptop, I usually suggest going for the cheapest model and immediately swap SSDs.  But a wicked fast 1TB drive right out of the box is very respectable, especially given you get a spare M.2 spot for another drive.

I did get to have a look inside the RTX 3080 model.  It comes apart just as easily as all the previous Razer Blades by removing 10 Torx screws.  Underneath you get easy access to the spare M.2 slot, which is right on top of the existing M.2 slot.  The RAM and Wifi modules are also easily accessible.

So let’s talk performance now. 

If I could sum it up into one sentence, I’d say I was very happy with the overall power these machines had, especially for their size.  Not only can they game very well, you could also use them for some serious professional work.

The Razer Blade 15 comes with Synapse installed, which can be used to tweak the TDP of the CPU and the TGP of the GPU.  By default, it’s set to Balanced, but if you shift it to Manual, you can set each component individually.  Here’s a table that shows what each setting does:

Balanced Low Med High Boost
TDP PL1/PL2 TGP TDP PL1/PL2 TGP TDP PL1/PL2 TGP TDP PL1/PL2 TGP TDP PL1/PL2 TGP
3060 35/45W 70W 25/45W 70W 35/45W 80W 45/80W 80W 55/90W 80W
3080 35/45W 90W 25/45W 95W 35/45W 95W 45/80W 105W 55/90W 105W

First, for the RTX 3060 model, I took some synthetic benchmarks with the CPU in Boost mode(90/55W) and the GPU set to high (70+10W TGP). I also used the Advanced Optimus mode with all the tests.  Here’s what I got:

  • 3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 17356 (Graphics – 18968, Physics – 24287);
  • 3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 7660 (Graphics – 7349, CPU – 10086);
  • 3DMark 13 – CPU profile: max – 7058, 16 – 7066, 8 – 5747, 4 – 3519, 2 – 1841, 1 -939
  • 3DMark 13 – Port Royal (RTX) Graphics: 4377;
  • Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: 4440;
  • Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Medium: 13210;
  • GeekBench 5: Single-Core: 1547, Multi-core: 8973;
  • CineBench R15: OpenGL 170.52 fps, CPU 1984 cb, CPU Single Core 222 cb;
  • CineBench R23: CPU 11295 pts, CPU Single Core 1475 pts;

Here are the same benchmarks with a -70mV undervolt applied to the CPU:

  • 3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 17211 (Graphics – 18882, Physics – 24353);
  • 3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 7619 (Graphics – 7249, CPU – 10725);
  • 3DMark 13 – CPU profile: max – 7622, 16 – 7625, 8 – 6198, 4 – 3515, 2 – 1831, 1 -929
  • 3DMark 13 – Port Royal (RTX) Graphics: 3867;
  • Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: 4391;
  • Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Medium: 13087;
  • GeekBench 5: Single-Core: 1525, Multi-core: 9235;
  • CineBench R15: OpenGL 172.23 fps, CPU 2125 cb, CPU Single Core 220 cb;
  • CineBench R23: CPU 12686 pts, CPU Single Core 1415 pts;

Finally, I took some results with Synapse set to Balanced (which has a 45W/35W TDP and 60+10W TGP).  Here were my results for those:

  • 3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 15474 (Graphics – 17807, Physics – 17065);
  • 3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 6629 (Graphics – 6497, CPU – 7494);
  • 3DMark 13 – CPU profile: max – 4341, 16 – 4493, 8 – 4134, 4 – 2979, 2 – 1835, 1 -935
  • 3DMark 13 – Port Royal (RTX) Graphics: 4168;
  • Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: 5598;
  • Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Medium: 12345(no joke);
  • GeekBench 5: Single-Core: 1521, Multi-core: 6119;
  • CineBench R15:OpenGL 168.55 fps, CPU 1223 cb, CPU Single Core 226 cb;
  • CineBench R23: CPU 8028 pts, CPU Single Core 1491 pts;

Now for the 3080 version, I retook the same synthetic benchmarks with the CPU in boost mode(90/55W) and the GPU set to high(90+15W TGP).  I only did the GPU related benchmarks this time though since the CPU benchmarks would be the exact same.  Here’s what I got:

  • 3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 23305 (Graphics – 27195, Physics – 24914);
  • 3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 10513 (Graphics – 10506, CPU – 10559);
  • 3DMark 13 – Port Royal (RTX) Graphics: 6476;
  • Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: 6636;
  • Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Medium: 19670;

Here are the same benchmarks with a -70mV undervolt applied to the CPU:

  • 3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 23173 (Graphics – 27193, Physics – 24936);
  • 3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 10499 (Graphics – 10448, CPU – 10800);
  • 3DMark 13 – Port Royal (RTX) Graphics: 6463;
  • Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: 6610;
  • Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Medium: 19735;

Finally here are the RTX 3080 results with Synapse set to Balanced (which has a 45W/35W TDP and a 80+15W TGP):

  • 3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 18569 (Graphics – 25103, Physics – 18314);
  • 3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 9178 (Graphics – 9578, CPU – 7425);
  • 3DMark 13 – Port Royal (RTX) Graphics: 6130;
  • Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: 6194;
  • Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Medium: 17760;

These are some pretty impressive results from both units.  If you’re comparing these to other laptops, keep in mind that not all GPUs are the same.  Many are going to have different power limits and behave differently, even if the raw specs are the same.

The Razer Blade 15 Advanced is one of the thinnest laptops of its class, so the power limits on the GPU are certainly going to be lower than that of laptops around 1.0” thick.  So expect to see a slightly lower performance if you’re comparing specs apples to apples.

But these results are actually about right for both these models.  This is my first RTX 3060 I’ve reviewed too, so it’s good to see how well it holds up, even though the GPU is only 70W.  It’s actually a pretty good pair for the QHD screen.

I decided to run multiple gaming tests for these models.  The scenarios were performed identically on both units and I even added some benchmarks with the CPU/GPU set to low.  See below for my results:

RTX 3060 QHD
CPU Boost, GPU High
RTX 3060 QHD
GPU/GPU Low
RTX 3080 QHD
CPU Boost, GPU High
RTX 3080 QHD
GPU/GPU Low
Battlefield V
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, Ray-Tracing OFF)
74 fps avg, 68 fps low 70 fps avg, 65 fps low 110 fps avg, 96 fps low 108 fps avg, 96 fps low
Battlefield V
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, Ray-Tracing ON)
35 fps avg, 31 fps low 35 fps avg, 31 fps low 53 fps avg, 47 fps low 53 fps avg, 48 fps low
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
(DX 11, Ultra Preset, Hairworks On)
57 fps avg, 54 fps low 51 fps avg, 45 fps low 83 fps avg, 79 fps low 73 fps avg, 69 fps low
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
(DX 11, Ultra Preset, Hairworks Off)
72 fps avg, 67 fps low 58 fps avg, 50 fps low 97 fps avg, 89 fps low 85 fps avg, 81 fps low
Horizon Zero Dawn
(Ultra)
64 fps avg, 59 fps low 56 fps avg, 50 fps low 82 fps avg, 77 fps low 76 fps avg, 73 fps low
Cyberpunk
(Ultra, Ray Tracing On, DLSS Auto)
36 fps avg, 34 fps low 34 fps avg, 30fps low 53 fps avg, 50 fps low 49 fps avg, 44 fps low
Cyberpunk
(Ultra, Ray Tracing On, DLSS off)
10 fps avg 10 fps avg 27 fps avg, 25 fps low 23 fps avg, 21 fps low
Cyberpunk
(Ultra, Ray Tracing Off, DLSS off)
35 fps avg, 32 fps low 22 fps avg, 20 fps low 51 fps avg, 46 fps low 45 fps avg, 41 fps low
Valheim
(Max Settings)
47 fps avg, 43 fps low 42 fps avg, 39 fps low 64 fps avg, 61f ps low 59 fps avg, 56 fps low

Again, these are about what I was expecting for results.  And if you’re interested in the RTX 3070 model, you can probably just check out the Razer Blade 14 article I wrote – the results are probably very similar to what the Razer Blade 15 3070 would be, which falls right in the middle of these two units.

I’m happy with what I saw, and it’s good to see how decent that RTX 3060 performs with games, even though the power limit is only 70W.  I think given the price, many will flock to that model, so it’s nice to know it can perform well, even though the chassis is so thin.

The RTX 3080 model performs wonderfully, but I have a hard time justifying its added cost.  Especially since these results are slightly inferior to an RTX 3070 that has a 130-140W TGP on thicker notebooks.  But I can’t blame Razer for this – they are just offering the best possible performance in the chassis they have.

Basically, the 3080 model is exclusively for those that don’t have a problem spending a lot more money and want the most possible power in the thinnest and lightest package.  If it were me, though, I’d probably opt for the RTX 3070 model.

Regardless, the overall performance of the Razer Blade 15 is better than ever and I think they did a really good job with this model.  I especially appreciate all the Synapse settings to tailor the CPU and GPU as you please.

Noise, Heat, Connectivity, speakers, and others

The Razer Blade 15 Advanced uses a similar vapor chamber cooling solution as the model from last year.  It works well enough and Razer has many years of experience using it, so it makes sense to keep things the same.

For normal usage, the laptop stays relatively cool.  With thermals set to Balanced, you can do most tasks with CPU temps hovering in the mid to high 40s.  Opening sites in Chrome will cause spikes in the 60s but the vapor chamber is large enough to take the brunt of it to keep the fans low.

Actually, for typical usage, I’m very happy with the fan noise.  The speed is so low I could almost call it inaudible.  I usually have something else going on in the background to where I never knew it was on.  In a super quiet room, I could hear a light hum, but it wasn’t unpleasant at all and I heard no coil whine on my unit.

I used my sound detector and determined that the lowest fan noise was around 30dB, while in Balanced more.  When doing heavier tasks, the most I could hear the fans ramp up to was 44-45dB on both units, but that was only while gaming.

Switching to maximum settings in Synapse changes things drastically.  Adding the extra boost to TDP and TGP significantly increases the heat production.  For the RTX 3060 model, I got CPU spikes as high as 99C with average CPU temperatures reaching 82C, and GPU temps averaging 75C.  The highest I recorded fans in this mode was 48dB.

The RTX 3080 model was slightly different for my heavy gaming run.  CPU temperatures peaked at 97C and averaged 89C on this model, significantly higher.  The GPU temperature was still only 76C though.  For the 3080 model, the fan noise peaked at 52dB, so louder than the 3060.

The CPU spikes are a little concerning, but the average temps are at least sub 90C.  I was especially satisfied with the RTX 3060 model, considering the laptop is so thin.  If these temperatures bother you though, all you have to do is turn the CPU down to high or medium.  You end up with very similar gaming performance and significantly better CPU temps.

If noise reduction is your thing, you can also set both the CPU/GPU to low, which will severely limit the TDP/TGP.  You’ll reduce your benchmarks, as I showed you in the previous section, but you’ll also make the thermals much better.

For the RTX 3060 model, on low settings, I was able to play Horizon Zero Dawn with the fans leveling out at 40dB.  CPU temps averaged 73C and GPU temps averaged 70C.  Very nice.

The RTX 3080 had similar results, only the performance was 35% higher.  The fan noise for this model leveled off at 43dB, with CPU temps averaging 75C and GPU averaging 74C.

If it were me, I think I would be playing with the CPU and GPU set to Low a lot.  Or at least in Balanced.  I really like to minimize the fan noise if possible and it helps that the performance is still halfway decent.  Of course, for those special games, I’d just crank it to High when needed.

If you do insist on running at max speeds all the time, there is a little bit of undervolting headroom on this CPU.  I was able to get a stable -70mV undervolt on my machine, but your mileage may vary.  It didn’t do a whole lot with temps though.

Needless to say, the vapor chamber is doing its job.  This is an extremely thin chassis with a powerful CPU/GPU combo, which is tough to cool with such limited space.

Onto the external temps.  I measured the surface temps while watching a movie on battery and again while playing a game for an extended session.  Here is what I measured:

These results are exactly what I was expecting.  For typical use, it was very tolerable.  Slightly warm on the underside, but nothing to fret over.

The temps for gaming were more serious on the underside, so you’ll be wanting to use this on a desk or lapdesk.  The WASD keys are good though, and the palm rest is tolerable. Note that if your battery is low and you plug in and game, the palm rest will be warmer due to the battery charging.

Now for the other components.  The Intel AX210 is what is used for a Wifi module on this unit.  I reached 514Mbps from a 30 ft distance from my router, which is great.  In my entire usage, I didn’t drop connection once, nor have any problems with Bluetooth.

The speakers are decent.  They are upward-facing so the sound isn’t muffled.  But they lack bass, just like all the other Razer Blades I’ve reviewed.  The lowest frequency I could detect was 120Hz.

The maximum loudness of the speakers was good though.  Using my typical song, my sound meter peaked at 82dB, which is good enough for me.  The song sounded ok, but again was limited to highs and decent mids.

I’d like to see some improvement with these speakers in future models.  Especially seeing that the Razer Blade 17 has quad speakers now.  I haven’t heard those yet, but assuming they are better, I hope Razer adopts them into this chassis as well.

As for the webcam, this year Razer made the camera FHD.  The pictures are noticeably crisper than the previous camera and the low light correction is decent.  I could definitely use this for professional web conferencing.

The camera is also Windows Hello enabled.  I activated this right away and used it exclusively to unlock the laptop for the entire use.  It worked flawlessly.

Battery life

The RTX 3060 Razer Blade 15 has a 65 Whr battery, while the slightly thicker RTX 3080 version has an 80Whr battery.  I’m on the fence on what to think about the smaller battery for the 3060 version, but it is what it is.

I took a series of battery life tests with RTX 3080 version only, with the brightness at 40%, which is about 71 nits.  Here were my results:

  • 10.3 W (~7 h 46 min of use)– idle, Best Battery Mode, screen at 0%, Wi-Fi ON, backlighting off;
  • 14.9 W (~5 h 22 min of use)– text editing in Word with light internet use, Better Battery Mode, screen at 40%, Wi-Fi ON;
  • 15.9 W (~5 h 2 min of use)– 1440p 60Hz Youtube fullscreen in Chrome, Better Battery Mode, screen at 40%, Wi-Fi ON;
  • 14.7 W (~5 h 27 min of use)– 1080p Netflix fullscreen video in Chrome, Better Battery Mode, screen at 40%, Wi-Fi ON;
  • 21.2 W (~3 h 46 min of use)– heavy browsing in Chrome, Better Performance Mode, screen at 40%, Wi-Fi ON;
  • 77.6 W (~1 h 2 min of use)– Gaming – Wither 3, Maximum Performance Mode, 60fps cap, screen at 40%, Wi-Fi ON.

These are just ok results to me.  You can get a decent amount of work done on it, but you’ll probably want to bring a charger with you if you have serious work to do long term.

My worry is with the RTX 3060 version though, since it has a smaller battery. Fact is, it has the same hardware as the RTX 3080 version I also did my testing on.  So if you plug in the same numbers into a smaller 65Whr battery, it looks like this:

  • 10.3 W (~6 h 19 min of use)– idle, Best Battery Mode, screen at 0%, Wi-Fi ON, backlighting off;
  • 14.9 W (~4 h 22 min of use)– text editing in Word with light internet use, Better Battery Mode, screen at 40%, Wi-Fi ON;
  • 15.9 W (~4 h 5 min of use)– 1440p 60Hz Youtube fullscreen in Chrome, Better Battery Mode, screen at 40%, Wi-Fi ON;
  • 14.7 W (~4 h 25 min of use)– 1080p Netflix fullscreen video in Chrome, Better Battery Mode, screen at 40%, Wi-Fi ON;
  • 21.2 W (~3 h 4 min of use)– heavy browsing in Chrome, Better Performance Mode, screen at 40%, Wi-Fi ON;
  • 77.6 W (~50 min of use)– Gaming – Wither 3, Maximum Performance Mode, 60fps cap, screen at 40%, Wi-Fi ON.

I think this is fine for a gaming laptop though.  Especially one as thin as this – it’s actually pretty normal with this CPU/battery combo.

The power brick is 230W and is exactly the same as the power bricks in the previous Razer Blade 14, 15 and 17” designs.  It’s compact and has a long cord.  I’ve used this on my daily driver for years and it’s held up pretty well, although the braided cord is a little frayed.

If it were me though, I would carry around a USB charger in my backpack at all times, just in case it’s needed while working on the go.  You won’t be able to game on it or anything but at least you won’t be carrying around the larger brick.

Speaking of USB chargers, Razer also lent me their new GaN charger to try out.  It’s actually really good!  Not only does it have the capability of delivering 100W by a single USB-C connection, it also has a spare USB-C and 2x USB-A connections.  The total power deliverable is 130W.

I’ve been using it a couple of weeks now to charge my phone and the Razer Blade, as well as power a wireless charger for my Airpods.  It works just as it should, which is a good thing.

But is it worth Razer’s asking price of $180??  I have a tough time saying yes to that.  All I can say is I probably won’t buy one…yet.  Maybe if it goes on sale somewhere near $100.

My main reasoning is because I already have a GaN charger though, and it works just fine.  It’s a single port version that I got for 1/3 the cost.  The multi-USB GaN charger I picked up on Amazon was a piece of junk, so I gave up on those after that.  But this multi-USB charger from Razer works great, so there is some value in it for sure.  Just not $180 imho.

I also don’t *need* multi-port chargers that badly so call me a little biased in that sense too.  Had I needed a charger that has 4 USB ports, this would be a nice one to pick up for sure.

Price and availability

The RTX 3080 model in this review is priced at $3099 but isn’t currently available yet.  There’s a similar model with a 360Hz FHD screen available at Amazon though.

The RTX 3060 model is significantly less expensive, starting at $2299.  But it’s still a very high asking price for a 3060 GPU.  Clearly, the cost is in the form factor and screen choice.

There are also plenty of other models available, particularly the RTX 3070 models which range from $2599 to $2699.  While the RTX 3060 certainly has a good value, the 3070 model is probably the sweet spot where the performance and cost increase stop trending together.  Especially if you go off my Razer Blade 14 3070 benchmarks (the Blade 15 should be very similar to that).

Finally, if you’re a serious content creator, perhaps you want to go all out and get the top model.  That unit has a 60Hz 4k OLED screen, which is also a touch panel.  You also get an i9-11900H processor, 32GB of RAM, and a RTX 3080 that has 16GB of VRAM.  That price is $3399.

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Final thoughts

So screen issue aside, the new Razer Blade 15 Advanced is again one of the better choices as far as having a lot of power in the thinnest and lightest package.  Both units performed very well, but there was an added bonus to the 3060 model, as it was even thinner than the other and also more affordable.

For me, I’d probably aim for the RTX 3070 model, as I think it has the most value.  It also has the most screen options to choose form.

The main draw to the Razer Blade 15 is the form factor, which has been pretty consistent for many years – and for a good reason.  They’ve even improved it over the years with ample port selection and the addition of a memory card reader.

The big surprises this year were the FHD camera and the PCIe 4.0 SSD though.  Those are welcome upgrades that just add to the overall value of the laptop.

And that’s important, because the price of these laptops is very high.  I usually just say that, with Razer, you’re paying the premium for the form factor and design.  But at least now I can say that you probably won’t need to update the RAM and SSD anytime soon.  That’s not usually the case with many other laptops.

So in the end, I give this laptop a good grade.  But I caution anyone on the 240Hz QHD models until Razer addresses the problem.  The good news is these models aren’t available to purchase just yet, so hopefully, they will take care of it soon.

I have to send my loan back, but I’m happy to answer any questions you may have.  Please leave me a comment in the section below.

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In addition to being a tech enthusiast, Derek has a career as a biomedical engineer. He enjoys taking things apart, figuring out how they work and finding ways to make them better. His other hobbies include spending time with his family, “Do it yourself” projects such as home automation and running.



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