Razer Blade Advanced 2019 - Personal Review

Discussion in 'Razer' started by Wishmaker, May 18, 2019.

  1. Wishmaker

    Wishmaker BBQ Expert

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    I originally planned to buy an MSI laptop (Raider, Titans, Stealth Thin, etc). Having read a bit left and right I noted some quality issues on these products. I am aware that no product is perfect, we will get to some of the Razer shortcomings later, however, I like a solid build. I also own a MacBook Pro 2019 so my standard was quite high.

    In 2008, I purchased a very nice Asus laptop following advice received here on the board. In 2019, as you can see i keep my laptops for a while, I ended up coming back to these forums and asking for help. People were very friendly and we had a plan for me. I looked at companies like HID and their competitors but my previous experience with ordering outside Europe made me a bit apprehensive.

    A few days before my birthday I browsed sites for laptops. Funny enough, while I kept looking at MSI and Asus products, I only saw a few videos on the Razer. This was by choice not because Youtube does not have any. I did not insist on this product because of the price tag, yet whenever I looked at other brands, I had the Razer in my mind. It looked amazing and discreet. Everything else had a My Little Pony vibe with so many colors and swag. Bear in mind that I use this laptop for work and it would be very distracting in front of the CEO to have 100 RGB lights while I run the presentation. The price tag on the Razer was hard to swallow in the beginning but I was lucky enough to secure a model off Amazon UK with quite a few rebates. I did not see a benefit in getting the 2080 as the price difference was 500 EUR.



    Introduction :

    Model
    Razer Blade 15 - Advanced Model
    OS Windows® 10 Home (64-bit)
    Processor 8th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-8750H 6 Core (2.2GHz/4.1GHz)
    Graphics NVIDIA® GeForce® RTX™ 2070 with Max-Q Design (8GB GDDR6 VRAM)
    Display 15.6" Full HD 144Hz, 100% sRGB, 4.9mm bezel, factory calibrated
    Storage 512 GB SSD (NVMe)
    Memory 16GB Dual-Channel (8GB x 2) DDR4 2667MHz
    Battery Up to 6 hours (80Wh)
    Keyboard Per-key RGB powered by Razer Chroma™
    Gigabit Ethernet Not available
    USB & Thunderbolt 3 USB 3.1 Gen 1 (USB-A) x3, Thunderbolt™ 3 (USB-C)
    Wireless Intel® Wireless-AC 9560 (802.11a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth® 5
    Webcam Windows® Hello built-in IR HD webcam (1MP / 720P)
    Finish Black with backlit green logo and green USB ports
    Dimensions0.70" x 9.25" x 13.98" / 17.8mm x 235mm x 355mm
    Weight 4.63 lbs / 2.10 kg

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    In this picture, you can see that the box had a bit of a kink, most probably because of transport.

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    The monitor I use was purchased as a gift for my partner so she can work from home. It is nothing fancy and helps me write this post in comfort rather than being all slobbery on my laptop. My main computer has 2 screens which are hooked to it and it is a pain to remove so many cables and swap things around. I may look at a docking station later, I will see.

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    First impressions

    My ASUS U6 Sg-A1 was a head turner. In school, university and libraries, people would look at the sparkles and were suprised at the leatherish material next to the touch pad. When I saw the videos and reviews of the Razer people claimed that if you do not go the MacBook way, build quality wise, this is one of the best out there. You can imagine that my expectations of the Blade were quite high as my MacBook Pro was on my desk.

    From the moment I opened the Box, I noticed an Apple like approach. Simple, stylish and elegant. The laptop was well protected and it had a nice sticky plastic cover running across every cm of the frame. I removed it and get the laptop in my hand. I was surprised to see such a nice finish. The build was sleek and it rivals my MacBook. I was particularly impressed by how heavy this is. I was also not expecting the laptop to be so big. I had the impression that it will be in a much more compact form. This is not a criticism of the product, especially that I read the dimensions before the package arrived.

    I agree with all the reviews and critics. If you do not want the Apple Ecosystem and the MacBook Pro sleek design, this is the one to go because people just drool when they see it in person.



    Screen

    As someone who dabbles in Photography and has some wide gamut products at home, I was aware that the Razer panel was not perfect or as good as my MacBook's. Having said that, it is exceptional and very immersive. I did some content creation on the laptop screen and I had some decent results. I also like the way the panel is lit. Precise yet no significant back light bleed as some people reported. I was lucky enough to get a panel which is not as bad as many we see online. I measured the laptop screen with my Spyder Elite sensor and I disagree with Razer. This is not a 100% RGB screen but I would not be surprised to see that the majority of laptops out there advertising this follow suit. Razer has done a good job on the screen and we need no forget that this is a gaming laptop at the end of the day.




    Keyboard

    I am familiar with Razer Keyboards and I had a DeathStalker for 7 years. In March I moved to the mechanical keyboard club and this is the reason my verdict on the keyboard is not going to apply to everyone. Having used my opto-mechanical Elite Huntsman I have issues using any keyboard. Everything I use, seems blank and without soul. So you can imagine that the moment i started using the Razer Blade Keyboard I had a WTF moment. I was like is that it? Why is there such a poor feel, why are the keys not responding like I am used too?

    My GF and father used the keyboard and they said it has a nice feel. This was the moment it struck me. They did not use my Elite keyboard and i needed to be a bit more objective. As a consequence, I took out all the laptops we had in the household and started comparing. Having done this, I understood what my gf and father meant. The keyboard has a nice feel, you get used to the travel but i still find it a bit inferior to the MacBook Pro.

    I also ask myself who gave the green light on the design of the keyboard? I have the UK version and after having used US layouts all my life you can imagine my annoyance with the left shift key. This key is half the size of the US version as next to it you have the backslash key!

    Also, what is up with the arrow between the right hand side LONG shift key and Question mark key? I find myself hitting the arrow more often than I originally thought. I knew about this keyboard mishap from reviews and videos. I never use the right shift key because i am used to a long left shift key but alas, my left shift key needs some time getting used too so I tried to use the right shift. Big mistake as I often do shift+arrow up.

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    I believe I can get used to the keyboard but if I do not, this does not mean you will not like it. Compared to other laptops the keyboard is solid and apart from the layout shenanigans you can enjoy using it to a certain extent.


    Touchpad

    Almost as good as the one on my MacBook Pro. No need to add anything else. Perfection for a Windows machine. Others can learn from Razer.



    Speakers

    It is a laptop at the end of the day so not a lot can be said on the speakers. They sound okayish and while you do have Dolby Atmos by default I would recommend a DAC with a high quality headphone. For gaming there are plenty of headphones out there. For Audio, the sky is the limit. Since I have the laptop, I did not use my headphone jack as the Steelseries I own is USB based.



    Performance

    In this area I will refrain from linking dozens of benchmarks as I do not believe they are very relevant due to my usage being different than most. Plenty of YouTube videos out there with comparisons and results. My usage is rather specific and I will write a few lines based on this.

    I mentioned that I do Photography and while my main machine for that is the MacBook, I dabble in photos with this one as well. Adobe Camera Raw & Photoshop / Lightroom performance is top notch. I like the snappiness and the urgency. This can also be attributed to the NVME drive which based on benchmarks tops out, on battery power, at some ludicrous values.

    I also like to travel and when I do, my GoPro is always with me. I tend to snap quite a few videos and up until I got the MacBook and now the Razer, I had difficulties enjoying working on them. The tools I used from Adobe and GoPro have been pitiful at best in performance. Things have changed with the Razer. I can edit videos without having to wait minutes at the time for things to be rendered. I also use Corel Video Studio and Go Pro Quick. Both tools have adequate performance and I can start slowly to clear my back log from Australia / New Zealand, Mexico, Singapore, and Scandinavia.

    It was a pain to install MP-HC with various codecs on my old machines just to be able to playback them.


    Gaming wise, I cannot fault this laptop and it impresses me every time I run a triple A title. What I found peculiar was the Mortal Kombat 11 benchmark. On a/c power it runs maxed out without any hiccups. On battery power, even with aggressive pre-sets on the Blade the frame rate is reduced by 50% and it has moments where it acts like a PowerPoint presentation. I need to investigate this further but when I connect to the outlet this laptop can crunch pretty much everything. I also found that playing on ultra with everything maxed for eye candy is not what I want. More on this in a few lines.


    The slim profile of the laptop does not allow traditional cooling to be more efficient than this. A head to head with my MacBook shows that this is warmer due to the NVIDIA GPU. The Intel AMD combo in the Mac yields cooler results.

    Now some of you will note that I made a few posts on the forums on temps. They are not alarming and in factory mode, the Blade reaches 80-85 degrees. This is fine as it is under the 100 centigrade on the CPU but I am worried on the longevity of the parts.

    Some NBR members have given me feedback on how to undervolt and based on this, I managed to drop my temps by 5-12 degrees. I also ordered a laptop stand / Coolermaster Masterpal Pro for support in this area.


    People have to accept that this laptop will get warm. The form factor is sleek and sexy but there are some drawbacks. If you are willing to keep the laptop at 80-85 centigrade for extended periods that is your choice. I myself will not use it for gaming mainly and will stick to office and content creation.


    For my work purposes, the Razer is beyond reproach. Connectivity and performance are more than I expected. I go to meetings and it boots in a few seconds. Presentations are up and running while the battery seems to last 2-3 hours. I might be using it a bit more aggressively than others because I saw people with almost double the time.


    Kinks I do not like

    I should get used to the fact that Razer products are finger print magnets because my other accessories look horrible once my greasy paws sweat but dayuuum I should have gone for the Mercury White. After a few minutes of usage the laptop looks like someone spilled some grease on it. I end up wiping the damn thing like a mad man. When clean, this laptop is gorgeous:).


    Conclusion

    The RTX tax makes this laptop very expensive as the build quality has to be justified. While in the beginning I had difficulties accepting the price, the more I use the laptop I realize that there is a reason behind it. You get what you pay for and the discreet form factor is something I would not trade.

    Let us see how the laptop performs in a few months or how Razer support will handle my issues; should they arise. For the time being my contact with Razer support has been very productive.



     
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  2. Vasudev

    Vasudev Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    First I thought you were a woman from seeing profile picture and scrolling down I saw a man's hand. Hahaa.. Never judge a book by a cover.
    It should demolish MBP pretty easily aside from screen.
    I think keyboard is not that great unlike thinkpads but your external keyboard should be much much better. Gaming or benching on battery is not recommended since it will wear out the battery faster and also the mobo. If you plan to game use Nvidia battery boost tweak using nvidia inspector.
    80Wh battery should last for 6-8hrs max. Use this guide http://forum.notebookreview.com/thr...e-on-windows-enabling-deeper-c-states.815602/
     
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  3. bimmerboii

    bimmerboii Notebook Consultant

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    Can you share some info on how you undervolted your gpu? Will try this on my RTX 2080 Max q
     
  4. Wishmaker

    Wishmaker BBQ Expert

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    I did not undervolt the GPU but mainly the CPU.
     
  5. Wishmaker

    Wishmaker BBQ Expert

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    Some other goodies purchased to help with cooling. I love the fact that it is well built but I have yet to test the product in gaming :).


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    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
     
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  6. rinneh

    rinneh Notebook Prophet

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    I recommend to put the rubber stopper on the second row of the stand so that the laptop cannot slide off.
     
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  7. Wishmaker

    Wishmaker BBQ Expert

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    Thank you for the tip! I did what you said. Originally I lowered the rubber stopper so it blocks the original Razer rubber stopper ! Your solution is better.


    I games with the laptop for a few hours and under certain circumstances the temperature has dropped. The design and angle of the laptop stand helps with heat dissipation.

    I can feel the laptop stand capture heat from the laptop and while charging the battery the palm rest is not as hot as it used to be.

    I also need to find a way to undervolt the Gpu because I ran some experiments with both eye candy reduced and if you shave 5-10 degrees of the Nvidia card you will also be able to shave 5-7 degrees of the CPU.


    As someone here on the forums mentioned, undervolting both might be the best solution but I noticed that Throttle stop seems to open the door for quite a few BSODS even after successful stress testing.







    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2019
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  8. rinneh

    rinneh Notebook Prophet

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    yeah had some too, especially when on battery. Have been tuning to iron that out.
     
  9. Wishmaker

    Wishmaker BBQ Expert

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    I am starting to get some BSODs with this machine. They are mainly USB related. With the Razer website if you want to update the chipset, you end up with a download which is incomplete.

    I have tried with the mid 2019 Advanced drivers, hopefully these are sorted.
     
  10. Wishmaker

    Wishmaker BBQ Expert

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    While I love the laptop, it is slowly getting on my nerves with this inconsistent cooling. You boot the damn thing, doing nothing, fans ramp up which is nice and then just by loading system drivers and services it stays at 80 degrees. This is in Gaming mode / Content creation mode.

    You would think that in these two modes, when the fans ramp up, the laptop would not climb so high. Wishful thinking? So I did a test and rebooted the machine in Gaming / Content creation mode with the fans at maximum. It was loud and manly.

    Laptop boots, loads services, drivers, etc, temps 62-85-74-66-85 centigrade. Just by doing nothing with fans maxed out and with my hand under the Coolermaster to see how the air is. Air was very cool and it should not do this.

    Then I decided to run 3D Mark to see why I keep getting a stupid NVIDIA BSOD. Installed drivers twice from scratch yet the BSOD randomly shows up. First it was a USB BSOD now its an NVIDIA BSOD. Not what I expected from a 3000 EUR laptop.


    Halfway during timespy with the window open for cool air, fans ramped up at max, on the stand with additional air from extra fans, this poor attempt of a gaming laptop ends up with 4 out of 6 cores at 100 degrees and the other 2 cores at 94 degrees. There should be no reason for it to do so, yet it does. Ambient was 19 degrees as I opened everything I could to see what is going on.



    I repeated the above tests once I applied my undervolt. To keep temperatures at bay but when I say bay I don't mean 60-70, I mean 85-87, I had to drop my clocks by 500-600 MHz.



    At this point in time, i am thinking of getting my money back.
     
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