Razer Blade 18 evaluate: the worth goes up
Razer has made massive laptops prior to now — however they apparently weren’t sufficiently big. The Razer Blade 18 is the biggest-screened Razer Blade ever launched, and it’s exhausting to overstate how immersive that 18-inch, QHD, 16:10, 240Hz show is. That large 2560 x 1600 display screen is the first draw of the machine, however a couple of different staples of the Blade line — the six-speaker array, the per-key RGB keyboard, the very best construct high quality you’ll discover within the high-end gaming house — in addition to some options coming newly to the 18, together with a CPU overclocking characteristic, a battery well being optimizer, and a completely large touchpad, all make for a strong package deal.
Whereas the smaller Blade 16, with its dual-mode Mini LED display screen, could also be a flashy and fancy reimagining of what a Razer Blade could be, the Blade 18 is a extra conventional providing — Razer took the Blades we knew and cherished and simply sort of blew them up. Whereas some could aspire to the best of a fully-specced RTX 4090 Blade 16, I feel this toned-down, 2560 x 1600, RTX 4080 Blade 18 is a extra pragmatic purchase for high-end buyers. It’s an entire lot cheaper, however the expertise delta is just not that vast.
Earlier than I get into my outcomes, I do have to make one caveat: Blades are dearer than they was. The Blade 18 I examined was the cheaper of two at the moment accessible Blade fashions, and it features a 24-core Core i9-13950HX, 32GB of DDR5 RAM, 1TB of storage, and the RTX 4080. It at the moment prices $3,799.99; should you suppose that’s costly, don’t even click on on the RTX 4090 mannequin, which goes for $4,499.99.
For context, the costliest QHD RTX 3070 Ti mannequin of final yr’s Blade 17 goes for $3,399.99 — a full $400 cheaper. I do know that eight is technically an even bigger quantity than seven, however that’s nonetheless a comparable mannequin to our check unit in terms of the tiers they occupy in Razer’s lineup. For those who evaluate the highest chips on supply, Razer offered a QHD 3080 Ti Blade 17 for $3,999.99 (although this was discontinued within the U.S.), which is $500 cheaper than the 4090 Blade 18. There may be not at the moment a Blade 18 you may get for the worth of final yr’s QHD 3070 Ti fashions.
Principally, these gaming laptops are getting higher — however they’re additionally getting dearer (and so they have been for the previous few generations).
Diving into the gaming efficiency, which is presumably the rationale you’re right here: The Blade 18 did nicely. At QHD decision, it ran each sport at over 60fps — even Cyberpunk 2077 with ray tracing on, which is bonkers. Peruse the offered benchmark chart at your leisure. However what sort of a efficiency penalty do you see when shifting from the 4090 right down to the 4080? The reply, so far as I can inform, is… not a giant one.
On lots of the video games we ran, the Blade 18 obtained the same (and an identical, in some circumstances) rating to the Blade 16. (Our Blade 16 unit had this identical Core i9 however an RTX 4090 inside.) In circumstances the place the 4090 machine gained, the deltas had been usually in single-digit percentages. That usually means body charge will increase of single digits — nothing that’s going to considerably impression most individuals’s gameplay.
The Blade 16 is a smaller machine than the Blade 18, so issues like cooling and energy limits is likely to be coming into play there. For what it’s value, although, MSI’s Titan GT77 HX, which has an RTX 4090 and is huge, can also be solely single-digit percentages forward of the Blade 18 on many of those titles. All in all, the RTX 4080 is trying like a solidly higher worth than the RTX 4090 based mostly on these outcomes.
Oh, the Blade 18 additionally put up a large 43 % improve in Horizon Zero Daybreak efficiency over our Blade 17 evaluate unit from final yr (which had an RTX 3080 Ti). I’m simply sharing that as a result of I discovered it humorous. Anyway, video games regarded nice on this QHD+ display screen, which reached 574 nits of peak brightness in testing (significantly greater than the typical gaming laptop computer) — and can also be, I’ve to remind you, 18 inches, which is so massive.
In Premiere Professional, the Blade 18 completed our 4K export check in simply over two minutes. It handily bested each the Blade 16 and the Titan on PugetBench, an artificial benchmark that exams export and playback efficiency at 4K and 8K, scoring a 1413. In reality, it additionally beat the latest M2 MacBook Professionals (and that’s speculated to be like, their entire factor). I’m scratching my head a bit at this consequence, I’ll admit. I even ran the check a number of instances to verify I hadn’t messed one thing up. My greatest guess can be, to borrow my earlier phrasing, cooling and energy limits. Anyway, the takeaway: The Blade 18 is nice at Premiere.
In comparison with the Blade 16, the Blade 18 is… cooler.
Talking of cooling, a nice shock all through my testing was that in comparison with the Blade 16, the Blade 18 is… cooler. The 18’s bigger chassis, in any case, doesn’t simply lend itself to extra pixels; it additionally has room for a fancier cooling system. Razer claims that this machine’s cooling system is “thinner and extra environment friendly than conventional warmth pipe strategies,” using a vacuum-sealed copper chamber with deionized water, in addition to varied particular supplies meant to scale back hotspots. So, looks as if that’s all doing one thing.
I wouldn’t go as far as to name it cool — it definitely will get warmish throughout gameplay within the hinge space — but it surely’s not the worrisome fireball that I’ve discovered different skinny gaming laptops (just like the Blade 16) to be. The keyboard and palm rests largely stayed snug. The CPU did hit 100 (Celsius) a few instances whereas I performed, but it surely was not spending almost as a lot time there because the Blade 16 did, and was largely hanging out within the mid-70s to mid-80s.
To be clear, that doesn’t imply this laptop computer is quiet. It’s loud. You’ll hear the followers going — most likely from throughout the room should you run the machine at full energy as you sport. For those who discover that too annoying, you possibly can swap to Silent Mode in Razer’s Synapse software program.
Talking of battery life: It’s not nice. I obtained three hours and 46 minutes out of this machine, utilizing it solely for Chrome multitasking and a few streaming (with the discrete GPU off). On the one hand, it’s higher than what we noticed from the Blade 17 final yr (which is smart since, if nothing else, the battery is larger). And battery life isn’t as essential on large gaming rigs as it’s within the ultraportable market.
However 3:46 continues to be not nice, and definitely mitigates the advantage of the Blade’s comparatively skinny and lightweight stature considerably. This machine, whereas removed from tiny, is compact in comparison with the Titans and Strixes of the world, at 0.86 inches thick and a hair over seven kilos. You’re not more likely to discover a lot thinner or lighter within the 18-inch gaming house, and I assume that portability might be a minimum of some a part of the attraction for people who find themselves contemplating the product.
Whereas the Blade 18 is technically a brand new machine, it’s at the moment the closest factor we’ve got to a sequel to final yr’s Blade 17
Whereas the Blade 18 is technically a brand new machine, it’s at the moment the closest factor we’ve got to a sequel to final yr’s Blade 17. One of the vital noticeable modifications is that the touchpad has elevated by 50 % in measurement from the Blade 17’s touchpad. The brand new touchpad is 15.74 x 10.84 x 0.86 inches — it’s big. It’s truly nearly too massive for me, to the purpose the place I’ve to consciously attain with a purpose to left click on with my proper hand. I acknowledge that that is principally a me downside. As with previous Blades, this trackpad has a considerably mushy click on, however is definitely conscious of gestures and fast to scroll.
Port choice is nearly as good because it will get: there’s a 2.5Gbps Ethernet port, along with the USB-C 3.2 Gen 2, Thunderbolt 4, three USB-A, HDMI 2.1, and UHS-II SD card reader. The Blade 18 can cost by way of USB-C (as much as 100W) should you don’t really feel like carrying its devoted 330W adapter round — although it’s pretty compact as gaming laptop computer bricks go. And sure: I do know a number of folks have erased USB-A from their lives, however talking as somebody who nonetheless has outdated gaming peripherals that they haven’t any want to dispense with, these ports make my life simpler.
The 5MP webcam is one other new characteristic, and it does look fairly good. It delivered a pointy, clear image of me in a brilliant workplace setting the place I look washed out on many laptop computer cameras. That stated, it’s nonetheless a laptop computer webcam, and the image stays considerably grainy as photos go. I’m actually about as bummed concerning the lack of a bodily shutter (the Blade 16 has one) as I’m excited concerning the webcam’s high quality.
The 5MP webcam delivered a pointy, clear image
These are a lot of the new issues, and the remainder of this laptop computer is kind of just like massive Blades previous. This seems to be, for all intents and functions, like a giant Blade. The signature inexperienced brand is there on the lid. The black end is clean and a serious fingerprint magnet.
It’s a bit complicated to me that Razer isn’t at the moment promoting a 4K mannequin of the Blade 18. It’s promoting a 4K Blade 16, in any case, and an even bigger display screen will get much more profit from these additional pixels. However the truth that this explicit unit has a QHD display screen makes an ideal case for it. As a result of whereas it’s doable that the RTX 4090 will be the proper possibility for people who desire a 4K gaming expertise, the RTX 4080 is completely the QHD purchase.
I may summarize my impressions of the Blade 18’s varied parts right here, however I’m unsure they’re tremendous vital to most individuals buying on this class. The underside line is that in order for you an 18-inch gaming laptop computer and also you don’t need it to be lined in obnoxious lights, the Blade 18 might be considered one of your solely choices. It’s a good possibility — and also you shouldn’t spend extra on it than it’s a must to. As the costs of those laptops shoot by way of the roof, I’m doing numerous fascinated with simply how a lot an extra body is value. I feel buyers ought to too.