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2020 with the Razer Blade 15: What I love (and hate)

Razer Blade 15 Quartz Edition
(Image credit: Future)

For just over six months now, I’ve been the proud owner of a Razer Blade 15 gaming laptop. And I can safely say that it was, without a doubt, the best purchase I made in the dreadful year that was 2020.

Having been a diehard fan of console gaming for years, I’ve never actually owned a PC until this summer. Naturally, I wanted to make an informed decision before committing to something that would leave a huge gap in my savings. After scouring the Web, I eventually decided to narrow my choice down to gaming laptops as opposed to desktop PCs for reasons I couldn’t ignore: portability and my lack of skill (and will) to build one from scratch. 

Since the internet is simply swarming with gaming laptops, it took me a while to find the one that perfectly suited my gaming needs. I knew my search was over when I came across the 2019 Razer Blade 15 Quartz Edition. For a brand new 'PC gamer', I felt confident ordering it for several reasons, with the first one being the specs. 

It came with a six-core 9th Gen Intel Core i7-9750H, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SDD, and most importantly an Nvidia GeForce 2060 RTX. All that was wrapped up in a slim and neat chassis sporting a 15-inch Full HD 144Hz matte display. 

Razer Blade 15 Quartz Edition

(Image credit: Future)

Obviously color is a very minor factor when purchasing a gaming laptop, but I wanted to consider every aspect before spending a fortune on a premium gaming laptop. Thankfully, it turned out that the Razer Blade 15 comes in not only black and Mercury White, but also in Quartz (which is essentially a stylish shade of pink); I couldn’t resist picking the latter. 

The Quartz Edition was launched as a part of Razer’s campaign in support of the Breast Cancer Foundation. Sadly, Razer is one of the few companies that produce pink gaming hardware, but that’s a discussion for another day.  

Even though it literally took months to arrive (thanks, COVID-19), it was absolutely worth the wait. I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t go into a gaming coma for the first week (or a month or two, who’s counting?). But after six months of everyday use, I am finally able to process my impressions of the Razer Blade 15. 

For a gaming laptop, it’s surprisingly thin

Comparison of Razer Blade 15 Quartz Edition and MacBook Pro 13 (2015)

(Image credit: Future)

What I noticed immediately after ripping open the delivery box like a child on Christmas Day was how incredibly sleek the laptop was. With a minimalist design and thin yet sturdy metal chassis, the Razer Blade 15 eerily resembles Apple’s MacBook Pro. If I hadn’t known it was a gaming laptop, I’m not sure I would’ve been able to guess at its gaming pedigree. 

I was pleasantly surprised that the laptop looked presentable enough to use for general work and productivity, once you disable the customizable RGB keyboard. However, as is the case with most gaming laptops, the battery life isn’t exactly great even when you’re not gaming. So I often find end up moving from power socket to power socket rather than rely on the battery power alone. 

Outstanding gaming performance

To give the new laptop a little exercise, the first game I decided to test was one of my all-time favorites: Resident Evil VII: Biohazard. Sure, it’s not the most graphically demanding game, but having previously played it on a PS4 Pro, it was a good benchmark to start from.

The visual difference was crazy. From the detailed textures, more pronounced shadows and smoother overall gameplay, my first hour or so of gaming on the Blade 15 made me wonder why I didn’t make the PC switch earlier.

As the GeForce 2060 RTX is a mid-range graphics card, I didn’t expect to be able to run some of the most demanding games like Metro: Exodus on the highest settings and get away with it. It was nice to see, however, that all my favorite games performed admirably. We're talking  60 frames per second in Dead by Daylight, 50 fps in Fallout 4, and 90 fps in Overwatch, all with ultra settings enabled. Resident Evil VII manages an impressive 87 fps on its very high settings. 

The 144Hz display is also a great touch. On fast-paced first-person multiplayer shooters like Overwatch, it makes a world of difference, with the high refresh rate minimizing motion blur whenever you flick your mouse to aim. 

However, it’s likely that some gamers might run into issues with the Blade 15's 512GB of storage (of which you only get about 480GB due to the operating system taking up space on the SSD). 

Games like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare can typically chew up as much as 180GB of precious SSD space. But I’m not a fan of that chunky game, so I haven’t had any issues on that front. If you do require more storage, Razer has an option of a 1TB SSD for the Razer Blade 15.

Buuut…it tends to run quite hot

The only bone I have to pick with the Razer Blade 15 is that its compact design doesn’t allow its internal components much room to breathe. Most games top off at around 75-degrees Celsius (167-degrees Fahrenheit), but when you’re playing very graphically demanding games like Cyberpunk 2077, the laptop can easily reach up to 85-degrees Celsius (185-degrees Fahrenheit).

From my experience, this can also occasionally turn the top part of the keyboard into a bit of a stovetop, making it difficult to use the laptop’s keyboard. As a workaround, I began connecting an external keyboard to the laptop so I wouldn’t have to sear my fingertips. 

The Razer Blade 15 has other drawbacks, such as below average trackpad and internal speakers. But overall, it’s a great piece of hardware that combines the design of a modern laptop with the great gaming performance you’d expect from a much beefier PC. And yes, the pink exterior is a big plus in my book.

Denise Primbet

Denise is a news writer at Tom’s Guide covering consumer tech news, deals, streaming, gaming and more. When she’s not playing horror games, she’s a part-time piano enthusiast and experimenting in the kitchen. You can reach her at denise.primbet@futurenet.com.