The Razer Blade series is perhaps the best representation of this design philosophy. The 2021 Razer Blade 15 Advanced, to be more specific, is the culmination of all their hopes and dreams as it tries to strike the perfect balance between an ultra-powerful gaming laptop and a slim and sleek notebook.
Design & Build Quality
If there were one word to describe the design of this laptop, it would be understated. It features the same slim and boxy design as the previous-generation Razer Blade. In fact, there is little separating this design from any of the other models on sale from the brand since the Blade 15 carries over the same anodized aluminium chassis from the last generation, along with the dull finish that somehow still manages to capture a bunch of fingerprints.
They have made some changes to the design in order to slim down the laptop further, with it going as thin as 0.62” near the end. You get the same keyboard layout, though, with the same lacklustre typing experience that has plagued this series since its inception. The silver lining is that you do get per-key RGB thanks to Razer Chroma. It even supports dynamic lighting effects synced with 150 Chroma-integrated titles such as Fortnite, Apex Legends, Warframe, etc.
You do get a nice big Microsoft Precision-enabled keypad, which offers a great tactile experience. Other than that, there is nothing much to notice about the exterior of the laptop. Even the upgraded 1080p webcam is quite unobtrusive in its tiny punch-hole atop the screen.
Display & Sound
Speaking of screens, this laptop certainly deserves all the accolades when it comes to the options available for configuration in this particular aspect. You can pick between three excellent choices.
An FHD 360Hz display with a rapid 2ms response rate, a QHD 240Hz display with support for ADVANCED OPTIMUS and NVIDIA G-SYNC, or a fully upgraded 4K OLED Touch display with a 1ms response rate. All of these options look amazing in the large 15.6” display size, which is a rare find even in gaming laptops, considering the variety of resolutions and refresh rates you can pick from.
You will enjoy using any of these displays, for all sorts of applications, from fast-paced gaming to meticulous photo and video editing and even general media consumption. The only gripe we have is that none of the displays gets bright enough, with peak brightness sticking to the 300-400 nits range.
The listening experience doesn’t hold up its end either, with a stereo speaker setup that is pretty mediocre for a laptop that costs this much. Even though the laptop comes with support for THX Spatial Audio, which enables advanced 7.1 surround sound, there is just not enough room in the chassis to build up the bass. You would be better off using a pair of headphones than relying on this to be your sole sound system.
Performance & Connectivity
One thing that doesn’t disappoint in this series is the performance. Despite the simple exterior and slim body, this laptop is an absolute beast when it comes to its internals. You get the best of the latest generation of CPU hardware, with the option to choose between 10th and 11th Gen Intel Core H Series i7 or i9 processors.
The graphics department has also seen a welcome upgrade, with the ability to pick between the GeForce RTX 3060, 3070, and 3080. Between the CPU, the GPU, and up to 32GB of RAM, this sleek notebook can push even the best of AAA gaming titles to 45-60 FPS, even on ultra-settings, with goodies like DLSS and ray-tracing turned on.
That is the exceptional performance that matches and beats the best laptops across all segments and demographics. To round it off, you get 1TB of PCIe storage, with the option to get an extra M.2 PCIe slot with the 3070 and 3080 units. This hints at Razer’s openness to user upgrades, which are also visible in the RAM, which can be user upgraded up to 64GB.
The company has also been quite generous with the IO of this laptop. You get lots of options for connectivity that include:
• SD Card Reader, UHS-III
• Thunderbolt™ 4 (USB-C)
• USB Type-A
• HDMI 2.1
• Kensington Lock
• USB Type-C
• Gigabit Ethernet
• 3.5 mm Combo Audio
If all this gets occupied, you can always connect other peripherals thanks to the presence of Wi-Fi 6E - 802.11ax and Bluetooth 5.2. All of this runs off of Windows 10, and the company is also promising a free upgrade to Windows 11 when it becomes widely available.
The abundance of such connectivity features, combined with the amazing performance specs, showcase the company’s dedication to maintaining the top spot in the discreet gaming laptop category. The only issue is that you do end up paying a heavy price for such a no-compromise product, a price that can go as high as $3500, which is a lot to ask for any laptop, no matter how sleek and slim it looks.
In the end, the 2021 Razer Blade 15 Advanced remains an aspirational halo product for the brand that certainly lives up to the hype, even though that hype may never translate into high volume sales.