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Razer Blade 15 Mercury White
Product Name: Razer Blade 15 Mercury White
Product Description: Fast, sleek gaming laptop with RTX 2070 Max-Q graphics
Offer price: £2,530
- Gorgeous 240Hz screen
- Speedy gaming performance
- And nippy in everyday tasks too
- Battery life could be better
The word “cool” isn’t one you’d normally associate with gaming laptops. “Loud”, “gaudy” and “bulky” are three more common adjectives. And they’d all be totally irrelevant when referring to the Razer Blade 15 Mercury White, which I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing these past two weeks.
Razer Blade 15 Mercury White review: winner by design
While I’m not usually won over by stylish box designs, I doff my hat to Razer for its attention to detail: from the moment you open the box to the time you first boot the laptop, you know you’ve bought something special.
Even the box is super-sleek, with a magnetic edge to keep it closed and a fabric loop to make it that little bit easier to open. And there, resplendent in its throne, you’ll find the laptop itself.
By normal laptop standards, the Razer Blade 15’s dimensions aren’t that noteworthy. But to squeeze a Core i7-9750H processor and GeForce RTX 2070 graphics into a chassis that’s 1.4cm thick (1.9cm with the lid closed) is a phenomenal achievement. Bear in mind it weighs a travel-friendly 2.15kg too.
As to the looks of the Razer Blade 15 – well, that’s in the eye of the beholder. I like the subdued matte aluminium finish, along with the subtle Razer logo on the lid. In contrast to the loud-and-proud designs of many gaming laptops, this is high class.
Others, though, may consider it boring.
Lifting the lid on the Razer Blade 15
The classy design continues once you open the lid, with a 15.6in screen that stretches almost the full width of the chassis. There’s a chunky bezel at the bottom, and a 1cm bezel at the top to make space for the Windows Hello-compatible 1.x-megapixel webcam, but it still feels like Razer is making full use of the available space.
Symmetry is the keyword to describe the base, with grey grilles to the left and right of the keyboard that hold the speakers, plus a generously large touchpad that sits slam in the middle.
By default, the key colours are plain, but you can customise this to your heart’s content in the Razer Synapse app.
Incidentally, this isn’t just a gimmick. Razer works with games developers to detect if a supported game is running, and then changes the colours that show on the keyboard. This isn’t just for show either, with indications such as low health also revealed by the colour of the keys.
240Hz screen: is the quality worth it?
There’s a feeling among the gaming community that 240Hz screens are a gimmick. For example, watch The Tech Chap’s take on it in his first look below.
The problem is that, even with a powerful graphics chip inside, you’re going to struggle to hit 240fps (frames per second) in AAA games. Tom (the “tech chap” in question above) reckons he got over 230fps in CS:Go and over 200fps in Overwatch, but that’s with lower settings.
The argument for a 240Hz is that if you’re competing in an online game then you’ll see what’s happening a fraction more quickly, but sadly there’s no way this will make you a magical gamer. My gaming-oriented son reported no increase in his scores when using the Blade 15.
I do like the smooth feeling 240Hz gives you in Windows, though. It’s one of those things that you don’t realise you’ll miss until it’s gone – everything just feels a tad more juttery afterwards.
The screen itself is an IPS panel, which is a big improvement on the TN panels you’ll see in some high refresh-rate laptops. That means richer colours and better viewing angles, which again add to this laptop’s sense of class.
This was borne out in my technical tests (results below), with scores that suggest this is a colour-accurate screen that produces the full gamut of sRGB colours – so superb for daily use on the web.
While it didn’t score such high marks in the movie-friendly DCI-P3 colour space, or Adobe RGB (as used for designers who output to print), I thoroughly enjoyed watching TV and films on the Blade. The speakers pack a fair bit of volume too; just don’t expect bass.
Razer Blade 15: so how fast is it?
There are four key components to any laptop’s speed, and Razer delivers in every department. This is a stupidly quick machine.
First up, the processor. I’m a huge fan of the Core i7-9750H, because it packs six powerful cores (that can jump up to 4.5GHz when needed) and 12 threads. If you’re using this laptop for tasks that demand multithreading power, it will deliver.
Then there’s the GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q Design graphics chip. This has the same number of cores as the standard RTX 2070, but it’s clocked much more slowly to ensure it stays cool.
That means it’s never going to match a desktop chip in games – just look at the Techspot review of the chip, where it’s around 25% slower than its desktop equivalent – but the potent processor and fast graphics mean it’s capable of delivering high frame rates in tough AAA games.
You can see a selection of results at the foot of this review, but I don’t want to get bogged down in these. It’s how the Blade 15 performs in the games that you play that matters, and you’ll get playable results in all of them – even if you have to drop down the quality settings as a worst-case scenario.
The third speed component is the SSD (solid state drive), with Razer supplying a 512GB NVMe disk that flew through our tests: a 2.15GB/sec read speed means games will load in a flash. The only issue is space, as 512GB will be gobbled up quickly.
(Side note: you should think about buying a portable SSD. Samsung produces the best ones at the moment, and I would seriously consider investing in the 1TB Samsung Portable SSD T5 for around £160 on Amazon.)
Finally, on the subject of speed, there’s 16GB of 2,667MHz DDR4 memory. While some gaming laptops have stepped up to 32GB, that’s currently overkill and would add cost for little gain. If you want more in the future, you can upgrade to 64GB.
Razer Blade 15 Mercury White: battery life, ports and wireless
The Blade 15’s battery life is fine for a gaming machine. As ever, what you do with it will determine how long it lasts. Play games with the screen at maxed-out brightness and you’ll be lucky to get two hours. Watch films with the screen at 50% and (if my tests are anything to go by) it will last for six-and-a-half hours.
That’s a decent return when you consider just how slim this machine is. Note that the power unit is weighty at 667g, but it’s surprisingly slim for such a powerful machine and comes with a generously long (and braided) cable.
There aren’t a huge number of ports, but the essentials are all covered. One Thunderbolt 3 port sits on the right-hand side, along with a USB 3.1 port and mini DisplayPort and HDMI 2.0b video outputs.
The left holds two USB-A 3.1 ports and a 3.5mm combo audio jack, with my only criticism being that they’re all clumped closely together. (Note this array of ports is for the Advanced Model; the Base Model of the Razer Blade 15 has a different configuration, so check before you buy.)
Perhaps the most exciting inclusion is inside, with an Intel Wireless-AX200 module meaning this laptop supports the latest Wi-Fi 6 standard (aka 802.11ax).
Should you buy the Razer Blade 15 Mercury White?
This is a terrific laptop. It’s sleek, it’s stylish, and it’s incredibly powerful. That’s a rare combination in a gaming laptop.
And I must admit that I’m in love with the rock-solid 240Hz screen. The sooner such high refresh rates come to mass-market laptops, the better.
It’s expensive at £2,530 from Amazon.co.uk, but worth every penny. (Incidentally, ignore the 3.5-star rating on the site. Amazon’s ratings are becoming less and less relevant, and those apply to older models in the range, not this specific machine.)
EVERYDAY SPEED: TEST RESULTS
|Geekbench 4: single core||5,209|
|Geekbench 4: multicore||23,400|
|AS SSD sequential read||2,151MB/sec|
|AS SSD sequential write||1,830MB/sec|
GAMING TEST RESULTS
|GFXBench Open GL Car Chase on-screen||161fps|
|GFXBench Open GL Car Chase offscreen||301fps|
|Dirt Showdown at High presets, 4 x MSAA||112fps|
|Unigine Heaven at Ultra, 8 x AA||87.2fps|
SCREEN QUALITY RESULTS
|Adobe RGB coverage||66.2%|
|Delta E average/max||0.58/1.28|