Razer has made large laptops up 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 system, however a number 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 stable 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 may be, the Blade 18 is a extra conventional providing — Razer took the Blades we knew and cherished and simply form of blew them up. Whereas some might aspire to the perfect of a fully-specced RTX 4090 Blade 16, I believe this toned-down, 2560 x 1600, RTX 4080 Blade 18 is a extra pragmatic purchase for high-end consumers. It’s an entire lot cheaper, however the expertise delta shouldn’t be that huge.
Earlier than I get into my outcomes, I do must make one caveat: Blades are costlier than they was once. The Blade 18 I examined was the cheaper of two at present out there Blade fashions, and it features a 24-core Core i9-13950HX, 32GB of DDR5 RAM, 1TB of storage, and the RTX 4080. It at present prices $3,799.99; if you happen to 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 a much bigger quantity than seven, however that’s nonetheless a comparable mannequin to our check unit with regards to the tiers they occupy in Razer’s lineup. In case you evaluate the highest chips on supply, Razer bought 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 present a Blade 18 you may get for the value of final yr’s QHD 3070 Ti fashions.
Principally, these gaming laptops are getting higher — however they’re additionally getting costlier (they usually 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 recreation 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 transferring from the 4090 right down to the 4080? The reply, so far as I can inform, is… not an enormous one.
On most of the video games we ran, the Blade 18 obtained the same (and an identical, in some instances) rating to the Blade 16. (Our Blade 16 unit had this similar Core i9 however an RTX 4090 inside.) In instances the place the 4090 machine gained, the deltas had been usually in single-digit percentages. That usually means body price 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 perhaps coming into play there. For what it’s price, although, MSI’s Titan GT77 HX, which has an RTX 4090 and is monumental, 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 assessment 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 common gaming laptop computer) — and can also be, I’ve to remind you, 18 inches, which is so large.
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 checks export and playback efficiency at 4K and 8K, scoring a 1413. The truth is, it additionally beat the latest M2 MacBook Execs (and that’s speculated to be like, their entire factor). I’m scratching my head a bit at this outcome, 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 sweet 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 system’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 numerous particular supplies meant to cut back hotspots. So, looks as if that’s all doing one thing.
I wouldn’t go as far as to name it cool — it actually will get warmish throughout gameplay within the hinge space — nevertheless it’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, nevertheless it was not spending practically 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 — in all probability from throughout the room if you happen to run the system at full energy as you recreation. In case you discover that too annoying, you’ll be able to 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 system, 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 sensible since, if nothing else, the battery is greater). And battery life isn’t as essential on large gaming rigs as it’s within the ultraportable market.
However 3:46 remains to be not nice, and definitely mitigates the advantage of the Blade’s comparatively skinny and light-weight stature considerably. This system, 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 can be not less than some a part of the attraction for people who find themselves contemplating the product.
Whereas the Blade 18 is technically a brand new system, it’s at present the closest factor we’ve to a sequel to final yr’s Blade 17
Whereas the Blade 18 is technically a brand new system, it’s at present the closest factor we’ve to a sequel to final yr’s Blade 17. Some of the noticeable modifications is that the touchpad has elevated by 50 % in dimension 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 virtually too large for me, to the purpose the place I’ve to consciously attain with the intention 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 actually conscious of gestures and fast to scroll.
Port choice is pretty much 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) if you happen to 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 numerous individuals have erased USB-A from their lives, however talking as somebody who nonetheless has outdated gaming peripherals that they don’t have 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 mentioned, it’s nonetheless a laptop computer webcam, and the image stays considerably grainy as photos go. I’m truthfully about as bummed in regards to the lack of a bodily shutter (the Blade 16 has one) as I’m excited in regards to the webcam’s high quality.
The 5MP webcam delivered a pointy, clear image
These are many of the new issues, and the remainder of this laptop computer is sort of much like large Blades previous. This appears, for all intents and functions, like an enormous 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 present promoting a 4K mannequin of the Blade 18. It’s promoting a 4K Blade 16, in any case, and a much bigger display screen will get much more profit from these further pixels. However the truth that this explicit unit has a QHD display screen makes an incredible case for it. As a result of whereas it’s attainable that the RTX 4090 could be the proper possibility for folk who need a 4K gaming expertise, the RTX 4080 is totally the QHD purchase.
I might summarize my impressions of the Blade 18’s numerous elements right here, however I’m unsure they’re tremendous necessary to most individuals purchasing on this class. The underside line is that if you’d like an 18-inch gaming laptop computer and also you don’t need it to be lined in obnoxious lights, the Blade 18 might be one in every of your solely choices. It’s a good possibility — and also you shouldn’t spend extra on it than it’s important to. As the costs of those laptops shoot via the roof, I’m doing lots of excited about simply how a lot an extra body is price. I believe consumers ought to too.