Razer Blade 18 Gaming Laptop Review: Thin, Stylish And Potent

The Razer Blade 18 Gaming Laptop Is A Powerful, Yet Stylish Beast Of A Gaming Laptop

Razer Blade 18 Gaming Laptop: Starts At $3,099, $4,499 As Tested

We put Razer’s biggest, baddest Blade gaming laptop to date through its paces and found it to be both powerful and quite pretty.

hot flat

  • Classic Razer Aesthetics
  • Phenomenal Laptop Display
  • Surprisingly Svelte
  • Excellent Spatial Sound
  • Forward-Looking Thunderbolt 5 Connectivity

not flat

  • Despite Size, Keyboard Is TKL
  • Surprisingly Noisy While Gaming
  • Price Premiumhothardware recommended small


As CPUs and GPUs become larger and more power thirsty, the systems that contain them must often grow in size. Actually, the concept of an 18″ laptop (or even bigger machines) is nothing particularly novel, but the Razer Blade 18 we’ll be showing you here today is the first mobile system of such size from Razer, and given the great experiences we’ve had with the premiere gaming lifestyle brand’s laptops in the past, we had to check it out.

Gaming as a whole has gone mainstream, but PC gaming specifically is still kind of a hands-on hobby. Windows itself is a complex beast under the hood, and playing games on a PC can sometimes require as much set-up time as it does actual play time. This is why you often see wild arrays of dedicated functions and extra buttons on gamer hardware; PC gamers are used to tinkering, so they usually don’t mind a bit of jank.

razer blade 18 thinnness

Razer eschews this philosophy entirely. The Blade 18, like the company’s other laptops, is absolutely a showcase of sleek and elegant laptop design. The bezels on the 18″ screen are crazy narrow, and Razer proudly boasts that the 0.86″ thickness, while hardly svelte for “a laptop”, is easily the thinnest among “HX-class” gaming laptops.

We’re getting a bit ahead of ourselves here, though. Let’s take a look at this system’s specifications to know what we’re working with:

The Razer Blade 18 is a top-shelf gaming laptop. It really doesn’t get much faster than this: a 55W Intel CPU with 24 CPU cores, 32GB of hot-clocked DDR5 memory, and NVIDIA’s fastest mobile GeForce. While the laptop version of the GeForce RTX 4090 is a much closer cousin to the desktop GeForce RTX 4080, that’s more than enough graphics horsepower for the 2560×1600 screen, even at 300 Hz.

Other standout specifications include the 2.5-Gigabit Ethernet and Wi-Fi 7 networking, the surprisingly excellent six-speaker spatial audio system, the absolutely massive 91.7-Whr battery, and of course, the gorgeous and sturdy anodized aluminum unibody chassis. This machine is surprisingly trim and remarkably light considering the hardware inside. That’s not necessarily a good thing in every case, but we’ll talk about that later.

thunderbolt5

Also of note is that this is the very first laptop to ship with Thunderbolt 5. We unfortunately have surprisingly little to say about this because we don’t have any Thunderbolt 5 accessories on hand to use for testing. However, Razer notes that the up-to-120-Gbps connection can drive three 4K displays at 144Hz off of a single USB Type-C plug. Naturally, it’s also downward compatible with USB4. The inclusion of Thunderbolt 5 gives the Blade 18 a measure of merit for creators and producers.

Inspecting The New Razer Blade 18 Gaming Laptop

Let’s go ahead and start our tour around the outside of the machine, where we’ll talk further about the system’s specifications and capabilities.

frontonphoto

Looking at the Blade 18, you could be forgiven for thinking it’s a smaller laptop without context. Don’t be mistaken, though—this thing is pretty huge. I came up using a 14″ monitor and this is a laptop with a 65% bigger screen going by screen area. The display really is on eof the main reasons to buy this laptop, in our opinion. Sure, it’s “only” 2560×1600, but that still gives it 167 PPI, and it boasts both a 300 Hz refresh rate and a Mini-LED backlight with over 2000 local dimming zones.

Razer rates the peak brightness of this panel at 1000 cd/m² in HDR mode, but we actually measured over 1250 cd/m². The brightness of pure white pages in this mode is absolutely eye-searing, but of course, that’s not what it’s meant for. You’ll obviously want to use the Win+Alt+B keyboard shortcut to toggle off HDR when you’re not gaming or watching videos, but you’ll also want to head into Razer Synapse to turn off local dimming.

The local dimming feature takes some getting used to on this laptop. When enabled in HDR mode, it’s the magic button that allows the screen to hit its peak brightness. However, when enabled in SDR mode (where it doesn’t really make any sense anyway), it mostly just seems to make the entire image darker. It’s our opinion that the local dimming toggle could probably just be on in HDR mode and off in SDR mode, but it’s not a bad thing to give users more control by any means.

keyboard fixed

Looking down at the base of the laptop, there are three things to point out. For one, the massive trackpad feels great and works very well, although it could use better palm rejection. Fortunately you can just hit Fn+T at any time to toggle it off. We have more contentions with the size of the keyboard on the Blade 18. To be clear, the keyboard itself, as implemented, is nearly beyond reproach. It has absolutely zero flex when typing, and it feels fantastic to type or game on. It also can be reconfigured in Razer Synapse, which is great to see.

Our complaint with the Blade 18’s keyboard is simply that it is a compact, tenkeyless design. It is strange that this keyboard does not have the editing cluster nor any way to send numeric keypad inputs to the system by default. You can fix that by creating numpad bindings in Synapse and we suggested to Razer that the machine should probably ship that way by default, as some users definitely need numpad buttons. The real question is why there isn’t a physical numeric keypad to begin with.

We asked Razer this question directly, but it’s probably down to two things: aesthetics and audio. You see, those faint grilles on either side of the keyboard are for the six-driver THX spatial audio. With it enabled, this laptop has a shockingly immersive sound stage, and while the audio quality isn’t amazing—as with most laptops, there’s a lack of bass response—it does get excessively loud on the highest volume setting without a hint of distortion. We found that a volume level of 66% was already plenty loud.

ports

Around the sides of the machine you have the usual array of ports. There are none on the back, so what you see above is what you get. The external connectivity is pretty solid, and we don’t really have any complaints. In addition to a trio of USB Type-A ports, you get the aforementioned Thunderbolt 5 connection and another USB Type-C port that supports USB 3.2 Gen 2. An RJ-45 jack, an HDMI 2.1 port, and a 3.5mm audio jack round out the external connectivity. There’s also the ever-present Kensington lock slot as well as an SD card reader.

That unfamiliar port next to the RJ-45 Ethernet jack on the left side of the system is the power connection. It’s an unusual connector that seems to be unique to Razer’s laptops. Ordinarily we’d ding a vendor for using a proprietary power connector, but the reality is that USB Type-C can’t provide the 330 watts that this machine needs, and barrel plugs, while standard, can be kind of flimsy. Razer’s using the same connector here that it has used on previous Blade laptops, and it fits snugly while being fairly durable, so we can’t complain.

rearangle

There’s really nothing to see on the back or lid of the laptop. There’s a Razer logo that’s illuminated with green LEDs; you can pick whether you want it off, to glow, or to “breathe,” and that’s all there is to say about it. The top casing is perfectly flat and smooth, and made from the same anodized aluminum as the rest of the chassis. The laptop’s hinge is very tight, though not so much that we couldn’t open it with one hand.

underside

Finally, underneath the laptop you have intake vents for three blower fans as well as some surprisingly tall feet. Indeed, while Razer boasts of the Blade 18’s thinness, that doesn’t take into account the quarter-inch-tall feet on the bottom. These are necessary to make sure that the cooling apparatus doesn’t get starved for fresh air, but it’s something to keep in mind if you’re stowing the Blade 18 in a tight bag.

Now that we’ve swooned over the system’s sexy style, let’s slap some benchmarks on it and see how it scoots, shall we?