Speakers

The Razer has two front facing stereo speakers. With laptops this thin, there generally is not a lot of room for good sounding speakers, but I am ready to be surprised at any time. As for overall volume, the new Razer Blade comes in at 83 dBA. The 2014 Razer Blade did not impress me with its speaker quaility, which was disappointing due to not only the cost of the device, but the front facing speakers, which should have an advantage over any system which fires the speakers down, were very poor. With laptops getting as thin and small as they are now, forward facing speakers are less common, so I was looking for more on the 2014 model.

The frequency response for the 2015 Razer Blade is very much improved over the last model. The 2014 model had a very poor curve, and almost no sound at all under 200 Hz. As soon as the first frequency was tested it was obvious that some changes have been made to the speakers. I reached out to Razer, and asked them about the speakers. Although the actual speakers are the same, various subsystems have been changed. Some tuning has certainly been done to improve the overall sound quality, and it has made a big difference. When gaming, headphones will still be necessary to get rid of the fan noise, but for watching movies or listening to music, the speakers are much more usable now.

Software

The only software installed on the system, is Razer’s Synapse software. This in and of itself is worth mentioning due to the huge amount of extra software normally installed on new PCs. On a premium device such as this, it is nice to see that there are no bundled extras to increase Razer's margins. The Synapse software is their in-house software to control the Blade and other Razer peripherals. Razer Synapse has continued to evolve since we last took a look at it. We will not go over what has not changed, so if you want to check that out, it is detailed on our last review here. What is new is a new Stats option on the Synapse software. Opening this goes to some interesting software which lets you keep track of what you are doing while gaming.

Stats, once enabled, will keep track of total keystrokes, distance, profile switches, and macro use, to let you know just what it is you are doing in the heat of battle. And speaking of heat, moving over to the Heatmaps section displays some very cool graphics of where your mouse clicks occur on the screen, where you tend to move your mouse to, and what keys you use the most while gaming. Some of us are certainly not good enough gamers to gain any sort of insight with this data, but it is interesting to look at. For those that want the extra edge, it is a nice addition to the software.

This is what is new on the software, but no software is perfect, nor is any hardware. In future versions of the Synapse software, it would be nice to see some extra features that are missing from the Razer Blade.

First, and previously mentioned, is the lack of any sort of customization of the lighting scheme for the Razer Blade. The green is nice, but there are those of us who like to really make it our own. Alienware has done this for years, and Razer now has some nice looking RGB keyboards which offer some great customization and effects.

The other addition to the software is likely more functional. Fan control should be part of the Synapse software suite on laptops. As much as we like how silent the Razer Blade is doing light duty tasks, almost nothing is more annoying to some people than a fan that ramps up and down, rather than just stay constant. A nice addition would be multiple fan settings, which could be automatically enabled when the GPU kicks in. As we saw in the GPU load graph, there was no throttling at all on the GPU, but the temperature would go up and down like a saw blade. Give me an option to just leave the fans on maximum in that scenario.

Battery Life, Temperatures, and Noise Final Words
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  • geniekid - Wednesday, February 11, 2015 - link

    Good review - it answered most of the questions I had about this laptop. Hopefully when you guys get the 1080p version you will run it through the same benchmarks so we get comparable results. Reply
  • close - Thursday, February 12, 2015 - link

    No Europe again, huh? Also worth mentioning that the FHD one only has 8GB of ram, so it's not just the SSD and screen like the pricing in the table above suggests. Reply
  • Hrel - Thursday, February 12, 2015 - link

    Assuming the RAM is upgradeable here, so that wouldn't be a problem. 8GB of RAM is like $50. Reply
  • Brett Howse - Thursday, February 12, 2015 - link

    It's not upgradable unfortunately, unless you are really good with the soldering iron. Reply
  • Dusk_Star - Wednesday, February 11, 2015 - link

    For the batter boost battery life comparison, was the 2015 test done with the same settings as the 2014 Blade, or with the settings that GForce Experience picked this year? Because I imagine that the higher the frame rate before battery boost, the greater the difference in battery life, and it might be more fair to run a 2015 battery test at 2014 settings. Reply
  • Brett Howse - Wednesday, February 11, 2015 - link

    The 2014 settings were used. The only difference was post processing enabled/disabled, but that has a big impact on framerate. Reply
  • tipoo - Wednesday, February 11, 2015 - link

    Is the key travel better than the 15" rMBP? That's what bugs me most about the design of my machine. Not enough keyboard feedback leading to a lot of missed strokes.

    I was pretty torn between the two systems, even though they're pretty different in intended use case. But selling my rMBP and getting this for around the same price would allow much more mobile gaming, which would be nice. Just not sure if I'd trade off the rest of what makes the MBP better for that.
    Reply
  • tipoo - Wednesday, February 11, 2015 - link

    Huh, didn't expect it to weigh less with all the added specs either. 4.19 pounds vs 4.46. Reply
  • tipoo - Wednesday, February 11, 2015 - link

    Never mind, that's the 14". So, when is that edit button coming along? :P Reply
  • fokka - Wednesday, February 11, 2015 - link

    as you already noticed, the blade is one inch smaller and the rmbp also comes with a 47w CPU, if i'm not mistaken. plus it has some serious battery capacity, so it's not all that surprising that the macbook is heavier. Reply

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