• Thu. Sep 22nd, 2022

Razer Blade 15 Advanced Model 2022 Review – Esquire


Sep 19, 2022

Every product was carefully curated by an Esquire editor. We may earn a commission from these links.
It’s a simple yet seriously powerful setup that could change the way you think about PC (and console) gaming.
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Steam. Xbox Game Pass. Nvida GeForce Now. Amazon Luna. Google Stadia. PlayStation Remote Play. I could keep going. Like with TV streaming services, there are too many places to play your video games today. The list of "channels" or "providers" or whatever the hell they’re called anymore is growing–and the big consoles are even testing out their own services with the aforementioned Xbox and PlayStation remote apps. You can play Elden Ring right on your browser now. It’s insanity. But, to what end?! The convenient thing about TV streaming platforms is that they can all live on one little smart box.
Now that streaming has entered the gaming world in a big way, it just feels ludicrous to bounce between my Xbox, PS5, Nintendo Switch, iPhone, and tablet, sometimes all in a single night. My apartment only has so many HDMI ports, it’s hard to keep track. So, when I saw the Razer Blade 15, a super-powered PC laptop that could, theoretically, house my entire video game library in one place, well, everything changed.
Until recently, I’ve always preferred the streamlined experience of console gaming. You plug it in, you play it. No downloading drivers, investing in new hardware, spending hours on YouTube watching a 12-year-old teach you how to get the latest Skyrim version up and running (it’s a cinch!). Gamers might crucify me for saying this, but PCs are intimidating, man. Especially trying to assemble one on your own. And, not to mention how expensive they can get, trying to keep them up-to-date for all the latest games.
The Razer Blade 15 makes the concept of PC gaming suddenly very simple. It’s just a Windows laptop. In the end, that’s all it is. The computer ships with Windows 11, so installing an OS is no issue–and, sure, unless you want to just strictly play PC games (which would be totally fine, no judgment), it takes a little bit of technical know-how to get ALL your games going. But, with a little time and effort, you can assemble your very own gaming museum, a powerhouse of an archive that could pretty much start with today’s newest releases and go all the way back to the NES, or earlier. It’s simple, I mean, I was able to pull it off in a night or two, and I’ve never even owned a PC before.
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The Razer’s Blade laptop series—the latest line of which includes the 14, 15, and 17, all of them packing enough processing power, graphics capabilities, and memory speeds, to get the biggest AAA games running without issue—make it hard to justify investing in any other dedicated gaming devices. You can check out the specs yourself, but they’re more than adequately-powered machines that would make buying a PC tower, to me, kind of overkill.
And since you’re not building anything yourself, you’re sort of getting the console experience, too. When I opened the Blade 15, Xbox GamePass was pre-installed. All I had to do was log into my Microsoft account, and my games were right there. Sites and applications like PS Remote Play (more on that later), Steam, or GOG, or itch.io, or The Epic Games Store, are all just a click away.
If you’re going to play right there on the laptop, the glass trackpad and ergonomic keyboard are absolutely huge, the whole thing is dazzling in customizable LEDs, the screen’s gorgeous 4k, 360Hz display is ravishing, and the THX Spatial Audio 7.1 surround sound speakers pack a serious punch.
This’ll be common knowledge for PC gamers, but, if, like me, you prefer the old-school console setup, an Xbox controller will sync up no problem, and you can even just plug the Blade into your flatscreen via HDMI and sit there on your couch like you’re playing Dreamcast. Except, you know, you can have Sonic Adventure running in 4k, if you want.
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Next, brings me to the glorious world of emulators. Now, emulation is legally-murky and we cannot advise the use of illegal roms (and there are perfectly legal ways to emulate your old video games, of course). But, say you wanted to set up a “console” where all of your Xbox games could sit neatly beside all of your Sega Genesis games, and you could switch between Halo Infinite and VectorMan without even having to get off the couch. Even better, say you didn’t want to wait for Capcom to bring Marvel vs Capcom 2 back to consoles (is that ever going to happen?). With apps like Launchbox, which gathers and arranges all of your games into one tidy collection, the possibilities are unlimited.
Since owning a PS4 or PS5 is required for PS Remote play, Sony is the outlier here—but I don’t think that will be the case for too long. The longtime console company has been bringing their biggest, formerly PS-exclusive titles, like Marvel’s Spider-Man and soon, God of War: Ragnarok, to PC. This may very well mean that, soon, a lot of PS gaming could happen right on a PC. Which is wild to imagine. I don’t know Sony’s business model, but now that I have the Blade 15, I’m not complaining. It just makes it all less complicated.
And gaming shouldn’t be complicated. It’s already an expensive hobby—games are getting over $60 now, and consoles are swiftly encroaching on the thousand-dollar range. If you have the dough to make a one-time purchase of $1,700 (or $2,999, for the beefed-up version), the Razer Blade 15 could really be the mega console laptop for all of your gaming needs. For years to come. It’s a mighty machine, and well worth the investment.
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Photography by Timothy Mulcare. Prop styling John Olson for Halley Resources.
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