Every student who’s not a freshman knows exactly how important a reliable laptop is to your college experience. Not for taking notes in class; your professors will probably have a no-electronics policy anyway. It’s your only source of entertainment in your dorm room, your study partner in the library, your work horse for running demanding applications, and the best way to make friends with your fellow nerds.
With back-to-school sales for tech in full swing, now’s the time to upgrade (or convince your parents to upgrade) to a new gaming laptop that’ll serve as your one-stop shop for both work and play. Something powerful enough to mimic a desktop PC in specs, but light and skinny enough to leave plenty of room in your backpack for textbooks.
We think that the newest Razer gaming laptop fits the bill perfectly. It’s powerful enough for all the games you’ll procrastinate with to keep yourself sane, and to run all of the technical apps that’ll convince your parents this is a smart investment—all while being one of the lightest gaming laptops available today! But we’ve compiled a guide of criteria to consider before you decide whether the Razer Blade 15 RTX is the right choice for you.
Plan for the classes you’re not taking yet
So you’ve picked your major, signed up for classes, and you can see the path your life will take? Bad news: about one in three students change their major. You may think you’re fine with a cheaper laptop that’s a glorified word processor, but give up on English and pick architecture or engineering instead? AutoCAD will tear that poor laptop’s processor and RAM to shreds.
That’s just one of the reasons to bring a gaming laptop to college: the processing power and discrete graphics you need to run games is just as important for 3D modeling or video editing software.
With that in mind, you can’t go wrong with the Razer Blade 15 RTX. Its NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 GPU means your games and apps will run with real-time ray tracing for perfect visual rendering. And NVIDIA’s built-in Tensor AI cores will boost your frame rate using Deep Learning Super Sampling, taking full advantage of the Blade’s 240Hz FHD display.
Or perhaps a career in art or film is calling your name? If you want to make it to Hollywood or the Louvre you’ll need a display that accurately depicts color and graphics while you’re working in Photoshop or Premiere Pro. Enter the Blade 15, which ships with either a 100% sRGB color gamut or a 100% DCI-P3 gamut, depending on which model you purchase.
Then again, forget the humanities, computer science is the way to go! In which case, you’ll want to take advantage of the Blade 15’s many ports—Thunderbolt USB-C, USB-A, HDMI 2.0b or Mini DisplayPort 1.4—to pair it with a second or third display while you’re at home. A larger workspace is a necessity when you want to track your changes while you code.
Basically, versatility is the name of the game here, so don’t close yourself off from the major you really want with a laptop that won’t live up to the task.
Weighing your 13- and 15-inch options
It makes sense that most students pick 13-inch laptops: they’re cheaper, have better battery life and weigh several pounds less than most 15-inch models. So they live with the negatives, like the cramped display space, weaker CPU and (usually) integrated graphics.
The Blade 15 basically undercuts that whole debate, offering all of the benefits of a 15-inch without weighing down your backpack or emptying your wallet. It has the smallest footprint of any 15.6” laptop with discrete NVIDIA GeForce GTX graphics 1060 or higher. (Keep in mind, the Blade’s next-gen RTX GPU is much more powerful!)
Smallest footprint, in this case, translates to a 9.25” by 13.98” chassis that’s only 0.7 inches thick when closed and weighs only 4.5 pounds. It manages to squeeze as much screen space as possible into that compact frame with its thin 4.9mm bezel, so you end up with an incredibly large workspace for your final projects, compared to how incredibly tiny it’ll look squashed between a bunch of books.
5 pounds is around the average for a regular 15-inch laptop, but gaming laptops are notorious for being 8-to-10 pound slabs of metal and about the width of a 1000-page textbook. The Blade bridges the power-to-portability gap perfectly, packing its discrete graphics and 9th Gen Intel® Core™ i7 6 Core CPU into an impossibly skinny aluminum frame.
Worried about cost? Upgrade down the line
Maybe the most stressful part of buying a laptop is picking the model. Is it worth an extra couple hundred dollars to upgrade the storage? Do you need a 4K display? You don’t even know what memory or RAM does!
The point is, you end up feeling like you need to nickel and dime yourself well beyond the list price, just to make sure you’re getting the best version you can afford. Skimp on one thing, and you’ll spend five years wishing you hadn’t.
We’re afraid to say that the Razer Blade 15 RTX does give you an epic amount of options based on your price range. You can upgrade from the 240Hz HD screen to the 60Hz OLED 4K screen, double your memory or storage, move up to the GeForce RTX 2070 or 2080 Max-Q graphics card...you can even pay more to upgrade your keyboard from a single-zone RGB backlight to a per-key RGB Chroma light!
But unlike many other laptop-makers, Razer builds its laptops with buyers’ remorse in mind. It lets you open up your laptop without voiding the warranty, so you can add in new SSDs, memory or GPUs. So if you need to buy a base model, you can always upgrade down the line once you’ve built up some savings.
It also sells plenty of tools for folks who are afraid to open up a laptop but want to give their machine some extra juice. The Razer Core X Chroma, an external GPU enclosure to improve your power and FPS beyond the Razer 15’s already-impressive base specs, can simply be paired with your graphics card of choice, plugged into the Thunderbolt 3 port, and you’re in business.
If you’re still having trouble deciding, keep in mind that Razer is selling all models of the Blade 15 RTX at $200 off, on its website or on Amazon. So you can spend that extra $200 for the features you really want, or just save it for other dorm necessities, like noise-cancelling headphones and ramen.
That deal also includes free codes of two new, highly-anticipated PC games, Bethesda’s Wolfenstein: Youngblood and Remedy’s Control. Get a head start on procrastinating on your school work and snatch up this deal while it’s still available!