Razer Blade 18 Review: A Potent And Sharp Gaming Laptop

Razer Blade 18 Gaming Laptop Review: Thermals, Noise, Battery Life And Our Conclusion

The Blade 18 has two M.2 slots, so you can add another SSD if you want.

As we noted earlier, the Blade 18 has multiple power modes: Silent, Balanced, Turbo, and Custom. We did our benchmark testing on "Turbo" because that's how it came out of the box and we suspect most users will use it in that fashion. Like most gaming laptops set to their high-performance modes, the fans in the Razer Blade 18 run constantly in Turbo mode, and even at idle, or when the machine is under a light workload, you can hear them faintly.

Fan volume across a Final Fantasy XIV Dawntrail benchmark run on "Turbo" mode.

The sound becomes considerably louder than "faint" when you load up a game. The Blade 18 is nowhere near the noisiest laptop we've tested, but it's quite audible in a quiet room and you would have to speak up a little to talk over its fans while gaming. We suppose that this is where the extra-loud speakers come in handy. It's probably fair to say that most gamers will be playing with a headset and the fan noise doesn't really matter, but it's definitely worth noting. At least the timbre of the sound emitted by the fans is very soft and pleasant.

Slightly less pleasant are the thermal characteristics of the Blade 18. Now, we have great sympathy here for Razer's engineers, because Intel's Raptor Lake silicon is difficult to keep cool even in a desktop form factor. Indeed, the fact that the Core i9-14900HX in the Blade 18 actually hits something close to its rated 5.8 GHz peak clock rate is impressive. However, it's also true that the chip will begin thermally throttling very rapidly under load.

dawntrail hwinfo

In the screenshot above, you can see HWiNFO alongside the Final Fantasy XIV Dawntrail benchmark. Final Fantasy XIV, even with the revised renderer coming alongside the Dawntrail expansion, is notoriously single-threaded. As such, it's not like we're running Prime95 or something here. Even still, the processor does throttle slightly under this workload. The GPU stays frosty; we never saw it pass 80°C in our testing. The CPU runs pretty hot, though.

Again, this isn't indicative of a design flaw in Razer's laptop. We have yet to see a Raptor Lake laptop that actually stays cool under load. However, the Blade 18 does seem to struggle slightly more than a few other laptops we've tested, and that observation comes from its somewhat lower scores in multi-core workloads, like Geekbench 5 and Shadow of the Tomb Raider. It is far from a crippling weakness, but it is a noteworthy pain point on an otherwise sparkling laptop.

Razer Blade 18 Battery Life Benchmarks

As we noted before, the Razer Blade 18 is equipped with a 91.7-Wh battery. To see how well the machine fared in terms of battery life with its enormous battery, we fired up PCMark’s Video Loop test. It's a convenient benchmark that runs a 1080p video playback workload in a continuous loop with the Windows 11 Movies and TV app until the battery is exhausted. In all tests, Windows Quiet Hours / Focus Assist have been enabled, and the displays are calibrated with lux meters on pure white screens to as close to 115 cd/m² as possible.

chart battery video

Now, we normally run all of our benchmark tests at least three times to ensure reliable data, but in this case we ran the battery video loop test six separate times. That's because we tested in our normal fashion, with the screen calibrated to 115 cd/m², and also with the screen brightness maxed out in HDR mode. It's a gorgeous HDR screen; it stands to reason that you might want to watch videos in HDR mode, right?

Overall the results here are very good considering the size of the screen and the hardware in the system. We were surprised that the Blade 18 lasted more than two hours with its screen brightness maxed out in HDR mode, which results in bright highlights all the way up to 1,250 cd/m². HDR videos look fantastic on this screen, and while zone-based local dimming will never look as good as an OLED, you won't find many OLEDs that get as bright as this display does.

chart battery gaming

The battery gaming test on these big desktop replacements is usually brutal, but in the case of the Blade 18 it really wasn't that bad. The only other 18" laptop we've ever tested is the Alienware m18, and that system's much smaller battery is only really good for use as a UPS while gaming. The enormous battery in the Blade 18 means that, with a framerate limiter in place, you really could enjoy some gaming on the go. This is a great result.

Razer Blade 18 Review Conclusions

If you're looking at a Razer Blade laptop, there's a fair chance that you're a Razer fan, or that you really like the aesthetics. What we've proven in this review is that this laptop offers excellent gaming performance for its hardware, and that, in combination with the Razer name and signature design language, is probably all you need to know to buy the thing.

razer blade lineup
The Blade 18 flanked by its two smaller siblings.

If, instead, you're looking at 18"-class desktop replacement gaming laptops and the Blade 18 is one of several on your list, there are a few points to consider. Our only real complaint with this machine is the tenkeyless keyboard. In our opinion, there's not a lot of excuses for a laptop of this size to completely miss the numeric keypad. Razer's reason is one of the better; the THX spatial audio is pretty cool. We're not convinced that they couldn't have achieved this while still having a full keyboard on their 18" laptop, though.

For a Raptor Lake-plus-GeForce-RTX-4090 laptop, the Blade 18's performance is sufficient, neither good enough that we can praise it nor bad enough to complain about. On the clearly positive side, there's the gorgeous 300Hz Mini-LED screen, the sturdy aluminum unibody chassis, the inclusion of Thunderbolt 5, and the battery life, which is strong for this size class. We didn't mention it before, but we're also very pleased that the Blade 18 comes with extremely minimal bloatware, which is great and one more factor that sets this machine apart from most of the tier 1 laptop vendors' offerings.

If you're someone who absolutely must have the best performance possible, then the Blade 18 might not tick that box when there are larger, thicker machines available, powered by similar hardware. Likewise, if you really just don't care about aesthetics, you could probably find a similar-performing laptop for a bit less money. It's not going to have a slick aluminum unibody, a Mini-LED screen, or Thunderbolt 5, though.

Ultimately. we're awarding the Blade 18 our Recommended award. It's fast, functional, and super stylish. There's always an undeniable price premium for a Razer laptop, but if you're someone to whom this machine's unique qualities appeal, there's really no substitute.

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