12.5 C
New York
Monday, October 5, 2020
Home News Razer Blade Advanced 15 Optical hands-on review: Not mechanical, but close

Razer Blade Advanced 15 Optical hands-on review: Not mechanical, but close

Gaming laptops have become thinner, lighter, and more powerful, but one core area has not changed much over the years. The keyboard.

The most recent update to the Razer Blade Advanced 15 comes with an optical keyboard, featuring the same technology from Razer’s best-selling Hunstman Elite mechanical keyboard.

Could we finally get the accuracy and tactile feeling of a traditional gaming keyboard in a gaming laptop? The newest Razer Blade seems to have done the impossible.

A magical keyboard built for gaming and more

Razer has continually updated its flagship Razer Blade 15 over the past year, launching new features for it every few months. Its newest is the only one you can actually feel the difference with though.

I started my laying my hands on the palmrests and tapping the keys. Instantly, the substantial change be felt.

Razer says the Blade Advanced 15 is currently the world’s first gaming laptop with an optical keyboard. Not to be confused with a real mechanical keyboard, the technology is similar to what’s found in its Huntsman Elite keyboard.

But for the Razer Blade, it’s been slimmed down to fit the thinner profile for the laptop form factor. It comes at no cost to overall weight, thickness, or layout. Visually, it’s unchanged from previous models.

The new design means getting the same clicky and accurate feeling of typing on a mechanical keyboard.

This optical keyboard is designed with speed and precision in mind. It uses an optical light sensor in all of its switches for actuation instead of mechanical metallic parts. There’s also a key stabilizer bar, which flanks both sides of the undersides of the keycap, making for fewer moving parts. For gaming and typing, this design means I was able to get the same clicky and accurate feeling of a mechanical keyboard.

When you press down on a key, a beam of light passes through the switch steam inside, and a signal is instantly sent to the computer to perform the action — with no debounce delay.

The company is proud of some key points here. The actuation force on the keyboard is 55 grams, key travel distance is 1.7 mm, and the actuation point is 1 mm. A standard mechanical keyboard will feature around 50 – 60 grams of actuation force and an actuation point of around 2.0-2.2mm. A full mechanical keyboard is often far too thick to fit in to the thin chassis of a modern-day laptop, so the optical technology is key to making this all work.

The Razer representatives wanted me to test it out in real life, so they booted up the game Typing of the Dead Overkill. Typing out words to kill zombies, I achieved a near 97 percent accuracy in the game.

As I typed out phrases and words, each key produced a satisfying clicking sound that I’m familiar with from the mechanical keyboard I use at home. My fingers also easily tapped between keys, like a perfectly oiled-up machine in motion. I’ve never felt a laptop keyboard this precise.

In this game where typing is the key to success, I never once died. I also noticed the feeling of extra durability, as when I jammed on the keys, it didn’t flex. All my keypresses registered from any angles. Even touch-typing, and taking Bing’s speed test led me to near 97% accuracy.

Of course, the keyboard also sports N-Key rollover with anti-ghosting technology, which is standard on gaming laptops. Each keycap on the keyboard is also lit with per-key Razer Chroma RGB lighting and offers 16.8 million colors, customizable with the Razer Chroma Workshop.

Familiar, masterful design

For all the thought that went into the keyboard, the rest of the design of the Razer Blade Advanced 15 is unchanged. That’s not a bad thing.

At 0.78 inches thick, and around 5 pounds, I still quite enjoyed its robust build quality. Similar to the unibody MacBooks, it is made of solid chunk of aluminum and there’s no bending or flex to deal with. The large glass touchpad remains unchanged, which is Windows Precision and is as responsive and wide as ever.

The overall finish on the device does still gather fingerprints and sweat, but it is visually impressive for a gaming laptop.

Connectivity is also unchanged, a mix for everything I typically connect up to a gaming laptop. There’s a USB-C Thunderbolt 3 port, two full-sized USB-A, one USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 port, an HDMI port, and mini-DisplayPort.

The 4K OLED model does not currently offer the option for the new optical keyboard.

The display too shines bright and comes in with the same 0.19-inch side bezels as the past. The panel inside itself has a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution and sports a 240Hz refresh rate, though it is not new for Razer, as we’ve seen that before on the 2019 Razer Blade.

It should be noted that the 4K OLED model does not currently offer the new optical keyboard as an option.

At the end of the day, the most important part of any gaming laptop is what lay under the hood to power it. For the Razer Blade Advanced 15 Optical, that’s still an Intel Core i7-9750H processor, Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q graphics card with 8GB of VRAM. It’s also paired with 16GB RAM, as well as a 512GB SSD.

Coming soon to a Razer laptop near you

Putting everything together, the Razer Blade Advanced 15 Optical is alone in its ambitions. Its keyboard is very precise and accurate, the device remains as powerful and beautiful as ever.

Razer says that the optical keyboard will only be available on the Razer Blade 15 Advanced 240Hz model for now, though it is planning to expand to later models in 2020. It goes on sale today for $2,650, but you can still purchase models without the optical keyboard for $100 less. That price might be worth it if you’re a serious gamer after accuracy and perfection.

Latest

Get ready for the future with the best 5G phones you can buy today

New technology works best when everyone commits to it — 2020 has been the year everyone is committing to 5G

Enjoy over 5,000 ad-free movies with 12 Months of FlixFling for $59.99

The movie streaming business is dominated by a few big names. As a result, the same blockbusters come around over

Make any Amazon Echo more kid-friendly with one setting

The Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition is a nifty little bundle, but did you know that you can turn any

Tello Buyer’s Guide (October 2020)

Just about anyone you’d ask is familiar with the top-tier wireless service providers in Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile. What about lesser known, or newer brands?Let’s take a look at a relatively younger carrier, Tello. This guide will serve to help you understand what the MVNO offers and how it competes in the mobile arena.Where can I buy an unlocked phone?Buying an unlocked phone? Consider these questionsTips for buying a used phoneTell me about TelloTello is a newer player in the mobile field and finds itself in the increasingly crowded segment of low-cost, no-frills alternatives. Its service uses Sprint’s network for coverage but it operates with its own plans and features.What are Tello rate plans like?Tello rate plans are no-contract, meaning you can go month-to-month with no long-term agreement, cancellation, or activation fees. As many carriers in this space do, Tello throttles speeds once hitting the data allowance as opposed to charging overage fees.Customers can mix and match rate plans based on personal needs. A lot of users have access to Wi-Fi connections, or don’t make many calls in a month. To that end, it’s possible to dial things up or down to suit tastes; subscribers can change their plan as often as needed.Ready-made PlansThere are four ready-made plans that do a great job of meeting the demands of most users. They cost as low as $10 per month and include unlimited text and calling.$10/month: Unlimited Talk and Text with 1GB of high-speed data$14/month: Unlimited Talk and Text with 2GB of high-speed data$19/month: Unlimited Talk and Text with 4GB of high-speed data$39/month: Unlimited Talk and Text with Unlimited high-speed dataAre there any other Tello features?Tello offers a handful of other options to its customers, including mobile hotspot and international calls. You can use any amount of your data plan to tether other devices. Calls to Mexico, Canada, and China are the same as if you called in the United States.What about international calls and texts?In addition to the aforementioned countries, Tello subscribers can make calls to other India, Cuba, and a host of other countries. Each has its own rate and can be used in a mix-and-match fashion. All one need do is purchase a Pay As You Go credit ahead of time.The credit can also be used for SMS or data, depending on which plan you’re signed up with at the time.Does Tello have a referral program?Yes, they’re called Tello Dollars and the referral program rewards you for signing up friends and family members. Share your referral link, and once your friend places their first successful order, you get $10 Tello Dollars. Your friend also gets $10 Tello Dollars.You can refer as many friends as you like and the money can be used for things like rate plans, phones, and PAYG credits.What kind of phones does Tello offer?Taking a look at the current lineup of phones offered through Tello we find familiar names like LG, Samsung, and Motorola. All told, there are more than two dozen phones to choose from but it’s a real tossup as to what’s available.Buying an unlocked phone? Consider these questionsWhich carrier has the best value at $50 a month?Which major prepaid carrier has the best $40 rate plan?As is the case with prepaid providers or MVNO brands, selection is a mixed bag and leans more toward affordability and not performance.READ: Best phones available at TelloIt’s worth noting that the phones you order from Tello will come in plain generic packaging and may only include the charger and battery. There will be no manual, earbuds, or other accessories.Are there any phone deals with Tello?Indeed, there are plenty of phones with discounts, some ranging as high as $50 off. About half of the current roster is comprised of refurbished phones, which also means lower prices.Can I use my own phone with Tello?Yes, you can use any Sprint-compatible phone just so long as there’s no unpaid balance on another network. You’ll need to ensure it’s unlocked for use outside of Sprint if it was previously used with another carrier.Tello only accepts unlocked CDMA devices or unlocked multi-network phones that incorporate both CDMA and GSM technologies.Head to Tello’s website to check whether your specific model is supported.