Dell XPS 15 vs. Razer Blade 15

Both the Razer Blade and XPS 15 are capable laptops, but which is better?

Dell XPS 15 9570 left ports
Dan Baker/Digital Trends

You can pick up a dedicated gaming notebook and put up with a sci-fi aesthetic with jet fighter exhausts, or you can pick up a stodgy business-oriented machine that looks like something out of a cubicle farm. Those are your only choices, right?


Today, you have other options, tweeners that straddle the gamer aesthetic and performance fence. They won’t stand out too much in either a boardroom or a LAN party. Here, we compare two such machines, the Dell XPS 15 and Razer Blade 15, that provide a mix of (relatively) conservative looks and some moderately good gaming chops. But which is better?


Razer Blade (2018) profile open
Riley Young/Digital Trends

Razer took the previous Blade 14 design and modernized it, expanding the display by framing it in smaller side bezels. This avowed gaming notebook is surprisingly thin at 0.66 inches and it’s contained within a relatively svelte, all-aluminum chassis that weighs a reasonable 4.5 pounds. We call that “reasonable” because that chassis tucks in some seriously powerful components. The Blade also enjoys an excellent keyboard that offers sufficient key travel, beautiful RGB lighting, and even spacing with only a handful of irksome layout issues. The attractive and sleek aesthetic manages to avoid projecting its owner as either an overt gamer or a conservative businessperson.

Dell’s 2018 XPS 15 looks a great deal like the same version a couple of years ago. In fact, it’s pretty near to identical, but that’s not a bad thing. It’s made of machined aluminum and carbon fiber that combine for a sturdy and particularly comfortable notebook to carry around and use. It’s not the thinnest notebook around, coming in at 0.70 inches at its thickest point, and it’s not exactly light at 4.5 pounds when equipped with its massive 97 watt-hour battery (more on that later). But it’s maybe the smallest 15.6-inch notebook around thanks to super-thin bezels that unfortunately relegate the webcam to an unflattering location below the display. The keyboard is top-notch, with decent travel enhanced by a snappy mechanism that invites fast and accurate typing, and the touchpad — Microsoft Precision, of course — is expansive and oh-so-comfortable to swipe.

The Razer Blade is prettier, and the Dell XPS is smaller, but both are solidly built and neither will embarrass you no matter the environment.


Razer Blade (2018) front gaming
Riley Young/Digital Trends

The Razer Blade is built around Intel’s latest 8th-generation 45-watt CPU, the Intel Core i7-8750H that packs in six cores and twelve threads. It’s a supremely speedy mobile CPU that burns through whatever task it’s assigned whether physics-oriented gaming or video editing and encoding. Storage is also fast thanks to a PCIe solid-state drive (SSD), and the CPU is kept well-fed by fast RAM. Finally, given its fundamental nature as a gaming notebook, the Razer Blade offers powerful GPU options including the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q and GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q.

The Dell XPS 15 also equips Intel’s 8th-generation 45 watt parts, including the same Core i7-8570H. It, too, enjoys a speedy PCIe SSD and high-speed RAM. And, all of that computing power is mated with an Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti Max Q that’s good enough for light gaming. But one difference from the Razer Blade is the Dell’s more conservative tuning and cooling system, which tries to keep things quiet and cool to the touch rather than enabling full-out — and hot — gaming performance.

Interestingly, the XPS 15 holds its own against the Blade when it comes to CPU-intensive tasks. For example, in our Handbrake test that encodes a 420MB video to H.265, the Dell was faster than the Razer, finishing the job in 150 seconds compared to 203 seconds. But when it comes to gaming, the Razer Blade, of course, takes a massive lead thanks to significantly faster GPUs. If you want to get your work done and then game a little on the side, the XPS 15 is your best choice. If you’re a gamer, though, who squeezes in some work between competitive sessions, then your choice is equally clear.

But don’t forget the displays. Dell offers two options, Full HD and 4K panels aimed at being bright and colorful. The high-res display, in particular, is excellent for professional videographers and photographers with its near-100 percent AdobeRGB gamut support, accurate colors, and superior contrast and brightness. The Razer Blade, on the other hand, focuses on gamers with display options that range up to a 144Hz refresh rate. Color support, contrast, and brightness are closer to average, and so once again the same caveat about gaming versus professional workflows applies.

If your a gamer first and businessperson second, then the Razer Blade is your better choice. But the Dell XPS 15 provides more well-rounded performance and beautiful displays that are more likely to please more of the people, more of the time.


Dell XPS 15 9570 right angle
Dan Baker/Digital Trends

The Razer Blade and Dell XPS 15 are equally dense and very close to equally thin, while the latter is smaller overall thanks to its insanely small bezels. Neither are particularly easy on the back when you toss them into your backpack, but that’s the price you pay for carrying around so much power.

But Dell packed in a massive 97 watt-hours worth of battery capacity into that hefty frame, justifying the weight more than the Razer’s 80 watt-hours’ worth. And in our battery tests, the XPS 15 outlasted the Blade even more than that disparity would indicate — not quite twice as long when playing video or running a web benchmark, but close enough that it puts the Dell in a different category. If you need to work for longer away from a charger, then the XPS 15 is a better choice.

Neither of these meaty machines is exceedingly portable, but considering how powerful they are, they’re more portable than you might expect. Even so, the XPS 15 lets you keep the charger behind and is thus the more mobile option.


Dell XPS 15 9570 webcam
Dan Baker/Digital Trends

If you’re looking at notebooks in this class, then you’re likely not quite so sensitive to price. Even so, the Dell XPS is the better value. You can pick one up for $1,000 at the low end — with a Core i5 and 56 watt-hour battery — and spend up to $2,900 with a Core i9 CPU and 2TB SSD. The Razer Blade, on the other hand, starts out at $1,900 and also maxes out at $2,900 if you go whole-hog on the GPU selection.

The Razer Blade obviously has significantly better gaming performance, but we like the Dell XPS 15 for more people. It’s fast, efficient, and elegant, and it lets you take a break from your work and get in some gaming — and in our opinion, that’s a mix with a significantly broader appeal.


How Razer forged the Blade 15, the slim gaming laptop nobody else could build

With the recent launch of the Blade 15, Razer ushered in a new design language that's cleaner and more angular. We recently visited Razer's San Francisco, California design studio to learn more about Razer's approach to design.

What's the best laptop? We've reviewed a lot of them, and this is our answer

The best laptop should be one that checks all the boxes: Great battery life, beautiful design, and top-notch performance. The laptops we've chosen for our best laptops you can buy do all that — and throw in some extra features while…

Gaming on a laptop has never been better. These are your best options

Gaming desktops are powerful, but they tie you down to your desk. For those of us who prefer a more mobile experience, here are the best gaming laptops on the market, ranging from budget machines to maxed-out, wallet-emptying PCs.

What to expect from Microsoft’s October 2 Surface event

The October 2 Surface event is just around the corner. Let's take a look at everything Microsoft could unveil at the event, including major announcement for new Surface products, unique accessories, and long-sought Windows 10 features.

MacOS Mojave has landed. Here are the five best features of the update

Apple's new version of MacOS is finally here and can be installed on your Mac today. Why should you upgrade? Well, there's a lot more to the update than just Dark Mode. Here are the five features you need to know about.

How to enable dark mode in MacOS Mojave

Learn how to enable dark mode in MacOS Mojave! As Mac's latest update gears up to hit all Mac systems later this year, the public beta for Mojave is nearly open for you to test out the latest features. One of the most in-demand changes is…

MacOS Mojave launches on September 24. Here's what we like about it so far

Mojave is the latest version of MacOS, and it's out now. Chock-full of quality-of-life upgrades, we took it for a test drive to get a sneak peek at what you can expect from the next major update to MacOS.

Critical MacOS Mojave vulnerability bypasses system security

Security Researcher Patrick Wardle has discovered a critical MacOS Mojave security flaw that could potentially allow malicious applications to bypass Mac's system security controls.
Emerging Tech

Microsoft and Shell build A.I. into gas stations to help spot smokers

Shell and Microsoft have created a system for gas stations that can spot someone who's smoking or about to smoke. The platform uses multiple cameras, local computing power, and Microsoft's cloud intelligence system to do the job.

If your data is found on the dark web, Firefox Monitor will let you know

Firefox is finally launching its Firefox Monitor service and you don't have to use the Firefox browser to access it. Monitor scans the dark web to see if your email address has been leaked as part of a past data breach.

Chrome OS update could make switching to tablet mode far easier

Google is working on an update for Chrome OS that would make its browser-based operating system much easier to operate in tablet mode, even with the new, streamlined user interface.
Emerging Tech

Teaching machines to see illusions may help computer vision get smarter

Researchers are teaching computers to see optical illusions. The reason? To create smarter, more brain-like vision recognition algorithms for everything from robots to autonomous cars.

How many GPU video ports is too many? The Aorus RTX 2080 packs seven

Aorus' new RTX 2080 graphics card wants to turn up the new-generation GPUs to 11 with greater cooling, RGB lighting, and a whole host of video port options that give anyone more than they'll likely ever need.
Virtual Reality

Virtual reality breaks free as the HTC Wireless Adapter hits store shelves

Gamers can now break free from wires as the HTC Wireless Adapter hits store shelves, allowing HTC Vive users to connect their headsets wirelessly to their Windows PC without the need for cable tethers.