The portability of laptop displays means they often compromise on speed, color, or sharpness. For those who want a screen with the deepest contrast and darkest blacks without sacrificing speed, Razer hopes to have the answer.
Announced on Tuesday, the upcoming Razer Blade 15 configuration will be the first laptop to offer a 240Hz refresh rate in an OLED panel. That makes OLED a more viable option for people like gamers who prioritize fast motion processing. Neither OLED monitors with their high prices nor OLED TVs have reached such speeds so far. However, OLED has reached 240 Hz in other designs, like this one camera viewfinder.
The upcoming Blade 15’s 15.6-inch screen claims a 1ms gray-to-grey (GtG) response time, which is as good as it is for a gaming laptop these days, as well as 100 percent coverage of the wider DCI -P3 color space. As you’d expect from an OLED panel, it’s not super bright. At a claimed 400 nits, there are better laptop displays out there that you can use outside on a sunny day, for example.
To achieve its high refresh rate, the display has a resolution of 2560×1440, while you will find many ultra-light non-gaming laptops that offer 4K resolution OLED displays. Razer makes a 4K OLED version of the Blade 15 that’s limited to a 60Hz refresh rate €200 cheaper at the time of this writing. However, 1440p has become a sweet spot for gamers looking for a sharper picture without needing as much graphics performance as 4K.
Beyond the panel, the Blade 15 sports an RTX 3070 Ti laptop GPU, Intel Core i9-12900H and up to 32GB of DDR5-4800 memory and a 1TB SSD, as well as an empty M.2 slot. There’s a good selection of ports too, with two USB-C ports including a Thunderbolt 4, a USB-A port, an HDMI port and an SD card reader.
Razer’s announcement made no claims about the OLED-equipped clamshell’s battery life, but with OLED, a high refresh rate, and the machine’s gaming heritage, don’t expect longevity. The laptop uses Nvidia’s Advanced Optimus feature, which, among other things, switches between the processor’s discrete GPU and integrated graphics as needed to extend battery life.
When all is said and done, you’re looking at an incredibly expensive $3,500 machine when it comes out in Q4. “First” is not cheap.
Razer’s laptop should finally allow users to enjoy the rich contrast, detailed shadows, and nuanced highlights of OLED without visual artifacts like stuttering that detract from the experience when your GPU is pushing high frame rates. Razer’s Blade 15 laptops also come with G-Sync, Nvidia’s Adaptive Sync Flavor to combat screen cracking. But if you want the smoothest video processing, laptops (including alternative configurations of the Razer Blade 15) that can hit 360 Hertz and carry more powerful GPUs than Razer’s upcoming fast OLED system exists.
In its announcement, Razer highlighted AAA games, which typically boast impressive graphics, as a top application for the OLED panel. But unless it’s a less graphically demanding esports game, you’re not going to be pushing 240fps to make the most of the screen’s refresh rate, especially at a 1440p resolution. If you’re a gamer who plays a variety of genres, you’ll find it easier to take advantage of the diverse properties of the screen.
Razer also pointed out photo and video editing and movie watching as good uses for the fast OLED display. But if OLED makes you envision turning the Blade 15 into an HDR vehicle, think again. The Blade 15 does not mention HDR10 support, which is necessary for HDR on Windows.
But if you want your SDR display to have one of the best contrasts while looking sharp during fast-paced action and supporting fairly high frame rates, Razer is finally making that an option.
Ars Technica may earn compensation for sales made through links in this post affiliate programs.