The Re­turn of Switch­blade

Razer Blade Pro

HWM (Singapore) - - Lab Test -

With the in­tro­duc­tion of the 14-inch Razer Blade, the 17-inch gam­ing note­book from Razer is now known as the Blade Pro. In terms of looks and de­sign, the “new” Blade Pro has not changed much from the orig­i­nal 17-inch Blade that was launched about two years ago. Even now, at just 22.4mm thick, it is still one of the thinnest 17-inch note­books around and is a tes­ta­ment to the orig­i­nal Blade’s de­sign.

Like its pre­de­ces­sors, the Blade Pro has an all-black an­odized alu­minum chas­sis with no no­table de­sign flour­ishes save for the Razer logo proudly em­bla­zoned on its front lid. De­spite be­ing such a large note­book, the Blade Pro feels solidly con­structed.

The 17-inch dis­play is Full-HD but uses a TN panel, which is of rea­son­able qual­ity, though col­ors do look a bit washed out and view­ing an­gles are not very good. Cer­tainly, an IPS dis­play would suit a note­book of this cal­iber bet­ter.

The key­board fea­tures antighost­ing tech­nol­ogy and green back­lights, which are very cool in the dark. It even of­fers a slight “click” noise, not un­like me­chan­i­cal key­boards. Over­all, the key­board is one of the best we have used on a note­book, and our only gripe is that the up and down cur­sors keys are far too small to be used com­fort­ably.

The Blade Pro does not have a tra­di­tional track­pad, but it does have Razer’s unique Switch­Blade UI, which is a highly cus­tom­iz­a­ble in­ter­face which con­sists of 10 keys and a 4.05-inch LCD screen which dou­bles as a touch­pad.

As a touch­pad, the Switch­Blade UI worked well and we can have no com­plaints. How­ever, its strengths lie in its cus­tomiz­abil­ity and its abil­ity to func­tion as a sec­ondary dis­play. With it, users can quickly check Face­book, Twit­ter or even their emails with­out leav­ing their game. There is also a “mir­ror mode” that lets users du­pli­cate a se­lected por­tion of the main dis­play on the Switch­Blade UI. All in all, this is a very cool and use­ful fea­ture to have.

Fi­nally, the Blade Pro fea­tures three USB 3.0 ports, an Eth­er­net jack and also Killer Wire­less tech­nol­ogy, which en­sures the low­est pos­si­ble la­ten­cies, for su­pe­rior mul­ti­player gam­ing over Wi-Fi.

Fea­tures aside, the Blade Pro is pow­ered by the lat­est In­tel fourth-gen­er­a­tion Core pro­ces­sor, specif­i­cally the quad-core Core i7-4700HQ, which runs at 2.4GHz and sports a 6MB L3 cache. This is ac­com­pa­nied by 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD for stor­age. Graph­ics pro­cess­ing du­ties are han­dled by NVIDIA’s new and very ca­pa­ble GeForce GTX 765M.

This means that the Blade Pro will run the lat­est games with­out a hitch. It man­aged to run Cr­y­sis on “Very High” set­tings at an im­pres­sive 45 fps, and scored 2,298 points on 3DMark 2013’s very de­mand­ing “Fire Strike” bench­mark.

Sadly, de­spite be­ing well-built and an over­all de­cent per­former, the Blade Pro is pro­hib­i­tively priced. At $3,599 for the 256GB model that was re­viewed here, the Blade Pro costs sub­stan­tially more than its ri­vals, par­tic­u­larly MSI’s GS70 Stealth.

In the past, when the Blade Pro was the only slim 17-inch gam­ing note­book avail­able, this pre­mium would have been more or less jus­ti­fied, but this is no longer the case. Razer needs to ac­knowl­edge that it is not the only ul­tra-slim and por­ta­ble 17-inch gam­ing note­book around now, and needs to be priced ac­cord­ingly to re­main com­pet­i­tive.

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