Razer Blade

A GREAT ALL-ROUND NOTE­BOOK, BUT ITS BULKIER AND MORE EX­PEN­SIVE THAN RI­VALS

PC & Tech Authority - - CONTENTS - NICK ROSS

We’re big fans of the lat­est gen­er­a­tion of note­books which aim to ex­cel at of­fice work, gam­ing and porta­bil­ity... all at once. This new Blade is Razer’s lat­est foray into that field and first im­pres­sions are good.

We’ve al­ways liked the classy, matte fin­ish of Razer note­books. While there may be de­bate re­gard­ing how the com­pany’s funky green logo will fit into a con­ser­va­tive, cor­po­rate of­fice, there’s no doubt that the move from rounded cor­ners to sharper edges makes for sharper looks. The mono­lithic black chas­sis is so­phis­ti­cated and cool ir­re­spec­tive of your favoured aes­thetic plus it’s only 17mm thick.

The lid is stiff and of­fers min­i­mal flex while the milled, alu­minium chas­sis is strong and has the bombproof qual­ity that we’ve come to ex­pect from Razer. The bezel sur­round­ing the screen is only 5mm thick at the sides but it’s slightly thicker at the top due to the HD we­b­cam. The screen it­self of­fers a 144Hz re­fresh rate for smooth game­play and the colours are vi­brant. If you want more, you can up­grade the Full HD dis­play to a 4K Touch­screen unit, but this comes at the ex­pense of the fast re­fresh rate, some bat­tery life and sev­eral hun­dred dol­lars.

The key­board is av­er­age size – squashed be­tween speak­ers at either end of the chas­sis – and we were happy to see full-sized ar­row keys. It’s gen­er­ally very com­fort­able to type on thanks to well-weighted, low-travel keys and the large track­pad is re­spon­sive and com­fort­able too. Each key has in­di­vid­ual RGB light­ing and Razer’s Sy­napse soft­ware lets you choose be­tween mul­ti­ple, cool, cus­tomis­able ef­fects. It all adds up to a slick­look­ing pack­age that’s a joy to in­ter­act with.

The speak­ers aren’t as pow­er­ful as the chas­sis-mounted grilles sug­gest but there’s still rea­son­able bass and treble re­sponse for a lap­top this size and vol­ume is ac­cept­able.

The in­sides are pow­er­ful thanks to a 2.2GHz hexa-core Core i7-8750H pro­ces­sor, 16GB of 2666GHz RAM and 512GB NVMe hard drive. It flew to a PCMark 10 score of 4,880 which puts it in pow­er­ful, desk­top rig ter­ri­tory. The Nvidia 1070 graph­ics helped it score an im­pres­sive 6,701 in 3DMark Fire Strike Ex­treme mean­ing will easily han­dle the lat­est games on its Full HD screen.

In terms of bat­tery, it ran PCMark’s test for four hours 20 min­utes and did so at an im­pres­sive 86 per cent of its full-pow­ered, plugged-in score. It also played our Full HD movie for an im­pres­sive five hours 53 min­utes.

While many lap­tops can get very hot when run­ning at top speed, Razer’s mod­els tend to stay cool. The new Blade’s chas­sis means that cool­ing space is lim­ited but it still does a de­cent job of fend­ing off over­heat­ing-re­lated per­for­mance drops. None­the­less, the key­board and wrist rest can get a lit­tle warm when run­ning at full pelt. We ran cryp­to­min­ing soft­ware to max-out per­for­mance and saw the CPU graze 800C while the GPU re­mained at a de­cent 760C. How­ever, the small, down­ward-fac­ing fans do spin up quickly and pro­duce a con­stant, high-pitched whine. It’s not too dis­tract­ing but It’s not the qui­etest.

Ul­ti­mately, it’s a fan­tas­tic lap­top that does ev­ery­thing well. Its big com­peti­tor is MSI’s Stealth Thin. We pre­fer MSI’s larger key­board (which stays cooler) and the gold dragon, printed logo is ar­guably more of­fice-friendly than Razer’s. But the Blade is just over 200g heav­ier and, with its 700g power brick, is al­most half a kilo heav­ier than the MSI pack­age mak­ing it no­tice­ably less por­ta­ble. How­ever, Razer’s chas­sis is sig­nif­i­cantly more sub­stan­tial, less creaky and will ap­peal to some. Ul­ti­mately, the MSI feels like a track-day ver­sion of the Blade with its lighter weight and slightly-bet­ter han­dling.

While the phys­i­cal dif­fer­ence be­tween the ma­chines is largely sub­jec­tive, the real de­cider comes down to the price. At $3,999 the Blade is a full $600 dearer. As such the MSI wins while the Blade of­fers more sub­stance for a more sub­stan­tial pric­etag.

KEY SPECS

2.2GHz In­tel Core i7-8750H CPU • 16GB DDR4-2666 SDRAM • Nvidia GTX 1070 GPU • 512GB M.2 SSD • 15.6in 1,920 x 1,080 144Hz dis­play • HD we­b­cam • Thun­der­bolt 3/USB 3.1 Type-C • 3 x USB 3.1 Type-A • HDMI 2 • DP 1.4 • Gi­ga­bit Eth­er­net • 3.5mm au­dio jack • 2.1KG • 1yr RTB war­ranty

$3,999 • www.razer.com

We do like the lit­tle touches like the green USB port

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