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Razer Blade (14-inch, 2017) review: Razer Blade is the MacBook Pro of gaming laptops

Razer Blade 2017

The Razer Blade has updated graphics from last year's model.

Josh Miller/CNET

Handling the graphical heavy lifting is the Nvidia GTX 1060 graphics card with 6GB of video RAM. That's the best price-versus-performance card in the current Nvidia lineup. It also comes with 16GB DDR4 RAM, which is pretty standard for a laptop of this caliber. The Blade kept up with the game Doom at high settings when frame rate was locked at 60fps, with almost no dropped frames, even in chaotic situations. The Nvidia 1060 will also support VR headsets like the Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive, which is a relatively new feature for laptops.

The newer Intel Core i7-7700HQ is also a big plus. One big advantage of Intel's latest CPUs is better battery life, and the Razer Blade's battery lasted 8 hours and 15 minutes in our CNET Labs battery testing, up from 5 hours and 41 minutes in the previous model. Note that gaming off the battery will give you much shorter battery life, usually a couple of hours at most in our experience.

Razer Blade 2017

The Blade is a portable gaming powerhouse.

Josh Miller/CNET

The Blade doesn't have a huge storage hard drive in its default config, but thanks to high-speed ports, using external storage isn't a big hassle. Quick transferring is available via the Thunderbolt 3 port and three USB 3.0 ports. There's no Ethernet port on this bad boy, which can be an issue if you want to download 25GB or larger games from Steam or other online game stores.

It can competently double as a workstation in a professional environment, though it's overpowered as a work or family computer. While running Chrome, I had about 20 tabs open, while streaming HD video, before it started to show any signs of lag.

The Blade's aluminum chassis gets hot easily when gaming, making it uncomfortable to have on your lap. It does cool down pretty quickly after you're done playing. It has two fans on the bottom that deal with the heat the graphics card generates. They can get very loud. The fans spin up a frenzy for all tasks, not just gaming, though they're a little quieter in those cases.

Razer Blade 2017

The matte screen is easily visible in bright environments.

Josh Miller/CNET

All-matte everything

The Blade's 1080p display has a matte finish that's sharp and bright. Just because it's matte doesn't mean it's lackluster. The Blade's full HD screen displays clear details, vibrant colors and satisfying brightness, no matter if you're playing Doom or watching the "Black Panther" trailer for the 89 millionth time. It's visible in direct sunlight and doesn't reflect a lot of ambient light in bright environments.

Built-in stereo speakers produce decent sound without much distortion at max volume. The top-mounted speakers aren't as loud as I'd like but they are clear and crisp, with warm soundscapes during gameplay.

Any way you slice it

While the Razer Blade is a gorgeous gaming laptop, it lacks the customization of a full-size gaming laptop or desktop, and costs more than other gaming laptops with similar specs. That makes it hard to recommend for either very serious or very budget-minded gamers. But if portability and style are top priorities, the Razer Blade hits those marks while still playing most of today's games at high settings and full-HD resolution.  

Razer Blade performance charts


Razer Blade
Price as reviewed $1,899
Display size/resolution 14-inch 1,920x1,080 display
PC CPU 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ
PC memory 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz
Graphics 6GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060
Storage 256GB SSD
Networking 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.1
Operating system Windows 10 Home (64-bit)

Multimedia multitasking test 3.0

Razer Blade
178
HP Omen (17-inch)
184
Alienware 13 R3 (OLED late 2016)
195
Dell XPS 15 (2017)
197
Asus ROG Strix GL753VE-DS74
200
Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming (2017)
335

Note:

Shorter bars indicate better performance (in seconds)

Geekbench 3 (Multi-Core)

Razer Blade
14516
Dell XPS 15 (2017)
14161
Asus ROG Strix GL753VE-DS74
13708
HP Omen (17-inch)
13362
Alienware 13 R3 (OLED late 2016)
13093
Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming (2017)
10247

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

3DMark Fire Strike Ultra

HP Omen (17-inch)
3816
Alienware 13 R3 (OLED late 2016)
2609
Razer Blade
2593
Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming (2017)
1871
Asus ROG Strix GL753VE-DS74
1822
Dell XPS 15 (2017)
1242

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

Bioshock Infinite

HP Omen (17-inch)
137.56
Razer Blade
119.97
Alienware 13 R3 (OLED late 2016)
116.69
Asus ROG Strix GL753VE-DS74
89.35
Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming (2017)
89.34
Dell XPS 15 (2017)
83.81

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance (in fps)

Video playback battery drain test

Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming (2017)
578
Razer Blade
489
Dell XPS 15 (2017)
432
HP Omen (17-inch)
270
Asus ROG Strix GL753VE-DS74
262
Alienware 13 R3 (OLED late 2016)
226

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance (in streaming minutes)

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

HP Omen (17-inch)
75.8
Razer Blade
52.7
Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming (2017)
38.4
Asus ROG Strix GL753VE-DS74
36.1
Dell XPS 15 (2017)
30.9

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance (in fps)

System configurations

Razer Blade Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz; 6GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060; 256GB SSD
Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming (2017) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.5GHz Intel Core i5-7300HQ; 8GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz; 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti; 256GB SSD
Alienware 13 R3 (OLED late 2016) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-6700HQ; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz; 6GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060; 512GB SSD
Dell XPS 15 (2017) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.8GHZ Intel Core i7-7700HQ; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz; 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050; 512GB SSD
HP Omen (17-inch) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-6700HQ; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz; 8GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070; 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD
Asus ROG Strix GL753VE-DS74 Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz; 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti; 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD

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