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Razer Blade Pro: the best graphics in a thin laptop for an insane price

"Gaming laptop" might seem like a misnomer, but Razer has loaded up the redesigned 17-inch Blade Pro with some serious grunt.

Now playing: Watch this: Razer Blade Pro will devour your wallet

Razer doesn't mess around when it comes to premium gaming laptops, and the totally refreshed 17-inch Razer Blade Pro is the case in point. Razer says that the new Blade Pro was designed for "enthusiasts and power users who want desktop performance but don't want to sacrifice portability."

So Razer put an Nvidia GTX 1080 -- the new hotness when it comes to graphical overkill -- in a laptop under an inch thick. Of course, you're going to pay for all those fancy new internals. Clench up, because here it comes: The Blade Pro starts at $3,699, or £3,499 (that converts to around AU$4,815).

"It's definitely not for everybody," says product manager Kevin Sather. "It's for people who need to get the most out of a PC."

And "the most" might be right, as far as sub-inch-thin laptops are concerned. Here's what you get for that princely sum:

Key Specs

  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 (a desktop-grade chip with 8GB GDDR5X VRAM)
  • 6th-gen Intel quad-core i7 processor
  • 17.3-inch touchscreen, 3840x2160-pixel resolution with G-Sync
  • Thin mechanical keyboard
  • VR-ready
  • 512GB, 1TB or 2TB of PCIe solid state storage in RAID-0
  • 32GB of memory
  • 16.7 by 0.9 by 11 inches (427 by 23 by 281mm)
  • Aluminium chassis
  • 7.8 pounds (3.5kg)
  • 99Wh battery (the largest you can legally take on a plane)
  • Ports: 1x USB Type-C / Thunderbolt 3, 1x 3.5mm headset jack, 3xUSB, 1xHDMI

The 17.3-inch Razer Blade Pro is much bigger than its siblings.

Sean Hollister/CNET

If you compare it to the previous model of the 17-inch Razer Blade Pro, you'll see it's packing -- no exaggeration -- double the numbers in some key specs like RAM, storage and screen resolution.

Most "desktop replacements", or at least laptops with that kind of processing power, clock in much larger than the incredibly slim Blade Pro.

Oh, and the touchscreen (did we mention it's a touchscreen?) displays 100 percent of the Adobe RGB color gamut, potentially making it suitable for photo and video editing. (There's also full-size, full-depth SD card slot, so you can quickly offload your DSLR photos). It's a G-Sync screen, too, for smoother gameplay.

The Blade Pro is also the first laptop to use Razer's new low-profile mechanical switches that can mimic the feel of full-sized mechanical keyboards. The keys definitely feel like they'll take some getting used to: while they've got a satisfying click and a cushion-y bounce, they take a bit more pressure than we expected to push down. For a little added flair, the keyboard also runs Chroma, Razer's dynamic multicolour backlighting that can be programmed to respond to in-game cues.

This programmable volume wheel is satisfying to use.

Josh Miller/CNET

We can already tell one of our favorite features is the new programmable dial which lives right above the touchpad, It's a slick, easy way to quickly adjust the volume, and we're curious what else we might be able to do with it.

And while we already miss the discrete mouse buttons for the touchpad (you have to press down on the pad itself, which means you'll want a mouse for games), we won't shed many tears for the underutilized Switchblade touchscreen that used to live underneath the Blade Pro's mouse surface. Razer says it had to get rid of the Switchblade to make room for more battery and components. (Razer says it can't yet commit to how long the Blade Pro will last on a charge.)

I'm also happy to report that the hinge tension on the Blade Pro is perfect as of today: you can lift the lid with a single finger, and it stays in place.

One last note: everything packed into that aluminium frame means that the Blade Pro's specs exceed the recommended requirements for the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift VR headsets. Just in case you were worried it wouldn't be ready for virtual reality.

If you can afford it, the Razer Blade Pro will start shipping next month.

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