Razer: 2017 Brand Report Card
Razer's been making great laptops for a number of years, but this was the first year the company had enough innovative products to appear on the Best and Worst Brands list. With a design that favors power and portability and a willingness to take a risk on innovation, Razer is a laptop brand to watch. However, there are a few places where Razer can improve, such as bolstering its tech support with forums and providing quicker response times on social media.
Razer's Key Strengths
- Showstopping design: On laptops like the 12.5-inch Blade Stealth, Razer employs a slim, drop-dead gorgeous CNC-aluminum chassis with a unique black and green color scheme.
- Portable powerhouses: Despite its laptops' thin profiles, Razer packs in high-end specs like the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPU that powers the Blade, which is one of the smallest VR-ready laptops on the market.
- Innovative: Instead of compromising the Blade Pro's thin frame, Razer created the world's first ultra-low-profile mechanical keyboard outfitted with superthin switches. The company is also working on a multiscreen laptop.
Razer's Main Weaknesses
- Expensive: The nongaming Blade Stealth starts at $899, but all the other laptops cost well over $1,000.
- Color (or lack thereof): We love the black design with green accents, but there's no variety.
Top-Rated Razer Laptops
- Razer Blade: Devastatingly slim and ready for VR
- Razer Blade Pro: Great looking and super powerful
- Razer Blade Stealth: Premium Ultrabook, not just for gamers
This is Razer’s first year on our Best and Worst Brands chart, and it made a fine showing. We reviewed three of the company’s laptops, two of which earned our coveted Editors’ Choice award (the 4-star Razer Blade and 4.5-star Razer Blade Pro). We’re big fans of Razer’s sleek design — particularly in the Razer Blade Stealth — and the company’s stunning mix of power and Chroma lighting-enabled beauty.
Razer is the yang to Apple's yin. Where the latter is comfortable in various shades of gray (and rose gold every now and then) Razer has embraced an onyx-aluminum chassis that's every bit as recognizable as a MacBook. But Razer has never been afraid to be edgy, as evidenced by the hypnotic green, three-headed snake prominently displayed on every lid.
But where Razer's design truly shines is in the company's obsessive commitment to thinness. Despite housing a slew of powerful components under the hood, Razer managed to make the Blade Pro one of the slimmest gaming laptops on the market at 0.88 inches. Maintaining a consistent 4.2-pound, 13.6 x 9.3 x 0.7-inch frame, the Blade is the face of portable gaming.
The company took its quest for slimness to the razer's edge (hehe) with the 12.6 x 8.1 x 0.52-inch Blade Stealth. And while Razer stays true to its gamer roots with its magnificently colorful Chroma keyboards, we're hoping the company will consider a chassis color change in the coming year to keep fans guessing.
Razer's small collection of web-based FAQs is helpful, but not particularly deep. We got fast and friendly support by phone, but one agent actually told us to uninstall necessary software, and another insisted on giving us instructions for the wrong laptop. The company's social media and email responses were accurate, though not quick.
Razer’s innovation game is definitely on point, as the company brought its low-profile mechanical Chroma keyboard to its Blade Pro. You get 16 million delicious colors, plus a scroll wheel that you can program. The regular Razer Blade is notable because it’s among the first systems to deliver VR-ready graphics in a very slim profile. And for times when you prefer your gaming fun extremely portable — but you want serious power back at your desk — the Stealth’s Razer Core accessory lets you plug in a more powerful GPU over Thunderbolt 3. We’re very intrigued by Razer’s Project Valerie, which combines three displays into a single laptop, but we’ll have to wait and see if it becomes a real product.
Value and Selection (8/15)
A premium brand with a handful of strong products, Razer offers a single 12.5-inch ultraportable in addition to its 14- and 17-inch gaming laptops. While they’renot what you'd call cheap, the 12.5-inch Razer Stealth starts at an competitively priced $899 and features a gorgeous aluminum unibody design in addition to Razer's gorgeous RGB backlit keyboard, which is among the best in the business.
Razer has a very mainstream warranty policy overall. All of the company's laptops come with one-year limited warranties, though Razer does sell an additional year of coverage.
If your laptop requires service, Razer provides free shipping both ways. Upgrading your RAM or storage does not void the warranty, unless you cause damage to the computer by doing so.