Razer Gaming Laptops – 2018 Brand Rating and Report Card
Razer slips into fourth place thanks to the Razer Blade 15, with its retro but funky design, and a suite of notebooks with gorgeous displays and keyboards. The Razer Blade Pro earned a near-perfect 4.5, with an Editors' Choice rating.
High marks in the Software and Innovation sections further solidified the brand's spot in the hierarchy. However, if the brand hopes to move into first place next year, it'll want to think about expanding its configuration choices.
We tested only two laptops from Razer within the review period, but we recommended both: the Razer Blade Pro (4.5 out of 5 stars, Editors' Choice) and the new 15-inch Razer Blade (3.5 out of 5). We gave the brand kudos for excellent design and strong gaming performance.
There were no negatives that were consistent throughout the brand, though Razer charges a premium for fine design. The regular Blade suffered from a dim screen, while the Blade Pro's was excellent. However, the Blade Pro had a slower SSD than we'd like, which wasn't a problem on the 15-incher.
There's just something about a Razer laptop that makes the pulse quicken ever so slightly when you see it. Constructed from black CNC aluminum, Razer laptops are premium and iconic and the antithesis of the Apple MacBook. No one could ever mistake that glowing three-headed snake insignia for any other company.
At 7.1 pounds, the Blade Pro is one of the slimmest desktop replacements on the market. The laptop makes a statement by positioning the touchpad to the far right with a large scroll wheel directly above.
But as iconic as Blade laptops have become, Razer isn't afraid to shake things up as evidenced by the new Blade. Replacing the 14-inch system, the new Blade is one of the slimmest 15.6-inch gaming laptops available. And instead of its predecessor's curved edges, Razer has gone for straight edges, giving the system an edgy, futuristic yet retro sensibility.
Razer boasts the best gaming laptop display we’ve tested during our review period, which belongs to none other than the Razer Blade Pro. Its 4K, Nvidia G-Sync panel explodes with vibrancy, covering 178 percent of the sRGB color gamut and emitting 320 nits of brightness.
The standard Razer Blade, however, didn’t perform as well; its 1080p display was dimmer than other premium gaming laptops at 112 percent of the sRGB color gamut and 260 nits.
Razer's done more refinement than reinvention with the latest Blade and Blade Pro, but that's not a bad thing. The latest Blade Pro is the first laptop with THX audio certification, which brings out the most of any high-end headset you choose to use with it. The Pro's huge, side-facing touchpad and scroll wheel continue to stand out from the competition.
Synapse has been the core of Razer's system utilities, providing key lighting customization, macro-creation and system-performance monitoring. Annoyingly, Synapse 3 in Razer Blade is harder to use than Synapse 2 from the Razer Blade Pro, as the update hides some of the program's key features.
If you get the Razer Blade Pro with a 4K panel (a $1,400 upgrade), you benefit from fantastic G-Sync display technology that keeps the screen flowing in harmony with your gameplay. In that model, we noted how Razer's Chroma technology provides 16.8 million colors and a lot of beautiful visual effects.
Synapse also includes Performance Control, with a Performance Optimized mode to increase the CPU clock speed. Razer throws in Nvidia's GeForce Experience (which is free to download from Nvidia), providing ShadowPlay recording software and the Game Optimization tool, which will tweak game settings to get you the best performance and frame rates.
Configurations and Warranty (3/5)
Razer’s laptops certainly aren’t the cheapest, but they don’t compromise when it comes to performance and design. Of Razer’s laptops that offer discrete graphics, the $1,899 15-inch Blade, with its GTX 1060 video card, is the cheapest. There’s also the Blade Pro which offers up to 32GB of RAM, a 4K touch-screen display with G-Sync and GTX 1080 Ti graphics. If you’re looking for something with modest specs at about the $1,000 mark, you’ll need to go elsewhere. But for high-end gaming, Razer covers all the bases.
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Any Razer laptop you buy comes with a one-year warranty that can be optionally extended to two for an added cost. The company covers the cost for all shipping related to service, and modifying RAM and storage is within the terms. Though, of course, if the machine fails as a result of your tampering, Razer will not have your back.