Razer Blade Review Editor's Choice

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Editors' rating:
The Pros

Slim and attractive chassis; Great graphics and overall performance; VR-ready GPU; Bright, vivid display; Excellent battery life

The Cons

Runs hot when gaming; Speakers could be louder

Verdict

The Razer Blade boasts VR-ready graphics a captivating Chroma keyboard and solid battery life in a devastatingly slim profile.

The Razer Blade (starting and reviewed at $1,899) just got another power-up. The laptop has made the jump to Kaby Lake, Intel's 7th-generation line of processors, which promise better performance and power efficiency. Pair that with a VR-ready Nvidia Pascal GPU; lovely display; beautiful keyboard and sleek, lightweight chassis; and you've got one of the slimmest gaming powerhouses on the market. Whether it's being used for work or play, the Blade is ready and able to get the job done.

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Design

The Blade is just as striking as the original, and at 4.16 pounds and 13.6 x 9.3 x 0.7 inches, it's just as svelte. The Blade makes the smaller Alienware 13 (5.4 pounds, 13 x 10.6 x 0.87 inches) seem rotund by comparison, but is on a par with the MSI GS63VR Stealth Pro (4.2 pounds, 14.9 x 9.8 x 0.69 inches). It makes the Acer Predator 15 (8.2 pounds, 15.4 x 11.8 x 1.5 inches) look like a behemoth.

Razer Blade

I could say that after four years, I've gotten tired of the Blade's sleek, inky-black aluminum exterior, but I'd be lying. The ethereal green trisnake logo has lost none of its enticing glow, beckoning me to run my hands over the lid, which is cool to the touch. The laptop's interior is outfitted in more obsidian-colored metal, accented by the backlit Chroma keyboard, which makes the multicolored keys look like fireworks against a jet-black sky.

The Blade's slim chassis doesn't allow for a plethora of ports, but what's here can support a formidable gaming battlestation. Along the right of the notebook, you'll find a USB 3.0 port, a Kensington lock slot and a full-HDMI port. In anticipation of the company's new graphics amplifier -- the Razer Core -- the Blade houses a Thunderbolt 3 port. When you're not using the amp, you can use the port to hook up a 4K display. On the left, there are a pair of USB 3.0 ports and jacks for the headset and power cord.

MORE: The Best Laptops for Every Need

Display

Matte doesn't mean lackluster -- the Blade's 1920 x 1080 display is undeniable proof. My eyes delighted in the aquamarine sea offset by the bone-white cliffs in the 1080p "Wonder Woman" trailer. Details were so clear that I could see the delicate seams of Diana's famous gauntlets and the thousands of yellow and white sparks created by a bullet bouncing off it.

Razer Blade

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was just as captivating, delivering a banquet of gold, rose pinks and tangerine with the rising sun. As he rode through a particularly dense forest, the resulting rays shone through, accenting the titular hero's chain mail and ashen-white locks.

The Blade's screen reproduced an excellent 115 percent on the sRGB color gamut on our tests. It easily surpassed the thin-and-light 90 percent average as well as the Predator 15 (110 percent) and MSI Stealth Pro (111 percent). However, the Alienware 13 and its amazing OLED panel was the clear winner at 210 percent.

When tested for color accuracy, the Blade's screen produced 1.5 on the Delta-E test (0 is ideal). That's much more accurate than the Alienware 13's 4.49, and it's only slightly better than the 2.1 category average and the Stealth Pro's 1.96. The Predator 15 turned out to have the most accurate display at 14.

Averaging 289 nits on our brightness test, the Blade outshone the 247-nit category average as well as the Alienware 13 (271 nits), Predator 15 (268 nits) and the Stealth Pro (242 nits). It was no match, however, for the P55W's score of 321 nits.

Audio

Despite the top-mounted speakers, the Blade's speakers aren't as loud as I would have hoped, as they barely filled a small office space. However, I was impressed at how warm the guitar sounded on Beyonce's "Daddy Issues" as well as the trumpet's clarity even at maximum volume. Using the preinstalled Dolby Digital Plus software, I got the best result from the Music preset.

However, when I switched over to Witcher 3, the Game preset offered a better soundscape, which allowed the viciously clanging of metal to coexist against frenzied violins and handclaps. It also made the dialogue sound more present.

Keyboard and Touchpad

Razer's Chroma island-style keyboard is just as gorgeous as ever. The multicolored flat keys are well-spaced and look like sparkling jewels. The backlighting is extremely bright, making very easy to type in darkened settings.

Razer BladeEach key on the island-style keyboard is capable of reproducing 16.8 million colors. Combine that with the six available lighting effects (Wave, Ripple, Breathing, Reactive, Spectrum Cycling and Static), and you can trick out the backlit keyboard into something truly awesome.

When we measured for key travel, the Blade registered only 1 millimeter (1.5-2 mm is optimal) with a rather weak 51 grams of actuation, or force needed to press the keys. However, the keys felt surprisingly bouncy, and . I easily hit my usual 60 word-per-minute average on the 10FastFingers typing test.

The 4.1 x 2.5-inch Synaptics touchpad offer smooth movement with accurate gestures, including two-finger scroll and three finger swipe. And while I appreciate Razer's commitment to discrete keys, I wish they were just a wee bit thicker. Otherwise, the pair of buttons delivered solidfeedback.

Synapse Software

In addition to making your keyboard into a pulsating ooh and ahh machine, Razer's Synapse software offers a bevy of features designed to help you play your best game. You can program macros that can be assigned to any key on the keyboard, and adjust the trackpad or fan speed. The software also gives gamers the ability to track their keystrokes and see a visual representation via a heat map. 

MORE: Best 2-in-1s (Laptop/Tablet Hybrids)

Graphics, Gaming and VR

The Blade retains its GeForce GTX 1060 GPU with 6GB of VRAM, which means you've got a hell of a lot of gaming power in a waifish frame. Want to explore a virtual wonderland? Simply plug your HTC Vive or Oculus Rift into the appropriate ports.

Razer Blade

The laptop scored a solid 6 on the SteamVR performance test, matching the Acer Predator 15 (GTX 1060), which places both  in the ready quadrant. It's good, but not enough to top the 6.5 thin-and-light average. The Blade also fell short of the 6.9 and 7.4 put up by the Alienware 13 and MSI GS63VR Stealth Pro, respectively, which also have GTX 1060 GPUs.

I had a grand old time fighting water hags in Witcher 3. After landing some solid blows on the first abomination, it dissipated into a ball of white mist to escape my assault. When it reappeared, I set the blue-gray monster on fire, igniting the creature in 57 fps at 1080p on High. The frame rate rose to 62 fps on Medium, but I definitely lost a bit of detail, such as the individual hairs on Geralt's head gently floating in the wind.

When it came to our traditional gaming benchmarks, the Blade stood toe to toe with the competition. On the Rise of the Tomb Raider benchmark (1920 x 1080 on Very High), the Blade notched 43 fps, topping the 36-fps average. The Predator 15 and Stealth Pro both scored 34 fps, while the Alienware 13 trailed just behind at 32 fps.

The Blade scored 60 fps on the Hitman test, holding off the Stealth Pro and Predator 15, which delivered 58 and 57 fps, respectively. However, the Alienware 13 squeaked out the win with 63 fps.

Running the Grand Theft Auto V benchmark, the Blade achieved 44 fps, missing the 51-fps average. The Alienware 13, Stealth Pro and Predator 15 did slightly better, with scores of 49, 48 and 47 fps each.

When you're not battling Wyverns and Cyclops, the Blade switches over to its Intel HD Graphics 630 GPU via Nvidia's Optimus technology.

Performance

Thanks to its new Kaby Lake processor, the Blade has gotten sharper on the performance front. The laptop's 7th-generation, 2.8-GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ CPU with 16GB of RAM allowed me to watch a Twitch stream while running a full system scan on Windows Defender with 20 open Google Chrome tabs, including TweetDeck. Despite all the background activity, I was able to play Spelunky in a separate web browser.

On Geekbench 3, our synthetic performance test, the Blade notched 14,783, blowing past the 8,311 thin-and-light average. The Alienware 13 (Intel Core i7-7700HQ) wasn't too far behind with 14,658, while the Stealth Pro and Predator 15 and their last-gen 2.6-GHz Intel Core i7-6700HQ CPUs obtained 13,454 and 13,216, respectively.

Razer Blade

The Blade's 256GB PCIe SSD duplicated 4.97GB multimedia files in 25 seconds for a transfer rate of 203 megabytes per second. It's enough to overcome the 185.1-MBps average and the Predator 15's (256GB SSD) 145.4 MBps, but not the rates for the Alienware 13 (512GB SSD) or the Stealth Pro (256GB M.2 SSD), which hit 424.1 and 565.5 MBps, respectively

When we ran the OpenOffice Spreadsheet Macro test, the Blade paired 20,000 names and addresses in 3 minutes and 31 seconds, topping the 4:43 average as well as the scores of the Predator 15 (3:44) and Stealth Pro (3:38). The Alienware 13 was the ultimate winner, with a time of 3:19.

Battery Life

The Razer Blade has typically had a less-than-stellar performance on our battery test (continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi). Not this time. The laptop lasted 7 hours and 45 minutes, which is only 17 minutes short of the 8:02 thin-and-light average. That was enough to beat the Alienware 13's 7:12, the Predator 15's 4:00 and the Stealth Pro's 2:54.

MORE: Laptops with the Longest Battery Life

Heat

As pretty as the Blade's aluminum chassis is, it doesn't take much to turn from a cool customer into a hot potato. After 15 minutes of running around White Orchard in Witcher 3, the touchpad measured 106 degrees Fahrenheit, which is above our 95-degree comfort threshold. The center of the keyboard was even hotter at 111 degrees while the undercarriage hit 119 degrees.

Once the system cooled down, we started streaming a full-screen HD YouTube video. Fifteen minutes later, the touchpad and middle of the keyboard hit 87 and 90 degrees  while the bottom reached a comfortable 91 degrees.

Webcam

The Blade's integrated 1080p webcam was detailed enough to show off the myriad of triangles in my sweater dress, but not enough to see the little ridges on each figure. My test images also had a bluish tint, which made the gold in my outfit take on a dusty mustard color. Still, this a good webcam for broadcasting your wicked gaming exploits.

Software and Warranty

Aside from the versatile Synapse software, the Blade comes with several gamer-centric programs. Gamers looking to chat with friends or bark orders during a match can use Razer Comms, the company's VoIP chat service.

Razer BladeRazer also bundles Nvidia's GeForce Experience, which includes additional player-friendly software, such as ShadowPlay recording software. Game Optimization automatically tweaks in-game settings to get the best performance and frame rates.

Unfortunately, even Razer isn't immune to third-party software, but you'll only see a few instances, such as Pandora, Netflix, Farmville 2: Country Escape, Twitter and Drawboard PDF.

The Razer Blade comes with a one-year limited warranty.

Configurations

I reviewed the $1,899 entry-level model of the Razer Blade, which has a 2.8-GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor with 16GB of RAM, a 256GB PCIe SSD, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPU with 6GB of VRAM, Intel HD Graphics 630 GPU and a 1080p nontouch display. For another $200, you can double your storage to a 512GB PCIe SSD or pay $2,499 for a 1-TB PCIe SSD.

You can also get the Blade with a lovely 4K (3840 x 2160) touch panel starting at $2,399 with 256GB of storage. The 1-TB iteration of the laptop is priced at $2,799.

Bottom Line

Razer continues to work its feng shui magic on the Blade. For $1,899, you get an undeniably good-looking laptop that's extremely slim, despite packing a 7th-gen processor and a VR-ready Nvidia GPU. In addition to delivering great gaming and overall performance, the Blade has nearly 8 hours of battery life -- a marked improvement over past iterations.

However, if you want all the colors of the rainbow and then some, you might want to consider the Alienware 13 and its incredible OLED display. Starting at $1,799, the Alienware 13 has similar specs and power, although it's somewhat heavier and has shorter battery life. But if you're looking for a VR-ready notebook that's powerful, portable and downright pretty, you can't go wrong with the Razer Blade.

Author Bio
Sherri L. Smith
Sherri L. Smith,
Sherri L. Smith has been cranking out product reviews for Laptopmag.com since 2011. In that time, she's reviewed more than her share of laptops, tablets, smartphones and everything in between. The resident gamer and audio junkie, Sherri was previously a managing editor for Black Web 2.0 and contributed to BET.Com and Popgadget.
Sherri L. Smith, on
CPU 2.8-GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ
Operating System Windows 10 Home
RAM 16GB
RAM Upgradable to
Hard Drive Size 256GB
Hard Drive Speed n/a
Hard Drive Type PCIe SSD
Secondary Hard Drive Size
Secondary Hard Drive Speed
Secondary Hard Drive Type
Display Size 14
Highest Available Resolution 3840 x 2160
Native Resolution 1920x1080
Optical Drive None
Optical Drive Speed n/a
Graphics Card Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPU/Intel HD Graphics 530
Video Memory 6 GB
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n/ac
Wi-Fi Model Killer Wireless-AC 1535
Bluetooth Bluetooth 4.1
Mobile Broadband
Touchpad Size 4.1 x 2.5 inches
Ports (excluding USB) USB 3.0
Ports (excluding USB) HDMI 2.0
Ports (excluding USB) Headset
Ports (excluding USB) Kensington Lock
Ports (excluding USB) Thunderbolt 3
USB Ports 3
Warranty/Support one-year limited warranty
Size 13.6 x 9.3 x 0.7 inches
Weight 4.2 pounds
Company Website www.razerzone.com
Add a comment
27 comments
  • Sang Kee Says:

    For anybody wondering why the SteamVR performance is so low. My 512GB 2017 Razer Blade gets a 6.6. Not sure how they got a 6 (even with the 256gb model).

    Side note, where can readers find what categories the laptop they are reading about are in? 'Category average' means little if I readers don't know exactly what is or makes up that category and if it isn't current. Where can this information be found?

  • Najib Dajani Says:

    I love your reviews, thank you. However, every review should clearly state the type of panel the display uses (TN, IPS, etc.). I am not sure why this information is usually omitted.

  • KABLAMM Says:

    Don't know where you're getting your battery times from - mine's getting 3.5 hrs at best after endless tweaking. Also at 14" it is a bit too small. I'm considering returning mine.

  • Alex Jameson Says:

    This laptop and its company are absolute rip offs. The 'customer support' is bogus and crap, everything they provide is overpriced and overhyped. All of the gimmicks/cool stuff that they do not mean JACK SHIT once your boner for them dies out 3-4 days within buying the product. So please, save your money like I did

  • Igor Alexander Says:

    The baterry is an issue and the support terrible.

    After sales support???Does not work at all!!!!
    The demans 100 USD just to look at your laptop if out of warranty and they dont sell any spare part.
    Go for a ASUS ROG or Alienware and you get a better deal.

  • Alberto Martinez Says:

    Purchased a brand new Blade gaming laptop and all USB ports did not work properly 2 of them did not work at all and 1 USB port worked erratically... customer service was terrible and the company never fixed the USB ports and made me waste my own money because I had to ship the laptop to them for service... absolutely disappointed, I would never buy a Blade gaming laptop.

  • n13L5 Says:

    Comparing a 2016 Blade to an older Aorus X3 v3 is a bit of a joke, no?

    just B.I.A.S. or did you get paid for that?

    2016 models are X3 v5 and v6...

  • Spencer Says:

    Hi Sherri, what is your source on the 1.1mm key travel distance and 58g of force needed to depress the keys?

  • Jose Duarte Says:

    Hello wanted to know that laptop is more complete if the new RAZER BLADE 2016 or MACBOOK PRO

  • YouWahtDaPuncake Says:

    where can i buy one of these cause it looks awesome and it may be good cause i need one

  • Antonio Olmedo Says:

    @Adondriel The razer blade lasts 3 hours playing "DOOM" on medium settings at 1080p

  • Ethan Trombley Says:

    I really feel something is fishy about her gaming benchmarks. As they are inconstant with a 970m and its performance. On The Witcher 3 she was able to produce way above an average 970m, yet on metro last night she was way below the average 970m. I hope she checks her numbers and re runs her test.

  • heather Says:

    These computers are the biggest waste of money and time. Don't ever buy one, they're god awful and unreliable.

  • Hime Nakazono Says:

    Crispogi, you are correct that it is not a 4k display, however, it does NOT charge through the thunderbolt 3 port, it has a separate ac port.

  • Crispogi Says:

    QHD+ display not 4k -_-. And it charges with usb type c with thunderbolt 3 and not a regular charging port. Is this a review or what?

  • Adondriel Says:

    @Dominic you realize that the power draw from any graphics chip will drain the battery in about 5 minutes right? the battery life she is refering to is for non-gaming usage.

  • D. Mazzetti Says:

    Lookin' good, Sherri! Hot momma! And I thought the Razer Blade was sexy! Woooooooweeee gurl you got the threat level on orange baby!

  • Jack P. Says:

    Rather critical comment "Sorry Sherri, that was a horrible review"... I have to disagree, I found it thorough and informative. Despite reading through this article with the sole intent of discovering what temps would be like under load myself, I got enough of an answer based on the article.

    This review would be horrible if the commentary consisted of "The Razer blade is good". Next time, take a minute to consider all of the points she touched before you flame for an accidental oversight. Being a test laptop, perhaps she was not allowed to install or run games on the laptop. I think the temperatures produced from her Hulu test are probably pretty similar or slightly cooler than what you can expect from her results from 15 minutes of Hulu. Or, if you want to be conservative, shave off 5% of the 2015 model's temps under load.

  • Jonnnn Says:

    One of the Razer reps was on video saying, as you pointed out, that the cooling system and fan blade spacing was completely redesigned for this 2016 model. Can you tell me if the unit is any quieter than the 2014 and 2015 models when doing some intense gaming?

    One of their claims to fame is that the cooling system creates less noise than the previous models.

  • Gomez Says:

    Quick question: you said it has 1.1 travel on the keys. Isn't that what the stealth had? The 2015 blade had 1.5 did they decrease it? Can you please verify?

  • Douglas Black Says:

    Does feel rather sponsored- but then again, with all the product placement in laptopmag reviews, maybe they don't want to be taken seriously.

  • Dominic Says:

    @Marke If no one criticises low battery life, it won't ever be improved. That's why its a point. Why isn't there a laptop with a 980m that lasts 8 hours? People need to chuck more money at battery technology so it advances with everything else :)

  • Marke Says:

    Sherri your a good reviewer but why is the short battery life in gaming notebooks a con, remember that this laptops are not same as the macbooks gpu that only has a 55watt TDP and gaming notebooks that have the 970m and 980m would not reach that 8 hour average, i have yet to find a laptop that has a 980m that actually last 8 hours. gaming laptops with powerful gpus is not equal to macbook pro with a week gpu.

  • Shannon Says:

    Sorry Sherri, but that was a horrible review. You failed to mention the heat during it's main purpose, gaming. Also, why wasn't the noise output listed? These can be massive cons and should be noted as such in pros and cons.

    Honestly feels like a sponsored review.

  • MrMeister Says:

    I'd say that the battery life is exceptional for a thin and light gaming laptop, of course the Alienware would have better battery life since the design is fairly thick.

  • Douglas Black Says:

    The display is QHD+, not 4k. Please correct this.

  • Interested Says:

    Hi Sherri, great review! Can you tell us which SSD the 256 models comes with?

    Thanks!

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