The Razer Blade Pro is one of my favorite laptops for gaming and creative professionals. For one, I love its crazy vivid 17-inch display. Then there's the svelte (for a desktop replacement) 0.9-inch thick chassis and of course that captivating, glittering Chroma keyboard. But all that awesome doesn't come cheap -- until now.
Razer recently announced a new configuration of the Blade Pro, so fans don't have to take out a second mortgage or sell any superfluous organs. The new version of the 17-inch laptop starts at $2,299 which is still a bit pricey, but compared to the $3,999 model seems like a bargain. However, the company had to make some noticeable cuts to make this version possible.
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Instead of an overclockable 2.9-GHz Intel Core i7-7820HK processor, the new model of the Blade Pro will be powered by a 2.8-GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ CPU. As we've seen in other gaming laptops, the 7700HQ is pretty powerful,;you just lose out on the ability to overclock. The low-cost option also switches out the top-of-the-line Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 GPU in favor of the more cost-effective GTX 1060 which means you can still connect an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive and have a good old time in virtual reality.
The new Blade also swaps out the 4K display for a 1920 x 1080 non-touch panel with a 120-Hertz refresh rates. That should guarantee smooth graphic renders even when your playing games at a fairly high setting. The RAM has also been bumped down to 16GB, but the system can support up to 32GB of RAM. And instead of its lauded THX certified audio system, this iteration of the Blade Pro uses Dolby's Digital Plus Home Theater Edition software. As far as storage, the base configuration starts with a 256GB PCIe m.2 SSD with a 2TB hard drive. However, you can upgrade to a whopping 2TB PCIe m.2 SSD with a 4TB hard drive.
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By swapping out some of the larger and more expensive parts, the Blade Pro has dropped some considerable weight. The new system weighs in at 6.9 pounds compared to the original's 7.7, making it easier to stow in a backpack.
While I'm glad to see Razer extending an olive branch to us thrifty gamers and creative professionals, I wish the company went with a GTX 1070 instead of a 1060 GPU. Systems like the Lenovo Legion Y920 and MSI GE73VR Raider Pro are similarly priced ($2,299 amd $2.399 respectively) and supply consumers with a 1070. Hell, I'd even take a Max-Q 1070. Hopefully, Razer will be announcing another SKU sooner than later, but until then I'll reserve my final judgement for when we get the new Blade Pro in for review.