In this current generation of gaming laptops when a lot of companies are focusing their energies on 15-inch systems, it’s great to see that Razer still believes in going big or going home. The latest Blade Pro 17, available later this month starting at $2,599, has a load of goodies under its belt that are more than enough to bring the fight to all its high-powered competitors.
The new Razer Blade Pro 17 seeks to wrap up the functionality of a gaming laptop and a workstation in a slim CNC aluminum bow. The laptop is the latest to incorporate Intel’s 10th Gen octa-core H-series processor along with Nvidia’s new Super GPUs. And if that isn’t enough, Razer has upgraded its always-lovely displays to a 300Hz refresh rate, which should be music to the ears of gamers in pursuit of buttery smooth graphics with serious accuracy.
I had the opportunity to go hands-on with a pre-production model of the Razer Blade Pro 17, and from what I've seen thus far, Razer is off to an auspicious start.
Razer Blade Pro 17 pricing and availability
Razer Blade Pro 17 (2020) specs
CPU: Intel Core i7-10875H
GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super Max-Q
Storage: 512GB SSD
Display: 17.3-inch, 1920 x 1080, 144Hz
Size: 5.6 x 10.2 x 0.8 inches
Weight: 6.1 pounds
The Razer Blade Pro 17 will be available later in the month, starting at $2,599. The base configuration has a 2.8-GHz Intel Core i7-10875H processor with 16GB of RAM, a 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD, an Intel UHD Graphics GPU, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super Max-Q GPU with 8GB of VRAM and a 1920 x 1080 display with a 300Hz refresh rate.
The $3,199 mid-tier model that I’m demoing bumps you up to an RTX 2080 Super Max-Q GPU. The top of the line $3,799 configuration gets you a 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD and a 4K touch display with a 300Hz refresh rate.
It should be noted that every configuration can be upgraded to support 2TB of storage.
Razer Blade Pro 17 design
The Blade Pro 17 is just as lovely as ever. Like every other Blade before it, the desktop replacement is made from CNC aluminum. And like most Blade laptops, it’s colored a beautiful ebony black. The black and jade green backlit tri-headed snake logo rules the center of the lid, shining enticingly.
Upon opening the laptop, you get even more lovely onyx aluminum. Set into the metal keyboard deck, you'll find a rather large touchpad below the keyboard, which is positioned between two speaker grills. The power button resides at the top of the right grill. At the very top of the deck, there’s a sizable space between the top of the keyboard and the rounded hinge, leaving plenty of room for vents to dispel hot air from the cooling system.
The display is surrounded by relatively slim borders with the exception of the bottom chin, which has a Razer logo engraved in the middle. It’d be nice if Razer added some backlighting to the emblem so you can see it in darkened environments.
Razer has never been a fan of thick or heavy laptops. And that design language continues with the Blade Pro 17. At 6.1 pounds, the 15.6 x 10.2 x 0.8-inch Blade Pro 17 is one of the slimmer desktop replacements available. It’s a bit lighter than the Alienware m17 R3 (6.6 pounds, 15.7 x 11.8 x 0.7~0.8 inches).
Razer Blade Pro 17 ports
Part gaming laptop, part workstation, the Blade Pro 17 has the ports to support both functions. On the right, you have a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A port, a Thunderbolt 3 port, HDMI 2.0 port, an SD card reader and a Kensington lock slot.
Along the left, you get two more USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports, a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port, an Ethernet port, a headset jack and a proprietary power port.
Razer Blade Pro 17 display
I haven’t had the opportunity to get this baby to the lab yet, but from where I stand, the Blade Pro 17’s 17.3-inch, 1920 x 1080 non-touch display looks great. Watching the Charm City Kings trailer, the cigarette’s cherry burned a bright orange-red that stood out against the drab white warehouse walls. The ATV’s apple-red paint job also caught my attention as it was unveiled from beneath an olive green tarp. Details are clear enough that I could easily see the individual hairs in rapper/actor Meek Mill’s beard.
It really should be a crime to have a display this pretty. Despite the matte, anti-glare coating, I was impressed by how vivid the colors looked on the Blade Pro 17 as I played Trials of Mana. Reise’s jade-green Amazon guard uniform was captivating, but not nearly as much as her indigo eyes. As per details, the cartoony, slightly cel-shaded animation made it possible to admire little details, such as delicate etchings in the Mana statue.
Those stunning good looks carried over to The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt where Geralt’s ashen white hair gleamed in the moonlight as I exterminated a pesky nekker nest. I had no problem making out the delicate stitching in the turquoise and rust-colored shirt I currently equipped on the titular hero.
Razer Blade Pro 17 audio
The Blade’s pair of speakers are loud -- certainly loud enough to fill my smallish living room/dining room. But as I listened to Notorious B.I.G.’s “Machine Gun Funk,” I noticed how mid-forward the speakers were. The late rapper’s vocals were clear and details were sharp enough to hear slight static on the track. However, the horns and the percussion sounded a bit hollow.
I got a better result on Jamiroquai’s “Do You Know Where You’re Coming From,” as I heard a clean keyboard, the frenetic beat of the percussion and strong horns. However, the vocals could have been a bit stronger.
But my best audio experience came when I was gaming. Making my way to my next quest, it was just me, the long, drawn-out mournful sounds of a lone violin, and the wind from an impending storm whipping through the surrounding foliage. The relative calm was broken by the howls of a wolf pack. I heard the signature whoosh from Igni as I unleashed the fire spell and it ignited grass and nearby shrubbery.
In order to get the most out of the speakers, I highly recommend using the Dolby Atmos software and its six settings. I found Dynamic best suited my needs, but the Game option was good too.
Razer Blade Pro 17 keyboard and touchpad
The Blade Pro 17’s island-style keyboard offers generous spacing between its keys and springy feedback. I’m a fan of the larger right Shift key and appreciate that Razer still found a way to accommodate the four arrow keys. The keyboard is also pretty to look at with all that gorgeous Chroma lighting. I hit 72 words per minute during the 10fastfingers typing test, which is slightly above my 70-wpm average.
Want to let your inner glow be reflected via keyboard? Let your inner light shine via Razer’s Synapse 3.0 software. Thanks to the keyboard’s per-key capabilities, the software can be used to program the backlighting on individual keys. Or, if you’re lazy like me, you can take advantage of the 11 presets.
The glass touchpad is smooth to the touch and performs Windows 10 gestures, such as pinch-zoom and three-finger tap, quickly. Navigating websites and documents was an agile, responsive experience. The bottom corners of the touchpad are nice and clicky.
Razer Blade Pro 17 gaming
Unfortunately, since this is a pre-production model, we weren’t allowed to run our usual gaming benchmarks. But I did play a few games to give the Blade Pro 17’s Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super Max-Q GPU with 8GB of VRAM a bit of a workout. I made my way through Cascade Cavern, battling the likes of goblins, zombies, batmos and mushbloom with my party. Using a series of attacks, evades and special abilities, we fought our way to the destination with an average of 120 frames per second on High graphics settings.
When I switched over to The Witcher III: Wild Hunt, I took on a quest for Kiera Metz to lift a curse on a local island. I battled through drowners and wraiths, pushing them back with a combination of fancy swordplay and deft spell usage. Despite having the settings on Ultra with Nvidia’s HairWorks technology set to the max, the Blade Pro 17 didn’t break a sweat, averaging 80 frames per second.
I’m looking forward to seeing how the final version of the laptop will handle its competition.
Razer Blade Pro 17 performance
As I mentioned previously, since my demo unit is a pre-production model, I didn’t run any benchmarks, so consider this a placeholder. What I will say for now is that I’m eager to see how Razer performs against the likes of the Alienware m17 R3 and MSI Titan. Sporting 8 cores and 16 threads, the Blade Pro 17’s 2.8-GHz Intel Core i7-10875H processor with 16GB of RAM definitely packs a punch. And with a maximum turbo boost clock speed of 5.1GHz, it’s more than apparent that the Blade Pro 17 is fresh out of bubble gum to chew.
Since it's being positioned somewhere between a gaming laptop and a workstation, I can’t wait to see how the notebook holds up on the Handbrake test as well as our Photoshop benchmarks.
The Razer Blade Pro 17 is coming into 2020 with a take-no-prisoners attitude. The laptop is packed with plenty of powerful specs that will allow it to go toe-to-toe with its main competitors, if not surpass them. And I can’t stress enough how gorgeous the new panels are.
Is the price tag a bit hefty? Yes, but that’s to be expected from a premium gaming laptop, especially one that’s being positioned as a competent workstation. There are quite a few unknown variables (graphics and overall performance, battery life and heat), but it looks like the newest version of the Razer Blade Pro 17 might just be the best yet.