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Razer Blade Pro – Gaming Laptop Review

Razer Blade Pro – Gaming Laptop Review

Razer Blade ProIt’s difficult for a laptop to nail its brief when it’s a gaming machine or a work notebook, and it’s even trickier when a product tries to deliver the best of both worlds. Nevertheless, that’s what the Razer Blade Pro is attempting – and our Razer Blade Pro review will find out if this notebook succeeds.

This notebook costs £2,099 in the UK and $2,299 in the US. Let’s find out if it’s worth the cash.

Razer Blade Pro Review – Design

The entire laptop is hewn from black, matte, machined aluminium. The lid has the familiar green Razer logo, and that’s it when it comes to loud ornamentation. Elsewhere there’s only a subtle Blade logo and a round power button.

The lid is perfectly balanced, which means it can be opened with a fingertip. Build quality is great, with no noticeable give in the area around the keyboard or the base panel, and the screen feels sturdy. We’d have no problem carrying the Blade Pro around, although we’d use a sleeve to keep the smart metal from getting scraped or scratched.

Razer Blade ProImpressive dimensions only improve on the solid build quality and impressive aesthetic. The Razer weighs 3.07kg and it’s 23mm thick.

There’s no doubt about the Blade Pro’s design when it’s lined up against the MSI GE73VR 7RG Raider. That machine now costs around £1,500/$1,800, and its lower price shows: the brushed aluminium feels flimsier, the base panel is made of weaker plastic, and it’s thicker than the Razer.

Razer’s machine has three USB 3.1 connectors, a card reader and a Type-C port, and it’s got an HDMI output. That’s fine, but other machines do offer more connectivity.

There’s no way to get inside the Blade Pro, either. That could make component upgrades or replacements difficult. There’s one area where the MSI was better: the entire base panel could be removed, and there was a free M.2 connector.

Razer Blade Pro Review – Components

Razer Blade ProThe Blade Pro is expensive, but its internals aren’t ground-breaking. The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 provides the graphical power. It’s a competent mid-range chipset that uses the Pascal architecture.

The GTX 1060 has 1,280 stream processors with a 1,404MHz core speed, and it can reach a Turbo peak of 1,670MHz. That’s solid, but the cheaper MSI goes one better. That machine has a GTX 1070, with 2,048 stream processors, a higher clock speed and more memory.

A Core i7-7700HQ sits alongside the Blade Pro’s GTX 1060. It’s the same processor that was in the MSI, and its four Hyper-Threaded cores run at 2.8GHz with a boost peak that’s 1GHz higher.

It remains a great chip that will run almost any application and won’t bottleneck games. That said, it’s now a generation behind the curve. Coffee Lake chips are on the way for high-performance laptops, and they will offer more cores and more multi-threaded abilities – so if processor performance is key, we’d wait for one of those.

Still, it’s hardly a sluggish bit of silicon, and it’s also paired with good components elsewhere. There’s 16GB of DDR4 memory, which is fine for most work tasks and all games. There’s a 256GB Samsung SSD and a capacious 2TB hard disk.

Connectivity is good, too. Gaming experts Killer provide the Gigabit Ethernet and dual-band 802.11ac wireless.

Razer Blade Pro Review – Ergonomics

Razer Blade ProThis is the area where the Blade Pro really breaks from convention. Instead of installing the trackpad beneath the keyboard, it’s positioned alongside the buttons.

It looks odd at first, but it does make sense. The right-hand position of the trackpad mimics how most people use their PCs when they’re working and gaming.

It took us a little while to get used to the new arrangement. We kept prodding the area beneath the keyboard where the trackpad is traditionally located. And, because the trackpad is pushed up, the keyboard is moved to the left – so we kept prodding the wrong buttons.

It didn’t take long to get up to speed. The buttons are consistent and responsive, and they’re quiet and comfortable. They have ample travel for a chiclet design, and each key has an RGB LED that can be customised in software.

The Blade Pro’s soft and quiet typing action makes it easy to hammer out long documents. However, shallower chiclet keys are never great for gaming – and that remains an issue on the Razer Blade Pro. The MSI suffered similarly, with a solid base and reasonably heavy buttons, but mechanical keys are still the best option.

The Blade Pro’s repositioned trackpad offers great quality, with a smooth surface, responsive buttons and a smooth scroll-wheel. It’s easily better than the MSI’s spongy offering.

Razer Blade Pro Review – Performance

Razer Blade ProThe Blade Pro’s GTX 1060 is a solid gaming chip that played all of our test titles at 1080p. Its weakest minimum of 36fps in Witcher 3 is still easily playable, and that’s when the game was at its Ultra graphics settings. It averaged 50fps in Witcher 3, and it even managed an 89fps average in Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor.

Those figures don’t just bode well for gaming. This machine won’t have any problem with photo editing and video work, and it’ll handle streaming without much fuss.

The Razer’s results are good, but the MSI and its GTX 1070 was noticeably faster. Its Witcher minimum of 87fps is miles ahead, and its average framerates romped past 100fps in four of our games.

The extra pace means that the MSI will be more adept at running games towards the 120fps rate that the screen requires for smooth gameplay. It also means that the MSI will be able to output to VR headsets and larger monitors with more aplomb than the Razer.

Synthetic benchmarks illustrate the difference between the two GPUs. The Razer’s GTX 1060 scored 9,480 points in the 3D Mark Fire Strike test – but the MSI was more than 3,000 points faster.

Razer Blade ProThe results were closer in application benchmarks. The Razer was ahead in both of the Geekbench tests, while the MSI took a lead in Cinebench and PC Mark 8. That’s not a surprise considering these machines share a processor. Don’t worry about work, though: both systems will easily handle productivity software.

The Razer machine has a fast Samsung SSD that returned read and write speeds of 1,573MB/s and 978MB/s. Those are rapid, and much quicker than the drive in the MSI laptop.

The Blade Pro was good in thermal tests, too. When idling and running easier applications it made barely any noise, and the volume didn’t increase much during gaming. Unlike many gaming notebooks, the Razer only produced a low rumble when running through graphically intensive titles.

The noise only rose when we stressed the CPU and GPU simultaneously. That’s to be expected, and it was still quieter than most of its rivals.

The CPU and GPU temperatures of 92°C and 76°C are fine, even if the former figure is a little close to the bone. The exterior panels remained cool throughout.

It’s a similar bill of health to the MSI, which used its bigger frame to deliver competent cooling performance. Neither machine will prove too hot or too loud, then, which is great for gaming and concentrating on work.

Don’t expect much from the battery, though. It lasted just shy of two hours in the PC Mark 8 Home test, and about an hour in a gaming benchmark. If you want a longer gaming or work session, ensure you plug in.

Razer Blade Pro Review – Screen

Razer Blade ProThe Razer’s Full HD resolution looks sharp enough on the 17.3in panel, and it makes sense considering the GTX 1060 – pushing those pixels won’t tax the GPU too much.

The IPS panel underneath should ensure solid quality, and the matte finish works well for gaming. The 120Hz  refresh rate improves smoothness. However, Razer hasn’t fitted this machine with Nvidia G-Sync – so the screen could have been even smoother. It’s the same setup as the MSI screen, which had 120Hz operation but no syncing.

Great benchmark results improve on the solid specification. Our first test revealed a brightness measurement of 372cd/m2, which is massive – it means that the backlight has enough strength to prove visible beneath bright lights or even outdoors. The black level of 0.24cd/m2 is good, too, and it means that dark areas in work applications, games and films will look especially murky.

Those figures combine for a contrast ratio of 1,550:1. That’s superb, and ensures vibrancy and subtle shade changes across the entire range. The brightness level on the Razer is better than the MSI, which means marginally better contrast – but both laptops are great in this regard.

Those figures are impressive, but some of the Blade Pro’s colour results are more middling. Its temperature measurement of 6,763K is fine, but its average Delta E of 4.7 and Gamma of 2.12 are very ordinary. The panel also only displayed 86.2% of the sRGB gamut, which is a little below what we’d expect from such an expensive machine. MSI’s machine rendered 100% of the sRGB gamut, but we still prefer the Razer because of its better colour temperature.

Those results aren’t awful, and they won’t impact games and films – they’re still going to look excellent on the Blade Pro. The Razer’s screen will easily handle the vast majority of work applications, too, especially thanks to that contrast and brightness. Only the most demanding colour-based work tools will require a little more colour accuracy.

There’s little to choose between the Razer and MSI’s speakers. Both have powerful mid-ranges and high-end noises that avoid being tinny, and both serve up reasonable bass and volume. Headsets are always better, but the Blade Pro’s audio kit is perfectly usable.

Razer Blade ProRazer Blade Pro Review – Conclusion

The Razer Blade Pro impresses in many key departments. It looks fantastic, and will easily blend in at LAN parties or the office. It’s slim, has great build quality, and the screen has great contrast and solid colours.

The revised keyboard and trackpad design work well, too, and the GTX 1060 and Core i7 processor deliver solid performance across all benchmarks.

However, those components can’t match the Razer’s main rival – and the MSI GS73VR is both faster and much cheaper than the Blade Pro.

That price is the Blade Pro’s biggest problem. If you want to pay a bit more for a premium product, then the Razer clearly cuts the mustard thanks to its design and quality. But be aware that other machines may not have the panache – but they’ll have more performance for a lot less cash.

The Razer Blade Pro costs £2,099 in the UK and $2,299 in the US. Has our Razer Blade Pro review pushed your buttons? Join the discussion on our Facebook and Twitter pages. And, if you need some more inspiration, check out our guide to our favourite laptops or click here to read about the best desktop PCs.

The GoodRecommended Award

  • GTX 1060 has good, reliable pace
  • Rest of the components are solid
  • Design is smart, slim and strong
  • Keyboard and innovative trackpad are good
  • Decent screen quality

The Bad

  • More expensive than rivals
  • Competitors outpace the GTX 1060
  • Disappointing battery life

The Specs

CPU: 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ
Memory: 16GB 2,400MHz DDR4
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB
Screen: 17.3in 1,920 x 1,080 IPS
Dimensions: 424 x 281 x 23mm
Weight: 3.07kg
Connectivity: Gigabit Ethernet, dual-band 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.1
Ports: 3 x USB 3, 1 x Thunderbolt, 1 x HDMI, 1 x Gigabit Ethernet, 1 x SDXC, 1 x audio
Hard disk: 256GB Samsung PM951 SSD, 2TB hard disk
Warranty: 1yr RTB

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Razer Blade Pro

About Author

Mike Jennings

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