Debuting back in 2011, the Razer Blade laptop line has come a long way. Initially not taken too seriously, they have put in a lot of work to create top of the line gaming laptops. The Razer laptops caused a stir in the gaming world with the Razer Stealth’s entry. Also well known for Razer Blade and Razer Blade Pro lineups. They have now come up with Razer Blade 14 2017.
Razer Blade 14 2017 Review
Although costing enough to blow a hole in your pocket, we’ve reviewed the basic version of the Razer Blade 14 2017, which can be upgraded. The Razer Blade variants have gotten us excited. What makes this 14-inch laptop different from the other gaming laptops in the market currently? Why do we like it? We’ve reviewed Razon Blade 14 2017 for you.
- Light and thin
- Great gaming experience
- As compared to other versions, relatively pocket-friendly
- Good battery life
- 4K display – optional
- Colour customization is a bonus
- Balanced heat levels with not so noisy fans
- The $2,000 version can lack the performance boosts needed to max out the 120Hz panel.
- Bugs and crashes can occur with overloading – reliability doubtable
- Razer’s synapse app – poor performance
- Buttons on trackpad – unappealing
- Not so different from its competitors
- Trackpad aligned towards the right side of the keyboard – needs adjusting towards it
Price & Availability
The Razer Blade 14 2017 version still starts at a price point of $,1699 (£1,659, AU$2,549) which is a bit expensive compared to its competitor HP Omen 2017. For an FHD screen and 256GB SSD, and certainly reasonable commits, it may seem a lot. But as compared to its sibling, the Razer Blade UHD model which is quite very pricey as compared to the FHD model or this basic model may seem cheaper.
But if you’re looking for a thin, heavy-duty and smartly designed laptop that can handle almost anything you would throw at it, the price would make somewhat sense. You can also have a look at Alienware R3 2017 at this price range. Although the Razer Blade 14 2017 configuration may not be available on the Razer store anymore, it is still available for the same prices on Amazon and other laptop retail sources.
With the availability of Razer Blade 15 2018 and the previous, the Razer Blade FHD. the price range of the Razer Blade 14 2017 is likely to drop. Although comparatively, the Alienware 13 with an OLED touchscreen and a mere QHD (2,560 x 1,440) along with double the RAM and SSD storage somehow meets the pricey Razer laptops in regards of pricing when it comes to performance and specs.
|CPU||2.8GHz Core i7-7700HQ (Turbo Boost up to 3.8GHz)|
|Graphics||Intel HD 630 (integrated) paired with Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 with 6GB GDDR5 VRAM|
|Screen||1920 x 1080 IPS Display at 14 inches (127 ppi)|
|RAM||16GB 2400MHz DDR4|
|OS||Windows 10 Home x 64|
|Storage||256 GB SSD (PCle M.2) + 2TB HDD (5400rpm)|
|Connectivity||Killer 1535 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.1, Gigabit Ethernet|
|Weight||4.16 lbs (1.88 kg)|
|Size||13.6 x 9.3 x 0.70 inches|
For someone who has never seen the Razer Blade or any of it’s preceding models before, the first impression is always, well, quite impressive. With all the heavy-duty gaming laptops that are weighing too much and run out of battery life way too quickly, they’re functioning more of as a desktop replacement than actual laptops. With that notion being kept in mind, the Razer Blade 14 2017 does not in any way strike as a gaming laptop.
Razer Blade 14 2017 is thin: The first thing anyone notices is how thin it is. At a mere thickness, or rather ‘thinness’ of 0.70 inches it is one of the thinnest configuration available. Although there are many laptops just as sleek as this available in the market, they usually do not hold a candle to the specs this has to offer.
Razer Blade 14 2017 is light: Being thin isn’t the only unique feature this laptop offers. With thinness comes lightness. Weighing around 4.16lbs which is lighter than Alienware 17’s 9.74lbs. This means easy mobility. When placed on lap for an extensive (not too extensive though) period of time, it still does not weigh down a lot.
Design: The Razer Blade 14 2017 has a simple, minimalistic and elegant design. Its sleek matte black color along with aluminum unibody chassis is cool to the touch and easy on the eyes. At the center of the lid is the Razer Snake three-headed Snake logo which reminds us rather of an energy drink logo honestly. It lights up green whenever the laptop is powered on.
The Razer Blade 14 2017 features a 14 inches display. The screen has a standard issue Full HD IPS screen display surrounded by matte screen panel. The matte finish looks good and helps reduce any glare that may radiate off of it. It also works fine in almost any lighting. Although a drawback may emerge since the panel comes with a certain noticeable blue tint. It is easily ignorable but for those that like their displays flawless, this may be hard to get over. The color accuracy is good.
At a maximum luminance of 297 nits, the display does not seem to be as bright as one would like. Especially when it comes to outdoor use. 297 is pretty low almost the same as Gigabyte Aorus X9 2017. The natural light or daylight may make the screen appear slightly dimmer. Indoors, the display is bright enough on Razer Blade 14 2017. The viewing angles are decent. The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 video card allows smooth gameplay and the screen supports 120Hz refresh rate.
The 4K display, if availed, is far better than the aforementioned one. For obvious reasons of course. It is nicer and crisper. For 1080p, Razer Blade 14 2017 has a higher refresh rate, is glare free and offers one of the smoothest gameplay.
Keyboard & touchpad
Keyboard needs getting used to: The quality of the keyboard is pretty great on Razer Blade 14 2017. To the extent that it is comparable to that Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro in terms of key depth and spacing. For a mechanical keyboard, its responsiveness is impressive. We can find the same mechanical keyboard in Gigabyte Aorus X9 2017. It feels good to type on it or perform any relative typing tasks. But the placement and size of the touchpad towards the far right make the keyboard appear off-centered. Especially while typing. Also, the up and down keys are hard to locate as well. It requires quite a time to get used to the new setting of the keyboard. For those who like the standard keyboard, Razer’s placement may come off as simply annoying.
Apart from that, the backlighting is very nice. For gaming in low light or in complete darkness, the lighting aids smooth gameplay. The function keys on Razer Blade 14 2017 may appear less lit which can be hard to identify in the dark especially when their functions are required like turning up or down the screen brightness.
Touchpad – probably not suitable for left-handed folks: To the right of the Razer Blade 14 2017 keyboard is the trackpad measuring approximately 4 x 3.25 inches. Its placement forces the arrow keys to be pushed down at the bottom of the keyboard. This placement may affect the user experience of a left-handed person. It was a bit of a struggle for us as well, being right handed but we got used to it, half-heartedly.
It claims to be precision trackpad yet it was not that smooth or precise. Razer Blade 14 2017 includes a physical scroll wheel to increase quality gameplay yet somehow none of it vibed with us. One might have to resort to a gaming mouse instead.
Audio & Webcam
Good audio: When it comes to gaming laptops, they’re not entirely built for an audio experience. If the audio output is good, it’s a bonus. Despite the poor quality of sound, the most effect it can have is on the immersive factor. Razer Blade 14 2017 offers a crisp and clear sound. It has the ability to get loud. Actually loud enough to fill an entire medium sized room but like most average-good audio outputs, the sound becomes eruptive. Even at normal levels, it lacks bass. A good option for a better gaming experience would be to plug in good quality headphones. The audio output will be just as good.
Additionally, the Razer Blade 14 2017 is equipped with Dolby Digital Plus software. It can be used to tune sound according to your personal taste for music, movies, gaming etc.
Average webcam: As with most gaming laptops, this feature isn’t much of a bother. Nor for developers nor for the users. The 2MP camera performs fine when it comes to making video calls or while interactive gameplay. It does not do that well in dim light though.
Given the specs on this laptop, one would expect a pretty good performance. It surely did not disappoint. With a Quad-Core 7th Gen Intel Core i7-7700HQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 with 6GB GDDR5 along with 16GB dual-channel memory, Killer networking, and 256GB SSD PCle M.2, the Razer Blade 14 2017 is quite better than just your average gaming laptop.
Despite the fact that GTX 1060 is not the top of the line NVIDIA graphic card, but at the price its offered at along with the specs its paired with, the Razer Blade performs great. Without any lag or slow down or God forbid crashes, it performed quite impressively well in the tests carried out.
This Razer Blade 14 2017 14-inch ultra-thin gaming laptop scored 739 points in Cinebench CPU and as for GeekBench, it scored 3,880 (single-core) and 14,357 (multi-core). With 3,457 points in PCMark8 (Home Test), it did not do as well as its rivals but for the basic model, it still was worth it.
When playing Grand Theft Auto V at highest settings, the game rendered between 90 to 95 fps. For a more intense game like Forza Motorsport 7, a consistent 65 fps was observed. This is a mildly different number as compared to the performance given by the previous laptop in the series.
Apart from Razer Blade 14 2017 not so modest performance as a gaming laptop, it’s a solid laptop for performing tasks like photo-editing, video-editing, streaming videos, watching movies, browsing the internet, word processing etc.
Very few gaming laptops can boast off a longer battery life. Being heavy duty and with all the latest specs incorporated into a single machine, many gaming laptops have been performing poorly when it comes to battery longevity. Because if this exact reason most of them have become a desktop replacement rather than a laptop. The Razer Blade 14 2017 beats most of its rivals in this department and has gained quite the respect in the gaming world.
During testing, while running basic programs like Word, Photoshop or browsing the internet and carrying out daily tasks, battery life ranged from 4.5 to 5 hours. As for during gaming, the battery life dropped down to about 2.45 to 3 hours.
Razer Blade 14 2017 outperformed Gigabyte laptops but underperformed against Dell G7. Despite the fact that these laptops house larger batteries than that of Razer Blade. This is perhaps because of poor optimization options of the former laptops.
Considering the specs involved, the battery life is impressive no doubt.
The option of upgrading the Razer Blade 14 2017 to 4K allows users to explore what the laptop has to offer more. Even though the Razer Blade can be directly connected to a 4K monitor, it won’t obviously provide the quality experience the way an actual company provided 4K screen would.
There’s also the option of adding another 2TB hard drive. Although the 5400RPM drive makes it convenient to keep the storage spacious enough for games, apps, photos, and videos on the original 2TB drive.
The Razer Blade 14 2017 is available with a 512GB or 1TB SSD depending upon how much you’re willing to pitch in for it. Should you opt for the 4K version, it features GeForce GTX 1080 GPU. It’s a powerful graphics configuration and promises great gameplay experience.
As for the VR performance, it is immersive and compatible with all the leading headsets the market has to offer. Utilizing the NVIDIA VRWorks technology, the gaming experience is just as good as any other leading gaming laptop.
Verdict: Razer Blade 14 2017 Review
We really like what it has to offer but truth be told, Razer Blade 14 2017 has not changed much from what it was offering last year. There aren’t many drastic changes in the specs nor the design. Perhaps the design and sleekness of this laptop will always be unique but it tends to get too monotonous.
It holds the upper hand as compared to its rivals in case of battery life, display, upgrade options and mobility. But falls short in gameplay and display department.
Nevertheless, Razer Blade 14 2017 is still by far among the best when it comes to basic level, in the top of the line gaming laptops. Slightly on the costly side, yet worth it. It is easily outpriced by many laptops offering the same specs but Razer Blade still comes through somehow with what it has to offer. That too in a much decent and lighter design.