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Razer Blade Pro review: A superb laptop for work and play

The Razer Blade Pro straddles the worlds of work and play, while cramming high-end components inside a 23mm-thick structure. It looks fantastic. The minimalist body is hewn from machined, black aluminium, and Razer’s familiar design language and colour scheme are evident, with Razer’s green logo dominating the lid.

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The lid also moves on perfectly balanced hinges, and Razer has positioned the touchpad next to the keyboard, rather than underneath it, with the keyboard occupying most of the base.

At first, this setup is disarming. We kept dragging our fingers down to the usual touchpad location, and the keyboard is shifted a little to the left, so we kept missing the buttons. Spend some time with the Blade, though, and the revised design makes sense. The touchpad’s right-hand position also mimics how people use a mouse at a desk, and the keyboard still has full-sized keys and dedicated media buttons. There’s even a small scroll-wheel to adjust volume.

The keyboard itself is a typical Scrabble tile-style unit. The keys are consistent and comfortable, and each has its own RGB LED that can be customised in Razer’s Synapse software. The keyboard’s speed and consistency makes it great for typing, but like many laptop keyboards, the shallow, quiet keys aren’t necessarily the best for fast-paced gameplay. The touchpad offers good quality, too. It’s large and smooth, and it’s ringed with its own RGB LEDs. The built-in buttons are responsive and easy to press.

The Razer looks the part, and its slim design is paired with a weight of 3.07kg – a good figure for a 17.3in machine. Build quality is exceptional, with no give in any of the surfaces, and a sturdy lid behind the screen. We’d use a sleeve to protect the aluminium, but it’s a solid design.

It also has solid components on the inside. The Core i7-7700HQ has four Hyper-Threaded cores, and its 2.8GHz stock speed offers enough power for any AAA gaming title and mainstream productivity task. We’re pleased to see a GTX 1060 6GB too. It’s a mid-range GPU with 1,280 stream processors and a 1404MHz clock speed, but that’s not all bad. This GPU will produce less heat than a faster GPU, and it has ample power for gaming on the 1080p IPS screen, which has a matte finish and a 120Hz refresh rate, but no G-Sync support. 

Elsewhere, the Blade has Gigabit Ethernet and dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi from Killer, and 16GB of 2400MHz memory. There’s also a 256GB M.2 NVMe Samsung PM951 SSD and a 2TB hard disk for storage. What’s more, the Razer’s HDMI output is paired with a Thunderbolt 3 port, and you get three USB 3.1 connectors, a card reader and a single audio jack. Some other laptops offer more connection options, but they tend to be thicker and heavier. The Blade Pro can’t be easily opened for interior access either. 

The Blade Pro model we’ve reviewed costs £2,099 inc VAT, so it’s hardly cheap, but Razer also sells a version that starts at a mighty £3,799 inc VAT. That system includes a GTX 1080, a Core i7-7820HK, more memory and more storage. It also has a mechanical keyboard, a larger battery and a 4K, THX-certified touchscreen with G-Sync. 

Razer Blade Pro review: Performance 

The GTX 1060 is a capable partner for the 1080p screen. Its weakest gaming minimum was a solid 38fps in Deus Ex, and it was 9fps quicker in Fallout 4. Today’s top games and eSports titles will run on this model of the Blade Pro without any trouble.

Meanwhile, the CPU’s image editing score of 45,114 is fine for a laptop, as is the score of 238,904 in our multithreaded Handbrake video-encoding test. A desktop will be quicker, of course, but the Razer Blade Pro offers an enormous amount of portable CPU power. The Samsung SSD’s read and write speeds of 1,578MB/sec and 978MB/sec are also fine, if not as fast as the company’s 960 Evo SSDs. 

The Razer performed well in thermal tests, too. During idle moments and web browsing, it was silent, and the noise was low during gaming. The fans became a little louder at peak load, but it was still quieter than many other gaming laptops. There were no serious temperature issues either. The CPU’s peak Delta T of 69°C is a little high, but not dangerous, and the GPU’s peak of 53°C is fine. Also, while the area above the keyboard and the base panel got a little warm during tougher tests, the aluminium never became too hot or uncomfortable to touch.

The 17.3in screen’s black level of 0.24cd/m² is excellent, and the brightness of 372cd/m² is huge – dark areas look suitably inky, and there’s loads of versatility for playing under bright lights. Those benchmarks combine for a huge contrast ratio of 1,550:1, which ensures a broad colour gamut at every part of the sRGB spectrum. 

Meanwhile, the measured colour temperature of 6,763K isn’t far enough from the 6,500K ideal to make an impact, and the gamma level of 2.12 is good, too. The Razer’s only screen issues are the average Delta E of 4.7 and the sRGB coverage level of 86.2%. Neither result is bad, though. Those Delta E and sRGB figures only mean that the Blade Pro can’t cope with the most colour-sensitive work.

The speakers are solid: you’re never going to get amazing sound from a laptop, and there’s no room for a subwoofer, but the Blade Pro still pumps out reasonable bass alongside decent mid-range and high-end frequency reproduction.

The 70Wh battery provided no surprises, with the Razer not lasting for long away from the mains. In a gaming test, it lasted for 64 minutes, and in PCMark 8’s Creative benchmark, it lasted for just short of two hours. 

Razer Blade Pro review: Verdict

The Razer Blade Pro is an excellent gaming laptop. The GeForce GTX 1060 GPU and Core i7-7700HQ processor provide well-balanced performance without overheating the slim, smart frame, and the screen is a cut above most rivals. The touchpad and keyboard are good for work, build quality is solid, and the Blade is slimmer and lighter than most 17.3in laptops. 

The battery is poor, but that’s no surprise. The larger issue is the price – systems with the same core components regularly cost hundreds of pounds less, but they won’t have the finesse or quality of the Razer. The Blade Pro isn’t cheap, but it’s a superb option for work and play. 

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Source: http://www.expertreviews.co.uk/laptops/1406725/razer-blade-pro-review-uk


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