Games

Razer Blade (2015) the best version yet

The latest Razer Blade has a stunning high resolution screen, but is impractical for gaming because the Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M graphics chip is simply not powerful enough to run the latest games at 3,200 x 1,800 pixels. But lower the resolution to 1
The latest Razer Blade has a stunning high resolution screen, but is impractical for gaming because the Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M graphics chip is simply not powerful enough to run the latest games at 3,200 x 1,800 pixels. But lower the resolution to 1,920 x 1,080 pixels and it should run most games well.PHOTO: RAZER

Gaming laptop gets hardware and graphics upgrade, as well as memory boost, all in the same sleek, stylish chassis

Razer produces some of the thinnest and most beautiful gaming laptops in the market.

The latest Blade has the same stylish design as its predecessor, but with improved hardware and graphics upgraded to Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M.

The memory has also been doubled from 8GB to 16GB, and the processor is slightly faster than the one in last year's edition.

But the features that make the Razer Blade such an attractive gaming machine remain a sleek chassis and a stunning 3,200 x 1,800-pixel screen. Its slim unibody aluminium chassis looks very much like the Apple MacBook Pro, except that it is in matte black instead of silver.

At 2kg or so, the Blade weighs about the same as the 15-inch MacBook Pro, though the Blade is more compact, with a 14-inch display.

This screen looks great with excellent viewing angles. It is also a touch screen, which means you can conveniently use it for Windows 8 swipe gestures. However, gamers may find the glossy display overly reflective in a well-lit setting.

This screen looks great with excellent viewing angles. It is also a touch screen, which means you can conveniently use it for Windows 8 swipe gestures. However, gamers may find the glossy display overly reflective in a well-lit setting.

More importantly, the high resolution screen is impractical for gaming, because the Nvidia graphics chip is simply not powerful enough to run the latest games at 3,200 x 1,800 pixels.

  • TECH SPECS

  • PRICE: $3,599

    PROCESSOR: Intel Core i7-4720HQ (2.6GHz)

    GRAPHICS: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M3GB GDDR5

    RAM: 16GB

    SCREEN SIZE: 14 inches, 3,200 x 1,800 pixels

    CONNECTIVITY: 3 x USB 3.0, HDMI, headphone jack

    BATTERY: 70 watt-hour

  • RATING

  • FEATURES: 1 2 3 4 5

    DESIGN: 1 2 3 4 5

    PERFORMANCE: 1 2 3 4 5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 1 2 3 4 5

    BATTERY LIFE: 1 2 3 4 5

    OVERALL: 1 2 3 4 5

But lower the resolution to 1,920 x 1,080 pixels and the Blade should run most games well. In Crysis, it managed a smooth 60 frames per second at the high setting.

Key travel is good on the Blade, despite the slim chassis. The mouse buttons on the touchpad are thin and I often had trouble locating them by touch alone. But this is a minor blemish because most gamers will probably use a gaming mouse over the touchpad.

The Blade's speakers sit on the left and right of the keyboard. For laptop speakers, they are good. While lacking in the bass department, these speakers are loud and do not distort at maximum volume.

They also help to mitigate the noise of the laptop's fan, which gets louder and louder when a graphics-intensive game is being run. Even with the fan at full speed, the base and back of the Blade get quite warm during gaming.

What really impresses me about the Blade is Razer's attention to detail: The font colour in the Command Prompt window is green instead of the usual white. Presumably because green is Razer's colour and it is on everything, from its logo to the keyboard backlight.

This laptop easily doubles as a work machine because of its weight. Its four-hour battery life is also relatively good for a slim gaming laptop.

  • Hardware upgrades make this the best Razer Blade ever. But it is still as expensive.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 22, 2015, with the headline 'Razer Blade (2015) the best version yet'. Print Edition | Subscribe