Razer Blade Pro scores with screen but beware noise, heat

The highlight of the latest Razer Blade Pro is the 4K touchscreen, said to be calibrated for accurate colour reproduction by THX.
The highlight of the latest Razer Blade Pro is the 4K touchscreen, said to be calibrated for accurate colour reproduction by THX.PHOTO: RAZER

The latest Razer Blade Pro is a modest hardware upgrade over last year's model that retains the same sleek and premium design.

Its solid, all-metal build makes a good first impression. For a 17.3-inch gaming laptop, it is relatively portable at under 3.5kg. In addition, the 23mm-thick chassis is almost as thin as some 15-inch models.

The highlight of this year's version is the 4K (3,840 x 2,160 pixels) touchscreen. Glossy and bright, it is said to be calibrated for accurate colour reproduction by audio-visual firm THX, which was acquired last year by Razer.

Colours look lively on the display, especially with the colourful wallpaper provided by Razer. The screen bezel could be slimmer though.

The screen supports Nvidia G-Sync technology, which works with the on-board GTX 1080 graphics chip to provide a tear-free, smooth gaming experience.

Razer has equipped the Blade Pro with an ultra-low-profile mechanical keyboard. While it feels shallow, it has more resistance than a typical laptop keyboard and produces a nice clicking sound. Some effort is required to register a key press, but it supports anti-ghosting, so multiple key presses are registered. Overall, it feels similar to the mechanical keyboard on the Acer Predator Triton 700 gaming laptop.

The touchpad is awkwardly placed on the right, where the numeric keypad is usually found. This is not ideal for left-handed users. Still, gamers prefer to use their own mouse anyway.

  • TECH SPECS

  • PRICE: $6,099

    PROCESSOR: Intel Core i7-7820HK (2.9GHz)

    GRAPHICS: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 8GB GDDR5X

    RAM: 32GB

    SCREEN SIZE: 17.3 inches, 3,840 x 2,160 pixels

    CONNECTIVITY: 1 x Thunderbolt 3, 3 x USB 3.0, HDMI, Ethernet port, SD card reader, audio jack

    BATTERY: 99 watt-hour


    RATING

    FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 2/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 1/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

During my review, I used the volume roller above the touchpad and the dedicated media playback keys more often than the touchpad itself.

Like its Acer rival, the Blade Pro has an RGB backlit keyboard that lets users customise the colour of the LED for each key. But you have to log in to the Razer Synapse software to tweak these settings on the Blade Pro, unlike on the Acer laptop, where you simply run the PredatorSense app.

THX had worked with Razer to optimise the Blade Pro's audio jack for flat response and high-output signal with low distortion. I did not test out its audio performance using headphones, but the speakers are excellent. They are loud and powerful, with more bass than I expected from a laptop.

These speakers help to mitigate the din from the Blade Pro's cooling fans, which get very noisy when the laptop is running a game. The area above the keyboard also becomes very warm, probably because of its metal body.

Despite having a powerful graphics chip, the Blade Pro could not produce a smooth gaming experience at 4K resolution, at least not in Crysis 3 at Very High setting.

While its average of 37 frames per second (fps) is decent enough, it is too choppy for a first-person shooter game. I lowered the resolution to the typical 1,920 x 1,080 pixels and the performance improved significantly to around 113fps.

In Crysis 3, the Blade Pro is not as fast as the Aorus X9 (with dual GTX 1070) or the Acer Predator Triton 700. Both are among the recently released gaming laptops in its price range.

It also runs warmer and noisier. Perhaps Razer could consider a new design for next year's model.

Vincent Chang

• Verdict: The Razer Blade Pro is a relatively sleek and capable gaming laptop with a fantastic 4K screen. But beware the noise and heat while running games.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 25, 2017, with the headline 'Razer Blade Pro scores with screen but beware noise, heat'. Print Edition | Subscribe