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Best in Class, Comes at a Cost
The Razer Blade for 2017 is another fantastic laptop from Razer. It's a well built, portable 14-inch laptop with powerful internals, allowing you to use it as either a gaming machine or mobile workstation with ease. The combination of an Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPU leads to great performance in either CPU-limited workloads, or today's games.
The i7-7700HQ is only a couple of percent faster than last year's equivalent Skylake processor, but this comes with no impact on efficiency. As a result, the Razer Blade exhibits very good battery life for a laptop of this class, falling only a few hours behind top-end 13-inch ultrabooks.
The GTX 1060 is well suited to 1080p gaming at very high to ultra quality settings in today's games. Occasionally you'll need to reduce the quality to hit the ideal 60 FPS mark, but it's hard to complain about the gaming experience in this form factor. If anything, the Razer Blade does run loud and hot, though this seems to have basically no impact on its performance relative to other laptops with this hardware inside.
The most disappointing aspect of this laptop is its display, something we hope Razer takes care of in the next iteration of the Blade. The 1080p IPS LCD is configured poorly out of the box for color reproduction. Contrast, brightness and viewing angles are reasonably good though. The bezels around the display are enormous; Razer could have included a larger display in this laptop.
The build quality and design of the Razer Blade is fantastic, though, making it the best-looking gaming laptop on the market. The aluminum unibody chassis exudes class and quality, while its slim design and low weight makes it easy to carry around. The keyboard includes full RGB lighting and is great to type on, although symbol keys are annoyingly not illuminated, and the trackpad is serviceable during the times you need it.
It's also worth mentioning the surprisingly decent speaker system and great selection of I/O included here, including Thunderbolt 3 and HDMI 2.0.
The main factor that will prevent people from buying the Razer Blade is its price. The Blade starts at $1,900 for the model with 256GB of storage, but really you'll want to spend at least $2,100 to net yourself a 512GB SSD. This makes the Blade several hundred dollars more expensive than any equivalent GTX 1060 gaming laptop, even slim competitors from MSI and Gigabyte. If you want the best, you'll need to pay for the best.
Pros: Gaming-capable hardware in a slim, light form factor. Outstanding aluminum unibody chassis with Thunderbolt 3. Full-RGB keyboard. Decent battery life.
Cons: Expensive. Loud cooler. 1080p display is ok, flat display bezels are not.