The Razer Blade has earned a solid reputation among those looking for a lightweight gaming notebook, but what if your mobile gaming rig also doubles as your productivity machine? Sure, a 14-inch system could technically get the job done but a working professional would greatly benefit from something a bit larger if you plan this to be your desktop replacement. The extra real estate for gaming wouldn't hurt either.
If it’s an all-in-one gaming and productivity machine you’re after, Razer would encourage you to check out the larger Blade Pro. The 2015 revision features a generous 17.3-inch display which affords the real estate necessary for the highlight of the notebook, Razer’s Switchblade UI.
Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s start with the basics. The Blade Pro is powered by Intel’s Core i7-4720HQ, a quad-core chip clocked at 2.6GHz (Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz), mated to 16GB of DDR3 RAM alongside a 512GB mSATA SSD and a 1TB hard drive for storage.
- 17.3” 1920 x 1080 IPS LCD (127 PPI)
- 2.6GHz - 3.6GHz Intel Core i7–4720HQ
- 16GB DDR3L 1,600MHz RAM
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M GPU 4GB GDDR5
- 512GB SSD + 1TB HDD
- Backlit anti-ghosting keyboard
- Razer Switchblade UI
- 3 x USB 3.0 , 1 x HDMI 1.4a
- 802.11a/b/g/n/ac + Bluetooth 4.0
- Windows 8.1 64-bit
- 6.76 lbs, 16.8" x 10.9" x 0.88" inches
Curiously enough, Razer has elected to equip the Blade Pro with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M (4GB GDDR5 VRAM) and a 1080p IPS display. Its smaller, more gaming oriented sibling ships with a GTX 970M and up to a QHD+ (3,200 x 1,800) panel.
Elsewhere, the system includes 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, a backlit anti-ghosting keyboard and a 74Wh lithium-ion battery. Our price as tested today is $2,799.99 due to the extra storage, but it’s worth mentioning that the Blade Pro can be had for as little as $2,299.99 if you opt for the 128GB SSD and a 500GB HDD.
The laptop measures approximately 16.8” x 0.88” x 10.9” for width, height and depth, respectively, while tipping the scales at a slim (for its size) 6.76 pounds.
Razer used a CNC aluminum chassis to build the Blade Pro rather than stamped aluminum for added rigidity. It’s black in color although under bright lighting, it takes on more of a grayish tint.
The lid features two subtle ledges at about a quarter and three-fourths across that provide a bit of depth. Razer’s iconic snake logo is positioned in the center between the ledges, emitting a green glow when the computer is in use.
The front edge of the system features a single LED indicator on the left side that lights up green and then pulses white when the system is on with the lid closed. There’s a beveled edge in the center that makes it easier to open the lid and happens to provide a place for your wrists (well, at least the right one) to rest comfortably during use.
The right side of the Blade Pro is also very minimalistic save for the Kensington security slot and cooling vents near the back. The rear of the system is devoid of any connections or cooling vents which leads us to the left side where you’ll find a headphone jack, three USB 3.0 ports with green internals to match Razer’s theme, an HDMI port, Ethernet jack and the power connector. It’s worth highlighting the fact that there’s no memory card slot or DisplayPort connection.
A second set of cooling vents is also located on the left edge near the back of the system. These vents and the others are aided by two bottom vents with fans that draw in cool air from the bottom and expel it out the sides of the system.
Post-purchase memory and storage upgrades appear to be possible as there are more than a dozen screw holes lining the perimeter on the bottom of the system. They’ve been covered with a small cap for aesthetic purposes but I suspect these could easily be popped off to remove the screws and gain access to the internals.
With 16GB of RAM on tap, up to 512GB of speedy solid state storage and 1TB of extra storage space, the only reason you’d ever really need to get inside would be to replace dead hardware.
A pair of large rubber feet at the rear and two smaller ones up front provides plenty of elevation for the cooling system and ensures the computer stays put during intense gaming sessions. And if it’s not obvious, the battery is non-removable (not easily, at least) as it’s built into the system.
Lifting the lid reveals a sizable bezel that frames the 1080p matte finish display. At the top is a 2-megapixel webcam flanked by microphones on either side. If you look closely at the top corners of the bezel, it appears as though there was once some padding installed for cushioning purposes when the lid is closed but they were nowhere to be found here (or in any press material).
Below the display, you’ll see that Razer has discreetly printed the “Blade” branding. If you’re not looking for it, it’s difficult to see, especially under standard indoor lighting.
The keyboard deck of the Blade Pro is unlike anything else I’ve seen. Just above the LED-laden power button are the system’s stereo speakers tucked neatly under a minimalistic grill. The keyboard itself and Switchblade UI are slightly inset, again, with a beveled edge.
There’s little to complain about with regard to the keyboard. The backlit keys feel great when typing and the overall layout is logical without feeling too cramped. The Switchblade UI is the name Razer has given its multi-touch LCD trackpad and 10 customizable tactile keys. Each key measures 15mm x 15mm with a 115 x 115 resolution and a 2mm travel distance.
The trackpad works double-duty both as a traditional pointing device with gesture control and a secondary display. The screen measures 4.05 inches with a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels and there are two traditional click buttons below it just as you’d find on most other notebooks.