Razer Blade Gaming Laptop (RZ09-01953E52-R3U1) Review

     
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The Razer Blade laptops are well known in the gaming circles. Indeed, these notebooks might not be the cheapest ones, but the gaming performance they offer is often second to none. In the Fall of 2017, the company also released a new set of heavyweight gaming laptops. In this review, we concentrate on the Razer Blade (RZ09-01953E52-R3U1), a player’s computer in an ultrabook shell…

First, a Few Words About Performance

Even though the Razer Blade is small, its insides are full of new, heavyweight components. The storage drive is an excellent combination of speed and space, a 512GB solid-state drive connected to M.2 PCIe slot. So, it is very good as it is; however, there should be an unoccupied M.2 PCIe slot inside for future upgrades. I don’t think there’s slot for 2.5″ drive, but the extra M.2 slot surely is a good feature if you want to tweak later.

Now to the processor which is also super fast in this system. Intel Core i7-7700HQ, the essential powerhouse of 2017 with a quad-core setup, 2.8GHz clock speed and 3.8GHz turbo boost. It is still regarded as the best high-end CPU, with great support for multitasking, resource-heavy software and yes, gaming. TDP (Thermal Design Power, how much it uses energy) stands at 45W, but the battery life of this laptop still manages to beat most competitors.

To save space, the memory on this laptop is integrated on the system board. There is 16GB of DDR4 2133MHz installed which is an amount that should put a smile on any user’s face. Yes, you may not install more, but with sixteen gigabytes that wouldn’t ever be necessary, anyway.

Display and Graphics, Check

On a laptop this expensive, the display is often a high-quality one. I don’t have any doubts about the screen on this Razer Blade: it’s a 14-inches Full HD display (16:9 aspect ratio). Given the smallish diagonal and high resolution, the image should look clear and sharp. Furthermore, the panel features IPS (In-Plane Switching) technology which ensures decent color reproduction. The display has matte coating, 60hz refresh rate and no touch support.

Most important thing for gamers, the graphics performance, is taken care of by the GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB GDDR5) card. Even on Quad HD and high/very high settings, the GTX 1060 runs heavyweight games like Thief and Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor fine. Considering the maximum output of 1920×1080 resolution on this laptop – which is less resource intensive than Quad HD – you will only experience smooth frame rates on this rig.

Notebook Video Review

The Usual Collection of Ports

There are no surprises in the ports department. Of USB ports, there are three regular USB 3.0 and one USB-C with Thunderbolt 3 support. The USB-C is found in pretty much all laptops of today, although not all of the gaming laptops support Thunderbolt like this Razer Blade. In addition, if you don’t like to use the laptop’s USB-C for video output, you can use the dedicated HDMI-out for that. It shoots video signal with 4K resolution at 60hz refresh rate.

The manufacturer has left Ethernet port out of this notebook, but wireless adapter is top-notch with fast 802.11ac support and Bluetooth. You may get a simple USB to RJ-45 dongle if you want to connect to Internet with cable.

The connectivity of this laptop is a bit worse than others because it does not have optical drive or SD card slot. The exclusion of DVD drive is understandable, but almost every time notebooks have at least a memory card reader. You can get both – optical drive and SD reader – as external ones so all hope is not lost, still.

Not Bad Battery, Plus a Few Other Things

Being a compact laptop with full of energy-hungry components, you might expect the Razer Blade have a poor battery life. That’s what all gaming laptops get, right? Well, not really, this laptop is equipped with a strong 70Wh battery. According to many users, they are getting anywhere between five and nine hours out of this thing, but that’s under web surfing etc. Talking about gaming, the battery life falls in line with other similar notebooks, around one or two hours. In addition, you can’t replace the built-in battery. All in all, from such a gaming laptop, the operating time for lightweight use is outstanding.

The notebook sports anti-ghosting keyboard with Chroma (fully customizable) backlight. The operating system on this unit is Windows 10 Home.

Pros:
Strong size-performance ratio - Have you seen a laptop as small and fast as this Razer Blade? I don't think you have, it's hard to find a snappy ultrabook that's also fully ready for gaming.

Good storage drive - The PCI-e based 512GB solid-state drive is sweet, as both performance and decent size are provided.

Cons:
Expensive - Even in the gaming laptop market, this Razer Blade is among the most expensive ones. You can find a notebook for gaming cheaper, however it won't be as fast or compact as this.

In short, Razer Blade (RZ09-01953E52-R3U1) combines two different laptop types: an ultrabook, and a gaming laptop. However, two so distinctive features in one package is hardly ever in balance, and definitely the gaming/performance side is stronger here: Core i7 processor, GTX 1060 dedicated graphics card and a solid-state drive. In that department, everything is in check, and the system will essentially plow through games and software, no matter which you throw at it. Battery life beats gaming notebooks easily, but not traditional ultrabooks. One can not find many things to complain about; if you can bear the expensive price, you’ll get a compact but fastest laptop for gaming and power users.

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