For all of the years we’ve talked about the gaming-hardware company Razer and its classify of expensive and (sometimes) remarkably thin gaming laptops, we’ve rarely put those “Rather playboy” machines through extensive testing. The Razer Blade line launched in 2011 with a flashy multitouch panel that had a screen middle of it—which, at the time, was the most Pimp My Ride tweak we’d ever known in a laptop. (“Yo dogg, I heard you like screens, so we put a screen… in your trackpad!”)
But we out that one up, along with most other Razer laptops, except for its 2016 not-quite-gaming admittance, the Razer Stealth. As the company has settled into a steadier track log, we wanted to take an opportunity to see where Razer’s purest gaming laptop get in line has come now that its Blade Pro variant—which has a 17″ screen but a thickness that’s still reasonably thin—has a model just a hair shy of $2,000. If you call for Razer laptop features like a side-aligned trackpad and a customizable, color-mapped keyboard on your gaming-ready, 17-inch laptop, this means you no longer be struck by to pay for Razer’s whopping $3,999 version of the same model.
Our verdict? For a 17-inch spiriting laptop, the Blade Pro FHD model is totally fine, and if you want that hugeness in an impressively slim body at a $2,000 price point, this one comes with judicious compromises. But unlike its insanely priced sibling, this Blade Pro UHD sort struggles to excite us enough to recommend it—and its price tag—over cheaper and similarly powered positioning laptops.
Pro frame rate, not pro specs
The central stumbling unit, quite frankly, is the screen. It’s just not the stunner you might want or keep in view when opting for a laptop as huge as this one.
The “FHD” in the model name refers to the process’s 1080p resolution, which isn’t itself a bad aspect—though you might hankering you were getting more resolution, considering that many competitive 13-inch laptops make available 1440p resolutions and beyond. The perk with this “only” 1080p colander, then, is a surprise 120Hz refresh rate. That’s double the paragon 60Hz you’ll find on most laptop panels.
That sounds like an terrible trade, right? 120Hz monitors are uncommon in gaming laptops, and the recoil to a higher frame rate is often worth a trade in gaming traits like geometry, shaders, shadows, pixels, and so on. Just by dialing dorsum behind a few settings, you can presumably enjoy a silkier frame rate, which is markedly lovely stuff in genres like first-person shooters.
|Specs at a dekko: Alienware 13 R3 (as reviewed)|
|Screen||1920×1080 IPS display at 17.3 inches (127 PPI)|
|OS||Windows 10 Up on x64|
|CPU||2.8GHz Core i7-7700HQ (Turbo Boost up to 3.8GHz)|
|RAM||16GB 2400MHz DDR4|
|GPU||Intel HD 630 (meshed) paired with Nvidia GTX 1060 with 6GB GDDR5 RAM|
|HDD||256GB PCIe M.2 SSD, 2TB HDD (5400rpm)|
|Networking||Slayer 1535 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.1, Gigabit Ethernet|
|Ports||3x USB 3.0, USB Type-C, HDMI 2.0 out, Thunderbolt 3, SDXC New Year card reader, combo headphone/microphone jack|
|Size||0.88″ x 16.7″ x 11″ (22.5 x 424 x 281mm)|
|Incline||6.68 pounds (3.03kg)|
|Other perks||720p webcam, Razer Chroma backlit keyboard|
|Price||$1,999 as configured|
But the Blade Pro FHD’s 17-inch, 1080p, 120Hz study is missing one key bullet point in that list of attributes: variable prod rate. (Conversely, the more expensive Blade Pro 4K includes G-Sync technology.) And with lawful enough power lacking, that’s a slight problem here, at brief for the price of this system.
Unlike a desktop system with power and overclock headroom to scanty, the Blade Pro UHD opts for the slowest of last year’s Kaby Lake i7 facile processors, the i7-7700HQ, with a “turbo” clock maximum of 3.8GHz and other notebook-related limitations. Should you sparely want to lock into a 60fps refresh at 1080p resolution, that philanthropic of notebook processor will do the trick, and the system’s GTX 1060 notebook rendition, complete with 6GB GDDR5 RAM, is a perfectly fine match for that graphics gain at medium-high settings.
But 120Hz gaming is more CPU-bound. As a result, when you wallop a game onto the Blade Pro UHD and aim for that max refresh, you may very well not reach it, which rather than leads to screen tearing and frame rate spikes. Some musicians don’t mind these, but they absolutely reduce the smoothness expected of a observe with such a refresh rate. G-Sync and Freesync monitors speak the natural frame rate variance you can expect from modern plans as they strive for 120Hz and beyond. Their explosions and other causes can trigger frame rate spikes on even solid systems, let singular ones at the same power level as the Blade Pro FHD.
My best example came from assessing PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, a shooting game that is admittedly unoptimized but that can also raise down on PC to reach decent frame rates. But I simply couldn’t get there at concerned 1080p resolution. I dropped the settings to PUBG‘s lowest visual preset—with some of the ugliest textures comprehended to humanity, along with awful vegetation rendering and other visual hiccups—and silently never reached a consistent refresh above 95fps. It was usually closer to 85fps.
And that impends up being the issue with games from the modern era: they’re not affluent to hit 120Hz on this monitor. That’s totally acceptable in terms of the Rather playboy Pro FHD’s specs, and you can reach perfectly fine 60Hz performance without frame price spikes or visual tearing. But if you want the full potential from this notebook, in schedules of its power-and-screen combo, you’ll need to step back to less demanding matches—your Counter-Strikes, your Rocket Leagues, and your Dota 2s, which can all grasp above 120Hz on this system with settings dialed down. If you’re coolth with paying for that specific portable perk, then the Razer Jackknife Pro is for you.
Beyond that, the screen is a standard-issue IPS panel, and unfortunately it comes explicitly from the factory with a noticeable blue tint. At a maximum luminance of 297 nits, the panel certainly doesn’t bear major brightness on its side; the maximum is fine, but you’ll wish you had a little diverse at a particularly bright coffee shop.