The saying, "You get what you pay for" gets tossed around a lot, but sometimes this proverb doesn't always ring true. At $2,500, the new 17.3" Razer Blade gaming laptop certainly is expensive, but is it worth it?
Click the play button to check out our hands-on impressions of the Razer Blade laptop
The Razer Blade features Intel's newly revealed Intel Core i7 3632QM Quad Core CPU, which features a base block of 2.2GHz and overclocks up to 3.2GHz with turbo boost. In terms of discrete graphics, the gaming laptop features Nvidia's GeForce GTX 660m GPU with 2GB of GDDR5 video memory. Tying the CPU and GPU together is Optimus Technology, which allows the laptop to switch between NVIDIA's discrete graphics and Intel's integrated graphics on the fly. For memory, the Razer Blade features 8GB of 1,600MHz DDR3 RAM.
Storage side, the laptop comes with a 64GB SSD along with a 500GB 7,200rpm mechanical hard drive. This combination gave us impressive boot times, allowing the Blade to boot to Windows within 25 seconds.
In terms of laptop features, the Blade supports up to three 3.0 USB ports, an HDMI port, and comes with a built-in HD webcam.
Aesthetically, the Razer Blade looks a lot like a large, black MacBook. Adding some edge to the layout are green-back lit LED keys which complement the simple and elegant design well.
The chassis features a matte aluminum body that looks sleek. One problem we did encounter, however, was that the surface was a sucker for finger prints. This is a shame considering we really liked placing our hands on the quiet and responsive keyboard.
For the screen, the Blade features an LED-backlit 1080p monitor. Though the monitor looks great head-on, there is a bit of that TN-monitor shimmer when you view it at off angles
Because the 17.3 inch monitor is so massive, the laptop can be cumbersome to use in areas where table space is limited, but at only .88 inches, the Razer Blade is impressively thin. Weighing in around 6 lbs 11 oz, the laptop is by no means light, but it is lighter than similar competitors.
The big feature Razer is touting with the Blade is the multi-touch LCD pad with 10 programmable keys. This will allow you to bind custom gaming commands and to open up programs with a single keystroke. In addition, Razer says it will allow owners to download pre-made settings whenever new, popular games come out. While most laptop touchpads are situated below the keyboard, Razer has opted to place it on the right to act as a gaming mouse replacement. Even though gaming with the touchpad worked better than we expected (about on par with an Xbox 360 controller for shooters), most gamers will want to plug in a USB mouse which would neglect Razer's efforts here. Furthermore, considering we have been conditioned to using touchpads below the keyboard for so long, forcing ourselves to keep our hands to the right felt extremely counterintuitive and downright frustrating at points.
While we have yet to run the laptop through our complete gauntlet of benchmarks, our preliminary experiential run-through playing Counter-Stike: Global Offensive yielded very solid framerates. With all settings maxed, FRAPs recorded average framerates around the 60 frames per second mark.
On the audio front, the Blade was plenty loud at full volume with no unwanted distortion. While the sound quality was adequate, audiophiles aren't going to be blown away by these fairly run-of-the-mill laptop speakers.
In terms of battery life, the Razer Blade features a 60-watt hour battery. What this translated to for us was about 2 hours and 45 minutes of non-stop video footage running off the hard drive. While this should get you through the majority of movies, if you're looking to get through an extended cut of a Lord of the Rings movie, consider yourself out of luck. Luckily, Razer has created a small and light battery charger that easily allows you to use the device as a portable gaming desktop.
While the laptop can get warm under load, we haven't encountered any temps that would melt our pants off.
We were impressed with the look, performance, and build quality of the Razer Blade, but its expensive price point makes it difficult to fully recommend. For the money, gamers can build a much stronger desktop PC AND purchase a decent gaming laptop.
For the final verdict along with more performance and benchmark comparisons, stay tuned for the full review.