As bezels and chassis continue to shrink, it only makes sense to see 17-inch laptops come back into popularity. After all, most are now roughly the size of yesteryear's 15-inch gaming machines. While the Razer Blade Pro 17 is not new – Razer's been making it for years – the refreshed version for 2020 sets the bar for a premium gaming mobile desktop.
Starting at $2,600, the Blade Pro 17 is by no means cheap, but if you can only have one PC (for desktop and travel), this should be it.
Bottom line: The refreshed Blade Pro 17 for early 2020 brings a stunning 4K touch display with 120Hz refresh and a more affordable 300Hz full HD option. Combined with an RTX 2080 Super Max-Q GPU and a blazing fast eight-core Core i7, this portable desktop replacement gets it nearly all right.
- 4K 120Hz is living the dream
- Outstanding performance for a laptop
- Excellent audio
- Windows Hello IR
- Plenty of ports
- Super expensive
- 300Hz display is a bit gimmicky
- No Xbox Wireless support
At a glance
Razer Blade Pro 17 design and features
I last reviewed the Blade Pro back in December 2017. Since then, it was the only 17-inch premium gaming laptop around. While the market hasn't changed, the Blade Pro 17 is a much better-looking device today. Razer's bezels were always an eyesore, but the company has committed to the trend of making them as thin as possible with outstanding results. And forget that matte full HD display as this year, Razer offers a full 4K one but the twists of 120Hz (full HD is still available but at an overkill 300Hz).
For graphics and CPU, Razer is offering up to an NVIDIA RTX 2080 Super (Max-Q) and a powerful, eight-core Intel Core i7-108750H (Turbo Boost to 5.1GHz). Sorry, fans of AMD, not this year. RAM can go up to 64GB DDR4, which is typical these days, and up to 2TB of PCIe SSD can be configured for storage. If that's still not enough, there's a second PCIe/SATA slot to add another drive.
Although Razer has been using this refreshed chassis since April 2019, it's a great choice. The very blocky design is perfectly symmetrical and minimalist to the extreme. Some will say Razer still borrows a lot from Apple, but that's not a bad thing.
|Processor||Intel Core i7-108750H (Turbo Boost to 5.1GHz)|
|Display||17.3-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080) at 300Hz, 100% sRGB|
17.3 4K (3840 x 2160) TFT touch display at 120Hz, 100% Adobe RGB
|Storage||512GB to 2TB PCIe SSD|
Open M.2 Slot (PCIe, SATA)
|RAM||16GB (8GB x2) dual-channel DDR4|
Upgradable to 64GB with Intel XMP Support
|GPU||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q|
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Super Max-Q
|Keyboard||Anti-ghosting, per-key RGB Chroma keyboard|
|OS||Windows 10 Home 64-bit|
|Networking||Intel AX201 (Wi-Fi 6)|
|Ports||3x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A|
2x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C (shared with TB3)
1x Thunderbolt 3
RJ45 Ethernet (2.5Gb)
One power port
One HDMI 2.0b
One UHS-III SD Card reader
|Audio||Built-in stereo speakers|
7.1 Codec support (via HDMI)
3.5mm headphone/microphone port
|Webcam||HD webcam 720P with Windows Hell IR|
|Battery||70.5 WHr lithium polymer battery|
Compact 230W Power Adapter
|Weight||6.06 lbs (2.75 kg)|
|Dimensions||19.9 mm (H) / 395 mm (W) / 260mm (D)|
0.78 in x 15.55 in x 10.24 in
|Finish||Anodized Matte Black|
|Availability||Now (opens in new tab)|
On a 17-inch laptop that weighs 6lbs (2.75kg), there is no excuse not to have a full assortment of ports. Razer delivers with everything that you need today, including two Type-C 3.2 (and shared Thunderbolt 3), three Type-A 3.2 Gen 2, HDMI 2.0b, RJ45 Ethernet, and a UHS-III full SD card reader.
The build quality and materials used on this laptop are the same that Razer has been using on its smaller Stealth and 15-inch models. There's little flex, sparing use of plastics, and the familiar matte black anodized metal that still picks up fingerprints. This is a laptop in need of frequent wipe downs.
Razer Blade Pro 17 display and camera
For this review, Razer sent us the 4K model at 120Hz refresh and touch. It's an outstanding choice. While there is a new full HD option (non-touch) with a jaw-dropping 300Hz refresh, I think the 4K panel is the better choice, save for the $600 price increase (which also double storage to 1TB). While 300Hz is "neat," unless you're dropping graphics quality to low, most triple-A games won't get close to that frame rate.
Razer promises factory calibration for its display now, and I am happy to report it's not just hype. Color accuracy came in at 100 percent AdobeRGB, 100 percent sRGB, and 95 percent DCI-P3 – exceptional for a gaming PC.
Brightness is also particularly good, peaking at 434 nits at the maximum setting and 22 nits at zero percent. Of course, I will suggest to Razer what I do for all companies who are not Dell these days and recommend they add an anti-reflective coating, which retains the vibrancy and minimizes light glare.
The 720P web camera, however, is tragically inadequate. One could argue in 2019 that webcams, especially in 6mm thin bezels, are not a priority. Pro gamers are more likely to use something from Logitech, and regular users are unlikely to leverage the camera. Much has changed, however, with a web camera becoming more of a priority in the current world. The resolution, quality, and low-light ability here are pretty terrible.
There is some good news, however, as Razer is now using infra-red facial recognition with Windows Hello for fast, seamless logins to Windows 10 without needing a password. Razer was slow to adopt bio-authentication technology, but its solution here is excellent.
Razer Blade Pro 17 keyboard and trackpad
Razer is known for tweaking its keyboards to suit gamers with anti-ghosting rollover, per-key RGB, and consistent key actuation. Razer is also matching its other recent keyboards with a now full-sized shift key and smaller directional arrows, changes requested by gamers and fans of the Blade series.
Typing is on the shallow end, which is surprising considering the size, but it's quite good and reliable whether playing a game or writing a term paper. The keycaps are on the smaller size, however, and with all the space on this deck and key spacing, I would not mind seeing Razer make the keys a bit larger.
The trackpad is massive and powered by Microsoft Precision drivers. It is also lined up perfectly in the middle since no number pad shifts the entire keyboard layout. Clicking is soft but consistent with no dead spots. Accuracy in mousing is particularly good, and I had no issue with palm rejection when typing. I wouldn't mind if the trackpad's clicking was crisper, but maybe instead, Razer can move to a haptic system like other laptop manufacturers are doing in late 2020.
All the sound
Razer Blade Pro 17 audio
The PC space has been slowly catching up to Apple in the sound department, and I have always thought Razer's were near the top in the Windows world. The dual top-firing speakers on the Blade Pro 17 deliver particularly good audio that is loud, crisp, and supported by some fine Dolby Atmos tuning.
Volume at just 50 percent hits 72 dBA, which is just below that of playing a live piano. Of course, being a 17-inch laptop, you hope that Razer would stick in quality speakers that can reach such heights, and I am glad it has delivered.
Of course, hardcore gamers may prefer to use higher precision gaming headphones, and there is a 3.5mm headphone jack for that purpose (or plenty of Type-A ports for digital connections).
bring the power
Razer Blade Pro 17 power and performance
On paper, the Blade Pro 17 with an eight-core Core i7-108750H processor stacked on an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Super (Max-Q) should deliver impressive performance, so long as the thermals match the output. And therein lies the benefit of a beefy 17-inch laptop: Razer has much more room for thermal dissipation versus cramming it all into a historically smaller 15-inch chassis.
The Blade Pro 17 does very well in overall performance with the i7-108750H getting similar results to the Dell XPS 15 (9500) on Geekbench.
More sustained and demanding tasks like 3DMark Night Raid the Blade Pro 17 yielded a respectable 42,699 placing it just below a full gaming desktop PC for 2020 (49,855). On Fire Strike, the Blade Pro 17 pulled in 18,070, and 8,209 on Time Spy (the thermally constrained XPS 15 could only eke out 3,936 for comparison).
Fire Strike (Higher is better)
|Razer Blade Pro 17||RTX 2080 SUPER Max-Q||18,070|
|MSI GS66 Stealth||RTX 2080 SUPER Max-Q||17,260|
|Maingear Vector||GTX 1660 Ti||14,052|
|Lenovo Legion Y740 15||RTX 2070 Max-Q||14,669|
|Lenovo Legion Y740 17||RTX 2080 Max-Q||16,303|
|Dell XPS 15 (7590)||GTX 1650 Max-Q||7,763|