Razer's Blade Pro is our pick for the top gaming laptop to own. It may have a $4,000 starting price, but it's also the thinnest and one of the most powerful 17-inch laptops on the market.
Today, Razer is giving the ultra-premium Blade Pro a mid-cycle refresh and boosting the Intel processor to the latest 7th-generation "Kaby Lake" chip. Additionally, the Blade Pro earns the title of the first laptop to be qualified as "THX Mobile Certified."
Here's what's new, and why it all matters.
New overclockable Intel Core i7-7820HK
One of the more exciting additions to the new Blade Pro is the brand-new Intel Core i7-7820HK, which is an upgrade from the previous Intel Core i7-6700HQ. That's an interesting choice because Razer could have just bumped the 6th-generation "Sky Lake" chip to a 7th-generation Core i7-7700HQ. Instead, it opted for an all new CPU branch.
Not only is the new 7820HK faster but users can now overclock it past 4.0GHz, which is very impressive for a laptop. Here's how the new processor compares to the older one:
Razer Blade Pro CPUs
|6th-gen Intel Core i7-6700HQ||4||6 MB||2.6GHz||3.5GHz||No|
|7th-gen Intel Core i7-7820HK||4||8 MB||2.9 GHz||3.9GHz||Yes|
As we pointed out in our latest 2017 Razer Blade "re-review", such a bump in speed can result in up to 20 frames-per-second (FPS) increases in some games, making it quite significant for gamers. The added cache should aid in performance, as well, and with the ability to overclock the CPU it only pushes those gaming boundaries further.
THX Certification for display and audio
Razer bought famed audio and visual specialist THX last year, and that acquisition's benefits are coming to the Blade Pro first. The new Blade Pro gets THX Mobile Certification making it the first laptop to earn the title.
What exactly does that mean? There are two areas where THX certification matters: display and audio (headphones).
Now, the 4K 17.3-inch IGZO display with NVIDIA G-SYNC is fully calibrated out of the box giving it 100 percent Adobe RGB color accuracy. Clearly, Razer is giving a nod to professionals who are eying the Blade Pro for gaming but also for video editing. Gaming laptops tend to forgo color calibration that meets the high demands of accurate colors for video editors. That all changes with this new device.
For audio, specifically the headphone jack, the new Blade Pro meets "THX requirements for voltage output, frequency response, distortion, signal-to-noise ratio, and crosstalk that guarantees clear sound through headphones." For gamers, that means better sound with a higher quality component used for the headphone jack. (The external speakers remain unchanged.)
This move by Razer is smart. The Blade Pro now becomes something that video pros — and not just gamers — will want to use for work, opening a whole new avenue for them.
Every bit of speed counts for gaming, and that applies to memory, too.
Rounding out the CPU and THX improvements is the bump in RAM speeds. The old Blade Pro featured 32GB of 2,133MHz RAM but the new version has 32GB of 2,667MHz RAM. That's a significant jump, thanks to the new Intel chipset that supports higher clock rates for the memory, and it surpasses the 2,400MHz that we usually find in real high-end laptops, such as the XPS 15 and 14-inch Razer Blade.
About the Blade Pro
The refreshed Blade Pro otherwise remains the same. Razer is still using the NVIDIA GTX 1080 with 8GB of GDDR5X video RAM. So there is no model with the GTX 1080Ti just yet. For internal storage, consumers can still get up to 2TB of RAID 0 SSD, providing the fastest read and write times on the market today for any laptop.
Additionally, the Blade Pro still has the new Ultra-Low Profile Mechanical keyboard, Precision touchpad and famed Chroma lighting.
Despite the new internals, the Blade Pro's pricing remains the same, starting at $3,999 and going up to $4,500 for the 2TB edition. Razer tells us the thermal profile and four-hour rated battery life for the Blade Pro also remain the same with the 2017 edition.
The Blade Pro refresh is rolling out in the U.S., Canada, UK, Germany, and France through Razerzone.com and select retailers starting in April.
More information on the Blade Pro can be found on Razer's website.
Windows Central will re-review the Blade Pro in the coming weeks, so stay tuned for our benchmarks and deep dives into the new hardware.
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Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.
$3,999 - maybe in my next life
£3000+ GBP, you get what you pay for though
Dude, is there anything this laptop doesn't have? That's just crazy.
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