In some circles, the latest 'Pro' laptops have been a disappointment. And then you have the Razer Blade Pro. Touted as the "ultimate laptop," this goliath is less a notebook than a desktop replacement in a sleek notebook form factor.
When we first laid eyes on the Razer Blade Pro a few months back, it took our breath away. But it was eyes only at that point — no touching. But now I've had the opportunity to get our hands all over it, if only for a few days, and so far it's living up to — and exceeding — my expectations.
Alas, I didn't get the time to give the Blade Pro a full and proper review, but in only a few days I've fallen in love all over again.
In the box you get:
- Razer Blade Pro
- 250W Power adapter
- Cleaning cloth
And that's it. But then you don't really need anything else, frankly. The power adapter is surprising small and light — a testament to how power efficient the new Pascal 10-series GPUs from NVIDIA are. It's slim and light enough that it's actually portable.
So too, is the laptop itself. So long as you remember that it's a 17.3-inch notebook PC made out of metal. The Blade Pro weighs under 8lbs, which is still quite a lot, but compared to the 17-inchers of old it's a lightweight. Add in that it's unusually slim for something containing this much hardware and it becomes a machine you can actually move about. Even if you still need a large bag to do it in.
Speaking of the hardware, here's a recap on what to expect inside the Razer Blade Pro:
|Processor||Intel Core i7-6700HQ Quad Core|
2.6GHz / 3.5 GHz
|Display||17.3-inch IGZO UHD G-Sync touchscreen|
3840 x 2160 LED
|Storage||512GB / 1TB / 2TB SSD|
|RAM||32GB dual-channel DDR4 2133MHz|
|GPU||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080|
|Keyboard||Anti-ghosting, backlit mechanical keyboard|
|OS||Windows 10 64-bit|
|Networking||Killer DoubleShot Pro|
Wireless-AC 1535 (IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac)
E2400 Gigabit Ethernet 10/100/1000)
|Ports||Thunderbolt 3, 3x USB 3.0, HDMI 2.0, SDXC reader|
|Audio||Built-in stereo speakers|
Dolby Digital Plus Home Theater Edition
3.5mm headphone/microphone port
|Battery||99Wh lithium-iron polymer battery|
|Dimensions||22.5mm (H) / 424mm (W) / 281mm (D)|
On the outside, the Blade Pro looks a lot like a larger version of both the Blade Stealth and the Blade. This family of laptops all share common exterior features, notably the all black metal body and that green glowing Razer logo on the lid. And, like the other two, the Blade Pro is a bit of a fingerprint and oil magnet — the price we pay for dark, matte metal.
Lift the lid and you'll see that iconic Blade Pro design with the trackpad over to the right, a pair of speakers, the mechanical Chroma keyboard and the full touch, 17.3-inch 4K display. From a gaming perspective, the only trouble with the display is that it's a glossy finish. I personally prefer matte displays, with less glare when playing games. But, the display looks fantastic, that much isn't in doubt.
The keyboard is another thing worth singling out. It'll take a little getting used to, but Razer has designed a fully mechanical, low profile keyboard for the Blade Pro. For serious gamers, it's not likely to replace their favorite keyboard, but it's still probably the best laptop keyboard I've tried. It's responsive, has that satisfying click you get from mechanical switches and is truly a joy to type on. The difference is night and day compared to a traditional low-profile keyboard you'll find on most laptops.
The trackpad isn't bad, but not spectacular by any stretch, but the included scroll wheel is a nice touch. The default setting for the wheel is to change the speaker volume, but you can set it to whatever you prefer. The keyboard and trackpad are both backlit by Razer's Chroma technology, which the included Synapse app allows you to customize. You can either go wild and have all the colors, or have much, much less. With Chroma set to wave, I dare you to try and actually do something meaningful. It's so distracting!
The Blade Pro is every bit that 'pro' laptop, too, with USB-C Thunderbolt 3, SD card slot, full sized USB ports, HDMI out and Ethernet. Everything you need to use this as a desktop and a portable is placed down its sides. That's extra important when you consider that for many of its buyers, this will be the only computer they have.
The hardware seems top drawer. Great keyboard, great display, nice looking design. But it's what's inside the Blade Pro that makes the difference. The spec sheet reads off like a parts list for a high-end desktop rig, and that's exactly what it is. But with a display and it's small enough you can take it to Starbucks without looking like a buffoon.
Our own Matt Brown has a similarly spec'd up desktop Rig, with an Intel Core i7 6700K, 32GB of RAM and an 8GB GTX 1080 GPU. For a quick comparison, we ran 3D Mark Fire Strike Ultra and the DX12 Time Spy benchmarks on both that and the Blade Pro. It should be noted that the Blade Pro isn't running the stock NVIDIA drivers, and as such 3D Mark decided they were unsupported. But nevertheless, we got some results.
In Fire Strike Ultra, the results are really close. Time Spy wasn't quite the same, but the Blade Pro still scored incredibly well.
Benchmark tools are fun, but you can't get a real feel without getting into some games. And guess what? The Blade Pro will easily play the latest titles at 4K resolution. Mileage varies when it comes to frame rates, but this is 100% a 4K gaming machine. Here's what I've been able to get in some of the games I've tried:
- Battlefield 1 - 4K resolution, Ultra details, 45 FPS
- FIFA 17 - 4K resolution, Ultra details, 60 FPS
- Gears of War: Ultimate Edition - 4K resolution, Ultra details, 62 FPS
- Mortal Kombat X - 4K resolution, Ultra details, 59 FPS
- Tomb Raider - 4K resolution, Ultra details, 53 FPS
- Forza Horizon 3 - 4K resolution, Ultra details, 48 FPS
- Dirt Rally - 4K resolution, Ultra details, 53 FPS
- Crysis 3 - 4K resolution, High details, 28 FPS
Crysis 3 still, three years on is a PC killer. At Ultra at 4K, it's barely hitting 20 FPS most of the time. But ignoring that and looking at current games people want to play, it's mostly good news. You're comfortably getting above 30 FPS across the board and in most cases you'll be able to achieve that magic 60 if you dial back a few of the settings. Coupled with the G-Sync display, games on the Blade Pro look incredible. Those numbers are impressive whichever PC you're talking about, but remember this is a laptop. It's pretty mind blowing.
We'll be spending a lot more time with the Blade Pro in the coming weeks, but my first all-too-brief impressions are very good. I had high hopes for it as soon as it became official, and initially, those look to be well-founded. Sure, it's expensive with a starting price of $3,700, but it's only expensive to those who don't have a place for this in their lives. This isn't just a laptop — it's a laptop and a high-end desktop. It's a fully capable portable gaming and VR machine.
It's not perfect — the trackpad could be better for example and it still gets quite warm (which is to be expected) —but for what it is and what it delivers, the Razer Blade Pro is an exceptional machine. Once we get to spend more time with the Razer Blade Pro you can expect a more in-depth review, but in the meantime know this: there's no more tremendous of a laptop that you can buy today.
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Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at mstdn.social/@richdevine