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Razer Blade Pro with full HD display is (still) king of the 17-inch gaming laptops

Razer Blade Pro
Razer Blade Pro

Razer is known for its premium laptops, which is what justifies the $4,000 price tag of its crown jewel Razer Blade Pro with a 17-inch 4K Sharp IGZO display and NVIDIA GTX 1080 graphics card.

We reviewed that beast last year, but Razer now has a slightly toned-down version that costs "only" $2,399 (and it's on sale for $1,999 for the holidays). Take the hardware from the smaller Razer Blade 14-inch and put into the larger chassis of the Razer Blade Pro and you have this new, additional model. With a full HD matte (non-touch display) and a NVIDIA GTX 1060, you still get a competent 17-inch gaming laptop but save $1,600.

I've been using this model for the last few weeks, and I enjoy some aspects of it more than the pricier 4K model. It's also an excellent laptop for using Windows Mixed Reality (WMR). Here's my video review.

See at Razer

120Hz display and GTX 1060

What's new with the full HD Razer Blade Pro

The concept behind the new full HD Razer Blade Pro is simple to understand: Keep the same ultra-thin 0.88-inch (22.5 mm) CNC military-grade aluminum chassis and replace some of the super-premium components with those found in the 14-inch Razer Blade.

The full HD Razer Blade Pro is essentially the Razer Blade 14, but with a 17-inch display, larger battery and more ports.

The new Blade Pro still supports the quad-core Core i7-7700HQ instead of a crazy GeForce 1080, and it drops down to the GeForce 1060. That means the laptop still supports full virtual reality (VR) and can play many first-person shooters (FPS) at high frame rates.

That performance is mostly due to the drop from a 4K IGZO glossy touch display to a full HD non-touch matte one. It's also 120Hz, which looks really great. Being non-touch allows for the non-glossy material as well as saving some weight.

CategorySpecification
ProcessorIntel Core i7-7700HQ quad core
2.8 GHz / 3.8 GHz
Display17.3-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080)
120 Hz refresh rate
IPS Non-Touch Matte Display
Storage256GB SSD (PCIe m.2) + 2TB HDD storage
Expandable up to 2TB SSD (PCIe m.2) and 4TB HDD
RAM16GB (8GB x2) dual-channel DDR4 2,400MHz
Expandable to 32GB (16GB x 2)
GPUNVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060
6GB of GDDR5X VRAM
Razer Core (eGPU) readyYes
KeyboardAnti-ghosting, backlit Chroma keyboard (membrane)
OSWindows 10 64-bit
NetworkingKiller DoubleShot Pro
Wireless-AC 1535 (IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac)
E2400 Gigabit Ethernet 10/100/1000)
Bluetooth 4.1
PortsThunderbolt 3, three USB 3.0, HDMI 2.0, SDXC reader
AudioBuilt-in stereo speakers
Dolby Digital Plus Home Theater Edition
7.1 Codec support (via HDMI)
3.5mm headphone/microphone port
Array microphone
Webcam2.0MP
Battery70Wh lithium-ion polymer battery
Compact 165W Power Adapter
Weight6.78 lbs (3.07 kg)
Dimensions22.5 mm (H) / 424 mm (W) / 281mm (D)
0.88 in x 16.7 in x 11 in

Other changes include a mix of solid state drive (SSD) for storage with a traditional rotational drive (which can be swapped out for more SSD). There is also a replacement for the low-profile mechanical keyboard with a membrane-based one found in the 14-inch Blade, and the RAM dropping to 16GB from 32GB (though you can still expand to 32GB).

Due to the display requiring less power, the 99 WHr battery drops to 70 WHr with a smaller 165W charger.

Still a powerhouse

Razer Blade Pro performance

Running the same hardware as the popular Razer Blade 14 means the Razer Blade Pro full HD should get similar results, and that is precisely what we see in benchmarks.

CPU

Geekbench 4 Benchmarks (Higher is better)

DeviceCPUSingle coreMulti core
Razer Blade Proi7-7700HQ4,11514,234
Lenovo Legion Y720i7-7700HQ4,69714,810
Surface Book 2 15i7-8650U5,03614,237
Dell XPS 15i7-7700HQ4,50313,587
ASUS ROG Zephyrusi7-7700HQ4,32213,213
ASUS ZenBook Proi7-7700HQ4,02113,270
ASUS GR8 IIi5-74004,09311,819
Razer Blade Stealthi7-7500U4,2118,333

There are no surprises in CPU performance aside from a few mild variations compared to other laptops running the same CPU. The newer eighth generation Intel i7-8650U wins single core but matches for multi-core performance.

GPU

Geekbench 4.0 CUDA (higher is better)

LaptopGPUScore
Razer Blade ProGTX 1060129,927
Razer Blade 2017GTX 1060138,758
Surface Book 2 15GTX 1060132,785
Surface Book 2 13GTX 105075,665
XPS 15GTX 105075,636
Surface BookGTX 965M59,945

The NVIDIA GTX 1060 performs similar to others in its class, though slightly below the Razer Blade 14 perhaps owing to chance.

Storage

CrystalDiskMark (Higher is better)

DeviceReadWrite
Razer Blade Pro (SSD)1,595 MB/s315 MB/s
Razer Blade Pro (HDD)144 MB/s136 MB/s
ASUS ROG Zephyrus2,380.1 MB/s1,284.1 MB/s
ASUS ZenBook Pro523.9 MB/s501.2 MB/s
Razer Blade (960 EVO)2,079 MB/s1,809 MB/s
MacBook Pro 13 (2016)1,549 MB/s1,621 MB/s
Spectre x360 5121,332 MB/s589 MB/s
XPS 13 (9360) 2561,287 MB/s794 MB/s
Surface Book 1TB1,018 MB/s967 MB/s

The Samsung SSD is decent for read times but a bit slow on the write. That is partially due to the size, which is just 256GB. The larger the SSD, the more redundancy there is with the chips resulting in faster speeds. Luckily, users can swap out the SSD for their own with ease. The secondary 2TB drive is a standard hard disk drive (HDD), but also can be swapped out for an SSD.

Performance-wise there are no surprises. The NVIDIA GTX 1060 and quad-core i7 processor let you do high-end gaming with ease especially with only pushing 1920 x 1080 resolution.

Gears of War 4 UWP

LaptopResolutionGraphics presetsV-SyncAverage frame rate
Razer Blade ProUltra + high1920 x 1080Off82 FPS
Surface Book 2 15 inchMedium1620 x 1080Off96 FPS
Surface Book 2 13 inchMedium1620 x 1080Off65 FPS
Surface Book P. BaseMedium1620 x 1080Off47 FPS

For real-world usage Gears of War 4 yields 82 frames per second (FPS) when set to a mix of high and ultra graphic settings. Pushing graphics to just ultra will drop that down to around 70 FPS, which is still excellent.

Best of both worlds

Razer Blade Pro full HD is still a ton of fun

I find 17-inch laptops to be odd machines these days. Most people find the 15-inch laptop category ideal for gaming, as the 17-inch barrier substantially increases the size and weight, making the latter more like portable desktops than a traditional laptop.

The Razer Blade Pro – both the 4K and full HD models – buck this trend. With its even and balanced design and that 0.88-inch (22.5 mm) thin chassis, the Razer Blade Pro is one of the first 17-inch gaming laptops that you can carry around and not garner stares from the ordinary folk.

The full HD Razer Blade Pro is even more appealing because at just 6.78 lbs (3.07 kg) it's not prohibitively heavy. Compared to a 15-inch laptop, that extra two pounds matters, but in the 17-inch range, it's quite doable. You'll also get more than a few hours of battery life for regular computing – I pegged it at about four to five hours, which is about average for this PC range.

The full HD display with 120Hz refresh is a welcome change, too. I prefer matte, non-touch for gaming laptops as it is just easier on the eyes (though I understand why some opt for glossy for color vibrancy). That's not to say it is perfect. Running full HD on a 17-inch monitor brings some jagged edges for text, making productivity less awe-inspiring. But people have been using full HD desktop displays for years, and your eyes adjust, making it more a side effect rather than a detriment.

The most significant surprise with the full HD Razer Blade Pro is the inclusion of the same keyboard as the Razer Blade 14 versus the low-profile mechanical keyboard in the 4K Razer Blade Pro. I found the mechanical keyboard odd in the 4K version, or rather something to get used to instead of enjoying right away. With the full HD model, however, I get back the keyboard that I prefer.

Regarding heat and fan noise, it is minimal. Seeing as this is mostly a 14-inch gaming laptop's hardware pushed into a 17-inch chassis, there is more room for venting, and the fans keep the nimble GTX 1060 cool enough.

Pros

  • 120hz matte display is great for gaming.
  • Excellent mid- to high-range performance.
  • Improved keyboard and awesome Precision touchpad.
  • Outstanding audio.

Cons:

  • Full HD display results in jagged text.
  • Trackpad is for right-handers only.
  • Not cheap.

Overall, I'm a huge fan of the Razer Blade Pro full HD. The keyboard is an improvement compared to the more expensive 4K model, and the display fits the hardware.

While $2,400 is still a lot for a laptop, I think the design and quality of the Blade Pro speak for themselves. Combined with the ability to upgrade the RAM (up to 32GB) and replace the internal storage with high-performance SSD, this is a reliable laptop for those who want something bigger than usual. It's also the most comfortable 17-inch PC that you can actually use on your lap.

See at Razer

Daniel Rubino
Executive Editor

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

15 Comments
  • Can't deal with that keyboard layout. The up arrow inside of the right shift key kills touch typing. I suppose that's not a problem if you don't touch type or exclusively use the left shift key.
  • Wow lol dude it's a gaming laptop lol 
  • It was a nic experience with this Razer laptop, it is gaming laptop. Click Here for details.
  • Pffft Alienware is the king of gaming laptops, it has everything the razer has including Tobii eye tracking which makes you a virtual hitman in games! 
  • Alienware are nice, but the looks...just can't get behind it as a 40 y/o. I don't want rocket jet vents and corny angles. It's fine for some, which is why I don't pan Alienware, but I recognize that Razer's designs plays an important role for a specific demographic.
  • MSI does way better for less money.
  • 100% disagree. MSI are not very good at all. I'm assuming you have never used a Razer, because no one would say this. I own an MSI (Stealth GS63VR) and it has a nice display, and that's about it. The rest is just god awful.
  • The battery life indeed stinks on MSIs, but what else is bad about it?
  • How is the screen for creatives? For example in photo editing? In general how would it perform for photo editing?
  • Daniel, On your table for the Gears of War 4 benchmark comparison you flipped the header for the Resolution and Graphics Presets
  • I do like the Razor, but after playing with the ASUS ROG Zephyrus for a half hour, I believe it's the best designed game laptop I've ever used.  They have them side by side at my Microsoft store which makes comparing them very easy.
  • I bought this unit last week and it went back to the Microsoft Store yesterday. The keyboard was horrible, it’s just to big to be portable, the bezels are horrendous. I just could justify the price when comparing it to other models. I really wanted to like it. 
  • For a 17-inch laptop, I'd want at least a GTX 1070, not a 1060. Calling it the "king" is a bit hyperbolic.
  • I have a omen 17 with major specs being the same...except for a 1080P & 75hz display.......
  • The GTX 1070 is an absolute powerhouse! My last gaming laptop was a Dell XPS laptop from 2009. My laptop is now more powerful than my custom built, GTX 970 packing desktop.
    NVidia did an amazing job keeping most of the desktop GPU power while shrinking the GPU down to fit in laptops. I can play some games at 4K around 30-50 FPS with all settings maxed and it easily handles 1440p and 1080p gaming with max visuals at nearly 100fps. I prefer to G-Sync it to 75Hz and 75fps for smooth visuals and gameplay. Processor
    Intel Core i7-7700HQ quad core
    2.8 GHz / 3.8 GHz
    Display
    17.3-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080)
    75 Hz refresh rate
    IPS Non-Touch Matte Display
    Storage
    1TB HDD storage
    Expandable up to 2TB SSD (PCIe m.2) and 4TB HDD
    RAM
    16GB (8GB x2) dual-channel DDR4 2,400MHz
    Expandable to 32GB (16GB x 2)
    GPU
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070
    8GB of GDDR5 VRAM Thanks for the review!