Razer Blade - A Sharp Looking, Super Slim Gaming Laptop

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In the world of gaming laptops, the new Razer Blade brings a few things to table that you won’t find anywhere else. Touchpad and display are wed in the innovative Switchblade interface, and the Blade offers unrivaled portability with a slim profile and weight that may lead you to actually pick it up and take it with you something that other, largely stationary gaming laptops can’t claim. If you can look past its high price and a handful of less than ideal component choices, the Blade will have no problem going with you wherever you want to game.

Razer Blade

Design and features

The Blade’s aluminum unibody design makes it resemble a black painted 17-inch Apple MacBook Pro. It has the same slim yet sturdy construction, and the not so gentle hard edge along the edge of the palm rest. The lid has a bright green glowing Razer logo, which stands out sharply against the plain black of the lid.

The most notable aspect of the Blade is its portability, which puts other 17-inch gaming laptops to shame. Measuring 0.88 by 16.8 by 10.9 inches (HWD), the Blade weighs only 6.6 pounds, and comes with a slim 0.7-pound adapter. This design does require a few compromises. For example, the Blade has no optical drive. That may not be an issue for the gamer who relies exclusively on online game services like Steam or Origin and never watches movies on disc, but it will put a cramp in anyone else’s style. Luckily, Razer’s designers have ensured that the svelte profile does not encourage undue noise or heat the Blade remains quiet and at a reasonable temperature, even during heavy gaming sessions.

Although it looks terrific in any scenario, the 17.3-inch, 1,920-by-1,080-resolution screen shines most in gaming, whether displaying the grit and smoke of Battlefield 3 or the detailed fantasy world of Skyrim. The accompanying audio is pretty good, with Dolby Home Theater v4 and crisp clear sound but not much bass to speak of. If you connect up to a home theater via HDMI, you’ll be able to enjoy 7.1 surround sound.

The keyboard has square tile keys, with adjustable backlighting in the same brilliant green hue seen on the glowing logo. Anti-ghosting technology enables multiple simultaneous key presses, an essential feature when rapidly using complex MMORPG key combinations.

The Blade’s keyboard features Switchblade, which acts as a touchpad and offers other gaming functions

The Blade’s keyboard features Switchblade, which acts as a touchpad and offers other gaming functions

Despite the narrow confines of its thin profile, the Blade is equipped with three USB 3.0 ports (colored an unusual, distinctive green), HDMI output, a combined headset jack, and a Kensington lock slot. With the exception of the last, these are all found on the left-hand side of the laptop; we wish that at least one USB port were relocated to the right for attaching a peripheral mouse.

Without an optical drive, Web connectivity becomes that much more important, and the Razer Blade delivers with dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi and Gigabit Ethernet. Bluetooth 4.0 is also included for pairing headsets and gamepads. The Blade is equipped with a smallish 500GB hard drive, as well as 64GB mSATA cache drive for faster performance and speedier boot times.

Razer covers the new Blade laptop with a one-year warranty and online tech-support.

Switchblade UI

Instead of a traditional touchpad or numeric keypad, the Blade is equipped with one of Razer’s biggest gaming innovations: the Switchblade interface. This combines a small touch display to the right of the keyboard accompanied by ten “dynamic display” keys that have individual LCD displays behind them. Several apps included with Switchblade transform it into a ten-key pad, a Web browser, a clock, a stopwatch, a screenshot taker, a macro recorder, or mobile versions of YouTube, Facebook, Twitter. You can also load key mad profiles tailored to specific games.

As snazzy and potentially useful as Switchblade is, there are issues with it. To take full advantage of it you’ll have to use the screen as a touchpad, which isn’t practical in most games, or disrupt game play by taking your hand off the mouse to use the buttons. Additionally, because the Switchblade display is on the keyboard, any detailed data requires looking away from the main screen. This may change as programmers find better ways to utilize the interface.


The design team at Razer may have reduced the thickness and weight of the Blade, but hasn’t neglected to include hardware capable of providing solid, if not always exceptional, gaming performance: a 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-3632QM quad-core processor, 8GB of memory, and Nvidia GeForce GTX 660M graphics.

In our DirectX10 benchmark test, Crysis, the Blade pumped out 98 frames per second (fps) at medium settings (1,024 by 768 without anti-aliasing), but dropped to an unplayable 17fps when we ramped up the details and increased the resolution to 1080p. we saw similar results with Lost Planet 2, with the Blade producing 96fps at medium settings and 31fps at higher in DX9 causing it to fall behind similar gaming laptops like the Alienware M17x (159fps and 77fps, respectively) and the MSI GT70 One 276US (148fps and 63fps). At DX11, the Blade faltered even more to obtain the best performance from it, you’ll want to keep the eye candy at reasonable levels.

Razer Blade

When closed, the Razer Blade measures only 0.88 inch thick

In terms of general productivity, however, the Blade is among the best 17-inch laptops you’ll find. It scored 4,557 points in PCMark 7, behind only the Alienware M17x R4. The Blade finished our Handbrake video conversion test in 1 minute 23 seconds, and ran through our Photoshop CS5 test in 3:36. As one of the only gaming laptops modest enough to carry on a daily commute, it’s also one of the few that might take a place in your workday as well as nights and weekends.

To push the portable appeal further, the Razer Blade’s 60Wh battery lasted 3 hours 53 minutes as tested in MobileMark 2007. This outlasts the closest 17-inch system the Asus G75VW-DS71 (2:59) by nearly an hour.

If you want truly portable gaming, there’s no passing up the Razer Blade. You’ll get better raw performance (and a smaller screen) if you choose the Editors’ Choice Alienware M17X R4, but the Blade may seem a bit steep given its gaming prowess, but its lightweight design, long battery life, and innovative Switchblade interface make idea if you truly care about gaming on the go.


Price: $2,499.99

Rating: 8/10

Pros: Unrivaled portability for a gaming laptop. Innovative Switchblade UI. Decent gaming performance. Hybrid drive provides speedy performance.

Cons: Expensive, given the components. No optical drive. No traditional number pad. Small hard drive.


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