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Razer Blade Pro FHD 2017/2018 Review


Sometimes you have to “Pay to Play” when it comes to getting a high-quality item or experience and for me when it comes to getting the best possible experience and items, I personally have no problems paying to play especially when the quality is as great as it is here with the Razer Blade Pro. I’m not someone caught up in the 4K craze anymore especially after having a Dell laptop that had a 4K screen and while it is truly gorgeous it killed the battery life significantly and eventually the laptop died after having it less than 2 years; that being said I chose to instead go with the 1080p HD 120hz version of the Razer Blade Pro because I wanted high performance, good battery life and the ability to go between work productivity and gaming when and where I want without any hitches. This is a thin gaming notebook without having numerous of the flaws traditionally involved with the category.

Razer Blade Pro FHD Specs

Processor Intel Core i7-7700HQ(Intel Core i7)

Graphics Card

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop)- 6144 MB, Core: 1404 MHz, Memory: 8008 MHz, GDDR5, 385.69, Optimus

Memory

16384 MB

, DDR4 2400 MHz, Dual-Channel, 17-17-17-39, 2x SODIMM

Display

17.3 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel 127 PPI, ID: AUO169D, Name: AU Optronics B173HAN01.6, IPS, glossy: no

Mainboard

Intel HM175 (Skylake PCH-H)

Storage

Samsung SSD PM951 MZVLV256HCHP, GB

, Secondary: 2 TB Seagate ST2000LM015-2E8174

Soundcard

Intel Skylake PCH-H High Definition Audio Controller

Connections

3 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 USB 3.1 Gen2, 1 Thunderbolt, 1 HDMI, 1 DisplayPort, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm combo audio, Card Reader: SD reader

Networking

Killer E2500 Gigabit Ethernet Controller (10/100/1000MBit), Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter (b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.1

Size

height x width x depth (in mm): 22.5 x 424 x 281 ( = 0.89 x 16.69 x 11.06 in)

Battery

70 Wh Lithium-Polymer

Operating System

Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit

Camera

Webcam: 2.0 MP (FHD)

Additional features

Speakers: Stereo (Dolby Digital Plus Home Theater), Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, 12 Months Warranty

Weight

3.13 kg ( = 110.41 oz / 6.9 pounds), Power Supply: 544 g ( = 19.19 oz / 1.2 pounds)

Price

2300 USD (Sale Price is 1799 USD)

The casing for the Razer Blade Pro is a CNC chassis tat is much stronger than one would think and of which shows that Razer is aiming for the MacBook Pro crowd without all the futuristic tank-ish visuals with the bells and whistles normally found on competing gaming notebooks. The Blade Pro is super-thin without any bending or rigidity issues normally associated with thin gaming notebooks, it’s a unibody-like design philosophy that Razer has nailed down perfectly. It's quite remarkable that it has no creaking, depressions, gaps, or imperfections anywhere around the Blade Pro aside from the fingerprint magnet of the matte surfaces. Oh and it has some weight to it too but since I lift, DO YOU EVEN LIFT BRO?, I’m not bothered by the weight and besides it is a 17.3” laptop. When I was in college over a decade ago that size was kind of the norm to have for a laptop, so I’m used to it.

A couple hardware options outside of the phenomenal chassis are also worth praising. The upgradeable RAM, a 120Hz refresh rate, and 2.5-inch storage bay are pleasant surprises contemplating that the pricier Blade Pro lacks these options (although it has its own benefits over this model). Significant Turbo Boost clocks are sustainable and main temperatures when gaming is cooler than expected in the sixty to 70 C assortment. Even area temperatures are significantly cooler than competing units.

Unlike the 4K UHD Sharp IGZO touchscreen on the Blade Pro GTX 1080, Razer has sourced AU Optronics for a matte FHD IPS panel on the Blade Pro GTX 1060. So, the display here seems to be something that has divided people as many will opt for the 4K UHD model for the sake of games and content consumption looking at their best while others such as myself are perfectly fine with aa FHD (1080p) screen that has a lovely 120hz refresh rate making everything BUTTERY smooth. IDK I’m personally not someone who is crazy about having 4K in my games yet when the majority of gaming companies have barely been able to hit and maintain 1080p at 60FPS, FHD to me is no problem at all and it helps not eat at my battery life as much as a 4K screen would. The most notable disadvantage of the FHD panel on the Blade Pro is its slow black-white response times. Both MSI and Aorus are offering display options with both 120 Hz refresh and 3 ms or 5 ms response times to reduce ghosting when gaming.

The Blade Pro IPS panel, however, is 120 Hz only. It is very possible that Razer made this decision since opting for faster 3 ms/5 ms response times would mean switching to a TN panel with more limiting viewing angles. For those who care (I’m not one of them), these could definitely some important trade-offs that users should be made aware of. Regardless, the FHD IPS display is still a very high quality that has deep colors which pop. There does seem to be some very minute graininess to the screen, however that is to be expected when moving from a 4K glossy overlay to a matte offering. When it comes to I/O ports the Razer Blade Pro has you covered for all your functionality needs to game and be productive. On the left side you have the AC adapter inputs, Gigabit Ethernet, 2 USB 3.0, and 3.5 mm headset. On the right side you have an SD Card Reader (Average read rate is at 83 MB/s and transferring 1 GB worth of photos from card to desktop will take about 15 seconds. With an SD card inserted it will stick out by about 1 mm which makes it safe for transporting and easy ejecting.) , USB Type-C +Thunderbolt 3, another USB 3.0, HDMI 2.0, and what I’m very happy to see; a Kensington Lock so that you can lock your computer down to prevent theft.

The keyboard is a solid chiclet keyboard, ranking right up there with the now-deprecated 2015 Macbook Pro in terms of key depth and spacing. It's not the same switch-loaded keyboard in the $3,999 Blade Pro 4K model, but if I didn't know that, I'd assume this was the line's highest-tier keyboard option. One of the many key features of the Blade Pro GTX 1080 is its mechanical keyboard. The Blade Pro GTX 1060 drops the mechanical switches for more standard membrane switches that clatter less than on the Blade Pro GTX 1080 so the change to membrane switches isn't necessarily a downgrade. Typing feels more familiar and closer to that of your standard Ultrabook. Adjacent to the keyboard is a large (~10.5 x 8.8 cm) touchpad that’s amazingly smooth and responsive for both cursor control and multi-touch inputs which feels incredibly normal to be sitting where it is even if it took me a little while to adjust to the placement of it. The stereo speakers are positioned right next to the WASD keys and trackpad and they pack a punch with loud crisp audio!

When it comes to performance, the Razer Blade Pro has you covered with its Core i7-7700HQ CPU, GTX 1060 GPU, and 16 GB of DDR4 2400 MHz RAM (all of which are all very common components on mainstream gaming notebooks). Razer uses the 6 GB GDDR5 version of the GTX 1060 and not the 3 GB variant that's very common on budget desktop builds. On another note, the system swaps out G-Sync for Optimus support with the integrated HD Graphics 630GPU. For gaming the Blade Pro GTX 1060 is powerful enough to play most games at 1080p on maximum settings (my personal favorite games being Street Fighter V and Forza 7), however, Frame rates are not locked at 60 FPS for more demanding titles so do keep that in mind. Also, if you’re expecting 120 FPS or higher to take full advantage of the 120 Hz panel then you will be disappointed to know that the GTX 1060 isn't going to cut it for the majority of titles so instead, the native 120 Hz refresh rate is perhaps best used to reduce tearing if playing games with unlocked frame rates.

Battery life for me is very important especially given that as a Systems Analyst I have to always be ready to go at any moment get work done both on site and remotely and I need my laptop to be able to keep up with me and the RBP does just that! Razer has dropped the 99 Wh internal battery of the higher-end Blade Pro GTX 1080 to 70 Wh on the Blade Pro GTX 1060. To our surprise, battery life is still hours longer on the GTX 1060 than on the GTX 1080. The GTX 1080 lasts for just over three hours whereas the GTX 1060 SKU clocks in at nearly seven hours. Reasons for the longer battery life include the less demanding processors, lower resolution display, and inclusion of Optimus on the Blade Pro GTX 1060 and Charging from near empty to full capacity will take about two hours.

Wrapping this all up, the Razer Blade Pro is sleek and sexy while being a thin gaming notebook but with the stronger hardware quality and cooler running temperatures of a thicker alternative. It honestly gets the job done for me and goes the extra mile of being my secondary gaming PC station when I’m at home and when I’m on the go it’s my go to for gaming along with my Nintendo Switch. While many have complained about the price and some of the features (or lack thereof) and components, for me it’s a solid buy that I do not at all regret purchasing and it does everything that I personally need it to do. Sometimes you have to “Pay to Play” and in this case I had to, and I am so grateful that I did! Razer, thank you for making such an amazing product that improves the way that I can do my job and gives me the ability to game as well! This laptop is KASANOVA APPROVED!

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© 2016 by Mekel Kasanova

 

Journalist, Content Creator, Entrepreneur, YouTuber, Podcast Host, Twitch Affiliate , Video Game Reviewer, & Vlogger.

Business Inquiries: Mekel@mekelkasanova.com

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