Razer Blade 17 “review: the Rolls Royce of gaming ultrabooks?

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The test

With the arrival of GeForce RTX 30 series graphics cards in nomadic format, all the major manufacturers have updated their range of gaming laptops in order to offer chips with Ampere architecture to their customers. Razer is no exception to the rule, and the brand has therefore modernized its Razer Blade laptops in their 15 and 17 inch versions. The firm has therefore sent us its flagship, the Blade 17, equipped with an RTX 3080 and all the most high-end peripherals, including a magnificent 4K 120Hz panel. After several weeks spent on this pretty baby who targets the wealthiest gamers, wishing to have a powerful mobile solution, here is our verdict.

At first glance, it is not easy to differentiate the new Blade Pro 17 from its predecessor. This is normal, Razer did not modify the chassis one iota. It must be said that designing a chassis is particularly expensive, and to make the development investments profitable, it is better to make the latter last as long as possible. The good news is that the Blade enclosure is still looking great. Designed in brushed black aluminum, the laptop is super sober and we can only praise its quality of assembly. The hinges are perfectly adjusted, with a minimum of play, and the whole offers a flawless rigidity, which allows it to be transported in a bag, without being afraid of screwing up our components.

Razer

The cover still features the backlit brand logo in green, while the underside houses the air intake and exhaust grilles for the CPU and GPU cooling system. As always, a transformer block is provided, and unsurprisingly, the latter is a substantial size, in order to be able to send the 230 watts necessary to power this PC. In 17-inch format, the computer displays an honest 2.75Kg on the scale, or probably 3Kg in total when adding the power supply. It is not light, but it remains widely acceptable for mobile use. Of course, if the goal is to carry the beast on your back all day and to unsheathe it often, maybe you should be looking at the 13in version of the Blade.

RGB and Sobriety

With dimensions of 19.9 x 260 x 395 mm, this new laptop remains in the average for ultrabooks, and also offers a generous connection. Here no need to carry a dongle or adapters, since the sides of the beast host 3 USB-A ports, 2 USB-C ports including a Thunderbolt 3, 1 RJ45 (sometimes Wi-Fi 6E is not sufficient) , a power plug, an HDMI output and a memory card reader. Let’s not forget the 3.5mm jack which allows you to use any pair of headphones. When you open it, you discover a chiclet keyboard placed between a pair of THX certified speakers, while a large trackpad allows you to navigate comfortably when you do not have a mouse.

Razer

The surprise comes mainly from the screen, and especially from its hyper glossy surface treatment, where the majority of competitors opt for a mat finish, much less conducive to reflections. The reason for this choice is simple, the screen is tactile, and therefore allows you to do without the trackpad, if you are not afraid to leave fingerprints all over the place. It should be noted in passing that the screen is not the only one to be sensitive to fingerprints, since the entire coating marks very easily. Cleanliness freaks will therefore have to take advantage of the piece of microfiber cloth that is provided in the box of the Blade Pro 17. It should be noted in passing that the screen frame has a 720p webcam which allows the PC to be unlocked via Windows Hello.

RTX 3080 and 4K display

If we dive into the bowels of the beast, we begin to understand that this PC is aimed at the high end. We have an octocore i7-10875H clocked at 2.3Ghz supported by 32GB of DDR4 2933Mhz. Also note that it is possible to add SODIMMs to reach a total of 64 GB of RAM. History repeats itself with storage, since there is a 1TB M.2 PCIe SSD, knowing that a second slot is available. Razer requires, of course, a keyboard with a Razer Chroma backlight configurable key by key. Finally, the 4K screen is for its part connected to a mobile Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 equipped with 16 GB of GDDR6. With such a technical sheet, in other words that we expect heavy, even if GPUs for laptops are far from having the same performance as their desktop counterparts. We also admit that we have some questions regarding the capacity of the cooling system to keep all these components cool. This is also the Achilles heel of the 13-inch model that we tested here.

After several in-game tests, the surprise is considerable. The Blade 17 cools its components rather well thanks to its Vapor Chamber, and as long as we accept to hear the fans screaming at full speed, we did not notice any “Thermal Throttling” (when the frequencies drop due to overheated). However, it is difficult to take advantage of the 4K screen, the GPU lacking in horsepower when it comes to calculating images in UHD. By opting for 2K, on ​​the other hand, we can run anything at a rather high framerate. Of course, competitive games such as Fortnite and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive will not be resistant to shooting full 4K and 120 FPS. But fans of recent triple A headlines will have to be content with 2K, or make huge concessions on graphics options in order to get the most out of Blade 17. The idea will therefore be to play in 2K, and use the 4K for multimedia, whether it’s video editing, or just enjoying your Netflix, Disney + or myCANAL subscriptions.

The coolest laptop?

Gamers will appreciate the well thought-out location of the cooling systems. Indeed, all the hot zones are concentrated towards the hinge of the PC, or under the keyboard, which avoids ending up with warm hands during a game session. Finally, as regards autonomy, it will run around 7am in office use. Note that we can save a lot by turning off the keyboard backlighting, setting the screen brightness to maximum, and opting for a desktop display at 60hz instead of the possible 120hz. On the other hand, you can forget the video game if you are not connected to the mains, the autonomy being ridiculous, while the system dreadfully limits the performance of the graphics card in the mad hope of saving a few minutes of life by rab.

Razer

The only problem: the price! In this configuration, our Blade Pro is trading at 4000 €, which is not cheap. However, this price can be weighted in view of the on-board equipment. Indeed, with the current GPU shortage (due in part to the cryptomining boom), finding a graphics card at a decent price is a miracle. Desktop RTX 3080 cards blithely exceed a thousand euros, and if we take this factor into account, the package offered by this Blade (big i7, even if it is a little dated, 120Hz 4K touch panel) is finally more than ‘honest. For the less fortunate among you, know that the range starts at 2599 € with a 165Hz QHD screen, an RTX 3060 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage.

The +:

– 4K 120Hz panel

– RTX 3080

– Controlled heating

– Sober and efficient

The – :

– Salty price

– Hyper-limited battery life

– Insufficient for 4K gaming

Technical sheet

PROCESSOR

10th Generation Intel® Core ™ i7-10875H 8-Core Processor (2.3Ghz)

BONE

Windows 10 Home

SCREEN

17.3 ” 4K 120Hz touchscreen, Adobe RGB, 6.0mm thin side bezel, factory calibrated

GRAPHIC CARD

NVIDIA® GeForce RTX 3080 Laptop GPU 16GB GDDR6 VRAM

STORAGE

  • 1TB PCIe NVMe expandable to 2TB SSD
  • Available M.2 slot: supports PCIe and SATA SSD, expandable to 2TB SSD

MEMORY

  • 32GB 2933MHz Dual Channel DDR4
  • Expandable to 64 GB

KEYBOARD

Anti-ghosting backlit keyboard with per-key RGB lighting powered by Razer Chroma ™

CONNECTIVITY

  • Wi-Fi 6E (Intel® AX210) – 2.4 GHz / 5 GHz / 6 GHz Wireless network Wi-Fi 802.11ax; IEEE 802.11a / b / g / n / ac / a compatible
  • Bluetooth 5.2 wireless technology

Battery and Adapter

  • Built-in 70.5 Wh lithium polymer battery
  • Compact 230W power adapter

TOUCHPAD

Precision glass touchpad

ENTRANCE AND EXIT

  • 3 x USB 3.2 Type-A Gen 2 ports
  • 2 x USB3.2 Type-C Gen 2 ports (shared with Thunderbolt 3 port)
  • 1 x Thunderbolt 3 port
  • 1 x RJ45 port – 2.5 Gbit Ethernet
  • 1 x power port
  • 1 x HDMI 2.1
  • 1 x UHS-III SD card reader

HIS

  • Stereo speakers
  • Microphone series
  • THX Spatial Audio compatibility

ADDITIONAL FEATURES

720p HD webcam with Windows Hello HD IR webcam

END

Matte black anodized

DIMENSIONS

  • 19.9mm x 260mm x 395mm
  • 0.78 ” x 10.24 ” x 15.55 ”

WEIGHT

2.75 kg / 6.06 lbs


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