Razer Blade Pro Review
Designed for Play, Engineered for Work
Further segregation of the laptop/notebook market is by its intended use or market. Razer is a boutique notebook manufacturer focusing on the gaming market. However, the Razer Blade Pro is an industrial-sized laptop for gaming and office use. In this case, the extent of use is a personal preference, rather than a function of the machine.
Laptops and notebooks have always been a segregated market. From the very beginning, it has been a compromise between portability and power. Today’s portables also have to look to the tablet market as a possible lightweight (or lighter weight) competition in the near future. Another thing to consider is that when statistics show that mobile devices constitute more than half of the web surfing going on, laptops, notebooks and notebooks (as well as hybrids) are all lumped with desktops. These are not considered as part of mobile devices.
The Razer Blade Pro is the larger brother of the 14-inch Blade. With a 17.3-inch screen, it is a big machine with the specifications to boot. As a gaming machine, the large screen is ambitious but the internals could not keep up. As a workstation notebook, it provides an experience which is unforgettable and worth considering for a full-time work environment.
By notebook standards, it is huge. There are few notebooks which sport as large a monitor. The keyboard layout is impressive, and it has the Switchblade UI which is worth the price of admission. This is the keystone to the whole system. It definitely boosts productivity, as well as a great reinvention of the touchpad.
In a way, the Blade Pro is a reinvention of the desktop, in a laptop form. It is fast, it has a big screen, and it has a keyboard which is worth buying into. It also has better heat dissipation than most laptops.
The price starts at a relatively steep $2,299 for the Razer Blade Pro with 128GB SSD and 500GB HDD. The 512GB SSD and 1TB model costs $500 more.
• Beautiful keyboard layout with the Switchblade UI
• Fast CPU
• A lot of RAM
• A good deal of secondary storage
• A more powerful GPU wil be ideal
• Maybe not the best choice for gaming
Razer Blade Pro Specification
The first thing you notice when you have the Razer Blade Pro in your hands is that it feels lighter than it should be. Its chassis is made of aluminum, which helps dissipate heat as well as support the whole big notebook idea. It is designed to be sturdy and durable. It has side and bottom vents, but none at the back. The fans suck in air from the bottom and expel it through the sides.
It is relatively thin, which is the trend nowadays. Closed, there is only one visible LED light, to show if it is still turned on even if the top is closed. Opening the laptop shows the Switchblade UI. This is not just a keyboard layout. The standard keyboard is on the left, and the Switchblade UI is on the right hand side. The trackpad, which is traditionally placed at the bottom of the keyboard is on the side, as part of the Switchblade. Due to this, you no longer move the cursor around with your thumbs, and the trackpad no longer impedes typing.
The Switchblade UI is a logical next step for the trackpad. It is not just a black slate of metal, but rather closer to a full-featured tablet, without the independent OS. At the bottom of the touchscreen is where you would find the trackpad buttons. On top are additional buttons along the lines of the function keys.
The touchscreen can also show a mini-screen of the main monitor. It also has a customizable set of buttons, presets for which are easily chosen with an included app.
At the heart of the Blade Pro is an Intel Core i7 running at 2.6GHz, with 16GB RAM. It uses an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M with 4GB video RAM. You can have either a combo of 128GB SSD and 500GB HDD or a 500GB SSD and a 1TB HDD for secondary storage.
The screen is head-scratching 1080p 17.3-inch. Considering that the 14-inch Blade has a 4K display with a better graphics card, at first glance the Blade Pro may have made a step back on the screen. The truth is that there are no 17-inch laptop screens running on 4K resolution. It seems easier to make a laptop which runs on 4K or retina displays on 14-inch or 15-inch displays.
The battery life, as tested runs longer than the competition. It has the space to use a large battery, and it pays off. It also helps that it has less pixels on the screen, which can help with power requirements.
The 16GB RAM is a workhorse. Nowadays, you should be able to use all of the 16GB without running an OS upgrade. For heavy duty computing, or running multiple programs at the same time, or for gaming, the 16GB memory helps a lot. If you just use this computer for browsing, it is way over the top of what you can use.
It has 3 USB ports and 1 HDMI port. It does not have a PC/VGA port. It has 802.11a/b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 4.0. It also comes loaded with Windows 8.1 64-bit, which should make good use of the 16GB RAM.
Whether as a gaming platform or a workstation, the Blade Pro’s limitation is the 1080p 17-inch display. The other limitation of this beast is the graphics card. It is slower than the one used on the 14-inch Blade. That being said, this is still a fast machine. If it was used for gaming, it could have been an overkill. Unfortunately, it ranks mid-level compared to other gaming notebooks with smaller monitors.
As a workstation, the Blade Pro is a winner. This is what a workstation should be. Although the specs look as if it was made for gaming, there are several lapses in design which just makes it enough for games, and more for a heavy computing workload. In the old days, the Razer Blade Pro would have been advertised as a workstation. Although nowadays, the money is in boutique gaming computer brands, so that’s where Razer is positioning itself.