Computers Feature

Review of the Razer Blade 17: It’s nice, but it’s not perfect

Razer Blade 17

“While the Razer Blade 17 isn’t perfect, it remains one of the best 17-inch gaming laptops available.”

Pros

  • Excellent design and quality
  • Excellent for gaming
  • Numerous ports
  • Bright, vibrant screen
  • The surface is kept cold.

Cons

  • CPU performance has been slowed.
  • Insufficient battery life
  • Extremely costly The Razer Blade gaming laptops are known for their portability and sleekness. Is there still room for the Razer Blade 17, which is the largest in the lineup?

Of course, the current model includes the most up-to-date components, such as 12th-generation Intel processors and RTX 3080 Ti graphics cards. However, it also makes a few minor changes that enhance the overall design. The Razer Blade 17 may not be the most popular Blade in the lineup, but there are still reasons to choose it above any of the best gaming laptops available.

Design

Razer Blade 17

The Razer Blade hasn’t had a substantial design in a long time. Instead, the formula is tweaked and upgraded on an annual basis to maintain it current with the latest developments. When compared to a Razer Blade 17 from a few years ago, though, the differences are likely to be insignificant.

Unlike many other premium gaming laptop brands, the Razer Blade’s design hasn’t altered much over the years, owing to the fact that it was already years ahead of the competition. The all-black style opened the way for a slew of other gaming laptops to follow suit, including the HP Omen 16 and ROG Zephyrus G15.

However, Razer’s design has a unique premium feel to it. Other gaming laptops lack a real alternative for the single lump of machined aluminium. Even if other brands have caught-up, the Blade has always wanted to be the MacBook of gaming.

The Blade 17 maintains a 16:9 aspect ratio, which isn’t necessarily a problem for a gaming laptop of this size. The hefty bottom bezel is the only drawback. Again, it’s not as bad as on the smaller devices, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Razer eventually adopted the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro’s 16:10 aspect ratio.

The redesigned speaker grill on the keyboard deck is the only apparent modification to the Razer Blade 17. The powers button has been moved to the top-right of the keyboard, and they’re now more inconspicuous. It’s a tweak that also affects the new 15-inch device, but I consider it a plus.

Razer Blade 17

But there’s no getting past the Razer Blade 17’s size — and if you’re thinking about buying one, you presumably already know that. It is quite heavy, weighing 6.1 pounds. The large rubber feet on the bottom raise it off the table as well, contributing to the 0.78-inch thickness. It goes against a lot of what the Razer Blade brand has historically stood for, but since the introduction of the larger MacBook Pro last year, the impetus to make the smallest laptop possible has been lifted.

The Razer Blade 17 is still a fingerprint magnet, despite the existence of some kind of undetectable anti-fingerprint coating. It is not as bads as it was in past generations, but it’s still a pain to keep clean.

Touchpad and keyboard

The keyboard on the Razer Blade 17 is excellent. The switches have been adjusted for a snappier and more pleasant typing experience, which is a significant improvement over prior versions. Of course, Razer’s RGB game is as good as it gets, with per-key lighting and a tonne of colour patterns and brightness colour customization. The function key also illuminates the function row, as it did in prior models. This keyboard is fantastic.

The touchpad had the exact opposite effect on me. It’s beautiful and large, and it looks great. However, the palm rejection here is terrible. My experience with this laptop has been littered with unintended clicks and cursor jerks. It’s quite aggravating.

Razer Blade 17

The touchpad tracks nicely and has a smooth glass surface for your fingers to slide across when in use. The click mechanism is heavier and louder than I prefer, and registering a press takes too much energy. It’s a great example of why Razer, like Apple, Lenovo, Microsoft, and Dell, should use a haptic feedback trackpad. This would enable the strength of the feedback to be customised.

Because many gaming laptops overlook the quality of their touchpads, Razer is ahead of the pack. However, given Razer’s costs and the brand’s commitment to quality, this is an issue that must be addressed.

Ports

The Razer Blade 17 boasts a plethora of ports, all of which are situated on the chassis’ sidewalls. HDMI 2.1, USB-A 3.2, Thunderbolt 4, and a full-sized SD card slot are among the features. The L-shaped power adapter, an 2.5GbE Ethernet jack, two more USB-A ports, a USB-C Thunderbolt 4 port, and a headphone jack are all on the left.

Although the USB-C port can charge, its power output is restricted to 54 watts.

This is the only Razer Blade model that has an Ethernet port for hard-wired connections. That, along with the SD card port for people who prefer to upload photographs directly from a camera, is a wonderful selling point.

Security and camera cameras

The Razer Blade 17 has a 1080p webcam, which is an advance from the previous generation’s 720p module. Razer did this withouts increasing the size of the top bezel or the width of the lid, as many laptop makers do. The higher resolution is wonderful, and it’s a significant upgrade over earlier models. This doesn’t, however, imply that it is a “good” camera. I’m sure the sensor is great, however the image processing isn’t quite up to par. Images are generally darker and granier than they should be, and skin tones and faces aren’t highlighted well.

Razer Blade 17
Razor Blade Pro 17 Laptop

Fortunately, the Razer Blade 17 has an IR camera for Windows Hello facial recognition, which is something that many gaming laptops lack.

Speakers and display

The Razer Blade 17 has an large 17.3-inch screen with a crisp resolution of 2560 x 1440. It has a matte appearance, like most gaming laptops, to reduce glare and reflections. While the matte layer is good for games, it diminishes the clarity and apparent contrast of the visuals. At 100 percent brightness, the contrast ratio of 890-1 isn’t the finest. This makes it less suitable for people who want to use the Razer Blade for artistic purposes.

Fortunately, this means you won’t be disturbed by the screen’s lack of brightness. It reaches a maximum brightness of 313 nits, which is comparable to previous Razer Blade laptops but lower than other gaming laptops such as the Legion 5 Pro and HP Victus 16. However, it is bright enough for most settings at over 300 nits.

The Razer Blade 17 maintains the same high level of colour saturation and accuracy as the 14-inch model. This is the best gaming laptop screen good outside of pricey OLED 4K models, with 100 percent sRGB, 90 percent Adobe RGB, and a Delta-E of 0.84. Razer did an amazing job with the tuning.

In addition, the Razer Blade 17 has a 240Hz refresh rate, which is the fastest you’ll find on a screen this sharp. You may also choose between a 4K 144Hz or a 1080p 360Hz screen, though I believe that the QHD 240Hz model is the most balanced option for most people.

Razer Blade 17

The speakers, on the other hand, are still nothing to write home about. The THX label on the palm rests, as well as the slimmer, laser-cut speaker grille, may persuade you that you’re getting greater music. Unfortunately, these speakers aren’t particularly impressive, and the spatial audio feature is a bit of a gimmick. Even though Razer claims to have integrated four subwoofers this time to improve the bass, it’s still woefully weak, both when listening to music and during gaming.

Performance

The Razer Blade 17 is equipped with the latest Intel Core i7-12800H, a 14-core processor with six performance cores and eight efficiency cores. Intel has made a huge comeback with these strong CPUs. The additional cores have considerably enhanced multi-core performance without sacrificing single-core performance.

Unfortunately, the Razer Blade 17 limits the power of this CPU. To make the performance cores throttle, you don’t need to put it through a stress test. Internal CPU temperatures frequently exceeded 100 degrees Celsius, causing performance to be throttled to keep temperatures within tolerable limits. Because of the laptop’s thin chassis, Razer Blades have had trouble keeping temperatures low enough.

In performance to better-cooled systems, CPU throttling means you’re not getting the most out of your processor. When you pay full prices, you get less performance. However, this isn’t a new feature in thin and light gaming laptops. The Gigabyte Aero 16, MSI Creator Z17, and MSI GE76 Raider are among the first laptops to use the 12th-gen H-series CPUs, yet it’s already the slowest performer in Cinebench R23 among the laptops we’ve tested so far. Will a 5% reduction in processor performance make a difference in real-world usage? In the vast majority of cases, no.

However, in several procedures and applications, the thermals had performance constraints. In Premiere, the Blade 17 isn’t quite as good as comparable laptops at editing video. Don’t get me wrong: Intel’s 12th-generation H-series CPUs have come a long way to catch up to Apple, and the Razer Blade 17 shows off a lot of that progress.

Razer Blade 17

Timeline exports are 26 percent faster in Pugetbench than on the M1 Max MacBook Pro, because to the more powerful GPU. What is the problem? In Premiere, it’s up to 28% slower than comparable 12th-gen PCs we’ve tested, such as the MSI GE76 Raider and the Gigabyte Aero 16. In terms of video playback, itmakes 40 percent slower than the M1 Max MacBook Pro. Oof.

The Razer Blade 17 and its 12800H are blazing fast in bursty applications like video encoding in Handbrake. At the same test, it’s 60 percent faster than the previous version Blade 17 I tested, which was two generations back in Intel CPUs.

So, no, it won’t be among this generation’s most powerful gaming laptops, especially in terms of CPU performance. Is it, however, capable of handling some content creation and more demanding applications? Yes, absolutely.

While content production is clearly a perk of having a Razer Blade 17, gaming is its primary function, and the thermal constraints aren’t as apparent there.

Gaming performance

The Razer Blade 17 comes with the latest RTX 3080 Ti Max-Q graphics, which was included in my review unit. The GPU can get 150 watts of power from the system, with Dynamic Boost allowing for an additional 15 watts. The laptop can also be configured with the RTX 3060 or RTX 3070 Ti graphics cards. Nvidia tools like Resizable BAR and CPU Optimizer are included in every system, regardless of configuration, to balance power amongst the components for the best potential gaming performance. That isn’t to say that all laptops with an RTX 3080 Ti are created equal.

If gaming laptops are concerned, the Razer Blade 17 will most likely be on the lower end of the spectrum. Other similarly equipped laptops we’ve evaluated, such as the Gigabyte Aero 16, don’t do as well in 3DMark Time Spy – by as much as 22%. The Razer Blade 17 even beats out the larger and chunkier MSI GE76 Raider in that test. That surprised me, but it didn’t hold up nearly as well in games as the MSI machine did.

In 1080p Ultra High, the MSI GE76 Raider is 11 percent faster than the Razer Blade 17 in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. At 1440p Ultra High, the Razer Blade 17 maintains a frame rate of 69 fps, which is historically impressive. It’s comparable in Red Dead Redemption 2, where the Razer Blade 17 manages 73 frames per second at 1440p Ultra High.

Razer Blade 17

Surprisingly, the Razer Blade 17 outperforms the competition in Civilization VI. It outperforms the MSI GE76 Raider by 12 percent and the Gigabyte Aero 16 by 19 percent. It’s also the only game I tested that can put advantage of 1440p’s super-fast refresh rate, achieving 162 frames per second on Ultra settings.

You’re not going to buy the Razer Blade 17 with the RTX 3080 Ti and then be disappointed with the gaming performance. It’s completing people in 1440p that have been requested for a long time. However, considerably more powerful gaming laptops with similar components will undoubtedly be released in 2022 (and already are). Some people will find this difficult to accept, especially given the Razer Blade 17’s price and size.

The laptop performs a good job of keeping the chassis cool and the fans loud. From that standpoint, it handles thermals better than the Razer Blade 14 or 15, which is a big plus. This is due to the greater size and additional vents along the lid.

Life of the battery

The Razer Blade 17 2022 has a poor battery life. It’s not good for a gaming laptop, and it’s even worse than prior models. The culprit is presumably Intel’s 12th-generation CPUs, which have shown worse battery life than earlier generations.

In light web browsing, the Razer Blade 17’s 82 watt-hour battery lasted only three hours and ten minutes. That’s a pity. That’s more than five hours less than the AMD-powered Razer Blade 14 and even a half-hour less than the large MSI GE76 Raider, which sported the same RTX 3080 Ti and a 12th-gen Core i9 processor. It is, however, in line with the Gigabyte Aero 16.

Razer Blade 17

The Blade 17 barely lasted a half-hour longer in a lighter test like local video playback, implying that you won’t get more than four hours away from the wall in practically any case.

Price and configurations

On their website, Razer provides six different configurations. The slightly faster Core i7-12900H is combined with the 4K 144Hz screen and 32GB of RAM, but the options are all packed together. That option will set you back $4,300, and it’s the only 4K option offered, indicating that it’s aimed at video creators.

In the 1080p 360Hz category, there are two configurations: one with the RTX 3070 Ti and the other with the 3080 Ti. You’ll be able to see the pixels on a 17-inch laptop with a 1080p screen, and with GPUs this strong, most gamers will prefer the higher resolution that a 1440p screen can provide. The RTX 3070 Ti variant, which comes with 16GB of dual-channel RAM, is priced the same in both 1080p 360Hz and 1440p 240Hz configurations, starting at $3,200.

Razer Blade 17

Due to the addition of the RTX 3080 Ti and 32GB of RAM, my review unit cost $4,000. If you’re looking to buy the Razer Blade 17, I’d recommend either of the 1440p variants.

The Razer Blade 17 comes with 1TB of fast SSD storage in all configurations, which is amazing. That doesn’t change the fact that the Razer Blade 17 is still one of the priciest gaming laptops on the market.

Our point of view

The Razer Blade 17 has a lot going for it, but it’s still a niche product in the lineup. On the one hand, in terms of fan noise and surface temperature, it’s the best-performing laptop in Razer’s lineup. On the other side, it’s a large laptop with a terrible battery life and a broken touchpad that has to be addressed.

Is there any other option?

Updates to the latest 12th-gen Intel processors and RTX 3080 Ti graphics are only now starting to appear on gaming laptops.

Should you buy it?

It’s a good buy, but every gaming laptop has its flaws. This one has a problematic touchpad and throttles CPU performance. It’s also rather costly.

 

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