Let's just tone things down a bit...
Over the last few weeks, there was been a monolith occupying my home in suburban Melbourne.
It towers over all other devices, dwarfing them in its shadow. Its colouration scares lesser machines to hide in nooks and crannies, away from its gargantuan gaze. It is the Razer Blade Pro laptop. It’s friggin’ huge.
Razer was kind enough to let us go hands-on with one of these 17.3” mega-laptops for a few weeks, and see what we thought. For a device comparative in scale to Alienware’s gaming laptops, it’s relatively light; coming in at a beefy 3 kilos, it still undercuts their equivalent devices by a kilogram or more. Regardless, this is a tough to device to ACTUALLY use on your lap – if you’re doing so, you’d best have some space to balance it evenly and take regular lap breaks or you WILL get sore. While it’s a laptop in name, you’re better off putting it on a, uh.. desktop surface.
One thing I take no issue with is the Blade Pro’s huge screen. At 17.3” and a resolution of 1080p, this minor cinema screen is backed by a GeForce 1060 to give it a good amount of grunt. The colours are rich and bright, and I found it worked great for both games and video playback. If you want to watch a movie in bed, this laptop is going to do you right. Even off mains power, you’ll get a good 4-5 hours off battery – though obviously this may vary depending on how hard you’re working it.
One spot where I didn’t really appreciate the intense colour scape was the keyboard back-lighting. Each key is backed by Razer Chroma, with its LEDs able to output 16.8 million colours – which is great! If you want to program in custom colour layouts for your favourite games, or just your own personal aesthetic, you can hold up to 10 colour profiles on the device at any given time. For me though, the standard intensity of those LEDs was a bit of a headache – literally. Looking to the keyboard to type left after-trails in my eyes and made it uncomfortable to use. Obviously you can adjust or disable this to your liking, but for a primary feature I just don’t see the benefit.
The other major issue experienced with this device is understandable, but still a nuisance for my ease of use. Similar to a desktop setup, the mouse trackpad is situated to the right of the keyboard rather than below it, as would be typical for a laptop. No doubt this is to take advantage of the width of the device, or necessity due to the arrangement of the internal components, but it doesn’t change the fact that EVERY TIME I used this laptop for two straight weeks, my hand automatically went to the empty space below the keyboard. I can tell I’m not the only one, as there is evidence of fingerprints all over this area from others reviewing the device. I’m sure it’s intended to help simulate the desktop experience, but in all honesty, who uses a trackpad for gaming regardless?
Overall, this is a powerful machine. It’s got the grunt to play games on the go, and operate as a solid home gaming solution too – give or take a few issues. If you’re playing with a USB mouse and turn off the keyboard effects, I’m sure it’d be an excellent platform to use – the design is sleek and fairly reserved for a gaming laptop, and it’s got all the ports and features you’d expect. For me though, I’ll stick to my desktop.
The Razer Blade Pro laptop was reviewed using a promotional unit provided by the manufacturer. It has since been returned.