Razer gaming laptop

We started reviewing products from Razer more than 13 years ago; we were lucky enough then to get our hands on a device that was at the time “the world’s fastest mouse,” the Razer Boomslang, which offered a (surface) resolution of 1,000 to 2,000 DPI on your screen. Conventional mice at the time offered between 100 and 400 DPI.

Razer was born on the cutting edge. Founded in 1998, Razer USA has had its share of ups and downs. CEO Min-Liang Tan has always been focused on PC gaming. Razer offered peripherals like gaming mice, keyboards, and headsets before it expanded into software; now it’s making whole systems. Its Razer Edge Pro gaming tablet won “Best of CES 2013.” Razer has evolved into one of the most recognized brands in the PC gaming community. 

The Razer Blade is the first full system we have gotten our hands on from Razer, and we were eager to put it through the paces.

Min-Liang Tan set out to build a true gaming laptop that features not only cutting edge hardware but portability as well. There have been laptops built primarily for gaming for years, but they have been basically desktop replacements—laptops that are 2 inches thick weighing 10 to 12 pounds. Portable in theory, yes, but convenient? No way. When is the last time you walked into Starbucks and saw somebody with an Alienware M17x on their lap?

Under the hood

When you first look at the Razer Blade you are struck by its all-metal chassis with matte black finish. It’s a beautiful sight, easily comparable in looks to the MacBook Air or a petite Ultrabook. The chassis is only .66 inches at its tallest point, and it weighs in at just over 4 pounds. Mission accomplished as far as portability is concerned. Opened and powered, you see a green back-lit keyboard with a distinctive sci-fi font that makes you feel like you are about to take a Tie-Interceptor out for a spin. The keyboard and mouse pad feel great—no skimping on quality, which is what one would expect from a laptop that will run you $2,000.

Once adjusted to your new sexy keyboard, you can take a look inside, where you find a fourth-generation Haswell processor (Intel Core i7-4702HQ Quad Core) and an Nvidia GTX 765M.

As far as today’s gaming laptops go, these will put you in the top 10%. Not quite up to rock-star levels, but in the arena. The GTX 765M lights up a 14-inch HD+ 16:9 Ratio, 1600 × 900, with LED backlight, which is where our first inkling of disappointment set in; we would love to see a full HD display, but no doubt keeping the display specs in check helps with the game play frame rates, and price. You are going to be asking this machine to play the top games at top speeds. The 8-GB DDR3L is standard memory, and upgradable to 16 GB, and the drive is a Samsung 256-GB SATA III SSD. This can be upgradable to 512 GB. The 256 GB system is a bit disappointing, especially given the fact you will be no doubt be downloading and storing games, but SSD makes for fast performance. There’s no optical drive and no Ethernet cable hook in.

There are, however, three USB 3.0 ports, HDMI, and built-in speakers that are impressive for a laptop this size, but they will not blow you away.

The 70Wh lithium-ion polymer battery is a major plus on this machine, and Nvidia’s Optimus technology helps keep the battery functioning for up to 6 hours, which is much more than you will see from comparable gaming notebooks.

Comparison of popular gaming notebooks 

The Razer Blade specs stack up to those of its counterparts as far as processor and GPU is concerned, but it is blown out of the water when it comes to storage capacity; sacrifices have to be made for portability and overall style.

For pure performance, the Razer Blade does not disappoint.


TOMB RAIDER run with various features turned on.


The Razer Blade is a formable match-up to laptops that are almost double its size (height and weight) and even out-performs them in many of the benchmarks we ran.
Is it worth the price?

You are looking at $2,000 for a laptop that has a 250-GB SSD, no optical drive, and no Ethernet jack—a machine that is running Windows 8 without touch (not that you need a touch screen for gaming). However, given its size and specs, the Blade can be much more than just a gaming machine, and given the price point, you can bet MS Office is going to find its way inside.

What do we think? 

You can find cheaper gaming laptops out there, no doubt, some with better processors and higher end Nvidia GPUs. You are being asked to pay a premium for the Razer’s sleek design, weight, and specs. The form factor allows for the Razer to be used for work, school, and of course play. It’s portable, while most other gaming laptops with these kinds of specifications are 2 inches thick and can weigh more than 10 pounds; not the kind of box you want to stuff into a backpack and take on the Metro. You can bet a laptop that weighs 4 pounds is going to be touted around, and no doubt MS Office will find its way to the machine. Razer always boasts some of the best tech support in the business; humans on the other end of the line instead of machines is more important than some tech buffs would like to admit. The drawbacks to the Razer, such as no optical drive and lack of storage, can be remedied with a quick, cheap trip down to Best Buy. Again, not what you want to be doing when you are spending this kind of money, but if you were packing a M17, none of your trips would be quick.

It all comes down to what you’re looking for and how much you are will¬ing to trade for portability and versatility as well as great gaming.

We love Razer USA because we are game players at heart; we think the Blade is around to stay.—R.D.