Enlarge / The Razer Blade Professional FHD, full with every week’s price of fingerprints on its black-aluminum body.

Sam Machkovech

For all the years we have talked in regards to the gaming-hardware firm Razer and its vary of pricey and (typically) remarkably skinny gaming laptops, we have not often put these “Blade” machines by intensive testing. The Razer Blade line debuted in 2011 with a flashy multitouch panel that had a display inside it—which, on the time, was probably the most Pimp My Trip tweak we would ever seen in a laptop computer. (“Yo dogg, I heard you want screens, so we put a display… in your trackpad!”)

However we handed that one up, together with most different Razer laptops, aside from its 2016 not-quite-gaming entry, the Razer Stealth. As the corporate has settled right into a steadier monitor document, we needed to take a chance to see the place Razer’s purest gaming laptop computer line has come now that its Blade Professional variant—which has a 17″ display, however a physique that is nonetheless fairly skinny—has a mannequin only a hair shy of $2,000. In order for you Razer laptop computer options like a side-aligned trackpad and a customizable, color-mapped keyboard in your gaming-ready, 17″ laptop computer, this implies you now not need to pay for Razer’s whopping $three,999 model of the identical mannequin.

Our verdict? For a 17″ gaming laptop computer, the Blade Professional FHD mannequin is completely fantastic, and in order for you that measurement in an impressively slim physique at a $2,000 worth level, this one comes with cheap compromises. However not like its insanely priced sibling, this Blade Professional UHD mannequin struggles to excite us sufficient to advocate it—and its price ticket—over cheaper and equally powered gaming laptops.

Professional body charge, not professional specs

The central stumbling level, fairly frankly, is the display. It is simply not the stunner you may want or anticipate when choosing a laptop computer as big as this one.

The “FHD” within the mannequin identify refers back to the display’s 1080p decision, which is not itself a foul facet—although you may want you have been getting extra decision, contemplating that many aggressive 13″ laptops supply 1440p resolutions and past. The perk with this “solely” 1080p display, then, is a shock 120Hz refresh charge. That is double the usual 60Hz you will discover on most laptop computer panels.

That appears like an superior commerce, proper? 120Hz displays are unusual in gaming laptops, and the soar to a better body charge is usually price a commerce in gaming attributes like geometry, shaders, shadows, pixels, and so forth. Simply by dialing again a couple of settings, you possibly can presumably get pleasure from a silkier body charge, which is especially beautiful stuff in genres like first-person shooters.

Specs at a look: Alienware 13 R3 (as reviewed)

Display
1920×1080 IPS show at 17.three” (127 PPI)

OS
Home windows 10 Residence x64

CPU
2.8GHz Core i7-7700HQ (Turbo Enhance as much as three.8GHz)

RAM
16GB 2400MHz DDR4

GPU
Intel HD 630 (built-in) paired with Nvidia GTX 1060 with 6GB GDDR5 RAM

HDD
256GB PCIe M.2 SSD, 2TB HDD (5400rpm)

Networking
Killer 1535 802.11ac, Bluetooth four.1, Gigabit Ethernet

Ports
3x USB three.zero, USB Sort-C, HDMI 2.zero out, Thunderbolt three, SDXC card reader, combo headphone/microphone jack

Dimension
zero.88″ x 16.7″ x 11″ (22.5 x 424 x 281mm)

Weight
6.68 kilos (three.03kg)

Different perks
720p webcam, Razer Chroma backlit keyboard

Guarantee
1 12 months

Value
$1,999 as configured

However the Blade Professional FHD’s 17″, 1080p, 120Hz monitor is lacking one key bullet level in that record of attributes: variable refresh charge. (Conversely, the dearer Blade Professional 4K contains G-Sync know-how.) And with simply sufficient energy missing, that is a slight downside right here, at the least for the value of this technique.

In contrast to a desktop system with energy and overclock headroom to spare, the Blade Professional UHD opts for the slowest of final 12 months’s Kaby Lake i7 cell processors, the i7-7700HQ, with a “turbo” clock most of three.8GHz and different notebook-related limitations. Do you have to merely need to lock right into a 60fps refresh at 1080p decision, that form of pocket book processor will do the trick, and the system’s GTX 1060 pocket book model, full with 6GB GDDR5 RAM, is a wonderfully fantastic match for that graphics profile at medium-high settings.

However 120Hz gaming is extra CPU-bound. Because of this, whenever you slap a sport onto the Blade Professional UHD and goal for that max refresh, you might very nicely not attain it, which as an alternative results in display tearing and body charge spikes. Some gamers do not thoughts these, however they completely cut back the smoothness anticipated of a monitor with such a refresh charge. G-Sync and Freesync displays tackle the pure body charge variance you possibly can anticipate from fashionable video games as they attempt for 120Hz and past. Their explosions and different results can set off body charge spikes on even stable programs, not to mention ones on the identical energy degree because the Blade Professional FHD.

My finest instance got here from testing PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, a capturing sport that’s admittedly unoptimized however that may additionally scale down on PC to succeed in respectable body charges. However I merely could not get there at full 1080p decision. I dropped the settings to PUBG’s lowest visible preset—with a number of the ugliest textures identified to humanity, together with terrible vegetation rendering and different visible hiccups—and nonetheless by no means reached a constant refresh above 95fps. It was normally nearer to 85fps.

And that winds up being the problem with video games from the fashionable period: they are not going to hit 120Hz on this monitor. That is completely acceptable when it comes to the Blade Professional FHD’s specs, and you’ll attain completely fantastic 60Hz efficiency with out body charge spikes or visible tearing. However in order for you the complete potential from this pocket book, when it comes to its power-and-screen combo, you will must step again to much less demanding video games—your Counter-Strikes, your Rocket Leagues, and your Dota 2s, which might all lock above 120Hz on this technique with settings dialed down. In case you’re cool with paying for that particular moveable perk, then the Razer Blade Professional is for you.

Past that, the display is a standard-issue IPS panel, and sadly it comes straight from the manufacturing unit with a noticeable blue tint. At a most luminance of 297 nits, the panel definitely would not have main brightness on its aspect; the utmost is okay, however you will want you had somewhat extra at a very vivid espresso store.

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