Just in time for the holiday season, RAZER has announced the refresh of its RAZER Blade Pro 17” gaming laptop during a San Francisco media event. The 2016 version has significantly improved tech specs and horsepower. We covered it when the first official information was released on the web, but now got our hands (and eyes) on it.
Let’s start with the obvious: the RAZER Blade Pro features the NVIDIA GeForce 1080 with 8GB of GDDR5X and the Intel Core i7 6700HQ (4-core, 2.6-3.5 GHz, 35-45W TDP) and 32GB of DDR4 RAM. This is a powerful combo, and a logical one since a powerful GPU always need a fast CPU to prepare and feed the data.
To cool CPU and GPU, RAZER is using a huge heat sink that takes heat away from both CPU and GPU and has even added an extra fan just to prevent hot air pockets from forming inside the laptop. The heatsink also has a vapor chamber, which means that a small amount of liquid is constantly evaporating and condensing, thus passively dissipating even more heat. The design is interesting because when only CPU/GPU is used to the extreme, that component can benefit from what is effectively an oversized cooling system.
As you may have seen from our previous GeForce GTX 1080 coverage, the performance of this GPU design is exceptional when it comes to laptop graphics speed. That’s because the 1080 GTX laptop and desktop GPU chips are nearly identical. With it, the RAZER Blade Pro 2016 is VR-Ready and exceed the requirements of both HTC VIVE and Oculus Rift. During our initial review of the HTC VIVE, even powerful desktop gaming PCs could barely pass that bar.
The storage options went from 512GB SSD + 1TB HDD last year to 2TB SSD in 2016. This is a big deal because games are becoming enormous, and the PCIe M.2 SSD storage can have a significant impact on loading times – the main concern in this category of products.
The display goes from 1080p (1920×1080) in 2015 to 4K (3840×2160) in this new 2016 version of the RAZER Blade Pro. It is also a touch screen, which is also new. Although gamers can still opt to play in 1080p to increase frame-rate, the general Windows graphics will become much sharper as a result of the extra resolution.
The IGZO technology indicates that the display comes from Sharp, and ranks among the best displays available. This particular one can reproduce 100% of the Adobe RGB color spectrum.
Additionally, the new display is also compatible with NVIDIA’s G-Sync technology, which increases the smoothness of games by preventing choppiness induced by variable frame-rates jumping from 60 to 30 FPS. Note that the panel has a maximum refresh rate of 60HZ.
RAZER has updated the keyboard with a new ultra-low profile mechanical keyboard. Mechanical keyboards are popular among gamers because they are less prone to key-press mistakes. The desktop ones often have a very long key travel, “too long” we would argue.
RAZER has understood this problem and came up with a “65g of force” design that is laptop friendly. It’s too early to make a final call on the efficiency, but we’re happy that someone came up with this. Now if only a courageous company could do this for desktop as well…
The Keyboard is backlit of course, but the 2016 version uses Chroma, the RAZER RGB keyboard back-lighting (16M colors) that let users setup colors in any way they want. The previous model only had an “all green” option.
Interestingly, this near-desktop performance fits in a 0.88” laptop chassis, which reminds us a bit of the MacBook Pro 17. It is built with machined aluminum and comes with the traditional RAZER Black paint. The industrial is classy and conserves the overall RAZER Blade design language.
Starting at $3699 with 512GB of SSD storage, the price will scale as you climb to 2TB of SSD storage. At the moment, the different options prices have not been detailed by RAZER.
The RAZER Blade Pro is one of the most powerful laptops available, that packs best-in-class components in a surprisingly compact body. The sleek and thin design combined with the unique Chroma ultra low profile mechanical keyboard stands out in a crowd black and gray machines with red, green or blue lightning.
To make the facts straight, although the name is Razer Blade Pro and the product is dedicated to gamers, professional gamers compete only on desktop computers, because they need the best performance available in a computer and it cannot be delivered by a laptop. When I asked Razer representatives about their target audience, the answer was that pro gamers may us the Razer Blade Pro as a training machine when on the go, when they do not have access to their desktop computer.
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (8GB GDDR5X VRAM)
- Intel Core i7-6700HQ Quad-Core Processor (2.6 GHz / 3.5 GHz)
- 17.3-inch IGZO UHD G-SYNC, 16:9 ratio, 3840 x 2160, with LED backlight
- with capacitive multi-touch
- 512 GB SSD RAID 0 (2x 256 GB PCIe M.2) / 1 TB SSD RAID 0 (2x 512 GB PCIe M.2) / 2 TB SSD RAID 0 (2x 1 TB PCIe M.2) options
- 32 GB Dual-Channel System Memory (DDR4, 2133 MHz)
- Backlit ultra-low-profile mechanical keyboard
- Killer Wireless-AC 1535 (IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac + Bluetooth 4.1)
- Killer E2400 (Gigabit Ethernet 10/100/1000)
- Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C)
- USB 3.0 port x3 (SuperSpeed)
- HDMI 2.0 video and audio output
- SDXC card reader
- Built-in stereo speakers
- Dolby Digital Plus Home Theater Edition
- 1 Codec support (via HDMI)
- 5 mm headphone/microphone combo port
- Webcam (2.0 MP)
- Trusted Platform Module (TPM 2.0) security chip embedded
- Kensington security slot
- Compact 250 W power adapter
- Built-in 99 Wh rechargeable lithium-ion polymer battery
- Size: 0.88 in. / 22.5 mm (Height) x 16.7 in. / 424 mm (Width) x 11 in. / 281 mm (Depth)
- Weight: 7.80 lbs. / 3.54 kg