Razer’s gaming laptops of recent years have been some of our favourites, always ranking high on our guides to the best gaming laptops you can get. The flagship model in its Blade range of laptops has had a recent refresh for 2019 - inside and out - and is ready to devour all the latest and greatest games in a powerful, but cool and chic machine. Is it as good as looks both in pictures and on paper? In short, yes. But all that delicious power, performance and capability comes at a premium.
Processor: Intel Core i7-9750H
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 6GB - Max-Q design
Memory: 16GB DDR4 RAM
Display: 17.3-inch TFT LCD 144Hz
Storage: 512GB NVMe SSD
Ports: 3x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A Ports / 2x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C Ports (Shared with Thunderbolt 3 Port) / 1x Thunderbolt 3 Port / 1x RJ45 - 2.5Gb ethernet / 1x Power Port / 1x HDMI 2.0b / 1x UHS-III SD Card Reader
Connectivity: Intel® Wireless-AX200 (802.11/a/b/g/n/ac/ax) / Bluetooth 5.0
OS: Windows 10 Home 64-bit
Weight: 6.06 pounds (2.75kg)
Camera: HD webcam built-in (720p)
Size: 0.78" x 10.24" x 15.55" (19.9mm x 260mm x 395mm; W x D x H)
The new Razer Blade Pro 17 is slick. It's a matte black unit, that’s a symphony in, well, black. Occasional pops of that famous Razer green are present in the form of the backlit logo on the outside of the screen and from within some of the ports. Combine this with its angular shape and finishing to its edges and thin 6mm bezel and you have a very attractive laptop. The matte black material might attract some smear marks but that isn’t a major detractor. It’s definitely got the look, feel, weight (6.06 lbs / 2.75 kg) and build of a genuinely portable machine, and even with the large, 17.3” screen, it feels great to carry around at will and use as your go-to computer. While you’d normally be hesitant to take something this precious and expensive outside, it’s all cut from a single block of aluminium, which makes the exterior wonderfully tough and resilient.
Our review unit packs serious heat under the hood and is at the very top end of the builds available. Within its sleek black walls the headline specs consist of: an i7-9750H processor; 16 GB of RAM; an Nvidia RTX 2080 graphics card (the most powerful graphics card you can squeeze into commercial laptops currently); and a 512GB SSD. This is a serious collection of components inside a laptop and more than enough to beat any AAA game into submission. Cramming in some of the best components possible means that this is a costly laptop coming in at a slightly eye-watering $3200 / £3070. You can reduce that cost (a little bit) by choosing one of the two not-so-powerful models with a price of $2500 / £2400 for a Pro 17 that houses an RTX 2060 graphics card, and the 2070 graphics card-powered model splitting the difference at $2800 / £2680. All ray-tracing-capable too, then.
In front of those headline components are the attractive backlit keyboard and touchpad - more on them below - and the screen. The screen is a 17.3” Full HD panel that refreshes at 144Hz. It’s this bad boy that determines the overall size of the laptop in a way but there’s good cause for this, and it’s great having a larger laptop screen to show off all the power.
Topping out with an i7 processor might seem a bit short sighted on something going for terminator-class specs, but actually it's a considered decision. Going even further with an i9 wouldn’t squeeze too much more out of the Pro 17 on the whole, and would just make it hotter and louder when running. In the same way, though limited by space, the RTX 2070 or the 2080 GPUs that you can have inside are the Max-Q variants: perhaps slightly less raw performance but still great for a portable gaming laptop of this order. (The 2060 graphics card that’s available for a build of the Pro 17 is a non-Max-Q type, for the record.) It’s worth noting that there is space for another SSD inside and even opportunities to upgrade the RAM to further heights - this is a big benefit when splashing the cash on a laptop and also means it’ll go someway to being future proofed.
How does the Razer Blade Pro 17 against some industry standards? Here's how it fared against some rigorous tests.
Cinebench CPU: 910; Graphics: 113.38 fps
Geekbench 4 Single-Core: 5,168
3DMark Fire Strike (index): 17,008 points
3DMark Time Spy: 7,641 points
PCMark 8 Battery Life: 2 hours 41 minutes
Shadow of the Tomb Raider (1080p highest): 84fps
Total War: Warhammer II (1080p Ultra): 82fps
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Wildlands (1080p Ultra): 62fps
Simply put, the Pro 17 will munch through any games you chuck at it - even multiple games at the same time - and it’s generally a joy to use. The touch pad is very responsive and satisfying - its click is punchy and accurate. The keyboard, too, is pleasant to use - though it is easy to hit keys accidentally when gaming. When it comes to actual gaming, if you want peak performance you should pair it with one of the best gaming keyboards and best gaming mouse (or controller if you prefer that), but that’s not always practical outside the home.
The screen, as hinted at above, while ‘only’ 1080p, serves any type of gaming well, supporting both crisp and detailed image qualities as well as speedy and smooth frame rates required in faster, twitchier games. This also means the components inside have a lot of room to perform and make things really slick, so it locks in frame rates very solidly. Anyway back to the games, the twitchier gameplay is tested thoroughly with a good few sessions on Apex Legends, where the game runs beautifully smoothly. The image quality is excellent and the game is totally stutter free for the whole time. This extends to Ghost Recon Wildlands, too, where the landscapes are lush and vivid and every in-game visual cue and detail is clear. The color, contrast and brightness of the screen are real highlights. The panel also handles a darker - and pretty taxing - game in the form of Metro Exodus excellently too.
The laptop’s power means that it will easily crunch through any other high-grade computer tasks too. If you after a gaming machine that will also make light work of CAD programs or picture and video editing, then the Razer Pro 17 will have you well covered here.
Testing the Blade Pro 17 for many hours with games mainly drew such positives, but a few eyebrow-raising moments and factors do appear - and they might not be too surprising. The noise of the machine is a little distracting but asking for a silent gaming laptop is a bit of a push. That noise comes from it being a very warm blooded laptop, and it’ll definitely heat your hands up as well as your desk underneath it. It feels a bit unfair picking these out but it they are noticeable. Finally, the battery life, off the plug, is not going to last you long. Again to be expected and not entirely surprising given the components inside that need the precious juice. It’s pertinent to perhaps remember that the portability you pay for in gaming laptops comes at just that: the ability to move it from place to place, rather than have it running at full blast while you’re moving it from place to place.
Overall - should you buy it?
If you’re after a no compromises gaming machine that you can take anywhere, then you should absolutely consider the Blade 17 Pro. If you can afford the hefty cost of entry then you’d be hard pushed to find better portable gaming machine; and one that will have you set for the coming years, too. It easily handles whatever you throw at it - and should do for several coming years too - and offers true gaming-meets-workstation performance.