Ironically, seeing as they're made by a company best recognized for its three-headed green snake logo, Razer gaming laptops radiate elegance. Though I'm sure no one at its San Francisco headquarters wants to hear this from us, Razer is practically the Apple of gaming. Think about it: it puts out notebooks that are thin, light, and stylish while prioritizing high build quality over low pricing.
As far as Windows laptops are concerned, we'd say the Razer Blade family offers the best touchpads in the biz, but they're more than just MacBooks you can play games on. In fact, the latest stack of clamshells from Razer are firm testaments to the importance of cosmetic personalization. Each is embellished with the company's signature Chroma brand of keyboard backlighting, which synchronizes with a wide range of supported accessories. Sure, you could build your own PC for a fraction of the cost, but you'd be giving up a mighty convenient (not to mention, classy) form factor that only Razer gaming laptops can provide.
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Why buy a Razer laptop?
Razer’s focus on gamers means their systems are designed for high performance when running modern games. These aren’t machines created to take on the heavy processing loads of video rendering or encoding, for instance, but they’ve got the GPU muscle to rival many desktop leaders and gorgeous displays selected to make games pop.
The other big advantage of buying a Razer is that while their laptops are all pre-loaded and ready to rock right out of the box, they also offer a variety of customization options within each of their major models. This is especially true for the Razer Blade 15, which offers four major alternatives at a variety of power and price points. If you’re looking for something capable but inexpensive, Razer has several options, but its Pro line also caters to the highest end of performance and display.
These are also machines that put a premium on design and visual flair, meaning they look great and are crafted with comfort in mind. Appropriate to their branding, the Blades are slim and light and easy to schlep to a cafe or a LAN party, and their slender profile and vivid lighting are bound to turn heads.
So which Razer laptop should I buy?
Razer Blade Stealth 13 (2019)
The entry-level Ultrabook still packs a punch
CPU: Intel Core i7-8565U | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 – Nvidia GeForce MX150 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Storage: 256GB – 512GB SSD | Screen: 13.3" (1920x1080 – 4K touch)
Because it doubles down on Razer's biggest strength – industrial design – the 2019 Blade Stealth 13 refresh forgoes a lot of the usual spec bumps in favor of implementing a plethora of seemingly minuscule tweaks to its appearance. For example, the new 4.9mm 'Micro Edge' bezels are 60% narrower than that of its predecessor, thereby blessing the low-profile laptop with borders around the display that make it look as contemporary as it is. Zooming out, the chassis at large is constructed using a high-grade aluminum material carved out from a single block of metal, making it all the more durable as a result.
Although the base model is still limited to on-chip Intel graphics, two higher priced tiers now exist sporting discrete Nvidia's MX150 GPU. It's no RTX card, sure, but you can still hook the Blade Stealth up to a Razer Core external fun box if you can't live without the retina-burning sensation of 4K graphics being ray traced in real-time.
Razer Blade 15 (2018)
The versatile middle option
CPU: Intel Core i7-8750H | Graphics: GeForce GTX 1060 – 1070 | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 256GB - 512GB + 256GB SSD | Screen: 15.6” (1920x1080 – 4K multi-touch)
One of the key attractions of the Razer Blade 15 is the variety of hardware options Razer offers in this model. But regardless of where you settle on GPU and display, the Razer Blade 15 is a highly capable machine, particularly for such a slim and lightweight laptop, and has quality of life touches in abundance. Powerful, clear speakers, a wonderfully tactile keyboard with full RGB lighting, a responsive, high quality touchpad, and a big, bright screen push it up towards the top of its class.
The Razer Blade 15 also packs a ton of welcome port options, with four USB slots, a mini DisplayPort, and HDMI, and for such a slim package it feels sturdily constructed. It’s a versatile option for gamers looking for power and portability, and thoughtful design touches mean it justifies its premium price tag.
Razer Blade Pro 17 (2017)
A pricey powerhouse for the very demanding
CPU: Intel Core i7-7700HQ – i7-7820HK | Graphics: GeForce GTX 1060 6GB – 1080 8GB | RAM: 16 – 32GB | Storage: 256GB SSD + 2TB HDD – 2TB SSD | Screen: 17.3” (1920x1080 – 4K multi-touch)
The Pro is the choice for gamers-on-the-go who demand the best from their portable hardware and are looking for a desktop experience they can carry in their bag. The Pro packs the best keyboard available on the laptop market, a genuine mechanical board that’s comfortable and looks and feels great, with Razer’s proprietary ultra-low-profile mechanical switches. In a nod to desktop users, the trackpad is positioned to the right of the keyboard where a mouse might normally sit, and like the pad on the other models it’s a very precise and comfortable pointer.
Of the configurations you can pick from, the high end option also comes with one of the best displays currently available, a 17.3 multi-touch IGZO screen packing Nvidia’s prized G-Sync technology. It’s a beautiful, incredibly powerful piece of portable computing that could easily replace your desktop as your go-to PC for gaming and more mundane applications.
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