- Solid quality and design
- Good keyboard and touchpad
- Great gaming performance
- Not user upgradeable
- Limited port selection
Quick TakeThe Blade packs a remarkable amount of power into a package as svelte as they come.
The Razer Blade features a 14-inch 1600×900 display, Intel quad-core processor, powerful Nvidia GeForce GTX 765M graphics and available storage up to a 512GB SSD. It’s 2/5 the thickness and 2/3 the weight of its closest competitor, the Alienware 14. The Blade features an all-aluminum construction, backlit keyboard and is an all-around enticing choice for a portable gaming notebook.
Build and Design
Design is one of the Blade’s trademarks. The all black, all aluminum exterior is precision cut; the top and bottom of the chassis fit together so well that it could be mistaken for one piece. Even the screen bezel is aluminum. The screen has ample protection thanks to the rigid lid design. The display hinge is stiff enough to keep it from wobbling, even if let go abruptly. The overall strength of the Blade is outstanding – no part of the chassis is flexible or shows signs of weakness. Fit and finish is on par with what we expect from notebooks this expensive.
Design-wise the Blade keeps things simple but elegant. The backlit green Razer logo on the back of the lid looks classy and modern. This notebook is one of the standouts in the notebook thinness movement at just 0.66 inches and 4.1 pounds; compare that to the Alienware 14‘s relatively chunky 1.6″ and 6.1 pounds, respectively.
The Blade’s potential for part upgrades is nil: there’s an absence of user serviceable panels. As it is, the Blade is available with only the storage drive customizable from the factory.
Ports and Features
The Blade’s ultra-thin chassis offers a limited selection of ports: three USB 3.0 ports, HDMI and an audio jack. There’s no internal optical drive, VGA out or media card reader. The included ports are probably sufficient for most people. All picture descriptions are left to right.
Left: AC power jack, 2x USB 3.0,
combination headphone/microphone jack
Right: USB 3.0, HDMI, Kensington lock slot
Screen and Speakers
The Blade’s 14-inch display has a 1600×900 resolution and anti-glare surface. It’s a TN-type panel, meaning the display picture can distort depending on the angle it’s being viewed; IPS panels by comparison have unlimited viewing angles. That con aside, the 1600×900 resolution is respectable for this screen size; it provides enough room to use two windows side-by-side.
The anti-glare surface prevents the annoying reflections inherent in the questionably popular glossy displays often found on consumer notebooks. The display’s picture quality is partially underwhelming; contrast is good and brightness adequate but colors simply aren’t as vibrant as expected on a multimedia notebook. The Alienware 14‘s available 1080p IPS display is completely superior, though it is a much larger notebook.
The two stereo speakers on either side of the keyboard provide sound slightly fuller than we’re used to from notebooks, but still without bass. Razer does deserve some credit for placing the speakers next to the keyboard so sound is directed toward the user … unlike most ultrathin laptops and Ultrabooks with lap-firing speakers.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The Blade incorporates a full-size Chiclet-style keyboard with green backlighting. The backlighting has three brightness levels and can be toggled off. The keys have sufficient travel for communicative feedback. The feedback is precise without a hint of being rubbery. The noise level of the keyboard is low enough to use in a classroom. One design oversight is making the home, end, pgup and pgdn keys as secondary functions of the arrow keys; those that type a lot may find this to be an inconvenience. Overall the Blade’s keyboard provides a pleasant if not encouraging typing experience.
The oversized touchpad sits flush with the palm rest. Its anti-glare surface is great for smooth tracking. The two dedicated buttons are quiet enough and provide enough feedback. The touchpad supports multi-touch gestures such as two-finger scrolling.