PC gamers who want to gamble on the go are spoiled for choice these days: Several manufacturers pack their laptops with high-performance components. But gaming notebooks need other qualities, especially for longer trips. How is the Razer Blade Pro 17 doing?
As you know, most of the AAA games of the year appear in the fourth quarter. If you are a committed PC player and are taking a trip during this time, you may need a lot of patience. Namely, when the gaming device of choice is a tower PC – and the many great new games can only be played after returning to your home.
The alternative is a gaming laptop that enables AAA fun on the go. (Okay, there are PC gamers who also play on the switch or on the smartphone every now and then, but we deliberately leave that out – after all, the PC as a gaming platform has the undeniable advantage of by far the largest selection of games.)
So: A notebook is becoming more and more attractive for many gamers because it provides high-end entertainment both at home and on the go. However, not every gaming laptop is suitable for long-term use on the road: First, the hardware wear is significantly increased when travelling.
Second, factors such as weight and shape play a larger role. Thirdly, laptops need long battery life and fourthly flexible components in order to be able to adapt to the changing framework conditions. We are looking for the egg-laying wool milk sow, which is not only a simple mobile but also guarantees AAA fun everywhere.
For us, in this late autumn, there was the said emergency: We were out and about in North America from late October to mid-December – and still didn’t want to do without gaming. The company Razer provided us with a copy of the Razer Blade Pro 17 for this period, which we then extensively tested for its suitability for travel.
We paid particular attention to whether the laptop is well suited for typical travel situations (packing, carrying, etc.). It was also important to us how the Razer Blade Pro 17 shows off its core competence, namely high-end gaming because laptops are now also interesting for many PC gamers because they take up significantly less space than the often bulky ones Tower PCs.
Elegant design: the Razer Blade Pro 17
Our test device was a model that Razer launched in May 2019. It has a 17.3-inch IPS panel with a native Full HD resolution at 144 Hertz. The gaming laptop is available with three different graphics units: an RTX 2060, RTX 2070 Max-Q and an RTX 2080 Max-Q.
In autumn 2019, however, Razer also released an additional variant that has a 4K touch display with 120 Hertz: This monster currently costs around 4,100 euros and should therefore only be of interest to gamers for whom the best is just good enough. Incidentally, Razer uses an Intel Core i7-9750H, 16 GB DDR4 memory and a maximum of two NVMe SSDs.
Slim and elegant: the Razer flagship from the side
On our trip, we had the spring model with an RTX 2060 and a 512 GB SSD in our luggage – which was by far enough for all current games. When packing the travel equipment, we were initially interested in another question: Would the laptop make travelling an ordeal?
In fact, the Razer Blade Pro 17 is not exactly light with its 2.75 kg. When carrying it in a laptop backpack, the weight becomes noticeable in the long run. However, you should put the whole thing in relation to the format: 2.75 kg is surprisingly little for such a stably built 17.3-inch laptop.
Like the previous models, the new flagship has an aluminium-magnesium case that neither wobbles nor squeaks even in continuous use – and with its extremely slim design are reminiscent of a MacBook Pro. The slim design of the laptop ensures that it also fits in slim laptop bags.
Visually, we really like the Razer Blade Pro 17. It is significantly angular than the previous year’s models, which gives it additional sleekness. The smooth, matt black surfaces are reminiscent of a monolith.
The Razer Blade Pro 17 can only be opened up to a maximum angle of 140 degrees, but the lid does not give way in the anchoring when opening. In other words: Even after seven weeks of travel with constant carrying around, opening and closing, there are no permanent signs of wear on the device.
The case may be a bit prone to fingerprints but showed no scratches after our test. In times when more and more rickety plastic is being used on laptops, this is a beneficial exception. Even if this exception has its price, of course …
As mentioned at the beginning, the battery life was another important criterion for assessing suitability for travel. In addition to the two standard fans, Razer has housed two other but smaller copies in the laptop case. This reduces the space available for the lithium-ion battery. Accordingly, the capacity of 70 watt-hours is lower than that of the previous model, which manages 99 watt-hours.
If you watch 17 videos with the Razer Blade Pro, you can expect a battery life of around four and a half hours. In the case of graphically complex games, the runtime is of course significantly reduced again, it takes around one and a half hours to fully charge the battery.
In short: if you are planning longer gaming sessions, should always have an outlet nearby – with the battery life being an Achilles heel of all sophisticated gaming laptops. Speaking of being bred: The Razer laptop gets quite warm in places when gaming, despite the additional fans.
Speakers, touchpad, chiclet keyboard: the Razer laptop from above
On our trip, we not only gambled with the Razer laptop but also wrote a lot of texts. Mechanical keyboards are of course best suited for something like this because they have a long stroke and a clearly noticeable typing resistance.
In its slim gaming device, Razer has installed a flat chiclet keyboard, which is nice and quiet but offers little resistance, in the long run, to be really pleasant. If you want to use the Razer Blade Pro 17 as an office laptop, you should think about an external keyboard – Razer itself offers a good selection of models.
The soft chiclet keyboard is not so problematic when gaming, but the test subject lacks a numeric keypad, which can be particularly helpful for gaming shortcuts. Razer saved the number pad in favour of two speakers on the left and right of the keyboard, which deliver a decent sound. The touchpad is large and reacts very quickly to inputs.
PLENTY OF CONNECTIONS
When it comes to the connections, Razer is by no means ragged: There are three USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A and two USB 3.2 Gen2 Type C, one of which serves as a Thunderbolt 3 port. In addition, the laptop has an HDMI 2.0b connection, a Realtek Ethernet connection (2.5 Gbps) and a UHS-III SD card reader.
It communicates wirelessly via Bluetooth 5.0 and WLAN 802.11ax, which achieves a data throughput of up to 2.4 Gbps. All of that was easily enough for our gaming needs.
On our trip, the Razer Blade Pro 17 did a great job. We were able to play graphically demanding titles like “Control”, watch high-resolution films and write some text. If you are willing to invest a lot of small change, the Razer Blade Pro 17 is a great gaming computer for at home and on the go.