In and Around the Razer Blade 14-Inch

As I mentioned previously, it's hard not to compare the Razer Blade 14-inch to Apple's MacBook Pro. That's not really a problem, though; I'm not an Apple user or an Apple fan, but it's hard to really argue that Apple's ID and general notebook quality have yet to find a good match in the Windows space. If you're going to crib from anyone's design playbook, that would probably be the one.

The Razer Blade 14-inch enjoys an aluminum chassis from head to toe. There are two slight ridges on the lid to give it class and character (and probably a tough of rigidity), and the Razer logo glows when the system is powered on. The body itself seems to be a unibody aluminum chassis, but what I'd like to draw attention to is the internal design.

Source: Razer Blade website.

There's some incredibly smart engineering at work here to get the system this thin, but there are compromises made, too. Razer employs a pair of small fans that intake air from the bottom and exhaust it through heatsink arrays hidden in the hinge. The result is a chassis with virtually no visible ventilation yet still has actual cooling potential.

A look at the bottom of the notebook reveals exactly that. Two ventilated intakes for the fans, no visible exhausts. The tradeoff with this design is a tremendous amount of heat above the keyboard. Razer does a fantastic job of managing noise, but the panel of aluminum above the keyboard, where the power button is, gets extremely hot and unpleasant to the touch.

With the chiclet keycap design this radiant heat won't be a major issue during prolonged gaming sessions, but it's something to be aware of. The internal thermal design means the palm rests never get too warm, though; it's all actually pretty slick.

Users who aren't enamored with Razer's Switchblade panel in the larger Blade Pro unit will be overjoyed to see a spacious touchpad complete with two dedicated mouse buttons. As for the keyboard itself, it's plenty comfortable, though for some bizarre reason I found myself frequently fat-fingering it despite a lack of actual fat fingers. I suspect this problem will be unique to me and maybe a couple of other users; the keyboard still has plenty of travel and depth and it's tough to find any real fault with. In fact my only real complaint is the lack of any indication that the document navigation keys are mapped to Fn combinations with the arrows. That's a sacrifice made for the sake of ID, though, and I have a hard time complaining too much.

For the past two Razer Blade reviews, it was easy for me to sit back and quibble with Vivek's enthusiasm over the industrial design of the Blades at the expense of the notebook's actual practicality. Yet with the 14-inch Blade, it's hard not to see his point. Even if Razer has essentialy created the RazerBook Pro, they still cribbed from the right playbook. The Blade is for anyone who wanted the MacBook Pro in black (which does go with everything), and it's for anyone who has gotten more than a little tired of ostentatious, gaudy gaming notebook designs. It's a shot fired across the bow of vendors like Alienware, stating in no uncertain terms that you can have a powerful, performance gaming notebook in a sleeker form factor. The Blade's ID feels like gaming for grown-ups.

Introducing the Razer Blade 14-Inch System and Futuremark Performance
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  • aferox - Wednesday, July 3, 2013 - link

    Shame about the screen. I for one would be willing to pay more for a great screen at the same resolution. I won't shell out a hefty amount of dollars for almost there, though.

    Will you be reviewing the Gigabyte P34G when it comes out? That appears to be catering to a similar market.
  • jason.mcallister - Wednesday, July 3, 2013 - link

    The screen size and quality would be too big of a sacrifice, regardless of the internal specs. Even being a gamer who has spend 3k on a system in the past, I could never spend more than 1k on a laptop with a 14" screen. 15.6" is bare minimum, of course my eye sight is not what it used to be and I wear glasses to play games on my PC. I do like this brand however, and it does look cool, just not going to have a primary gaming laptop with that sticky small screen.
  • robco - Thursday, July 4, 2013 - link

    I just checked their website. Not only do they go stingy on the screen, but also the warranty. $299, but it only extends the warranty to two years - excluding the battery. Ouch.
  • xTRICKYxx - Thursday, July 4, 2013 - link

    Damn this is so close to being a great notebook!

    I think I could see myself as a Razer notebook owner in the future. I know Razer will probably fix the display issue in the next revision, include a 256GB SSD for the same price as the current 128GB model, and with Maxwell coming out next year, Gaming ultrabooks will be ever more popular.

    Good job Razer!
  • GuniGuGu - Thursday, July 4, 2013 - link

    Great review, would've love to see it compared to the much cheaper, yet similarly specced clevo w230st. I think Anadtech should be able to get their hands on a review unit by now.. demand it :)
  • adamrussell - Thursday, July 4, 2013 - link

    Isnt the 900p kind of a deal breaker? This is supposed to be a top end gaming machine.
  • SpeedyGonzales - Thursday, July 4, 2013 - link

    I think the 900p is ok for 14 inch and given the capabilities of the GTX765.

    The bigger problem is the 1080p on the Blade Pro, which will not allow you to play the native resolution with a GTX765 for most of the upcoming (and recent) games.
  • elrui - Tuesday, July 9, 2013 - link

    My understanding of the review is that the resolution of the display isn't the largest deal breaker as it was chosen to provide an accurate resolution that the card could perform well at. The deal breaker is the actual quality of the screen. According to the measurements it's color reproduction, viewing angles and lights/darks are abysmal
  • dineshramdin - Thursday, July 4, 2013 - link

    For Alienware, I got 14 notched a higher 111fps at the resolution of at 1366 x 768, which is amazing…
  • zh.aung - Friday, July 5, 2013 - link

    "...seriously crippled the notebook with a lousy screen that threatens to undermine the whole operation. I can't fathom what the thought process was behind this decision..."
    The most perplexing thing since the disappearance of the start button!

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