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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  • sivmac239 - Tuesday, July 2, 2013 - link

    Yeah I was going pick one up too, but I much have a uglier laptop with a better screen than a pretty one with a substandard one. I really dont want to go Mac but man the screen options are abysmal for most laptops. Reply
  • Aegrum - Tuesday, July 2, 2013 - link

    "Razer's designers made the Mona Lisa of gaming notebooks, and then drew a moustache, goatee, and monocle on her."

    Such a perfect description! Such a bummer - I was really looking forward to this system. Give it a better panel and ThunderBolt 2.0 in case I want to use an eGPU in the future, and you have, in my eyes, the perfect laptop. I guess I'll have to wait another year.
    Reply
  • Bayonet - Thursday, July 4, 2013 - link

    Nice Duchampian reference there Dustin, showing off your Art knowledge ;) Reply
  • MykeM - Tuesday, July 2, 2013 - link

    I think the photo of the internal design is based on earlier CAD drawing. I could be wrong but I saw a photo someone posted of the actual internal on the Notebook Review Forum:

    http://i337.photobucket.com/albums/n394/jpooner/pu...
    Reply
  • mountcarlmore - Tuesday, July 2, 2013 - link

    Now you know how I feel owning the MSI ge-40, a cheaper and slightly thicker competitor to the blade. Why do so much right, only to make such a boneheaded decision as pinching pennies on the display. I bet my ass Razer used the same pos AUO that is in my laptop. Reply
  • mountcarlmore - Tuesday, July 2, 2013 - link

    Correction, mine apparently is a auo303e rather than razer's auo103e for whatever its worth. My spyder measured the contrast the same as in the review, 2 de, and I think around 72% of adobe rgb after calibration, which isn't terrible really. Reply
  • hfm - Tuesday, July 2, 2013 - link

    I wonder how hard it would be to put a different 14" panel in this thing? I would consider getting it just for the opportunity to do that down the road. Reply
  • Braincruser - Tuesday, July 2, 2013 - link

    The heat is not ok. 93C for a brand new notebook that hasn't seen dust at all is not OK. This thing will trottle and shut down in regular use all the time. Don't forget this is a gaming laptop, anything above 85 is trouble. Reply
  • karasaj - Tuesday, July 2, 2013 - link

    Why on earth did they do that? Razer took the original blade, improved in almost every way, and shot themselves in the foot. They could have had literally the perfect notebook. I'd love to see a comment from them on this. Reply
  • Krafty1 - Tuesday, July 2, 2013 - link

    Fix the display...give me a Thunderbolt port for mild future proofing...I'll find the money.

    Otherwise...still waiting.
    Reply

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