Razer Blade 17 Review
The Razer Blade 17 (2021) is a high-end gaming laptop that can compete with the best of them. The least expensive model costs $2,400, but the model we tested costs a stunning $3,700. The newest Blade 17 has much going for it, including a 1TB SSD, 32GB of RAM, and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 graphics processing unit (GPU). The 120Hz OLED screen and abundant input and output options are further notable features.
The Blade 17 is at home on a desk, in a hotel room, or in a tournament arena, so it has the potential to serve as your primary gaming and productivity computer for years to come. Yet, the Blade 17 doesn’t have quite the quality feel one would expect from a machine of its price. At over six pounds, it is neither the lightest nor the thinnest gaming laptop available. Furthermore, the membrane keyboard is small and awkward to use in today’s compact numeric keypads and sleek mechanical keys.
Razer Blade 17 Specifications
|Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080
|Intel Core i9-11900H
|17.3″, 4K OLED, 120 Hz
|15.6 x 10.2 x 0.8 inches
|1 TB SSD
|FHD Webcam w/ IR
- Powerful parts
- Great performance
- Beautiful OLED screen
- Very expensive
- Keyboard was crowded
As previously established, the Razer Blade 17’s base configuration can be purchased for $2,699.99 (or £2,999.99 or AU$ 4,899). This will get you a machine with an RTX 3060 graphics processing unit (GPU), 16GB of DDR5 RAM, and a 165Hz QHD display. All models except one come standard with the most recent Intel Core i7-12800H CPUs from Alder Lake; a Core i9-12900H supplements this in one variant.
You may choose between an RTX 3060, RTX 3070 Ti, or RTX 80 Ti as the GPU, and the screen resolution and refresh rate can be adjusted between 1080p and 4K. Our test unit costs $3,999.99 (£4,299.99; AU$ 7,199), and it features an RTX 3080 Ti graphics card, an Intel Core i7-12800H processor, and a 240Hz 1440p monitor.
The Blade 17 offers a wide variety of ports. Three USB-A ports, two Thunderbolt USB-C connections, an Ethernet port, a power port, an HDMI port, and an SD card reader are standard on every Blade 17 model. The USB-C and separate power ports allow you a lot of flexibility in the cords you bring with you, making this a versatile port layout for work and pleasure.
The sleek black body and glowing company logo are signature features of Razer laptops. The Blade 17 is undeniably a cutting-edge piece of hardware, devoid of the ostentatious “gaming” features found on other potent gaming laptops like the Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 G733’s RGB bar and furious font.
While the chassis is sleek and stylish, it shows every fingerprint and smudge, and the keyboard’s Razer Chroma RGB illumination remains intact, making maintenance a challenge. But the beautiful keyboard has keys that feel widely spaced for a laptop, making them feel more like a true, separate keyboard, which should make it easier for people who are used to writing on a desktop to transition to laptop use. The keyboard’s clicky, non-squishy keys make it a pleasure to use. The power button has been moved from the right speaker grill to the top right of the keyboard, which is awkward if you type quickly but didn’t cause us any problems.
Keyboard and Touchpad
Because of the size of the speakers on either side of the keyboard, I find typing on the Razer Blade 17 to be uncomfortable. Although having speakers that are larger than usual on a laptop can be helpful in certain circumstances, I would have preferred having a numeric keypad or at least a bit more room between the keys. The reduced size of the up and down arrow keys contributed to a lot of typos.
But I did like that the keyboard could be fully customised in RGB with the help of the Razer Synapse program. On the other hand, the touchpad was easy to use and rarely caused any inconvenience. If you’re serious about gaming, I still advise using a separate mouse. Even touch typists should think about getting a portable wireless keyboard.
One of the most intriguing features of our Razer Blade 17 was its display. After putting the 4K OLED touchscreen through its paces with various games, shows, and work apps, I was reluctant to switch back to an LCD panel. While not every Blade 17 has a 4K OLED display, our review of the Razer Blade 15 Advanced should give you a good idea of the quality of Razer’s standard LCDs. The Blade 17 holds its own against comparably powerful alternatives like the Maingear Vector Pro and Razer’s other heavyweight, the Razer Blade Advanced 15.
It has the highest brightness of the three and provides better coverage of the sRGB spectrum than the Blade 15. There isn’t a huge gap between the Blade 17 and the Vector Pro regarding colour accuracy (a lower delta-E equals higher colour accuracy). Still, it’s also not a huge gap in colour accuracy. The qualitative difference is much larger; an OLED panel looks superior in most cases, especially with dark visuals that require nuanced contrast.