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  • Soon Kai Hong

Razer Blade 17 (2022) Review: Is It Worth A Kidney?

It’s no surprise that Razer makes great gaming laptops and perhaps arguably the most beautiful out there. That remains unchanged with the latest generation of Blades. So today we have the largest in the family, the Blade 17 and it’s a solid improvement throughout. As long as you’re willing to offer a kidney.

Now I’m pretty sure anyone who has seen a Blade for the past few years or so, you would be very familiar with the design language and the latest generation is no different. It’s a full blacked out aluminum chassis that not only looks great, it feels really premium, downright fantastic and more importantly, really professional.

And that’s really what sets the Blade apart. It’s a professional looking laptop that wouldn’t look out of place in a boardroom, but yet it can game and pretty darn well at that too. Just take note that while it’s on the lighter side for a 17.3-inch laptop, coming in 2.75 kilograms which is about 6 lbs (6.06 lbs), it is still physically large, so definitely good to have a large backpack lying around.

For this generation, you get 4 main display options with various accompanying GPUs. Full HD at 360Hz, Quad HD at 165Hz or 240Hz and a 4K UHD at 144Hz. We have the Quad HD 240Hz option here and to simply put it, it’s a beautiful display.

17.3-inches, IPS, 2,560 x 1440 running at 240Hz, 300 nits and 100% DCI-P3 coverage.

In short, as mentioned, it’s a beautiful display. Especially for consuming content on Netflix, YouTube and more or even just doing some proper work with various documents and software and the like. A 17.3-inch display is just a delight to use and with a resolution of 1440p, it does actually allow you to make more use out of the display without much issues from WIndows Scaling. And of course, 240Hz is really fantastic especially when it comes to gaming.

Talking about the webcam, it’s fine for the most part. You do get 1080p and the overall image quality is pretty decent. Same goes for the mics as well. Using this just for calls over Zoom or playing over Discord, it will be adequate in a pinch.

The most useful feature however, is of course the inclusion of Window Hello facial recognition. That’s a huge plus point in our books and definitely much needed since there isn’t a fingerprint reader anywhere on this very laptop. As for the keyboard, it’s a hit or miss. Personally, I’m a fan. I feel that Razer Blade keyboards have generally been really great and in my opinion, second only to the Microsoft Surface Laptop with the Alcantara. It’s nice and comfortable, great for both typing and gaming and you can’t forget the RGB thanks to Razer Chroma.

Now it may be jarring for some to see the lack of a numpad on a 17.3-inch device, so if that’s what you need, you won’t be getting it here. But this does make way for better positioned and larger speakers, which I think is a worthy trade-off. More on that in a bit.

Talking about the trackpad, this is just as great as ever. Just like what I said about the keyboard, I really like this. It’s smooth, it tracks well and in my experience thus far, probably still the nicest I’ve used when it comes to Windows Laptops. Obviously, the Mac is better, way better, but that’s a whole different story. Unfortunately, I do have to bring it down a notch this generation. Now I’m not too sure if there’s any significant difference between this generation and the last one I tried, but I find that palm rejection isn’t as great as what I remember it to be. Even when I was just typing out this script, the mouse cursor would move more often than I would like, which was a little annoying. So perhaps something to take note of.

But now we come back to those speakers, and wow, are they actually really great. They sound really full and there’s quite a bit of low-end despite the relatively thin chassis. Additionally, thanks to the physically larger size that a 17.3-inch laptop offers, you get pretty great stereo separation as well. Honestly, I think it might just be the best set of speakers in a Windows laptop thus far. It’s pretty impressive.

Now for ports, you’ll get the dedicated power input, RJ45 Ethernet, three standard USB 3.2 Gen 2, two Thunderbolt 4, 3.5mm combo, HDMI 2.1 and a UHS-II SD Card Reader. When it comes to battery life, this comes with a 82 watt hour battery which will last an average of about 4 and a half hours of general use. Which isn’t great, that’s for sure. No two ways about it.

But now let’s talk specs and this is really what you’re going to be paying for.

Now depending on which display option you go for, you’ll then be able to configure it with the GPUs ranging from the RTX 3060 to the latest RTX 3080 Ti. To be noted however is that the Intel Core i9-12900HK option is only restricted to the 4K 144Hz SKU for now. We have with us basically just one SKU below the most expensive.

Core i7-12800H, GeForce RTX 3080 Ti with a 165 watts TGP, 32GB of DDR5 RAM and 1TB of PCIe 4.0 SSD storage.

For the creative tests, we ran on all the CPU profiles available via Synapse, while for gaming, we only tested on the Boost profile for the best possible performance. All tests were done with the GPU on the High profile and in the dedicated GPU mode.

As you can tell in Cinebench R23, there is quite the significant difference in performance, especially in multi-core, between the various power profiles. Single-core performance are really similar across the board with the exception of the Low power profile. As for temperatures, the Blade 17 was honestly pretty stellar. Averaging around 60 degree celsius for both the Low and Medium profile while consuming about 25 to 35 watts, increasing to an average of 70 for the High profile while consuming 45 watts. This further increases to the low 80s for the Boost profile while consuming 60 watts sustained.

To add on, the fans weren’t loud either. Really well controlled.

The same holds true in DaVinci Resolve. We took our 10 min 4K test project as per usual and the results are as such. A surprising find would be the minimal difference between High and Boost, though not entirely unexpected given the little difference in actual sustained clock speeds.

With that said, if you’re looking at a Razer Blade, gaming should be the priority, so let’s talk about that. We test at both 1080p and 1440p and basically at the highest possible settings. For 1080p, the results are pretty much as you would expect from such a powerful CPU and GPU combo. eSports titles like CS:GO, Valorant and Apex Legends are really enjoyable with really high frame rates but even really demanding AAA titles like Halo Infinite and Cyberpunk 2077 perform admirably. Move it up to 1440p and the same holds true. Frame rates are still really high and you’ll be able to pretty much make full use of the 240Hz Quad HD display.

Now since you’re getting pretty much the best GPU in a laptop, Ray-Tracing is something you might want to consider. At both 1080p and 1440p, the system will be able to output at least an average of 60 frames per second even in the most demanding of games like Cyberpunk 2077. It is honestly a fantastic experience and you can get a little more performance if you go ahead and tweak the DLSS settings.

As for temperatures while gaming, it’s well within reason. The GPU is totally fine. Even with 165 watts of thermal graphics power allocated, the RTX 3080 Ti is well under control, averaging around 80 degree celsius under sustained load while drawing about 155 watts overall. The CPU on the other hand is a little hotter overall, averaging around 90 degree celsius while drawing just 35 to 40 watts.

But there is a catch.

Even though the temperatures are pretty well controlled, especially considering the form factor, you do feel the heat. It does get pretty uncomfortable to rest your hand on the WASD cluster, especially more so if you’re going to game for a couple of hours or more. You will feel the heat, trust me. Now we don’t have a thermal gun to accurately monitor the temperature, but there are other reviews out there that have pretty much confirmed that the surface temperature of this generation of Blade 17 is a few degrees higher than the previous. I guess it’s a little bit of a trade off considering the higher powered Intel 12th-Gen chip and the removal of one of the 35mm fans right below the trackpad in exchange for the bigger battery.

You lose some, you gain some, I guess.

Speaking of which, if you’re intending to upgrade the system, you’ll have access to two DDR5 SODIMM slots, an additional M.2 PCIe 4 SSD slot and the WiFi card. Lastly we come to a huge factor to dwell about if you’re even looking at getting a Blade, and that’s of course, the price.

As configured, this Blade 17 comes in at a whopping 6,649 Singapore Dollars or just under 4,000 US Dollars (3999.99 USD).

That is seriously a lot of cash and definitely not something you would just fork out without thinking twice. At least I hope so.

Now is it worth that sticker price? It really depends.

The Blade does occupy a really specific niche in the gaming laptop category, and it really is, in my opinion, the only laptop to offer both the performance and the aesthetics. Now there are other gaming laptops that come really close, but the Blade is really just that one step further. So whether that’s worth it to you, that’s really up to you. But again remember, while it does perform well, it does get really warm to the touch. Actual temperatures are fine, it’s just the surface temperature that’s a little too warm for my liking. So definitely do take note especially in a hot and humid climate like Singapore.

Our only advice, if you’re really looking at getting this, is to opt for the 3070Ti option instead. Performance isn’t going to be much different and you’re still going to enjoy the same great display but you’re saving almost a thousand bucks. And money in your bank account is always a W in our books.

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