Razer Blade Pro 17 (2020) Review: 300Hz Is Kinda Overkill…
Updated: Aug 20, 2021
300Hz. That’s the refresh rate of the display on the new Razer Blade Pro 17. Honestly speaking, when I first heard about it, and when I was actually down at their booth at CES earlier this year, I was a little sceptical.
Fast forward to today, I’ve had this laptop for a couple of weeks now, and… I’m still sceptical about it.
But that’s not to say I don’t like it, I did thoroughly enjoy my experience with it for these past two weeks, be it for gaming, or just general usage. With that said, there are things that I have to point out, should you be interested in this laptop.
Now right off the bat, do note that it’s going to be pretty expensive. Now I wouldn’t say it’s worth the price, but I can kind of understand because larger laptops cost more in general, and well, it’s Razer.
But speaking about the size, we do have to talk about the design.
If you’ve seen last year’s model, you’ve seen this one. Believe it or not, this is actually only the third iteration of the 17-inch design. Now, is that bad? No, not at all. Because this updated look from last year was great, and still looks great even in 2020. In essence, it’s basically a larger Blade 15.
But of course, it also gets the same, quote unquote, drawbacks. While the black finish is great, it does pick oil stains and fingerprints really easily. So if you wanna keep it fresh looking, you’ll have to wipe it down regularly. And also, because it’s black, if you accidentally nick it, the underlying silver will show through.
Taking care and maintaining it will take a little bit of effort, but if you do, you’ll be fine.
We then talk about the display, and this is what’s new, compared to last year.
You still get a 17.3” Full HD IPS display, that covers 100% sRGB and goes up to 300 nits in maximum brightness.
But instead of 240Hz, Razer has bumped that up to 300Hz.
300Hz is a really nice sounding number, and it’s a great display, no doubt. But I don’t really think it’s an upgrade, if at all.
If you’re coming from a standard 60Hz display, it’s going to be a huge and easily noticeable difference jumping to 120Hz or 144Hz, even for the average person. Now going from 144Hz to 240Hz, I would say you can notice it, but only if you’ve used 144Hz for a while, and if you have a really sharp eye.
But going from 240Hz to 300Hz… I’m not sure if even those who are used to 240Hz, would even notice a difference at all.
Now, I’m not saying it’s a bad display, far from it. Colours and viewing angles are great, be it for YouTube or gaming, and feel free to edit photos or videos with it. Though I would say, the maximum brightness is a little lacking.
It’s just, I don’t really see the point of 300Hz. I would much rather have Razer stick to 240Hz, and improve on things like colour or brightness, or offer a 1440p option instead, at 144Hz.
Regardless, those are just my thoughts.
Above the display, you do get a 720p webcam with support for Windows Hello.
I would say it’s an average webcam that’ll get the job done, and the microphones do sound decent. But of course, if you’re coming from the likes of a Surface device, this will probably disappoint you.
Moving on, the keyboard.
Same as on the Blade Stealth which I reviewed earlier, you finally get back their original keyboard design with the half-height arrow keys, and so finally, the question mark and shift keys are right next to each other. No more typos.
Keys are tactile, have a good amount of key travel, and overall, it was pleasant to use for both typing and gaming.
Same goes for the trackpad, which as I’ve mentioned before, I find to be one of the best among Windows laptops, on par with the Surface devices.
It has a glass surface, it’s large and just tracks really well.
You get stereo speakers that flank both sides of the keyboard, and honestly, it’s one of the better speakers I’ve heard on laptops so far. It gets pretty loud, have a decent amount of bass, while maintaining clear highs, and does actually have a little bit of soundstage, thanks to how wide they are spaced apart.
But of course, if you’re gaming, I always suggest using a headset.
We then come to ports, and there’s plenty. On the left, you get your power port, RJ45 Ethernet that’s actually 2.5 Gigabits, a couple of standard USB 3.2 Gen 2, a Type-C port, and your 3.5mm headphone/mic combo.
Flipping to the right, you get HDMI 2 point 0 B, another standard USB 3.2 Gen 2, a Thunderbolt 3 port and a UHS three SD card reader.
With all that said and done, we come to the performance, and this is where the Blade Pro 17, really shines.
For our model, we’re rocking an Intel Core i7-10875H, 16GB of RAM running at 2,933Mhz, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super Max-Q, and 512GB of NVMe SSD storage.
In Cinebench R20, you can expect great performance out of that 8 core 16 thread chip, with a Muti-Core score of 3230 and a Single-Core score of 455. It really is nothing to scoff at.
In DaVinci Resolve, the 10 minute 1080p edit took almost just half the time to render out, at 5 minutes and 30 seconds, while the 15 minute 4K edit was almost real-time, taking about 17 minutes to finish rendering.
So it’s great for creative work. But of course, we can’t forget gaming, that’s what Razer is all about.
With an RTX 2080 Super Max-Q, you can pretty much play any games without a single worry. You can even choose to turn on ray-tracing in games like Shadow of the Tomb Raider, or Battlefield V and still above 60 frames per second, OR, you can go ham with eSports titles, and achieve much higher frame rates to make full use of that 300Hz display.
But what’s more amazing are the temperatures. Despite packing such high wattage chips in a thin form factor, Razer has managed to keep the CPU around 80 degrees celsius, and the GPU at around 70 degrees celsius, for both creative work and for gaming. One thing to note is that it also doesn’t get all that warm around the keyboard, and you can game leisurely for long hours in relative comfort.
Opening it up, you can see the cooling system, which just like last year, incorporates an interesting design with two additional fans located under the trackpad which helps circulate the internal airflow within the chassis. In terms of upgradability, you get access to two RAM slots, allowing for a maximum of 64GB of RAM, and an additional M dot 2 slot, for a second SSD.
Battery life, is of course, not its strong point. You can get around 4 hours plus of actual use when you’re off the grid. This was on better battery mode, with the screen at 300Hz, and with all the lighting on, so perhaps you can extend it a little if you reduce all the settings. But in any case, it’s not going to last you a day. You definitely want to bring the adapter everywhere you go.
So… to sum up, I’m still not too sure about the 300Hz panel. I would’ve much rather liked to see a better 240Hz panel or a 1440p 144hz panel. There is however an option for a 4K 120Hz touch panel, but that does cost quite a bit more.
With that said, however, it is indeed an awesome 17-inch laptop, that’s great not just for gaming, but creative work as well. But of course, that’s if you’re willing to fork out the cash.
Content by Soon Kai Hong