The Razer Blade 14 Is A Compact Powerhouse and Some Just Want It.
When it comes to gaming laptops, there’s no denying that Razer is somewhere at the top. The Blade series of gaming laptops are still, to this day, the only ones to offer both performance and minimalistic aesthetics. And just recently, Razer refreshed their Blade 14 with brand spanking new hardware which puts them back in line against their direct competition. So how does it fare?
Well, pretty impressed to be honest. Razer has finally managed to hit that sweet spot where that premium price is simply because you’re paying for the form factor and design. The performance is going to be comparable and won’t disappoint you.
Price Is Still Sky-High, No Worries On That Front
Now for a start, don’t get me wrong. The Blade 14 is still a premium gaming laptop and it’ll cost you quite a bit more, especially when you compare spec to spec against a direct competitor such as the Asus Zephyrus G14.
The Blade 14 that we have on hand will sport the AMD Ryzen 9 7940HS, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 Laptop GPU, 16GB of DDR5 RAM and 1TB of PCIe Gen4 SSD storage. This particular configuration will set you back US$2,699.99 or S$4,399.
The Zephyrus G14 with the exact same specifications will set you back just US$1,849.99 and if you choose the higher-end RTX 4080 SKU, that’ll still cost you a little less at US$2,499.99.
If you’re even considering a Blade 14 in the first place, you probably already know that. Now a lot of you might argue it’s totally not worth it and we get it. But yet there’s still quite a number of people out there who are willing to pay the premium for a Razer Blade and so let’s talk about why that might be so.
Design Is Key
First and foremost, it’s a lot to do with the design and form factor. Honestly, gone are the days where gamers just want performance and just performance with gaming laptops. Nowadays, many of us consumers appreciate a well thought out design that appeals with a modern aesthetic and the Blade 14 literally stands out among the crowd.
It’s a full aluminium chassis that feels properly solid and looks good no matter how you slice it. It does however come in a tad bit bigger compared to the previous generation due to the move from a standard 16:9 panel to a 16:10 panel but the Blade 14 still is one of the most compact gaming laptops within the 14” category. You can easily slip it in any backpack without any issues whatsoever.
Thanks to NVIDIA, gaming laptops are also getting slightly heavier across the board, which means the Blade 14 comes in at 1.84kg or 4.05lbs which isn’t too heavy, thankfully, though perhaps still something of note for those of you who prioritise mobility.
To finish up the chassis, you do have a light up Razer logo on the lid and plenty of ports for all your needs. We’re talking two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports, two USB 4 Type-C ports, a single HDMI 2.1, a 3.5mm headphone/mic combo jack and the proprietary Razer power connector.
Overall, it’s just a really clean design that somehow, no other brands are pursuing. Some brands are getting close, sure, but Razer is the only one which we would say is on par with the MacBooks from Apple. And that is a huge reason why some people just want a Razer Blade and are willing to pay the premium for it. It’s that sense of satisfaction from owning and using a product.
Now that feeling extends to the keyboard and touchpad as well. For a start, the keyboard is fantastic in my opinion. It’s got a perfect balance between regular typing and gaming and every actuation is satisfying. Not to mention you have per-key Chroma RGB which completes the look.
The touchpad in particular however is arguably one of the best within the WIndows camp. Firstly, it’s large. Extremely large. And secondly, your finger glides smoothly across the glass surface. No qualms about it and it’s definitely my second favourite touchpad right after the ones from Apple. The speakers however, definitely could use quite a bit of tuning. It’s not bad, but no way near the Blade 18 that’s for sure. You do still get a 1080P webcam and it works fine with good microphones and all, so no worries on this front.
Razer Goes 16:10 At 14"
But now let’s talk about the biggest upgrade when it comes to the new Blade 14 and that’s the display. As mentioned, Razer is now using a 16:10 panel and it’s a nice welcome especially for the 14” form factor.
It’s also interesting to note that there’s no longer a 1080P option when it comes to the panel choice. The two SKUs that’s currently available will both come equipped with an IPS panel that sports a resolution of 2,560 x 1,600, a refresh rate of 240Hz, covers 100% DCI-P3, gets up to about 400 nits in brightness and also support FreeSync Premium.
All in all, it’s a great display that’s especially awesome for gaming. Fast-paced shooters like Modern Warfare 2 feel really great to play and RPGs like Cyberpunk 2077 feel alive thanks to the vibrant and rich colours. Of course, that would also mean that general content consumption and usage of the laptop is going to be great as well.
So now let’s get into the heart of things and let’s talk about the gaming experience.
Performance Is Stellar... For A RTX 4070 Laptop GPU
As mentioned, we’re rocking the new Ryzen 9 7940HS with the GeForce RTX 4070 Laptop GPU with a 130W TGP. Pretty impressive specs for how compact this laptop is. So without further ado, let’s get into the benchmarks.
Honestly, it performs great, be it for creative work or for gaming. In fact, if you actually compare the performance of the Blade 14 against the Strix G18 with the same RTX 4070 Laptop GPU that we reviewed before, the numbers are downright similar. But yet the Strix G18 has a much larger and thicker chassis whereas the Blade 14 is basically just this. Though technically, you can get slightly better performance should you choose to run the CPU on the Boost setting but we’ll suggest to refrain from doing so in favour of better temperatures.
Speaking of, if you were to set both the CPU and GPU to High, temperatures are well under control with the CPU averaging around 8512C and the GPU averaging around 80C during gaming load. Fan noise will be audible for sure but it’s within reason. And honestly, it’s a gaming laptop. It’s never going to be silent.
Oh yes, before we forget, battery life. Compared to the previous Blade 14, this does get a slight upgrade in capacity. Previously, it was a 61.6Whr, now you get a 68.1Whr. In reality however, there isn’t much difference in terms of actual usage. You’ll still get around 6-7 hours at best on a light load.
It Still Is A Great Gaming Laptop, Just Premium
So, the Blade 14 is still a mightily impressive gaming laptop and we definitely love every aspect of it. To top it off, you’re getting quite a big leap in upgrades with the newer chassis and what not. After using it for quite some time, it really did give us that satisfaction from using such a premium-oriented gaming laptop. Now that factor might not apply to you or perhaps the majority of you.
But for those of you who know you want a Razer Blade and you want to be happy with what you have for perhaps, the next three years of your life, the Blade 14 is indeed a compact powerhouse.