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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  • lmcd - Tuesday, July 2, 2013 - link

    I still think this should use the Samsung-style 3200x1800 display and halve that res for gaming. Might as well at this price point, and compete head-on with the Macbooks.
  • Bob Todd - Tuesday, July 2, 2013 - link

    Bingo! Well this one is off the list. I was a little worried about the resolution but I could deal with it. Horrible panel, not so much. There were 4 different laptops on my list as candidates to buy this fall. This one, the Alienware 14, then at the opposite end of the spectrum of "I'm more portable but can only play games at medium quality at 720p...maybe", I've got the Zenbook Infinity and the 13 rMBP with the 28 watt Iris parts. I love the fact that the Alienware 14 has 2 mSATA slots AND a full height 2.5" drive, but now I'm really leaning toward the more portable barely gaming capable choices. The Alienware config I'm interested in is the $1750 one (1080p IPS/GTX 765m/AC/16GB), and I'm sure my wallet will take an equal or larger beating with a 512GB storage option on the Infinity or the rMBP. Storage is where you get raped on anything thin :(.
  • ananduser - Wednesday, July 3, 2013 - link

    The new revamped Alienwares are all aluminium. There are also no compromises regarding temperature as there is ample room for cooling. This Razer unit is full of compromises due to portability and design constrains. Alienware is really the only choice right now.
  • Razorbak86 - Monday, July 8, 2013 - link

    Sager and Clevo beg to differ.
  • zach1 - Tuesday, July 2, 2013 - link

    Is the display only horrible for the price range or will a $900 laptop beat it.
  • purrcatian - Wednesday, July 3, 2013 - link

    You can get an IPS screen in laptops under $900.
  • wrkingclass_hero - Tuesday, July 2, 2013 - link

    I actually yelled out "oh no!" when I saw the ratio, and murmured "oh goodness..." when I saw the black levels. That is a terrible display all around, gamut, viewing angles... they fouled up the whole product with that one piece.
  • Sushisamurai - Wednesday, July 3, 2013 - link

    Damn, another PC gaming notebook bites the dust... The panel was truly shocking... But then I thought... Why not plug in a display... ...Herms.....
  • Bob Todd - Wednesday, July 3, 2013 - link

    Because if the display is bad enough that you'd want to use an external monitor all the time, you might as well be using a desktop ;). Somewhat joking, but really if you can afford to drop ~$2K on a laptop, then spending a quarter to half that for a much more capable gaming desktop (in addition to a laptop) probably isn't that big of a deal.
  • arnavvdesai - Tuesday, July 2, 2013 - link

    I was actually planning to buy this laptop and develop on it but not with that fucked up panel. Just look at Asus or Lenovo or others to get the best panels on the Windows side of the world. Heck even Dell has upped their game here. Jeez, talk about a royal fu to their users.

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