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Razer Blade Pro 17 Review (2020 Model)
"R59,999 gets you a Razer gaming laptop."

The Razer Blade 17 Pro is a very expensive gaming notebook. It means business but at a price of R59,999. Sure, it is a Razer which means you are getting a fantastic premium experience here. The build is great, the display is awesome and the power is all present. Even if there are some heating issues. However, the price tag is a little high for what it offers especially given how the 3000 series has just entered the scene. I kind of look at the Razer Blade range as the MacBook of gaming. You pay a lot of money for something because it is Razer.

The Razer Black Pro 17 is also one of the first gaming notebooks to boast a 300Hz display. It is overkill? Yes. You really don’t need a notebook with a 300Hz display and only super gaming enthusiasts will find a difference between a 240Hz and 300Hz. It also means you’re paying a massive premium for something which only specific games can take advantage of. The NVIDIA RTX 2070 Max-Q does not run many modern games past the 120FPS mark so unless you’re playing CS: GO and other multiplayer-specific games, it is definitely a waste.

Razer Blade Pro 17 Review (2020 Model)

Razer Blade Pro 17 Tech Specs

  • CPU: 2.3GHz Intel Core i7-10875 CPU with Turbo Boost up to 5.1GHz
  • GPU: NVIDIA RTS 2070 Max-Q
  • Display: 17.3-inch 1920×1080 IPS 300 nits of max brightness 100% SRGB Colour Gamut
  • Storage: 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD + Empty M.2 Slot up to 2TB support
  • RAM: 16GB Dual Channel DRR4 upgradable to 64GB
  • Ports: 3x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, 2x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C With Thunderbolt 3), 1x Thunderbolt 3 port, 2.5Gb Ethernet, HDMI 2.0b, SD Card reader
  • Keyboard: Per-key RGB Powered by Razer Chroma
  • Wireless: Wi-Fi 6 802.11ax, BlueTooth 5.0
  • Price: R59,999

Razer Blade Pro 17 Design

There’s really nothing groundbreaking about the Razer Blade Pro 17 when it comes to the design and that is what I loved about it. Its simple form factor means the shell is free from vents and even the innards are a lot cleaner than most notebooks on the market. The body is built from aluminium and coloured in a pure black shade. The only decal on it is on the lid and features the iconic Razer logo in green which brightens when the device is on.

Razer Blade Pro 17 Review (2020 Model)

The bright Razer green pigments carry through to the USB ports which instead have blue and black plastic connectors include green ones this time around too. On the inside, the keyboard is positioned in-between two speaker grills and the power button is found on the top of the right-hand side one. Personally, I always prefer a full keyboard more than anything else. The Razer Blade 17 Pro was missing the number pad which could have easily been put in by moving the speakers. Sorry, I am just a full keyboard kinda guy.

The display has thin bezels around it meaning there is more screen space and less body on this laptop. Small bezels are nothing new when it comes to gaming notebooks but it looks great on this device. It means the display hits more body and there are less black bars on the sides.

Razer Blade Pro 17 Review (2020 Model)

Port placement is also great on the Razer Blade 17 Pro. On the left-hand side, there’s the business with two USB Type-A ports, the ethernet, USB Type-C with Thunderbolt and headphone jack. On the right-hand side, where you will most likely use a gaming mouse, there’s only one USB Type-A, Type-C, HDMI and SD card reader. This frees up room for more gaming movement. If you are right-handed that is.

Razer Blade Pro 17 Performance

The 17.3-inch display on the Razer Blade Pro 17 is great. Yes, the 300Hz kinda felt like overkill but generally speaking, it looks fantastic. Colours are vivid and it reaches a decent brightness too that looks good in most environments. It is not the brightest display I have used before and the 300 nits struggle to beat the likes of the Aero OLED at 350 nits. However, even with its matte anti-gloss coating, the device delivered some decent viewing when watching content and gaming. Beyond the 300Hz display, the colour accuracy is also top-notch. Details are clear in games and during normal usage.

When it comes to audio, the speakers are good. They are definitely better than most gaming laptops on the market and while some sounds kind of came out hollow, they do a decent job. When gaming, these speakers shine the most and sound effects are the best to listen too. Walking through pools of water in Assassin’s Creed was a joy as every pit and pat was clear. The clang of a sword in The Witcher was powerful and the swish of a spell immersed me into the game. The speakers also boast Dobly Atmos which makes a world of difference too. This is activated on specific games using the built-in software.

The keyboard is good. There’s a lot of space between keys, the larger shift key on the right-hand side helps with typing and gaming. Not to mention the spring typing effect goes a long way when working and gaming. The per-key lighting is also fantastic and the Razer Synapse software helps with customizing the effects of the lighting.It can also sync with you Razer mouse if you have one. As for the touchpad, it is also decent and supports gestures and multi-touch. The bottom left and right act as clicks too and feel great.  While I would have prefered a physical click button, the touchpad is massive and goes a long way by improving productivity when forced to use it instead of a mouse.

Razer Blade Pro 17 Gaming Heat and Battery Life

Now for the benchmarks. As I mentioned before, while this device packs a great display, its RTX 2070 Max-Q is never going to meet the performance requirements to run most modern games at close to that frame rate. Well, you can but you are going to have to sacrifice a little it of quality in order to get there. For example, running The Witcher 3 on medium hit 180fps. While maxing out the settings clocked in at 75fps.

Here are some benchmarks from the games I tested.

GameSettingsFPS
GTA VVery High85
Shadow of the Tomb RaiderHighest72
Far Cry New DawnUltra90
The Witcher 3Ultra75

Overall, the performance was great. The device manages to keep up with most modern games but the display’s 300Hz is never truly utilized. A 240Hz would have been cheaper and a better fit here. Dare I say even a 120Hz.

When it comes to gaming, the device runs hot. This is due to the fans being all underneath the device. Just average use pumped the touchpad to 30 degrees. During gaming, the centre of the device got quite hot and reached 82 degrees celsius and at times even 95 degrees on the CPU. However, the heat dissipates quite fast. Just don’t game with this on your lap. It will burn. Fan noise is also a lot quieter than other notebooks I have reviewed this year. There’s now squeal sounds as they run and it makes a world of difference when working and gaming.

I was surprised to see how poor the battery life was on the Razer Blade 17 Pro. The 70Wh delivers some sub-par performance in general use. Surfing the web in performance mode on a dim screen and it lasted around 2 hours. Streaming Netflix on Chrome on battery mode with 30% brightness lasted 4 hours. Needless to say, the device would last you around an hour and a half on max brightness while streaming a movie. It is just not great at all. Average use is maxing 4 hours if you are lucky.

We have come a long way when it comes to battery life in notebooks. Again, the 300Hz display clearly uses a lot of power here making it another reason to leave it out of the machine.

Verdict

The Razer Blade 17 Pro is a powerful gaming notebook but I can’t help but question its R59,999 price tag. The 300Hz display is too much and the mediocre battery life is a disappointment. This is R60,000 you are talking about here. Sure, the RTX 2070 Max-Q is great but there’s a lot of expensive tech here which feels underused. Not to mention it comes with a 512GB SSD and no other storage inside of it. Surely Razer could have included a 1TB SSD for the price of R59,999? It smells like Apple all over again. A shame really. If you have R60k around for a gaming notebook, best build an RTX 3080 PC with that money.

Razer Blade Pro 17 Review (2020 Model)

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