Razer on Thursday announced a new version of its Razer Blade Pro 17 gaming laptop. Like its predecessor, the device is aimed squarely at gamers and content creators looking for a powerful yet relatively thin 17-inch notebook.
This year’s Blade Pro 17 comes in three main variants. The lower two feature 17.3-inch 1080p displays and either an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q or higher-tier RTX 2080 Super Max-Q GPU. The top-end model features a sharper 4K panel with greater brightness (400 nits versus 300) and support for the more vibrant Adobe RGB color space, as it did with last year’s iteration. It now features an RTX 2080 Super Max-Q graphics card as well.
Of note here is that the 1080p models feature a super-fast 300Hz refresh rate, up from the 240Hz option in last year’s lineup. (The 4K display is 120Hz.) This has been a growing trend among gaming laptops in recent months—Razer, for one, already introduced a 300Hz option with its latest Blade 15 notebook. As display research site BlurBusters has noted, even if a gaming laptop is only capable of actually reaching 300Hz in older or less-demanding titles like CS:GO or Overwatch, having an ultra-high refresh rate can still help reduce motion blur and make mouse and Web-browsing effects appear more fluid.
Its proliferation should also help to lower the barrier of entry to still impressive 144Hz and 240Hz displays, much like what’s happened with 4K TV panels in recent years. You’d need even higher refresh rates to see the full extent of the possible improvements, and the returns will inevitably diminish the higher you go. But the gaming display market is trending in that direction; both Asus and Dell are already teasing 360Hz displays in upcoming gaming monitors. While this high of a refresh rate is still far from necessary for most people, it’s a technical advancement all the same. However, there’s still no support for either AMD’s FreeSync or Nvidia’s G-Sync variable refresh rate tech here; this may help salvage some battery life, but it could still make screen tearing more of an issue.
Under the hood, the new Blade Pro 17 takes the expected leap up to 10th-gen Intel Core processors. Specifically, each SKU of the notebook features an eight-core Core i7-10875H, a 45W “Comet Lake” CPU with a base clock of 2.3GHz and a boost clock up to 5.1GHz. The previous model came with a six-core chip. Joining this are 16GB of 2933MHz DDR4 RAM, which is upgradeable up to 64GB. The 1080p models come with a 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD, while the 4K model has a 1TB drive. Each option is upgradeable up to 2TB, and there’s an open M.2 slot for up to an additional 2TB of SSD storage.
In terms of design, not much has changed. The new model has the same dimensions (0.78×10.24×15.5-inches) and weight (6.06 lbs.) as before. It’s not light, but for a 17-inch gaming laptop, its aluminum frame and matte finish have traditionally come off svelte and clean (if prone to fingerprints). The I/O is still generous, with a Thunderbolt 3 port (which allows for external GPUs), a USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 port (which can charge the laptop), three USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 ports, an Ethernet jack, an HDMI 2.0b port, and a UHS-III SD card reader. The notebook supports Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5, while the keyboard supports per-key RGB lighting. That keyboard has also been tweaked to have a longer right shift key and shorter directional keys; previous models had awkwardly stuck the up key between the shift and forward slash keys.
The Blade series has always skewed expensive, and that’s the case again here: the new Blade Pro 17 starts at $ 2,600, a $ 100 increase over its predecessor. The 1080p and RTX 2080 Super Max-Q model is priced at $ 3,200, while the 4K model goes for $ 3,800. Razer says the notebook will be available later this month in the US and Canada but only says it’ll arrive “soon” in other regions.
Listing image by Razer