We tested and compared the Razer Blade Pro 17 versus Razer Blade Pro 15 Pro in terms of Gaming Performance, Portability, Display Quality, Battery, Price & more.
Above you can see the Ranking with the results of the test and below you will find the in-depth reports of each Razer Blade Gaming Laptop.
Ranking First: Razer Blade 17 Pro
- Best Gaming Performance for Full HD, 4K, VR Gaming
- Above-average performance of the RTX 2080 Max-Q
- Key individual RGB-illumination
- More expensive than Razer Blade 15 Pro
The gold standard for ultra-thin lightweight 17-inch gaming laptops Razer may have taken several attempts, but they have finally managed to create the nearly perfect blade notebook and one of the best gaming laptops in its size.
The latest iteration of the Blade Pro bids farewell to essential features of previous generations to deliver a lighter, smaller, more efficient and straightforward gaming experience that benefits everyone – not just Razer fans.
The Razer Blade Pro 17 2020 is the third generation of Razer’s 17.3-inch gaming laptop series. Compared to its 2016 and 2017 predecessors, it’s a complete redesign, eliminating many of the then novel features to provide a straighter and better gaming experience.
A new feature of the Blade-Pro series is the thin screen edges and many of the design elements are taken from the in-house 15.6-inch notebook Blade 15 Pro.
Compared to this, the choice of models on the Blade Pro 17 is currently still very limited. There is only a single display (1080p at 144 Hz), a single CPU (Core i7-9750H) and three GPUs (RTX 2060, RTX 2070 Max-Q, RTX 2080 Max-Q).
The competition offers a much wider choice of hardware. However, our review shows that the Blade Pro could actually noticeably benefit from this approach with focus on the essentials.
The price is between $2,700 and $3,500, depending on the GPU. Other ultra-thin enthusiasts’ laptops, such as the 17.3 inch Alienware m17 R2, Lenovo Legion Y740, Asus Zephyrus S GX701, Asus ROG Scar III GL704, Acer Predator Triton 700 and the MSI GS75 compete with us.
The case of the new Razer Blade Pro 17 is best described as follows: Take the aluminum-magnesium case of the 15.6-inch Razer Blade 15 Pro and pump it up to 17.3 inches – voilà. Razer has applied the lessons learned from the Blade 15 series to the Blade Pro and the result is impressive.
We especially liked the case’s stability. There is virtually no creaking or yielding when you try to twist it or apply pressure to the center of the keyboard. Even the lid is more robust than in many other 17.3 inch laptops with narrow screen edges, including the Asus Zephyrus S GX701.
It’s impressive how Razer has managed to drill out the Blade-15 Pro case without losing any of its robustness and strength to the point where it can hold a 17-inch screen. The MSI GS75 is the exact opposite: Essentially a GS65 drilled out to 17.3 inches, it feels much more flexible and unstable.
In short, anyone who has ever held a Blade 15 Pro in their hand knows how the Blade Pro 17 feels. The other side of the coin is, of course, that the Blade Pro 17 has also taken on the disadvantages of the Blade 15 Pro, including the surfaces that almost magically attract fingerprints and the limited opening angle of the screen. For comparison: The Lenovo Legion Y740 and Alienware m17 R1’s screens can be opened almost a full 180 degrees.
The workmanship of our test device was excellent and we couldn’t find any uneven gaps or other flaws. Compared to other gaming laptops, Razer’s approach is much more minimalist and consistent and fits well into the current range with Blade 15 Pro and the Blade-Stealth series.
At around 7.93 lbs, the Blade Pro 2017 was a real chunk. Thanks to thinner screen edges and considerably smaller dimensions, the new Blade Pro 17 has slimmed down a proud 800g!
This puts it on about the same level as other ultra-thin 17.3-inch gaming laptops like the Lenovo Legion Y740 or the Asus ROG GL704GW. However, it is still about 500g heavier than the MSI GS75, which is due to the firmer case and the Vapor-Chamber cooling.
In view of the size, the dimensions are quite compact, especially compared to the Lenovo Legion Y740 or Alienware m17, both have so-called “jet engine” cooling and turn out accordingly bulky at the back.
Ports & Interfaces
The Blade Pro 17 has all the connections that the Blade Pro 2017 already offered and additionally a further USB-C port. Many of the ports have also been updated, including the USB ports (USB 3.0 to 3.2), Ethernet (1 Gbps to 2.5 Gbps) and the SD card reader (UHS-II to UHS-III). The ports are evenly distributed and located in the rear area, making them easy to reach. We didn’t like the thick and unwieldy power cable, though.
The power supply of the Blade Pro 17 is incompatible with its predecessor, Blade Pro 2017, but the plug is blue-identical to the current Blade 15 Pro series, which means that the power supplies of these two model series can be swapped across without any problems.
As one of the first laptops with a UHS-III card reader, the Blade Pro 17 is theoretically capable of transferring up to 624 MB/s. Unfortunately, our reference card only fulfills the UHS-II specification, so we could not test this. However, the mere fact that there is an SD card reader at all is commendable – see Blade 15 Pro, Alienware m17 or Zephyrus S GX701.
A fully inserted SD card doesn’t disappear completely in the case, but protrudes about 2 mm.
The Blade 15 Pro and Blade Pro 17 are the first laptops equipped with Intel’s AX200 WiFi modem. This WiFi chip offers support for Wi-Fi 6, or 802.11ax, and thus transfer rates of up to 2.4 Gbps.
The Blade Pro 2017 with Killer 1535 only reached a maximum of 867 Mbps. Future Athena Ultrabooks will also be equipped with Intel’s AX200 card. During the entire test period no connection problems occurred.
Due to the limitation of our server to 1 Gbit/s, our measurement results below do not reflect the true capabilities of the WiFi chip. Also, Wi-Fi 6 routers are not yet very widespread and are currently quite expensive. Most users should therefore not be able to enjoy the advantages of the new WiFi chip for the time being. This is therefore more of an investment in the future.
The bottom panel is fixed by a dozen T5 Torx screws and can be removed without any great effort. Below it are the SO-DIMM slots, the memory bays and the WiFi card. Compared to the Blade Pro 2017 GTX 1080, where the RAM was still soldered, the motherboard has been completely reworked.
The battery is divided in the middle by two small fans, which provide additional fresh air supply. No other gaming laptop has fans in the immediate vicinity of the trackpad.
However, depending on the CPU and GPU configuration, Razer may well drop these two additional fans in future versions of the Blade Pro 17.
Keyboard & Touchpad
The former mechanical keyboard of the Blade Pro 2017 was replaced by the keyboard of the Blade 15 Pro. Thus, all our comments about the Blade 15 Pro’s keyboard still apply here, including the short stroke, the soft feedback and the overall low volume when typing.
The competition’s keyboards in the form of the MSI GS75 and Asus ROG GL704 feel more saturated and deeper. We personally prefer the firmer keyboards of the competitors mentioned, but we have also talked to gamers who got along very well with the keyboard of the new blade.
Nevertheless, we recommend trying out the keyboard yourself before buying if possible.
What we definitely liked is the fact that the function and arrow keys are just as large as the other keys on the main keypad. In most laptops, these turn out considerably smaller and above all softer. Despite the individual RGB illumination of the keys, a negative aftertaste remains.
In comparison to the previous models, which had things like volume control, RGB trackpad lighting and dedicated additional keys, the new keyboard looks very minimalistic. But maybe this is the best approach.
The large clickpad also matches that of the Blade 15 Pro in size (13 x 8 cm), texture and quiet feedback. The glass surface is very smooth and slippery, and thanks to the 144 Hz display, mouse cursor movement looks very fluid and responsive.
As before, we are annoyed by the spongy and soft integrated keys, though. Razer would certainly be better advised to emulate the MacBook Pro’s trackpad in future versions of the Blade Pro.
At the time of this writing, only one display was available for the Blade Pro 17: a matte 1080p IPS panel at 144 Hz. So, if you want 4K-UHD, touchscreen, OLED, 240 Hz or a glossy display, you’re out of luck for the time being.
At a closer look, the panel turned out to be an AU Optronics B173HAN04.0, which is also found in other gaming laptops like the Asus TUF FX705 or Zephyrus S GX701. Consequently, all these laptops have the same characteristics in terms of color space coverage, contrast and response time.
Compared to the Blade Pro 2017’s 4K UHD IGZO panel, the current 1080p panel is a significant improvement in many ways. It offers a higher refresh rate for a smoother display of motion, significantly shorter response times and thus reduced ghosting and a much brighter backlight (300 nits vs. 230 nits).
On the other hand, the lower resolution and color space coverage are not surprisingly disadvantageous. From a gamer’s point of view, where smooth movements and reaction speed are more important than the most accurate display of colors, this is quite bearable.
The screen content appears sharp with a minimum grain size that isn’t unusual for matt panels. Along the upper and lower edges we could detect slight backlight bleeding. Fortunately, this was only visible when playing films with black edges in a dark environment.
Razer advertises with a complete sRGB color space coverage of 100%, but according to our independent measurements this was only around 89% when viewed realistically. This plays a rather subordinate role for gamers. Graphic designers, who had hoped for a full AdobeRGB coverage as still in the predecessor model, are disappointed in return.
Further measurements with our X-Rite photo spectrometer resulted in a good accuracy of grayscales and colors with a slight shift of the color temperature into coolness. By raising the same from 6,590 to 7,101 K, we were able to lower the DeltaE for grayscale from 3.5 to 2.1. Overall, we don’t consider it necessary to calibrate this screen individually, as the display is already very accurate ex works.
In outdoor use, visibility was significantly better than the predecessor’s thanks to the brighter backlight and the matt panel. Nevertheless, the Blade Pro 17 is not made for outdoor use, even if the dimensions seem to suggest the opposite.
The screen content looks washed out very quickly even on cloudy days. The viewing angles are excellent and extreme angles have only a slight influence on contrast, colors and brightness.
While the Blade Pro 2017 could be equipped with two different 7th generation Intel processors (i7-7700HQ and i7-7820HK) and two GPUs (GTX 1060 and GTX 1080), the current model only has a single 9th generation CPU (Core i7-9750H), but three GPUs (RTX 2060, RTX 2070 Max-Q, RTX 2080 Max-Q) are available.
Razer has decided to skip Intel’s 8th generation completely. Which advantages this step brings can be seen in our benchmark results in the following.
According to Razer, the reason why a Core i9-9880H can’t be configured is because the Core i9 doesn’t offer any significant advantages for gamers in comparison to the Core i7.
Therefore, the Core i7 has been exclusively chosen for the time being. Nevertheless, we expect that Razer will also offer other differently equipped models of the Blade Pro 17 in the future, analogous to the Blade 15 Pro series.
All models support Optimus as standard, so G-Sync isn’t available on the Blade Pro 17.
The CPU performance was exactly as we would have expected. In the CineBench, the results of our test device were within one percentage point of the average Core i7-9750H result (13 other laptops in total). Compared to a Core i5-8300H, Core i5-9300H or the older Core i7-7820HK, which was still available in the Blade Pro 2017, we can expect a performance increase of 44 to 53%.
Compared to the Core i7-8750H of the previous generation, the Core i7-9750H offers only minimal advantages, if any. The Core i9-9880H Octa core, which is found in the MSI GE75 among others, offers up to 50% more performance than the i7-9750H of our test device.
The Razer Blade 17 was only average in terms of long-term performance. During our Cinebench R15 multi-threaded loop, the performance already dropped by around 10% in the second run.
Some laptops with the older Core i7-8750H, like the Alienware m15 or the Asus ROG Strix Scar II GL704GW, can keep a higher clock rate stable over a longer period of time despite the older CPU.
Additional information and benchmarks for the Core i7-9750H can be found on the page dedicated to this CPU.
In PCMark, the Blade Pro 17 was roughly on par with RTX competitors, such as the Asus ROG Strix Scar II GL704GW or the Alienware m17. More importantly, the result is much better in comparison to the predecessor from 2017 and shows how much faster the new model actually is in practice.
During the entire test period, apart from two blue screens at the beginning of our tests, no other problems occurred. The crashes happened during the execution of Prime95 and Shadow of the Tomb Raider, but the cause seems to have been cleared up by Windows and Synapse updates carried out afterwards.
Internally, two M.2-2280 slots connected via PCIe x4 are available with optional RAID. Our test device was equipped with the very high-end Samsung PM981, while the predecessor was still equipped with a Samsung PM951. Razer deserves explicit praise for the fact that only Samsung SSDs are used across all series.
Most manufacturers obtain their SSDs from different sources, which makes the performance of the individual models very different. Buying a notebook from Alienware or MSI is therefore like winning the lottery – you never know whether you will get an SSD from Toshiba, Lite-On or Samsung.
The PM981’s transfer rates were exactly as expected. Sequentially, about 1,800 MB/s could be read. Intel’s 660p or Toshiba’s BG3 only manage half or even less.
Expanding the memory will be expensive, though, as the Blade Pro 17 is one of the few 17-inch gaming laptops without a 2.5-inch SATA III bay.
Razer’s Blade series was designed from the start as a Max-Q laptop. The Blade Pro 2017 still had to rely on an underclocked GTX 1080, as Nvidia hadn’t even introduced the Max-Q series at the time this laptop was released.
Impressively, the GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q of our test device was even 13 to 15 percent above the average of all other notebooks equipped with the same GPU in our benchmarks. Only 14 percent were missing from the standard RTX-2080.
Thus, if you come from an older GTX-1080 laptop, you can expect a performance increase of 22 to 39 percent.
As we already noticed in the Blade 15 Pro, DirectX 12 games profit significantly more from Nvidia’s Turing GPUs than DirectX 11 games. In order to get the maximum out of the RTX 2080 Max-Q, it’s advisable to play games in DirectX 12 if possible.
Thus, the difference between a GTX 1080 Max-Q and an RTX 2080 Max-Q is 24% in the DX11 benchmark Fire Strike, but 45% in the DX12-based Time Spy benchmark.
As already explained here, we strongly recommend running the system at “maximum performance” to get the maximum out of the hardware. Time Spy at maximum performance brought a Physics and Graphics score of 6,791 and 8,844 points respectively. On balanced, however, these values were only 4,998 and 8,479 points.
Virtually every game runs at 60 FPS and more thanks to the “low” native resolution of the panel with maximum details. Compared to a desktop GeForce-RTX-2070, the performance is just under 10% behind.
However, in order to achieve a stable 144 FPS, the details often have to be reduced, except of course in known undemanding multiplayer games like Fortnite, Rocket League or Overwatch. Since G-Sync is not available, it might be advisable to activate V-Sync instead to avoid screen tearing.
During our one-hour Witcher 3 loop, the achieved frame rates were very constant, which indicates the absence of any disturbing background processes. Only at the very beginning of the test did the frame rate drop briefly to 31 FPS before it immediately stabilized again. We don’t know exactly what happened here, and we couldn’t reproduce this anomaly.
Further information and benchmarks for the GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q can be found on our page dedicated to this GPU.
Heating & noise levels
The cooling system consists of two large 55 mm fans, two small 35 mm fans and a vapor-chamber cooler via CPU, GPU and VRAM. The Blade Pro 17 is thus the first gaming laptop with four fans. All other manufacturers rely on two fans with classic heatpipes in between. Is Razer’s effort really worthwhile in practice?
The Blade Pro 17 is quieter than the Blade Pro 2017 under all load scenarios. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t forget that the fan noise is strongly dependent on the set performance profile. The fans pulsate at “maximum performance” and react much faster to changing load compared to “balanced”.
We therefore recommend the latter for simple video rendering, word processing or surfing the net and generally speaking, whenever maximum performance isn’t required. The fan usually remains constant at a low 31.2 dB(A). On “maximum performance”, the volume varies between 30 and 38 dB(A) when surfing the net, on the other hand.
When gaming at “maximum performance” we could measure a sound pressure level of 51 dB(A), which decreased to 44.6 dB(A) at “balanced”. The difference is significant enough to be considered for gaming at the expense of heat generation and performance on “balanced”.
If you need maximum performance, you’ll be confronted with a Blade Pro 17, which is just as loud as the Asus GL704 or the Alienware m17, despite the elaborate vapor-chamber cooling. Generally, we feel that the range above 50 dB(A) can hardly be ignored or drowned out without good headphones.
We could detect very quiet coil beeping in a completely silent environment. However, this wasn’t audible at normal volume in everyday life.
In idle, the surface temperatures on both sides of the laptop remain relatively even, with the underside heating up a bit more than the top. During gaming, the surfaces heat up to 43 to 47 °C, which is normal for an ultra-thin gaming notebook.
The hotspots are located in the rear area of the case and are thus far away from the WASD keys and the palm rest. Thus, they stay within a tolerable temperature range for use.
The Razer’s temperature range is much more extreme than for example the MSI GS75. That means: The average surface temperature of the latter is much higher.
For example, the Razer’s palm rests get 33 °C warm, whereas they can reach up to 38 °C on the GS75. We would have wished for even cooler palm rests, but in the end they never became unpleasantly warm during gaming.
Razer hasn’t obtained THX certification for the current Blade Pro 17 and, to be honest, we can’t see any difference in practice. The audio quality is okay for a 17 inch notebook despite the lack of certification, but the curve drops steeply at 250 Hz as usual for laptop speakers.
The Alienware m17 has advantages here due to a higher volume and a wider range. Possibly, a dedicated subwoofer would be the next evolutionary step for the Blade Pro series, if audio quality is on Razer’s priority list. Until then, the Blade Pro 17’s integrated speakers won’t knock anyone over, but they’ll be enough.
Due to the additional two fans, the capacity of the battery had to be reduced from the 99 Wh of the previous model to only 70 Wh. Nevertheless, the battery life of the new Blade Pro was even longer than before.
With around 4.5 hours in a realistic WiFi test with the energy savings plan set to “Balanced” and Optimus enabled, our test device ran a full 1.5 hours longer than the Blade Pro from 2017.
Charging the empty battery takes about 1.5 hours and is thus within the normal range for a notebook.
Historically, Razer Blade Pro laptops have always had some kind of gimmick to set them apart from the competition. For example, the Blade Pro 2015 had the unique screenpad and the Blade Pro 2017 had a mechanical keyboard, an illuminated trackpad, THX certification and a dedicated volume control.
The Blade Pro 17 2020 completely lacks this unicum, instead Razer has concentrated on the essentials. The result is the best blade laptop Razer has ever brought to market. The iterative optimizations are noticeable and anything but negligible or purely superficial.
Compared to the Blade Pro 2017 GTX 1080, the new model is 22% lighter, 24% smaller, 30% brighter, 14% more energy efficient for gaming and up to 39% faster for GPU heavy tasks. If you also consider the fact that RAM and mass storage can be upgraded without much effort, Razer really seems to have done everything right.
Nevertheless, we have found a few places where there is still a need for optimization. A firmer keyboard with more stroke, similar to MSI’s SteelSeries keys, would improve the tactile feel considerably, and the spongy click pad could also benefit noticeably by borrowing from Apple’s MacBook Pro.
The fan noise on “high performance” is lower than on the Blade Pro 2017, but still very loud at over 50 dB(A). Macro buttons for quick switching between “High Performance” and “Balanced” would be very handy and would save the user having to constantly open Synapse to change the profile.
A dedicated subwoofer would improve the sound quality audibly even without THX certification. Lastly, we’d also like a slightly thinner and more flexible power cable. All these disadvantages taken together are enough to take the crown of perfection away from the otherwise absolutely outstanding ultra-thin gaming laptop.
And the price will also be an obstacle for many a gamer. For example, you can already get the Lenovo Legion Y740-17ICH with Core i7-9750H and RTX 2080 Max-Q for the Razer Blade Pro 17’s entry price of around $3000.
Whether or not the Blade Pro 17 is worth the extra price with its admittedly considerably more robust case is something everyone has to decide for themselves.
In our opinion, however, it’s definitely worth taking a closer look at thanks to the many improvements over the predecessor model.
Razer has optimized its Blade Pro series for a better gaming experience. If you’re looking for a thin 17-inch gaming notebook, you should leave the inflated Blade Pro 2017 to the left and better consider the slimmer successor right away.
It may be a bit more expensive than the competition, but it not only feels more valuable, but also offers more fun when playing games, which is why the Razer Blade 17 is ranking first vs Razer Blade 15 Pro.
Ranking Second: Razer Blade Pro 15
- Very good gaming performance
- Better Price than Razer Blade 17 Pro
- Quick display
- Becomes very warm under load
- Unpleasant whistling under load
The new gaming laptop Razer Blade Pro 15 in the Professional or Advanced Edition offers a choice of a 4K OLED display or a 240Hz IPS display. These are completely new screen types for notebooks. We have tested both models and revealed which one is better for you.
The new Razer Blade 15 Pro shares the case with the previous year’s model. It is made of black colored aluminum, and on the back of the lid you can see the Razer logo, which glows green when in use.
The hinge holds the stiff lid firmly in place. Stereo speakers are mounted on both sides of the keyboard, with a huge trackpad underneath.
The edges on the sides of the screen are very thin, with some space at the top for the 3D camera for face recognition with Windows Hello. Only the frame under the display is a bit thicker. The notebook measures only 1.8 centimeters in height and otherwise turns out very compact.
The weight is around 4.85 lbs – all in all, the Razer Blade 15 Pro is a very portable gaming notebook. The adapter is also suitably compact and weighs 1.47 lbs. No comparison to the two power supplies that the Alienware Area-51m requires.
Verdict: The Razer Blade 15 Pro model (2020) is light, stable and compactly built. The design made of black metal with colored illumination on the keys and the logo on the back looks futuristic and at the same time understated for a powerful gaming notebook.
An Intel Core i7-9750H is responsible for the computing power, which is the second most powerful laptop processor on the market after the Intel Core i7-9850H.
The Nvidia RTX 2080 is represented in the power-saving Max-Q design, it is the second most powerful laptop graphics card available. On top of that, there is 16 GB RAM and a 512 GB SSD hard disk in the currently fastest variant NVMe PCIe 3.0 x4.
The battery has a capacity of 80 watt hours and ensures a good runtime of around six hours when surfing the Internet. However, the performance throttles down considerably in battery use: When playing “Counter Strike: Source”, 290 times just turned into 40 FPS. But the highest performance is ensured when the power supply is connected.
The question of connectivity remains. On the left side, the power connection is attached, followed by 2 x USB 3.2 (USB-A) and the headset port. On the right side there is Mini DisplayPort 1.4, HDMI 2.0b, USB 3.2 (USB-A) and Thunderbolt 3.0 (USB-C).
You can connect an external graphics card to the Thunderbolt 3.0 port. In addition, there is a 3D camera for Windows Hello and the latest ax-WiFi.
What some will miss here is a Gigabit Ethernet port, which only the basic model comes with. This is strange, because Internet via LAN is considered to be faster and more reliable than via WiFi, which would be especially important for online games.
Unfortunately there is no card reader either. This should bother professional users who want to edit photos and videos on their laptop. The keyboard with RGB lighting types quite well, but more would have been possible: The keystroke is short and the pressure point is quite soft.
Conclusion: The Razer Blade 15 Pro model has one of the fastest mobile processors and one of the most powerful mobile graphic cards. The equipment is also largely convincing, only a LAN port and a card reader will be missed by some.
OLED displays on laptops are still a real rarity today, only this year they are appearing in significant numbers. With 4K resolution they have not even been seen in notebooks until 2020.
I had already investigated this phenomenon in an article and had asked various manufacturers about the reasons for their reluctance. Now it really stands before me: one of the first notebooks with a 4K OLED screen.
At the latest the HDR demos on YouTube left no more doubt: Here is an insanely impressive display, with enormous sharpness, perfect black level, bright colors and a good brightness. In this case, the support of Display HDR 400 contributes to the extreme contrast of this display technology: So HDR highlights are bright up to 400 nits.
In fact, our measurements with the Spyder 5 Elite colorimeter showed that the entire screen achieves a very good maximum brightness of 379 Nits. On top of that, the OLED technology offers the advantage of pixel-accurate lighting, even independent of the still rare HDR content.
That’s why an OLED display with HDR 400 is better than an IPS display with HDR 400. 1000 Nits is more common for HDR TVs, but such a high brightness would immediately drain the laptop’s battery.
Razer promises a 100% coverage of the DCI-P3 color space, which is relevant for HDR movies, and the screen is supposed to be individually calibrated ex works. Our tests with the colorimeter resulted in 89 percent coverage of the sRGB color space and 67 percent coverage of the AdobeRGB color space.
This is very good for games, movies and hobby image editing. Only those who professionally edit photos in the Adobe-RGB color space have to look elsewhere.
OLED also impresses in gaming – not only in games with HDR support like “Shadow of the Tomb Raider” or in “Trine 2” with its bright neon colors. However, it is a certain problem that HDR games are designed for higher brightness around 1000 Nits.
By flipping some switches in the settings the brightness can be balanced to a certain extent, but 400 Nits is not optimal for HDR content. Basically, a top picture quality is still offered, even with the large majority of normal SDR content.
The catch: Even the Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q has to struggle with the 4K resolution. Only older games run smoothly in this high resolution. A reduced resolution is therefore recommended for games.
We also noticed the difference between this 60 Hz display and screens with over 100 Hz once again, because Razer also sent us the model with the 240 Hz screen. So you have to decide between optical bombast and super fluid moving image display.
Conclusion: the 4K OLED display delivers the currently most impressive picture quality among laptop screens. But HDR is only available with compromises and 60 Hz is not optimal for gaming.
Laptops with 144 Hz displays have been around for years, but models with 240 Hz displays are only now coming onto the market. Some 240 Hz screens for desktop PCs are already available, but only with TN technology.
TN (Twisted Nematic) is characterised by poor viewing angle stability and moderate colour reproduction. The first gaming laptop manufacturers – including Razer – are releasing 240 Hz screens with angle-stable IPS technology and 100% coverage of the sRGB color space for the first time this year.
IPS displays with such a high refresh rate of 240 Hz are therefore a real innovation, even beyond notebooks.
The big challenge, however, is the enormous power required for the associated 240 FPS. “240 Hz” means that the screen can display 240 frames per second – but the graphics card and processor have to send as many frames to the display as well.
Even with the powerful RTX 2080 Max-Q, this is a problem – or impossible – with newer, more demanding games.
The 240 Hz are of greater practical advantage, especially for competitive players of fast-paced action games – and for this purpose older games such as “Counter Strike: Source” or graphically more modest games such as “PUBG” and “Fortnite” are often used.
I don’t play the latter two shooters myself, but NBC has determined for the 2080 Max-Q that “Fortnite” only achieves around 140 FPS in Full HD and “PUBG” only around 200 FPS in medium settings. Meanwhile, I have tried a number of older and newer games from my own collection.
According to my tests, “Counter Strike: Source”, “Dark Messiah of Might & Magic” and “Half-Life 2” reach around 290 FPS, so you can really make the most of the display. The same goes for “Bioshock Remastered” with around 240 FPS. The horror game “Layers of Fear” can at least be played with over 200 FPS.
In the visually still impressive “Quantum Break” I chose medium settings in Full HD and reached around 180 FPS. The game feeling is also outstanding with that, but unfortunately the computer crashed again and again during a particularly demanding scene. That’s probably rather a driver problem and only affects “Quantum Break”.
Gambling in 240 Hz means a smooth, sharp moving image without tearing, stuttering and other annoyances. You can gamble completely without “incidents” and are therefore more immersively involved in the game.
For me personally, playing at 240 Hz was the greatest gaming experience to date. I had no need to use my 43-inch 4K HDR monitor while I had the Razer at home.
However, this statement applies specifically to gaming at high frame rates. Everything else, like movies and console games, will be better on a 4K monitor (or TV).
Conclusion: The 240Hz IPS panel is the holy gamer-Gral. But the corresponding 240 FPS only reaches older and graphically less demanding games.
As you would expect given the processor and graphics card, the gaming performance is very high. However, the model with the 240 Hz display faces the challenge of having to display games with a corresponding number of frames per second in order to fully exploit the screen’s potential.
As explained above, this is only possible with graphically less demanding and older games. However, this is also an unusually high demand. Games are typically already considered to be fluid at 60 FPS and even multiplayer shooter fans are usually satisfied with 120 to 144 FPS.
“Jurassic World Evolution” only manages around 60 FPS in ultra settings and even in more modest settings there isn’t much more in it. Games like these are therefore better off on the OLED screen.
“Far Cry 4” reaches around 100 FPS, which already provides a noticeably smoother gaming experience, but even “Far Cry 3” stays in this range and thus far away from 240 FPS.
The 4K OLED display is again very demanding due to the resolution. Here, the goal is to reach 60 FPS in 4K, which is almost as difficult with the RTX 2080 Max-Q as 240 FPS in Full HD.
Only the RTX 2080 Ti desktop GPU currently achieves this in current games for over 1,000 Dollars. We therefore recommend a reduced resolution or lower settings for most modern games.
Conclusion: The Razer Blade 15 Pro model (2020) belongs to the currently fastest gaming laptops, but 240 FPS or 4K at 60 FPS can’t even manage this in modern, technically demanding games. Gamers have to make compromises here.
The stereo speakers provide a clear and sufficiently loud sound. Bass is noticeable, but you should curb your expectations here. Unfortunately, the speakers overdrive at higher volumes.
In comparison, the loudspeakers of the larger and thicker Alienware Area-51m deliver the clearly better sound, while the Razer Blade 15 pro roughly matches the MSI GS75 Stealth. There’s nothing wrong with the sound via the headset connection, but a Hi-Fi DAC, as offered by the MSI notebook, could have gotten out even more.
Conclusion: In view of its size, the Razer Blade 15 Pro offers a decent sound. However, the upward potential could still be exploited.
The Razer Blade 15 Pro model (2020) is one of the best gaming laptops currently available and probably the best among the “thin & light” models. It’s sleek, stable, light, compact, powerful and features new display technologies never before seen in a laptop (OLED) or even before (240-Hz-IPS). The battery life is also right for WiFi use.
There is little to complain about. The Razer Blade 15 Pro offers a massive amount of performance, but still not enough to fully utilize the built-in displays in modern games.
Yes, there are hardly any faster mobile GPUs and CPUs, but the value of the displays, which are great in themselves, is reduced and some will wonder if 144 Hz and Full-HD are not enough.
We also lacked a LAN port and an SD card connection. For frequent writers there are better keyboards and some will miss a G-Sync option, which is why the Razer Blade 15 Pro is ranking second versus Razer Blade Pro 17