Slick new laptop is great for gamers on the go – USA TODAY
If you’re a gamer, the Razer Blade QHD+ (2015) (MSRP $ 2,199.99, $2,399.99 as tested) might be the laptop with the power and portability to suit your needs.
With an Intel Core i7 4720HQ processor, 16GB of RAM, and a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M graphics card with an Intel integrated GPU, the Razer Blade is a top contender when it comes to portable gaming.
But if you’re looking for a real beast of a machine that can run even the most intensive games on max settings — this isn’t quite it. In that case, you’d probably want a full desktop, which will let you customize and upgrade as games get more demanding. Otherwise, the Razer Blade will give you the performance you need to play most games and the portability required to take them on the road.
Another quality the Razer Blade has going for it is that it looks great. The back of the aluminum lid features an illuminated logo and two colors dominate the exterior. The glowing green three-headed snake is a nice contrast to the black case.
It also has a 10-point multitouch screen, but you’ll likely want to opt for an attachable mouse or stick to the included trackpad. The mouse might be preferable for some games, but I didn’t run into any problems scrolling or navigating with the trackpad.
Instead of being built-in, there are two separate, physical buttons for clicking. But while the separate buttons are useful on occasion, their miniscule size caused issues occasionally. On the other hand, the Razer Blade’s keyboard has an excellent amount of travel and generous spacing.
If you’ve used a Windows PC sometime in the last couple of years, you more than likely have a pretty good grasp of what to expect from its operating system. The Razer Blade is running 64-bit Windows 8.1 and, unlike a lot of the other laptops we test, there aren’t a lot of useless pre-installed apps to contend with.
The apps that are included are actually useful for serious gamers. One of them is Razer Synapse 2.0, which lets you rebind controls and assign macro keys for all of your hardware. That information, plus other data it collects about how you play, is then stored in the cloud so you can access it anywhere.
While the Razer Blade comes packed with a more-than-competent processor and ample RAM for handling multiple tasks, a gaming laptop is only as good as its graphics. The Razer Blade is running an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M with 3GB Video RAM in addition to Intel Integrated Graphics, switching between the two on the fly to give you the best possible performance.
However, there are plenty of other gaming laptops and cheaper, full-sized desktops that will perform much better, so keep that in mind if you want to get the most gaming muscle.
All of this laptop’s power comes at a price. In our demanding battery rundown test, the Razer Blade lasted for around 2.5 hours. That number might seem low, but it’s actually pretty standard for gaming laptops. Just make sure to plug in when you’re playing.
Storage capacity is the only customizable aspect of this Razer Blade. Your options start with a 128GB solid-state drive at the entry-level price and go all the way up to 512GB for an extra $500, though the entry-level option is all but useless for serious gamers. No matter which you go with, the solid-state drive is perfect for booting up your system—and launching games—in no time.
If the Razer Blade isn’t the most powerful gaming laptop around, why go with this over other, better options?
Well, you’re also getting a relatively slim, lightweight design to go with that power. Moreover, the Blade looks like nothing else out there with its sinister green-on-black color scheme.
Short of going the route of a full desktop gaming PC, the best way to get more performance is by looking into something like the Razer Blade Pro 17 (MSRP $2,799.99). It’s definitely heavier and way bigger than the 14-inch Razer Blade, but it also performs better, while offering some features that are a definite perk for creative professionals and gamers.
For a comparably slim yet powerful gaming laptop, you might want to take a look at the MSI GS70 Stealth. We really liked the MSI GS60 Ghost (MSRP $1,699.00) when we reviewed it last year. The Ghost will function nicely as a powerful work computer that can handle some games well, but the Stealth seems to be better positioned for more hardcore gamers.
If you’re willing to spend the money, the blend of performance and design you get in the Razer Blade makes it a great choice. Even though it isn’t the fastest laptop around, Razer has made smart compromises by making sure it looks great and can travel well. If you want to play your games wherever you want—and look good doing it—the Razer Blade QHD+ (2015) is a clear winner.
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