Razer Blade 17 4K Touch review: Almost as beautiful as it is expensive

Quick verdict: Despite being one of the most expensive laptops we’ve reviewed, its power doesn’t match up to models more than $1,000 cheaper than its RRP, with only the brand name to justify the extra cost.

Pros

  • The screen looks incredible
  • Speakers sound great
  • It’s a nice-looking laptop
Cons

  • It doesn’t match up to cheaper models on benchmark scores
  • Not enough ports
  • Really? $6,599?

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Razer is well known for making premium peripherals for gamers at premium prices, but the brand new Razer Blade 17 4K Touch laptop is really stretching the friendship with this ridiculous recommended retail price. Presumably the price has been influenced by the chip shortages, but even still, $6,599 for a laptop with benchmarking scores beaten by $4,500 laptops is laughable, no matter how good the screen is. Luckily, most retailers seem to be selling this 17" laptop at a steep discount. But even discounted to $5,500, there are still more powerful laptops at cheaper prices (admittedly, without the beautiful design of this model).

That said, this laptop has been specced to the nines; with an Intel 11th gen i9 processor, 32GB of RAM, a GeForce RTX 3080 laptop GPU and 4K touch display with 120Hz refresh rate, it sounds incredible on paper. And in practice, away from direct comparison to competitors, it is incredible. Games play with buttery smoothness and it's generally a good experience. But in the context of the wider gaming laptop market, it's extremely difficult to justify.


Design

Razer Blade 17 review

Image: Alice Clarke/Finder

Aesthetically, Razer knows what the people want. The black box with rounded edges is gorgeous and the RGB on the keyboard is just obnoxious enough. The keyboard has a nice layout and is a delight to use, finding the right balance between clicky and irritating. The trackpad is very large and responsive, but the clicking is hit and miss and takes a while to adjust to.

Every time I see the screen, it just takes my breath away. The colours are so vibrant and the images just leap off the screen. In a non-glarey room, I think it might be the best laptop screen I've ever seen. However, it reflects like the Dickens and should not be used near windows on a sunny day.

Weight-wise, this thing is a tank. At 2.75kg, you'd better get a good ergonomic backpack if you want to transport it around without turning your spine into a pretzel. Also, obviously having a 17" screen means it's truly massive, but cutting down on inputs (which is bad) also cut down on thickness (which is fine, I guess). It measures in at 19.9mm x 260mm x 395mm. It's going to need to be a large backpack.

Like most gaming laptops, it's a laptop in name only. It didn't get as hot as other models I've used, but it did make an extremely good substitute for a heat pack when I had a sore belly. It didn't roast my flesh like some others do, but it was warmer and more effective than a freshly microwaved wheat bag and came with an activity. Still, probably best to keep it on a table, particularly in summer.


Performance

Razer Blade 17 review

Image: Alice Clarke/Finder

Being the absolute top of the range of Razer laptops, the Razer Blade 17 was wonderful to play on, when not directly comparing it to other models. I lost many happy days playing a variety of games with no complaints.

Forza Horizon 4 was particularly wonderful, just getting lost driving around digital UK. It performed so smoothly that as long as I stayed away from the windows (too much glare and reflection on the screen), I could fall into the game without thinking about what the hardware was supposed to be doing.

But if you look at these benchmarking numbers, it just becomes impossible to justify the price over other more affordable laptops with better performance and added extras. The screen may be significantly better on the Razer Blade 17, but the Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 GX551QS-HB014T performed better and has a bonus oddly shaped screen for $1,000 less.

Battery

If the performance is less impressive, you'd hope the battery would at least have more life in it. But no. Those hopes are dashed when looking at these battery benchmarking scores. 20 extra minutes of gaming is nice, but that video score is just pathetic.

In practice, I did very much appreciate those extra 20 minutes, but the entire time I was playing Fall Guys with friends off power I was anxious that the battery would die and drop me out during a successful run. That's the kind of added stress that pulls you out of the game and gets you thinking about the hardware again, which is not the point of an expensive gaming laptop. Expensive gaming laptops are supposed to just get out of the way and let you focus on your activity.

It did last through a full day of work, but these days that's the bare minimum you'd expect from a laptop at this price.

I would also hope for more than just 3 USB3 ports, 2 USB-C ports, 1 HDMI port, 1 ethernet port, a 3.5mm jack and an SD Card slot at this level of price. I don't know what more I'd need to plug in than that, but I would like the option.


Should you buy it?

  • Buy it if you really love Razer products and have an unlimited budget.
  • Don't buy it if you value performance over aesthetics and brand loyalty.

This Razer Blade 17 laptop is a beautiful device with an amazing screen, but it's just too expensive to underperform like this on benchmarking scores. It's the designer handbag of gaming laptops – it's flashy, beautiful and has the brand name, but isn't as practical as a less expensive model from a different, less expensive brand. If you can pick it up on deep discount then it would be worth a second look, as I am obsessed with this screen. But at retail price, it's just not worth it.


Pricing and availability


How we tested

I tested the Razer Blade 17 over a month by performing benchmarks, putting it in side by side comparisons and playing a lot of games. I was lent this laptop by Razer PR for the purposes of this review.


Specifications

Razer Blade 17 GeForce RTX 3080

General

Processor Family
Intel Core i7
Processor Model
Intel i7-11800H
Processor Clock Speed
4.6GHz
Processor Cores
8-core
RAM
32GB

Display


Features

Operating System
Windows 10 Home
USB-C Ports
1
Webcam
1080P FHD IR
Touchscreen
No

Images: Alice Clarke

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