Razer Blade Pro 17 – Unboxing The Best 17″ Notebook Of 2019?
Wow, it is finally here. I’m really excited to actually be using the Razer Blade Pro 17 . I’m trying to get into the mindset of somebody who might actually use this on a daily basis because I’ve considered switching to a notebook as my main, many, many times so I can get away from my desktop.
As for my Razer Blade 15 which has been my main production machine on the go, It has treated me really well in terms of specs, but to be honest, the gaming on this thing is super uncomfortable at this form factor and it’s not something that I enjoy doing. It constantly needs to be plugged into the wall to get the best performance. You cannot rely on battery power as you can with my MacBook. if I would close to to put it it sleep, the next day it would die. Also, unless it’s completely idle, the aluminum shell itself is either warm or hot, and the fans are spinning and are audible.
Gaming or Workstation or Hybrid?
Now the Razer Blade 17 is just a supersized version of the 15 model, but with much better cooling, better speakers, better IO, better Razer software and slightly different configuration and pricing. We were talking with Mike and Eber about what does this machine want to be? Is it the gaming station given the Full HD resolution display, which is easy to run smoothly given this hardware but also 144 Hz is a fantastic experience. Or is it a workstation given the screen comes factory calibrated, which is nice, but it’s only a 300 NIT brightness so it’s not exactly suitable for outdoors.
Or is it kind of a perfect hybrid? But that is where the challenge in, because there is currently no 4K option as that is being saved for the studio edition of the Pro 17 and that will come with 4K OLED and RTX Quadro. Plus the whole thing with Studio Edition versus Pro Edition is kind of confusing because the Studio Edition is like for creatives only given the RTX Quadro graphics, but then what is the pro demographic? Is it for gamers or is it creators?
Meanwhile, the Blade 15 has more configuration options with 4K OLED already available with a 240Hz option with 9th gen CPUs, with the price delta decreasing as we move up the RTX chain. The Pro 17 looks to be slightly competitive versus the Blade 15 price-wise in the RTX 2070 and the RTX 2080 models.
But what’s up with the 512 gigabytes of SSD storage on all Pro 17 models, not even a terabyte for the pro market and especially at this price point, come on. I will say there is an open M.2 slot inside the Pro 17 so it is user upgradeable. You can expand your storage but still not giving us a terabyte is highly disappointing.
Now physically it is quite impressive that we get so much extra screen with only a slightly thicker body, but with pretty slim bezels and a super clean interior format. However, this thing does not fit in any of my backpacks and it’s also 31% heavier versus my Blade 15 making it less portable. The other concern for me would be the massive surface area that is black aluminum on the lid and around the keyboard that immediately gets covered with finger marks, which is why I install the skin on my Blade 15 which looks awesome, and is going to be a must for the Pro 17 as well.
The main difference between the Blade 15 includes a new hinge system that is incredibly smooth and is now more open to accommodate the extra ventilation design. The new vapor chamber cooling is excellent, and delivers much better performance versus the Blade 15 with exactly the same hardware, letting the CPU clock higher and the same thing with the GPU, that are not throttling and maintain nice consistent clocks throughout. My full performance analysis between the Pro 17 and the Blade 15 will come a bit later. They’ve also added more fans to the front of the chassis for intake to channel all that air flow through the vapor chamber, which was great.
Due to the larger cooling chamber, there’s less room for the battery and the battery capacity inside the Pro 17 is actually smaller than the Blade 15. It looks like they prioritized performance and cooling on the Pro 17 versus battery life, and I’m totally okay with that. If you plan on taking this thing on the road and actually working with this on your lap, then you’re doing it wrong. The compact battery bank is the same 230 watt hours as my Blade 15. I just have to worry about fitting that machine into some bag a and not so much about the power brick.
As for port selection, everything meets the Pro criteria. There’s a 2.5 gigabit Ethernet port. All of the USB ports are gen two. There’s a USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 ports. Plus a UHS 3 USB card reader that is definitely appreciated for all who use that media. I know some people were hoping for a numpad given the much larger interior surface area, but I’m really content with the keyboard layout outside form the really awkward up arrow key.
As for the actual keyboard, it feels identical to my Blade 15, nice crispy keys, and beautiful RGB elimination. However, the trackpad feels slightly worse. They’re still using Windows precision drivers and the surface feels amazing. But the navigation feels like there’s a slight delay or latency versus my Blade 15 where everything is snappy and feels one to one.
For my initial impressions with this machine, I’m happy the direction they’ve taken in terms of redesigning it to look like the Blade 15, it’s smarter, it’s beautiful, it’s compact, and yet the performance seems to be there. Make sure that they stay tuned for my full performance analysis between the two machines, and I’m kind of leaning towards this to be my mobile workstation now because the larger screen feels great, although again, the whole idea of not having a 4K option on the Pro model is so confusing to me. I know it’s coming with a studio edition, but the UI, the 17 inch form factor that you’d expect to be slightly sharper with little things in the creative apps and that is one major drawback.
Perhaps the whole “pro” distinction is like a pro gamer because I can’t think of why Razer would not include the 4K display option on this thing just yet. I guess they’re saving it for the studio edition and don’t want to jeopardize the hype surrounding that machine. So those are my first impressions with the Razer Blade Pro 17 if you’re in the market for a notebook on the bigger side.
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