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Razer Blade 17

Razer Blade 17 review (2022): Big and blisteringly fast

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £4499
inc VAT

The Razer Blade 17 is a potent combination of gaming and creative capability – but it comes at a cost


  • Superb screen
  • Outstanding build quality
  • Spectacular sound system


  • Eye-wateringly expensive
  • Keyboard action is rather shallow
  • 4K model doesn’t support G-Sync

Razer’s Blade laptops have long been the very epitome of high-end, high-performance Windows laptops that are ideal for hardcore gamers, serious creatives and just about anyone who wants an achingly stylish and well-constructed machine.

Of course, the downside has always been the eye-wateringly high price that makes some of Apple’s notebooks look affordable by comparison. The new Razer Blade 17 for 2022 is more of the same: its power and luxurious build comes at a great cost.

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Razer Blade 17 review: What you need to know

This year’s Blade 17 is more of a technical refresh than a bold redesign. Out goes Intel’s 11th generation processors and in comes the updated 12th generation silicon. Similarly, Nvidia’s RTX 3070 and 3080 GPUs have been replaced by the newer Ti versions, which coax more performance from the same basic Nvidia Ampere chipset – although the RTX 3060 is still used in the cheapest model.

There have been some small updates to the keyboard, sound and cooling systems, although you’d have to know what to look for in order to spot them. Beyond that, what we have in the 2022 Blade 17 is a superbly engineered premium notebook aimed at gamers and creatives who want a powerful, premium machine with little in the way of compromise. The downside is that for a laptop it’s rather big and heavy and not at all cheap.

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Razer Blade 17 review: Price and competition

Configuration tested: Intel Core-i9 12900H CPU, Nvidia RTX 3080Ti GPU, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD, 17.3in 3,840 x 2,160 IPS non-touchscreen; Price: £4,499

The 2022 Blade 17 starts at £2,900 and ends at a giddy £4,499, with six models sitting in the gap between the most and least affordable. You can choose between Core i7 and Core i9 CPUs, RTX 3060, 3070Ti and 3080Ti GPUs and displays offering either FHD 360Hz, QHD 240Hz or 4K UHD 144Hz. The model we were sent is the most expensive there is, built around a Core i9/RTX 3080Ti combination with a 4K display.

Alienware’s x17 R2 is the most obvious competition, with an equally exquisite design, and this can be specified with the same GPU and 4K display as the Blade 17. At £3,799 it’s the cheaper option and you can opt for a Cherry MX low-profile mechanical keyboard for just £100 more.

Asus’ gaming division, Republic of Gamers, has two options. The 17.3in Strix Scar 17 is aimed squarely at the gaming fraternity and in terms of design is almost the quintessential gaming laptop, with a great keyboard. The Scar 17 also holds the prize of the highest-scoring laptop in our 4K media benchmark with an epic 508 points. For £2,598 with the RTX 3070Ti, it’s cheaper than either the Razer or Alienware competition.

The ROG Zephyrus M16 is a less overtly gaming machine than the Strix Scar 17 and is smaller than other laptops listed here by dint of its excellent 16in 2,560 x 1,600 165Hz display. With a Core i9 CPU and RTX 3070Ti, the M16 is still a mean gaming machine but the speaker system is just a little disappointing. For £2,599 it’s good value, and that price gets you a handy 2TB SSD.

Of course, you can’t discuss creative laptops without mentioning Apple’s superb MacBook Pro 16. The stunning display and epic battery life are all some need to know about to send them down the Apple path, though obviously, it’s less appealing to dedicated gamers. With prices ranging from £2,399 to £3,299, the MacBook Pro 16 doesn’t look as howlingly expensive in this company as it usually does.

Razer Blade 17 review: Design, build quality and key features

Externally, it’s very hard to distinguish the new 2022 Blade 17 from the previous models. It’s still a monolithic slab of black anodised aluminium, with the green Razer logo on the lid being the only concession to exterior decoration. As a piece of utilitarian design, it easily out-Apples the MacBook Pro.

The only fly in the ointment is the screen bezels: 11mm at the top and twice that at the bottom. They are broader than is becoming the norm, though the side depth of 7mm is perfectly respectable.

The eagle-eyed will notice three minor changes. The keycaps are now slightly larger, the power button has migrated from the top of the right speaker grille to the top right corner of the keyboard, and the layout of the cooling vents underneath has changed, too, with two front subsidiary fans being replaced by a single unit.

At 19.9 x 260 x 395mm and weighing 2.75Kg, the new Blade 17 is the same back-breaking size and weight as the outgoing model. That being said, the Blade 17 is easily the best-made laptop I’ve ever come across – it really is a lovely machine.

Similarly, there’s been little change in the port selection, with two USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 ports on the left alongside a 2.5GbE connector, a Thunderbolt 4 port and a 3.5mm audio jack. Towards the rear on the left is also where the proprietory DC-in jack lives. On the other side, you’ll find another USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 port as well as an HDMI 2.1 video output, a spring-loaded full-sized SD card reader and a second Thunderbolt 4 connector. That second Thunderbolt port is an upgrade, since previously you had to make do with one Thunderbolt and one USB-C.

Undo the Torx screws that hold the rear panel in place and you can easily access the Killer AX1690Ti wireless card, the two SODIMM RAM mounts and both M.2 PCI-E 4 SSD slots. Incidentally, the wireless card supports the latest 802.11az and 6GHz Wi-Fi 6E protocols as well as Bluetooth 5.2.

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Razer Blade 17 review: Keyboard, touchpad and webcam

There’s absolutely no give to the Blade 17’s keyboard deck, making it one of the most solid around, while the new, slightly larger flat key caps make typing a joy. At least it’s a joy once you get used to the rather limited key travel. Razer doesn’t quote a key travel figure but I’d be surprised if it’s much more than 1.2 or 1.3mm. This being Razer you do, of course, get per-key RGB lighting.

While flat, shallow keys are perfect for typing, they aren’t so great for gaming. I much prefer the keyboard on the massively cheaper Acer Nitro 5 in this regard, but maybe Razer reckons that its target customers are more likely to be using one of its rather fine mechanical keyboards for serious gaming sessions. If you’ve just splashed £4,500 on a laptop, what’s another £150 for a high-quality gaming keyboard?

The 130 x 80mm one-piece trackpad is centrally located and has more than enough space for Windows gestures. The glass surface is nice to the touch and the click-action is well damped and quiet.

The 1080p webcam is pretty impressive and is rather good at producing clear and crisp images even in low-light environments. It supports Windows Hello IR facial recognition security, though there isn’t a privacy shutter of any sort.

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Razer Blade 17 review: Display and audio

The 4K, 3,840 x 2,160 144Hz IPS display is clearly aimed more at creatives than gamers, since the Blade 17 can play even demanding games at much more than the screen-locked 144fps.

The display is brighter than most at 547cd/m², displaying 146% of the sRGB colour space. Similarly, I measured DCI-P3 and Adobe RGB at 101% and 106.3% respectively. Against DCI-P3, I recorded a Delta E colour accuracy average of 1.45, which is more than adequate for professional use, while the 255ppi pixel density means it’s as sharp as a tack, too.

Gaming purists will be annoyed to discover that this top-end model doesn’t support Nvidia’s G-Sync VRR tech, which weirdly is only available on the 240Hz QHD configurations. What will make them happy is the presence of a multiplexer switch to link the display directly to the Nvidia GPU. This, of course, involves a reboot once you’ve selected the option in Razer’s Synapse control panel.

The THX-accredited sound system in the Blade 17 is epic, with masses of volume and plenty of tight, punchy bass. Volume levels registered at 86dB from a pink noise source and 90dB from a music source, both recorded at a 1m distance. Thanks to the new Blade 17 having eight speakers rather than the four found in the old model, this new version can generate an expansive soundstage with plenty of directional shaping. Jumping from Wagner to Halo to The Chvrches, I couldn’t fault Razer’s sonic engineering.

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Razer Blade 17 review: Performance and battery life

It really should come as no shock that with a 14-core Core i9 12900H processor, 32GB of quad-channel DDR5 RAM and a 165W TGP Nvidia RTX 3080Ti GPU with 16GB of vRAM, the Blade 17 goes like the clappers.

It scored 455 in our multimedia benchmark, which isn’t quite as high as what the Alienware x17 or ROG Strix SCAR 17 managed to achieve, but the difference is largely meaningless. Not to mention that this can be accounted for by the Blade 17 having to render at a higher resolution and by the fact that the Blade’s Performance mode doesn’t seem to intervene quite so aggressively when it comes to fan speed.

The SPECviewperf 3dsmax 3D modelling test showed the Blade’s workstation prowess by scoring 142fps at 1,900 x 1,060 and 97.8fps at 3,800 x 2,120, which are both excellent marks.

Turning to our usual gaming bench tests, the Blade ran Wolfenstein: Youngblood at 144fps in our FHD test, which is the maximum it could achieve given the 144Hz refresh rate. At 4K, meanwhile, it managed 63fps with ray tracing on and DLSS off and 104fps with DLSS enabled. Hitman 2 ran at 83fps at FHD and 24fps at 4K, while Shadow of the Tomb Raider ran at 129fps at the highest preset at FHD and 64fps at 4K resolution.

Finishing off with Metro Exodus, I ran the preset benchmarks on Extreme, Ultra and High and got scores of 22.2fps, 36fps and 46fps at 4K, 41fps, 62fps and 78fps at 2.5K and 55fps, 84fps and 104fps at FHD. None of those scores was achieved with the help of Nvidia’s trick DLSS upscaling tech.

Of course, the great thing about having a 4K screen is that you can pick lower resolutions to get an optimum level of performance. I settled for playing Metro Exodus at 2,560 x 1,440 on the Ultra setting with DLSS at a reliable 120fps, but the trade-off for a lower frame rate at 4K is always there depending on your preference.

The 1TB SSD in my review machine proved a bit of a Jeckyl and Hyde, returning excellent sequential read speeds averaging 5,701MB/s but rather average sequential write speeds of 1,428MB/s. The 4K read and write speeds were more uniformly at the top of the class at 74MB/s and 234MB/s respectively.

Battery life was pretty much what I expected, with the Blade 17 lasting 4hrs 47mins in our usual video rundown test (screen at 170cd/m², airplane mode enabled). That’s better than the Alienware R17 but worse than the ROG Zephyrus M16. If you want a powerful creative laptop that lasts longer, you should buy a MacBook Pro. On the plus side, the 280W charger is surprisingly small and light.

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Razer Blade 17 review: Verdict

Passing over issues of size, weight and cost – which are things you can either live with or you can’t – the new Blade 17 is a pricey masterpiece. The immaculate build quality, powerful underpinnings and outstanding sound system make this a laptop that can perform any task with alacrity.

Unless the super-sharp 4K display is a must, I’d suggest going for the QHD 240Hz model, which is £400 cheaper than the otherwise identical 4K model – and gamers get access to G-Sync with the other variants as well.

Either way, the end result is a massively impressive bit of kit, even if you need to fork out a hefty sum for the privilege.

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Razer Blade 17: Big and blisteringly fast

The Razer Blade 17 is a potent combination of gaming and creative capability – but it comes at a cost

£4499 inc VAT