Design and Chassis

When Dustin reviewed the 2013 model, he said “it’s hard not to compare the Razer Blade 14-inch to Apple’s MacBook Pro” and with the 2014 model, it is fair to say the same thing again but with the Retina MacBook Pro 15 inch model. Though the rMBP is slightly wider and longer to accommodate the slightly larger display, the Z-height and system weight are almost identical. The Razer Blade wins out in resolution and pixel density, with 262.25 pixels per inch compared to 220 of the rMBP. These two systems are targeted towards very different audiences, but it is amazing how similar the actual designs are.

The design of the new Razer Blade is almost identical to its predecessor. The entire system is made of CNC anodized aluminum with a matte black finish. Razer seems to love green accents, so every single accent on the Blade is in green including the USB ports, keyboard backlighting, power LED, and the Razer logo on the back that is backlit as well. The body is incredibly strong, with no flexing or creaking of any part of it. The lid is also aluminum, with two parallel ridges flanking the Razer logo.

The underside has two rubberized feet which run the entire width of the laptop, which provide both grip to keep the Blade from slipping around and a small gap under the Blade to allow the two air intakes to function.

A large part of the design of a laptop with this much potential power usage (37 watt CPU plus a GPU with a TDP around 80-100 watts -- NVIDIA doesn't officially provide any figures) is going to be heat dissipation. Here, Razer has continued with the same type of cooling system as the 2013 model, with two intake fans on the bottom blowing air over a twin pipe heat exchanger. The design then exhausts the hot air out through hidden vents between the display and the back of the chassis. This makes for an aesthetically pleasing appearance since you do not have large vents protruding from the otherwise elegant design. We will see how well the venting performs later in the review.

Sitting above this cooling system is the island style keyboard, which has the distinctive Razer font used for the keys. It is backlit in green with adjustable brightness, and the keyboard feels okay to use considering the lack of travel in the keys. The backlighting is bright and even, but it would be nice if it was color adjustable as well. The green is nice and distinctively Razer, but sometimes you just want to change it up.

Below that is the Synaptics trackpad, which is quite large at 104.8mm (4.125 inch) wide and 63.5mm (2.5 inches) deep. The trackpad is very smooth and supports the Windows 8 gestures as well. Unlike most laptops I have seen lately, the Razer Blade forgoes the click pad and keeps the left and right click buttons as physical buttons at the bottom of the trackpad. Personally I much prefer having actual buttons, but your preferences may be different.

Stereo front facing speakers round out the top of the design, and the sides carry all of the connectivity with three USB 3.0 ports (two left, one right), a 3.5mm jack, and an HDMI 1.4 port. The one missing port is an SD card slot.

The design of the Razer Blade is clean, elegant, and free of the garish adornments of many other gaming laptops. In fact, other than the logo and green lighting, most people would likely not realize it's a high performance gaming notebook by the design. The matte black scheme is very subtle but it is a fingerprint magnet. It would be nice if there was a bit more personalization options such as the keyboard backlighting and possibly the finish, but it is hard to find fault with the scheme they have created since the green is used as the accent color on the entire device.

Introduction System Performance and WiFi
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  • wrkingclass_hero - Monday, October 13, 2014 - link

    He didn't retire. You could say he left, he moved on, he departed, he resigned, he stopped working at Anandtech, he quit, he's following a new career path, he's pursuing other interests, following other pursuits, etc. I realize that you don't want to say that the review was shelved due to conflict of interest because he works at Apple, but you can be discreet without being deceptive.
    He and Brian are about as retired as Dustin and Vivek.
  • fabarati - Tuesday, October 14, 2014 - link

    Here retired means retired from Anandtech. Perfectly valid language.
  • invinciblegod - Friday, October 10, 2014 - link

    So I guess they gave up on the Razer Edge?
  • tipoo - Friday, October 10, 2014 - link

    Wowza, didn't know the Surface Pro 3 was that efficient per milliwatt. What magic is going on there? Lower wattage, but doesn't the Yoga Pro 2 also have a ULV?
  • Waveblade - Friday, October 10, 2014 - link

    Probably one of the better binned CPUs? Or less turbo boosting
  • tipoo - Friday, October 10, 2014 - link

    They perform pretty close I think. Could also be the display panel.
  • Walkop - Saturday, October 11, 2014 - link

    It's the display. It's stupidly efficient.

    Something like 3w. The iPad Air (10") uses 6w. Much bigger yet half the power. Normalized for brightness it's still twice as power efficient.
  • Flunk - Friday, October 10, 2014 - link

    They really rake you over the coals with those storage prices, especially because you have to disassemble it to change the SSD.
  • XabanakFanatik - Friday, October 10, 2014 - link

    I can tell you from experience that replacing the SSD in this specific laptop is significantly easier than you think. The bottom must be taken off since it is one piece, and a ribbon cable over the drive must be removed. Takes less than 5 minutes, even with being very careful, to get access to the drive.
  • XabanakFanatik - Friday, October 10, 2014 - link

    The issue is the price of M.2 SSD's and the actual offerings for SATA M.2 drives. It was cheaper to buy the 512GB model with the student discount from the microsoft store (10% off) than to buy the 128GB model without discount and replace the drive with a 512GB M550 M.2 drive.

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