Razer moved from being a peripheral maker to a system builder in 2012, with the original Razer Blade. Since then, they have evolved and tweaked their gaming laptop systems several times. While the original Blade was a 17 inch gaming laptop, later on a 14 inch model was introduced that caused a rename of the 17 inch model to the Razer Blade Pro. These two devices are still the only two laptops available from Razer, and in 2014 the Razer Blade got another refresh with the New Razer Blade being released in April of this year. The significant updates over the 2013 model are the display, moving from a (rather poor) 1600x900 panel to a 3200x1800 QHD+ IGZO display and an upgraded GPU to push all of the extra pixels they just added. The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M replaces the GTX 765M from the 2013 model. 

Razer has achieved this update without changing their design philosophy for the Blade. The Blade is a powerful gaming system packed into a thin and (relatively) light form factor. The 2013 chassis and 2014 chassis are nearly identical in size, with the new model only 1mm (0.039”) thicker and 150 grams (0.33 lbs) heavier than the outgoing model despite the significant increase in performance. Here's a breakdown of the old and new Razer Blades:

Razer Blade 14-Inch Specifications
(Last Model)
(New Model)
Processor Intel Core i7-4702HQ
(4x2.2GHz + HTT, Turbo to 3.2GHz, 22nm, 6MB L3, 37W)
Intel Core i7-4702HQ
(4x2.2GHz + HTT, Turbo to 3.2GHz, 22nm, 6MB L3, 37W)
Chipset Intel HM87 Intel HM87
Memory 8GB DDR3L-1600 8GB DDR3L-1600
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce GTX 765M 2GB GDDR5
768 CUDA cores,
797 MHz/863 MHz core
4 GHz memory
128-bit memory bus

Intel HD 4600 Graphics
(20 EUs, up to 1.15GHz)
1344 CUDA cores,
941 MHz core
5 GHz memory clocks
192-bit memory bus

Intel HD 4600 Graphics
(20 EUs, up to 1.15GHz)
Display 14" LED Matte 16:9 900p
AU Optronics AUO103E
14" Glossy 16:9 3200x1800
Sharp LQ140Z1JW01 IGZO
Multitouch with LED Backlight
Hard Drive(s) Samsung PM841 256GB
Samsung PM851 128/256/512GB
Optical Drive - -
Networking Killer Wireless-N 1202
Dual Band 2x2 802.11a/b/g/n
Bluetooth 4.0
Intel Wireless-AC 7260HMW
Dual Band 2x2:2 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 4.0
Audio Realtek ALC269 HD audio
Stereo speakers
Combination mic/headphone jack
Realtek ALC269 HD audio
Stereo speakers
Combination mic/headphone jack
Battery 70Wh 70Wh
Front Side - -
Right Side USB 3.0
HDMI 1.4a
Kensington lock
USB 3.0
HDMI 1.4a
Kensington Lock
Left Side AC adapter
2x USB 3.0
Combination mic/headphone jack
AC adapter
2x USB 3.0
Combination mic/headphone jack
Back Side - -
Operating System Windows 8 64-bit Windows 8.1 64-bit
Dimensions 13.6" x 9.3" x 0.66"
345mm x 235mm x 16.8mm
13.6" x 9.3 " x 0.70"
345mm x 235mm x 17.9mm
Weight 4.1 lbs
1.88 kg
4.47 lbs
2.03 kg
Extras Webcam
Killer Networks wireless networking
Backlit anti-ghosting keyboard
2.0 MP Webcam
Razer Synapse 2.0 Software
10-point Multitouch Display
Backlit anti-ghosting keyboard
Warranty 1year limited 1 year limited
Pricing $1799 for 128GB $2200 for 128GB
$2400 for 256GB
$2700 for 512GB

With a starting price of $2199 for the 128GB model -- and really, let's just skip the 128GB and go start with the 256GB offering, as there's not much point in a gaming notebook with only 128GB of storage -- the Razer Blade is far from inexpensive, but for the price you can get a gaming laptop that is actually portable. There are certainly less expensive systems around, but few can pack this much power into such a small chassis.

As a comparison, The Alienware 14 inch laptop with a 1080p panel and GTX 765M GPU looks downright portly compared to the Razer Blade, with the Alienware having a 41.7mm (1.64”) thick body and 2.77 kg (6.10 lbs) in weight. In case the numbers don’t make it obvious, the Alienware is 2.3x thicker and 1.37x as heavy for the same 14 inch screen with a less powerful GPU. The Alienware 14 with a 256GB SSD does cost $450 less, but portability is clearly the strength of the Razer Blade. It is not as light as an Ultrabook, but if you need a more powerful system that you can still take with you, this is the laptop to consider.

Looking at the rest of the internals, there is not a lot to complain about if performance is what you are after. The Intel Core i7-4702HQ is the same Haswell quad-core 8-thread 37 watt chip found in the 2013 Razer Blade, and it features a base clock of 2.2 GHz with a maximum Turbo of 3.2 GHz. The only options for storage are all M.2 based SSD drives, with capacities from 128GB to 512GB. The Samsung PM851 found in the Blade is the same OEM version of the 840 EVO as the Surface Pro 3, and has excellent speeds as we will see later in the review.

The wireless card gets an upgrade to an 802.11ac model with the Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260 model, which is a 2x2:2 card for a maximum connection speed of 867 Mbps. The only real complaint about the Razer Blade is the amount of RAM available. 8GB of DDR3L-1600 is generally enough for most gaming tasks, but for a laptop at this price point it would be nice to see at least an option to add 16GB or more. While the Blade is not a workstation class machine, the CPU inside does support all of the Virtualization options from Intel, but with only 8GB of memory the number of virtual machines you could run on here is pretty limited. One might also consider the ALC269 audio codec as being low on the absolute scale, but in is one of Realtek's highest 2-channel audio solutions with an embedded speaker amplifier.

Design and Chassis
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  • Notmyusualid - Saturday, October 11, 2014 - link

    I am a VERY frequent traveller, and I've seen a few Alienware backpacks as I go through airports.

    I carry my M18x R2 with me everywhere I go, and yes it is heavy, but they are made for adults, right?

    Every customer I meet is fascinated to meet my Alienware machine, and it is a great talking point when meeting new customers.

    And what is with your 2hrs of battery life? Are you not aware we have integrated graphics, on a 96whr 12-cell battery? Imagine how long that lasts...

    If you think there is an image problem associated with these machines, I'd quite enjoy you expressing that opinion to my face... whilst demonstraiting what machine you carry around.
  • Connoisseur - Saturday, October 11, 2014 - link

    I thought it's fairly obvious I carry around a Razer Blade 2014. Listen, I'm not here to get into a laptop beat down contest and I'm a little confused as to why you want me to say anything to your face. I'm not insulting your family, merely your commentary on why people shouldn't be buying these machines. The markets for the two types of machine are very different. Alienware is marketed to and has the reputation of being a college gamers machine; it's always been this way. Their design language and form factor scream "Look at me! I'm sparkly and huge and look like a sci-fi tank!" I used to build systems like that back in college which had LED's with cases that had crazy angles. As I aged, my tastes changed and I preferred something that looks more subtle and slimmer. My wife would make endless fun of me if I carried that monster around.

    If you're comfortable toting around 15lbs total of computer parts (laptop + power brick) and using an 18" screen on an airplane tray or on your lap, more power to you. I prefer something I can tuck under my arm. Not to mention that I frequently have to also carry around my work laptop and the use case for a slim, lightweight gaming system makes a lot of sense.
  • DPOverLord - Friday, October 10, 2014 - link

    Doesn't seem that great. Did they need such a high res screen? For $2k that GPU may not run it well. Make it a 970/980 with the new refresh.

    Then upgrade the CPU... Also, weight should not go up.
  • DPOverLord - Saturday, October 11, 2014 - link

    Realized this is not new. Stop reviewing 'old hardware' or at least put a spoiler that you're reviewing something that came out months ago. Bit confusing since I was here thinking "wtf is razer doing"
  • zepi - Friday, October 10, 2014 - link

    It sure looks nicer than MSI GS60, but is that alone worth the extra cost? Especially when new version of the MSI is just about to come out with GTX 970M...
  • whyso - Friday, October 10, 2014 - link

    Love the review but I feel that these notebook reviews need for the games and CPU benchmark sections the CPU and GPU name beside the name of the notebook for quick and easy comparison.
  • Awful - Friday, October 10, 2014 - link

    What use case are they actually targeting with that screen resolution? It sure isn't gaming...
  • Morawka - Friday, October 10, 2014 - link

    i wonder how a gaming laptop would be if it used Broadwell Core M for very low power dual core performance at 5-10 watt, and devote the rest of the TDP to GPU. This would prevent throttling whene on battery so long as total system draw is under 100W. 100W is about the peak of what laptop batteries can put out.
  • kallogan - Saturday, October 11, 2014 - link

    i'd like to see that too a core m 5yxx would run easy at constant full dual core turbo in a notebook chassis even with a very weak cooling, would give enough cpu power and would let the gpu a lot of tdp room !!!! Under 100W with a premium class gpu would be great.

    But sadly i don't think core m 5yxx are intended to be paired with discrete gpus, only for convertibles tablets and such but we'll see. Later Broadwell cpus it will be.

    But as a gamer concerned mostly by cooling and noise and not caring for a premium cpu as long as there is no major cpu limiting i'm definitely for devoting the power to gpus !!!
  • limitedaccess - Saturday, October 11, 2014 - link

    ULV and lower power Intel mobile CPUs (including the new Core-M series) are limited to PCie 2.0 x4 while M/Q CPUs have the a full PCie 3.0 x16 available to them.

    The only GTX x60m+ class laptop I'm aware of that pairs with a non M/Q CPU was the announced (but not yet released) Alienware 13 with a Haswell-U + GTX 860m. However there was, I believe, some uncertainty regarding whether that will be the actual CPU configuration.

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