Typically when you go shopping for a gaming laptop, the more powerful it is, the chunkier and heavier the chassis. That's why Razer's aging Blade laptop continues to grace our list of the best gaming laptops under the thin and light category, though perhaps not for much longer. We may have to bump the Blade in favor of Razer's retooled Blade Pro with Pascal in tow.
The Blade Pro is a 17.3-inch laptop with the same gorgeous multi-touch IGZO panel as the previous version boasting a 3840x2160 resolution, G-Sync support, and 100 percent coverage of the Adobe RGB color space. What's different this time around is that you can actually game at its native resolution thanks to an upgrade from a rather ho-hum GeForce GTX 960M to a "holy hell, that's fast!" GTX 1080 GPU.
That's a serious upgrade in graphics horsepower and Razer managed it without increasing the laptop's waistline—it's still just 0.88 inches thin and weighing 7.8 pounds—only about a pound heavier than before.
Much of that is owed to the Blade Pro's unibody CNC aluminum chassis. While we haven't spent any hands-on time with this new configuration, we found the chassis on the Blade in our best list to be "absolutely solid" without any flex, with hinges that confidently hold the lid in position.
Inside the chassis is a drool-worthy configuration, especially for a laptop that's less than nine-tenths of an inch thick. Flanking the aforementioned GPU is an Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor and 32GB of DDR-2133 system memory. That's a potent foundation for gaming and content manipulation, alike.
To prevent storage from dragging down performance like an anchor weight, Razer gives you three capacity options consisting of dual M.2 PCIe-based SSDs in RAID 0, those being 512GB (2x256GB), 1TB (2x512GB), or 2TB (2x1TB).
Other features include Killer DoubleShot Pro networking (Killer 802.11ac Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 4.1 and Killer E2400 gigabit Ethernet), three USB 3.0 ports, a single Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) port, SDXC card reader, 2MP webcam, 7.1-channel audio, TMP 2.0 security, and built-in 99Wh battery.
To keep all that hardware cool, Razer employs an all new thermal management system in the Blade Pro that it says includes the world's thinnest manufactured vapor chamber cooling solution in a laptop. It consists of a custom fan design and dynamic heat exchanger paired with the vapor chamber to prevent heat from building up inside the 0.88-inch high frame.
"The original 17-inch Blade was the first laptop that truly blended power and portability in a PC," says Min-Liang Tan, Razer co-founder and CEO. "We’ve taken that approach another step further with the new Razer Blade Pro. The thermal engineering behind it is staggering. It’s incredible how far we’ve come, from having one product and a small team, to today, with a full catalog of gaming systems and a large group of engineers and designers pushing what a portable gaming machine can do."
Rounding out the set of amenities is a keyboard with Razer's ultra-low profile mechanical key switches. Presses require 65 grams of force, which is supposed to mimic the feel of a full-size mechanical keyboard. I've used something similar and the effect isn't on par with a standalone plank, but it's certainly better than those squishy membrane keys.
The caveat, if you haven't guessed by now, is the price. Razer's line of Blade laptops have never been cheap, and this new Blade Pro is no exception— pricing starts at $3,699 (€4,199). That's a king's ransom, though you're getting a bounty of PC gaming hardware fit for a king in return.