In and Around the Razer Blade 14-Inch

As I mentioned previously, it's hard not to compare the Razer Blade 14-inch to Apple's MacBook Pro. That's not really a problem, though; I'm not an Apple user or an Apple fan, but it's hard to really argue that Apple's ID and general notebook quality have yet to find a good match in the Windows space. If you're going to crib from anyone's design playbook, that would probably be the one.

The Razer Blade 14-inch enjoys an aluminum chassis from head to toe. There are two slight ridges on the lid to give it class and character (and probably a tough of rigidity), and the Razer logo glows when the system is powered on. The body itself seems to be a unibody aluminum chassis, but what I'd like to draw attention to is the internal design.


Source: Razer Blade website.

There's some incredibly smart engineering at work here to get the system this thin, but there are compromises made, too. Razer employs a pair of small fans that intake air from the bottom and exhaust it through heatsink arrays hidden in the hinge. The result is a chassis with virtually no visible ventilation yet still has actual cooling potential.

A look at the bottom of the notebook reveals exactly that. Two ventilated intakes for the fans, no visible exhausts. The tradeoff with this design is a tremendous amount of heat above the keyboard. Razer does a fantastic job of managing noise, but the panel of aluminum above the keyboard, where the power button is, gets extremely hot and unpleasant to the touch.

With the chiclet keycap design this radiant heat won't be a major issue during prolonged gaming sessions, but it's something to be aware of. The internal thermal design means the palm rests never get too warm, though; it's all actually pretty slick.

Users who aren't enamored with Razer's Switchblade panel in the larger Blade Pro unit will be overjoyed to see a spacious touchpad complete with two dedicated mouse buttons. As for the keyboard itself, it's plenty comfortable, though for some bizarre reason I found myself frequently fat-fingering it despite a lack of actual fat fingers. I suspect this problem will be unique to me and maybe a couple of other users; the keyboard still has plenty of travel and depth and it's tough to find any real fault with. In fact my only real complaint is the lack of any indication that the document navigation keys are mapped to Fn combinations with the arrows. That's a sacrifice made for the sake of ID, though, and I have a hard time complaining too much.

For the past two Razer Blade reviews, it was easy for me to sit back and quibble with Vivek's enthusiasm over the industrial design of the Blades at the expense of the notebook's actual practicality. Yet with the 14-inch Blade, it's hard not to see his point. Even if Razer has essentialy created the RazerBook Pro, they still cribbed from the right playbook. The Blade is for anyone who wanted the MacBook Pro in black (which does go with everything), and it's for anyone who has gotten more than a little tired of ostentatious, gaudy gaming notebook designs. It's a shot fired across the bow of vendors like Alienware, stating in no uncertain terms that you can have a powerful, performance gaming notebook in a sleeker form factor. The Blade's ID feels like gaming for grown-ups.

Introducing the Razer Blade 14-Inch System and Futuremark Performance
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  • Dustin Sklavos - Tuesday, July 2, 2013 - link

    If you think the rest of the industry is any different, I have a bridge to sell you. We review what we're sent, same as anyone else.

    But that doesn't make us a mouthpiece. I'd like to think we're pretty critical; we may review what we're sent, but we put the screws to it.
    Reply
  • bji - Tuesday, July 2, 2013 - link

    Why do you review only what you're sent? Can't you have a budget where you buy hardware, review it, and then re-sell it? Every review would cost a couple hundred bucks to produce but that can't be much averaged over the time you spent writing the review (if I spent 20 hours writing a review, the time cost would far exceed a couple of hundred dollars spent on the hardware), and also, you make advertising revenue ... Reply
  • p1esk - Tuesday, July 2, 2013 - link

    Very good point. Besides, it would easy to resell when you have a huge audience of potential buyers. Reply
  • resination - Tuesday, July 2, 2013 - link

    Heh. "This laptop is overpriced junk. Click here to buy ours." Reply
  • MySchizoBuddy - Tuesday, July 9, 2013 - link

    point well made. Reply
  • kevith - Tuesday, July 2, 2013 - link

    Seriously? Should Anand Lil Shimpi run around, shopping for hardware to review? And after reviewing it, they should spend time trying to resell it?

    I really don´t think that would work...
    Reply
  • flyingpants1 - Tuesday, July 2, 2013 - link

    Yes.

    Have a donation/kickstarter system to fund the hardware review budget. Once something is reviewed, slap a fancy Anandtech logo on it and sell it for a 20% loss.

    Anything would be better than sitting and waiting for a manufacturer to send you a cherry-picked sample.
    Reply
  • MySchizoBuddy - Tuesday, July 9, 2013 - link

    the purpose of a reviewer is to test honestly what was handed to them. whether it is given to them or bought is irrelevant. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, July 2, 2013 - link

    A few hundred dollars isn't much less than what most hardware reviewers get paid to begin with. "Hey, can you go buy that $900 laptop, review it, resell it for $700, and we'll pay you the standard $400 for your review?" Reviewing hardware is nice, but when a full review can take 20-40 hours to put together (sometimes more), you can see that investing even four or five extra hours starts to really cut into the revenue/income.

    Then there's the fact that outside of Lenovo, we generally get most of the laptops that are really worth reviewing. We don't need to review every budget laptop, and we don't have the manpower to do so -- and the readership would get really tired of seeing multiple laptop reviews each week where 90% of the laptops are "average" -- okay for a certain price point, but with various flaws.

    Should we need to essentially pay for the privilege of reviewing a specific manufacturer's hardware? Now add in the time it requires to resell a laptop, and the risk of fraud, and it's a big can of worms I'm not really keen to open. In fact, I know one site that tried to do this with desktop systems some years ago so that they could really see what the end user experience was like, including calling tech support to troubleshoot a problem. The reviews ended up not generating enough revenue to cover their cost, the section basically got axed, and the reviewer in question ended up working for one of the big tech companies.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, July 2, 2013 - link

    I should also note that buying your own review units means your reviews will be, at best, several weeks after everyone else. That's not the end of the world, but it does mean about one third the traffic as being one of the first reviews. Reply

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