It’s been a long time since we’ve reviewed a Razer laptop – the company hasn’t been very ‘focused’ on the Australian market for the past year or so. However, AMD has sent us the brand-new Razer Blade 14 which is a former Best Laptop… albeit a long time ago. How will the latest refresh fare in the current market?
Table of Contents
|Screen||14-inch, matte, 240Hz, 2,560 x 1,600, IPS display|
|Processor||4.0-5.2GHz AMD Ryzen 9 7940HS CPU|
|Memory||16GB DDR5-5600 RAM|
|Graphics||8GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070|
|Hard drive||1TB PCIe NVMe|
2 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 2
2 x USB-C 4
1 x HDMI 2.1
1 x 3.5mm audio
|Extra Security||Webcam privacy slide|
|Dimensions||311 x 221 x 18mm|
Features, Ergonomics and Design
The styling of the new Razer Blade 14 hasn’t changed much over the years, but then it doesn’t need to. It’s been our Number 1 Cool Laptop since we started the list, thanks to its smart, matte-black, CNC-milled, aluminium chassis, RGB keyboard and glowing-green lid logo. It also offers quasi-bomb-proof build quality that feels somewhat luxurious. While it can be a bit of a fingerprint magnet, it arguably sports the drop-dead drip that Apple would kill for.
Opening it up reveals a very bright, 2,560 x 1,600, matte, IPS screen. Creators will like that it supports 100 per cent of the difficult DCI-P3 colour space and gamers will like that (unusually for a UHD display) it has a super-fast 240Hz refresh rate.
It displays a sharp Windows Desktop with vibrant colours. Multimedia is also rendered with bright and vibrant colours. There is some light banding in both chromatic and monochromatic gradients but that’s not uncommon for fast, gaming screens. It’s better than most rivals in these regards. Contrast is impressive with details remaining present in both dark and bright areas. True blacks, naturally, can’t match OLED, but they’re not bad.
The 240Hz refresh rate marries with a fast pixel response time to keep fast-moving objects very sharp to the point where competitive gamers will be impressed. All in all, it’s a great screen.
Above it is a high-quality, Full HD webcam which captures clear audio, even in low light. It’s protected by a red privacy slider. The partnering array microphones do a good job of capturing audio, even in noisy environments.
The touch-type keyboard has very-low-travel keys and is comfortable and accurate to type upon for extended periods. It might be a bit too hair-triggery for some but it’s still very good for gaming in terms of responsiveness and accuracy. Our only gripe is the squished, up-and-down arrow keys. Meanwhile, the large trackpad is smooth, accurate and has well-actuated buttons.
The speakers are above average but not great. They offer average volume and a modicum of bass but not much.
Nonetheless, all in all, the Razer Blade 14 still looks fantastic and is generally excellent to interact with.
Inside the Razer Blade 14 is a 4.0-5.2 GHz AMD Ryzen 9 7940HS processor which has eight cores and 16 threads. It’s supported by 16GB of fast, DDR5-5600 RAM and a speedy 1TB PCIe NVMe. These combined to score 8,202 in the general-computing, PCMark 10 test which is well above average but some way behind the most powerful powerful gaming laptops. It’s very impressive for a 14-inch, ultraportable laptop, though.
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In the Cinebench rendering benchmarks the Razer Blade 14 scored 2,804 in the drag-race R15 test and 15,803 in the longer, R23 test. These are average scores in a world where the top processors have recently changed the game but they are fast median scores for any laptop, let alone an ultraportable.
3D performance comes via a an upper-mid-range Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 with 8GB of GDDR6 RAM. In the difficult, ray-tracing 3DMark tests, the Razer Blade 14 scored 2,908 (average 29.1fps) in Speed Way and 7,296 (average 33.8fps). These scores demonstrate that it can play the latest and greatest eye-candy games, but you may have to drop the resolution and detail settings to make the best of them.
In the AAA-gaming title tests, 3DMark Time Spy and Fire Strike Extreme, the Razer Blade 14 scored 12,039 (average 74.2fps) and 13,678 (average 65.1fps) respectively. These illustrate that it’s well-capable of playing the latest, blockbuster games.
In the casual-and-competitive-gaming 3DMark Night Raid test, it scored 54,347 (average 424.3fps). This is lower than expected but, nonetheless, a score that shows there are no issues with basic games.
We also ran our old, difficult CS:GO test which stresses the entire system. It averaged 206fps for the whole benchmark and 45fps in the slowest, one per cent of frames (1% Low test). This tells pro players that the Razer Blade 14 can play competitive games without any slow down – even when things get hectic.
When under load, the Razer Blade 14’s fans can ramp up and generate a noisy whoosh. However, when set to Silent mode, in general usage, it remains quiet… unlike previous generations.
Inside there’s Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2. It’s a good, current-gen complement.
The Razer Blade 14 weighs 1.85KG which, in our book, is on the limit of being an ultraportable. Just note that there’s a sizeable power brick which adds another 810g to the mix. Nonetheless, the 18mm-thick, 14-inch chassis feels almost pocketable and its solid, one-piece, aluminium construction will ensure it will survives life on the road better than most rivals.
Meanwhile, the 68.1Wh battery ran our PCMark 10 Modern Office battery test for an impressive 11 hours. That’s more than a full day out of the office and great for portable powerhouse.
Price and availability
This Razer Blade 14 is available on Razer’s own website and costs $5,099. That’s far from cheap, but Razer makes no illusions about this being a super-premium product. You can save $600 by downgrading the GPU to an Nvidia 4060. Or you can spend $200 more to double the RAM or choose the ‘Mercury’ silver finish – although that’s out of stock at the time of publishing.
Alternatives to the Razer Blade 14
There aren’t many portable powerhouses on the market but the obvious choice is the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14. We’ve yet to test the latest version but its 16-inch sibling was impressive. Otherwise, there’s the MSI Prestige 14 – although we’re still waiting to see the latest version with discreet graphics.
At the end of the day, the Blade 14 is another winner from Razer. It might not have evolved much in recent years (beyond the internal chips) but there’s a reason Porsche don’t mess around with the 911. It has a few foibles, like the speakers, fingerprint magnetism and squished arrow keys, but these are very minor in the scheme of things. It’s a great choice and wins both our Highly Recommended and our Best Portable Laptop awards.
Razer Blade 14 Scores
It’s expensive but the updated Razer Blade 14 is still one of the very best laptops on the market.