Anybody who has ever tried to purchase a really compact gaming laptop computer has most likely confronted this dilemma: Do you decide a much bigger system for elevated efficiency, or sacrifice fps and go along with one thing smaller that’s a bit simpler to hold round? Even Razer, an organization that’s been making gaming laptops for a decade, has struggled with discovering that stability. However with the introduction of the brand new Blade 14, Razer now has a really compact gaming laptop computer with help for essentially the most highly effective cellular GPUs you will get immediately (and an AMD CPU as well), which lastly eliminates the necessity to decide on between measurement and efficiency. It’s not too huge and it’s not too small, it’s excellent.
Acquainted Design in a New Dimension
That includes a unibody aluminum chassis with clear minimalist traces, the Blade 14 comes with the identical wonderful construct and design you get from Razer’s different gaming notebooks. Which means the Blade 14 comes with stuff like a per-key RGB backlit keyboard, a webcam with help for Home windows Hi there face login, upward dealing with stereo audio system, and a wholesome quantity of connectivity for a system this measurement, together with a full-size HDMI 2.1 port, two USB 3.2 Kind-A ports, two USB 3.2 Kind-C ports, and a headphone jack. Nevertheless, it’s vital to notice that as a result of the Blade 14 is the lone gaming laptop computer in Razer’s portfolio that includes an AMD CPU (Ryzen 9 5900HZ), you don’t get help for Thunderbolt 4.
Relying on the config, Razer affords a 144Hz 1080p or a 165Hz 2560 x 1440 14-inch show. On our 165Hz assessment mannequin, the Blade 14’s display screen produced a very good however not particularly spectacular brightness of 346 nits, and whereas colours appeared vibrant and colourful, as a result of Razer makes use of a matte non-touch show, the Blade 14’s colours aren’t fairly as vivid as you what you would possibly see on a laptop computer with a shiny show.
Now I do know some people could take difficulty with the Blade 14’s considerably cramped keyboard format, which options smaller than regular keycaps for issues like Backspace, Again Slash, and its arrows keys, however given Razer’s measurement constraints, I’m not too bothered. Fortunately, typing feels crisp and bouncy, whereas Razer makes use of each final millimeter on the Blade 14’s deck to ship a big (and fairly responsive) glass touchpad.
It’s form of the identical factor relating to the Blade 14’s considerably sizable chin. It’s not dangerous sufficient to make the Blade 14 look or really feel outdated, although I do want Razer had discovered a strategy to shrink that bezel only a bit by together with a 16:10 facet ratio display screen as a substitute of a 16:9 show, which might offer you a bit additional room for each gaming and productiveness.
And with the Blade 14 measuring in at 12.59 x 8.66 x 0.66 inches, you’re getting all this in a machine that’s barely greater than Razer’s 13-inch Blade Stealth (12 x 8.27 x 0.6 inches).
Massive Efficiency, Compact Package deal
Right here’s what you got here for: Not solely is the Blade 14 Razer’s solely laptop computer to function a Ryzen 9 5900HX CPU from AMD (or any AMD CPUs for that matter), the Blade 14 additionally has 16GB of RAM and might be configured with any one among Nvidia’s RTX 30-series GPUs—RTX 3060, RTX 3070, and even the RTX 3080 in the event you’re so inclined. That’s a whole lot of efficiency to cram right into a system this measurement, and a marked enchancment over what you’d get within the 13-inch Blade Stealth, which tops out with a GTX 1650 TI graphics card. And it’s this mixture of efficiency that makes all of the distinction.
In comparison with the Blade Stealth I reviewed final yr, the Blade 14 (100 fps) carried out twice in addition to Blade Stealth (48 fps) in Far Cry 5 at full HD and extremely graphics, which shouldn’t be an enormous shock given the distinction in GPUs. However nonetheless, this comparability reveals way more energy you’re getting by transferring up in measurement only a contact.
In actuality, the Blade 14 has way more in frequent with its greater sibling—the Blade 15—than it does with the Stealth, as each programs function the identical vary of GPU choices, together with comparable ranges of RAM and storage. That mentioned, as a result of Blade 15’s bigger chassis, it does have extra room to channel sizzling air away from its internals, which ends up in the Blade 15 having fun with round a 10% efficiency benefit in gaming in comparison with the Blade 15. That’s not an insignificant penalty, however for folks actually attempting to min-max on portability, that trade-off is likely to be value it.
Utilizing the identical settings as earlier than in Far Cry 5, the Blade 15 pumped out 109 fps versus 100 fps for the Blade 14. And in Shadow of the Tomb Raider at full HD on highest settings, it was an analogous story, with the Blade 15 averaging 112 fps in comparison with 99 fps for the Blade 14. That mentioned, after we look outdoors of Razer’s camp at different comparatively compact gaming laptops, the Blade 14’s efficiency nonetheless compares fairly favorably to programs like Alienware m15 R5 and the Acer Predator Triton 300 SE, with the Blade 14 (which is admittedly costlier than its rivals) providing nearly as good or higher efficiency throughout practically all of our productiveness and gaming benchmarks.
Underwhelming Battery Life
With a time of 6 hours and 49 minutes on our video rundown take a look at, the Blade 14’s battery life is fairly unremarkable, possibly even bordering on barely disappointing. Methods like MSI’s Stealth 15M (7:59), the Alienware m15 R5 (7:27), and the Asus ROG Strix G15 Benefit (8:22) all posted longer runtimes, with Acer’s Triton 300 SE (6:11) being one of many few rival programs to not outlast the Blade 14. However contemplating all these laptops are extra normal 15-inch programs, this actually highlights the bounds of placing all these power-hungry elements right into a small chassis with much less room for large battery packs.
Another vital issues apart from battery life are that when underneath full load, the Blade 14’s exterior temps can rise quite shortly, to the purpose the place it’s probably not comfy to make use of in your lap. And, in the event you’re attempting to sport on battery, peak efficiency takes a noticeable hit too, although with how shortly the Blade 14 runs by juice when away from an outlet, at that time you’re higher off dialing down graphics settings to enhance battery life anyhow. And eventually, whereas USB-PD most likely can’t deal with the ability necessities the Blade 14 wants (at the least not but), I actually want Razer had discovered a strategy to make charging over USB-C the default possibility, as a substitute of counting on its proprietary energy plug. That little change alone would virtually definitely be a welcome improve and make the Blade 14 much more moveable than it already is.
That Worth Tag
Whereas the Blade 14 has just a few small weak factors and shortcomings, its largest and most evident draw back is its value. Now it’s true that Razer’s gaming laptops have by no means actually been what anybody would name inexpensive, however with the Blade 14 beginning at $1,800 for a Ryzen 9 5900 HX CPU, 16GB of RAM, 1TB SSD, and an RTX 3060 GPU, it feels such as you’re paying a good greater premium to place all these elements in a barely extra compact 14-inch chassis.
This implies the most important argument towards the Blade 14 is a system just like the ROG Strix G15 Benefit, which begins at simply $1,550 and options the identical CPU and an equal AMD GPU due to its Radeon RX 6800 graphics card. Positive, the G15 Benefit’s construct high quality isn’t as good as Razer’s machines, it’s greater, and it doesn’t even include helpful options like a built-in webcam. However relating to pure worth, the Blade 14 can’t fairly sustain.
Energy and Portability
As somebody who usually has to debate in the event that they need to deliver a typical 13-inch or 15-inch laptop computer with them whereas touring, the actual luxurious of the Blade 14 shouldn’t be actually having to compromise on energy or portability—the Blade 14 provides you each in spades. It’s simple to slide into virtually any laptop computer bag, and it’s bought greater than sufficient oomph to play something you possibly can moderately need, each at house or on the street. The Blade 14 is a compact however highly effective do-everything machine that’s simple to lug round. Even when it’s not fairly as inexpensive as lots of its rivals, it’s onerous to not admire all the things you get from such a small package deal.