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Razer Blade (2017) UHD Laptop Review

Florian Schaar (translated by Martin Jungowski), 12/12/2017

Christmas tree in UHD. A fully configurable RGB keyboard backlight is one of Razer's most distinctive features. In time for the holiday season, Razer has released a UHD variant of the Kaby Lake and GTX 1060-powered Razer Blade notebook, best to be showcased with opened lid underneath the Christmas tree.

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Back in March of 2017, we had the FHD model of the Kaby Lake Razer Blade in review. Now, we have got our hands on the UHD variant of the otherwise completely identical notebook. Accordingly, in this test we are going to focus mainly on the differences between the FHD and the UHD model. Further details regarding connectivity, case, and more can be found in our extensive review of the FHD SKU.

Comparable devices are the Razer Blade 2017 with FHD display, the Skylake-powered UHD SKU of the Razer Blade 2016, and the Gigabyte Aero 14.

Razer Blade (2017) UHD (Blade Series)
Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop) - 6144 MB, Core: 1404 MHz, Memory: 8008 MHz, GDDR5
Memory
16384 MB 
, DDR4 Dual-Channel
Display
14 inch 16:9, 3840 x 2160 pixel 315 PPI, 10-point multitouch, BEO0743, IPS, glossy: yes
Storage
Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW512HMJP, 512 GB 
, 400 GB free
Soundcard
Intel Skylake PCH-H High Definition Audio Controller
Connections
3 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 USB 3.1 Gen2, 1 Thunderbolt, 1 HDMI, 1 DisplayPort, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm headset combo
Networking
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter (b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.1
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 18 x 345 x 236 ( = 0.71 x 13.58 x 9.29 in)
Battery
70 Wh Lithium-Ion
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: Webcam
Primary Camera: 2 MPix
Additional features
Keyboard: Chiclet Razer Chroma, Keyboard Light: yes, 12 Months Warranty
Weight
1.946 kg ( = 68.64 oz / 4.29 pounds), Power Supply: 540 g ( = 19.05 oz / 1.19 pounds)
Price
2699 Euro

 

Display

The new display is the biggest and most important difference between the two models. As usual, we put the new panel through its paces. According to the HW-Info the manufacturer of the panel with a model number BEO0743, is unknown. The Blade’s FHD panel is made by LG.

406
cd/m²
403
cd/m²
394
cd/m²
409
cd/m²
422
cd/m²
389
cd/m²
410
cd/m²
402
cd/m²
386
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 422 cd/m² Average: 402.3 cd/m² Minimum: 24.4 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 91 %
Center on Battery: 413 cd/m²
Contrast: 1455:1 (Black: 0.29 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 3.06 | 0.8-29.43 Ø6.4
ΔE Greyscale 3.84 | 0.64-98 Ø6.6
95% sRGB (Argyll) 64% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll)
Gamma: 2.52
Razer Blade (2017) UHD
BEO0743, IPS, 3840x2160, 14
Razer Blade (2017)
LP140WF3-SPD1, IPS, 1920x1080, 14
Razer Blade (2016)
Sharp LQ140Z1JW01 (SHP1401), IGZO, 3200x1800, 14
Gigabyte Aero 14
LG Philips LP140QH1-SPF1 (LGD049A), IPS, 2560x1440, 14
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2017 (2.9 GHz, 560)
2880x1800, 15.4
Screen
-23%
10%
-24%
20%
Brightness middle
422
272
-36%
328
-22%
290
-31%
534
27%
Brightness
402
277
-31%
328
-18%
257
-36%
502
25%
Brightness Distribution
91
84
-8%
69
-24%
79
-13%
86
-5%
Black Level *
0.29
0.26
10%
0.22
24%
0.3
-3%
0.31
-7%
Contrast
1455
1046
-28%
1491
2%
967
-34%
1723
18%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
3.06
4.59
-50%
1.91
38%
4.59
-50%
1.8
41%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
5.86
8.49
-45%
3.23
45%
8.68
-48%
3.8
35%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
3.84
4.28
-11%
1.69
56%
4.32
-13%
2.4
37%
Gamma
2.52 95%
2.23 108%
2.3 104%
2.25 107%
2.27 106%
CCT
7100 92%
6848 95%
6418 101%
7320 89%
6563 99%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
64
55
-14%
63
-2%
59
-8%
77.92
22%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
95
83
-13%
97
2%
92
-3%
99.94
5%

* ... smaller is better

Response times are somewhat long and not really suitable for fast-paced gaming. In addition, the display utilizes PWM for brightness regulation, which some users will notice as constant flickering at a very low 200 Hz. As such, it is significantly below average.

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
32 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 19 ms rise
↘ 13 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 81 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (26.3 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
51 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 25 ms rise
↘ 26 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 85 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (42.1 ms).

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM detected 200 Hz ≤ 90 % brightness setting

The display backlight flickers at 200 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 90 % and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

The frequency of 200 Hz is relatively low, so sensitive users will likely notice flickering and experience eyestrain at the stated brightness setting and below.

In comparison: 54 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 9953 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 588200) Hz was measured.

When looking at our CalMAN measurements, the display turned out to be quite decent indeed. DeltaE deviation out of the box was at a very decent 3 and therefore exactly at our threshold that separates a very good from a good display. This was further lowered to 1.25 through calibration, which is on a par with the MacBook Pro. That said, the 2016 UHD SKU was slightly better out of the box. On the other hand, the FHD model was around 20% worse. Thus, if you are planning to purchase a Razer Blade to fulfill all your multimedia needs and requirements, the UHD model would be the better choice over the FHD model. The remaining parameters (black level, contrast ratio, and brightness) were very good as well.

Subjectively speaking, we were unable to determine any shifts in color representation, neither prior to nor after calibration.

Viewing angles were superb as well. Distorted colors were almost impossible to make out with the naked eye. As can be seen along the edges, blacks tended to shift towards a grayish shade at acute angles.

ColorChecker
ColorChecker
gray scale
gray scale
saturation
saturation
ColorChecker (calibrated)
ColorChecker (calibrated)
gray scale (calibrated)
gray scale (calibrated)
saturation (calibrated)
saturation (calibrated)

The remaining parameters (black level, contrast ratio, and brightness) were very good as well. Only AdobeRGB color space coverage was somewhat meager, at no more than 65%. In return, sRGB color space coverage was at a very good 95%.

AdobeRGB color space coverage
AdobeRGB color space coverage
sRGB color space coverage
sRGB color space coverage
viewing angles
viewing angles

Performance

We've already hat the Razer Blade equipped with that very same CPU and GPU in review. For a detailed analysis, see this Razer Blade (FHD) review.

Processor

Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
Gigabyte Aero 14
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
159 Points ∼27% +9%
Razer Blade (2017)
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
154 Points ∼26% +5%
Razer Blade (2016)
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
146 Points ∼25% 0%
Razer Blade (2017) UHD
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
146 Points ∼25%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Razer Blade (2017) UHD
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
747 Points ∼35%
Gigabyte Aero 14
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
730 Points ∼34% -2%
Razer Blade (2017)
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
729 Points ∼34% -2%
Razer Blade (2016)
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
671 Points ∼31% -10%
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
99.6 %
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
91.96 fps
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
747 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
146 Points
Help

System Performance

PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2
Razer Blade (2017)
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZVLV256
5008 Points ∼100% +21%
Gigabyte Aero 14
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, LiteOn CX2-8B256
4702 Points ∼94% +13%
Razer Blade (2016)
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 6700HQ, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZVLV512
4214 Points ∼84% +1%
Razer Blade (2017) UHD
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW512HMJP
4153 Points ∼83%
Home Score Accelerated v2
Razer Blade (2017)
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZVLV256
3958 Points ∼100% +16%
Gigabyte Aero 14
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, LiteOn CX2-8B256
3717 Points ∼94% +9%
Razer Blade (2016)
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 6700HQ, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZVLV512
3417 Points ∼86% 0%
Razer Blade (2017) UHD
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW512HMJP
3415 Points ∼86%
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
3415 points
PCMark 8 Creative Score Accelerated v2
5073 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
4153 points
Help

Storage Devices

Razer Blade (2017) UHD
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW512HMJP
Razer Blade (2017)
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZVLV256
Razer Blade (2016)
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 6700HQ, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZVLV512
Gigabyte Aero 14
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, LiteOn CX2-8B256
CrystalDiskMark 5.2
Write 4K
151
Read 4K
44
Write Seq
1065
Read Seq
1048
Write 4K Q32T1
469
Read 4K Q32T1
556
Write Seq Q32T1
1593
Read Seq Q32T1
3242
Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW512HMJP
CDM 5 Read Seq Q32T1: 3242 MB/s
CDM 5 Write Seq Q32T1: 1593 MB/s
CDM 5 Read 4K Q32T1: 556 MB/s
CDM 5 Write 4K Q32T1: 469 MB/s
CDM 5 Read Seq: 1048 MB/s
CDM 5 Write Seq: 1065 MB/s
CDM 5 Read 4K: 44 MB/s
CDM 5 Write 4K: 151 MB/s

Graphics Card

3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU
Gigabyte Aero 14
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), Intel Core i7-7700HQ
14731 Points ∼100%
Razer Blade (2016)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), Intel Core i7-6700HQ
13891 Points ∼94%
Razer Blade (2017)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), Intel Core i7-7700HQ
13870 Points ∼94%
3DMark Ice Storm Standard Score
35841 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
21889 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
9247 points
3DMark Fire Strike Extreme Score
4937 points
3DMark Time Spy Score
3538 points
Help

Emissions & Energy

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noise
noise

As with the FHD model, noise emissions are a mixed bag with the UHD variant as well. When idle or under low load such as browsing the web or using office productivity suites, the fans are either completely off or barely audible. Under load, however, this changes drastically, and the Razer Blade turns into a 55 dB(A) loud beast. This sound level is very uncomfortable and a massive killjoy in the long run.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs203231.232.231.733.2322531.531.132.532.33031.53132.734.232.434.731.432.74029.531.528.633.629.929.55027.328.428.930.638.327.36328.226.928.628.527.228.28028.83626.927.42628.81003529.226.12626.43512527.12825.425.123.827.116029.127.625.223.423.429.120029.627.925.323.122.529.625031.330.625.321.421.131.331535.233.626.321.420.435.240033.931.224.92019.933.950034.632.625.81919.334.663035.933.426.51918.335.980037.134.92818.517.837.110004138.830.618.117.541125040.137.829.717.817.840.1160042.940.932.817.517.642.9200045.843.735.917.617.745.8250047.647.232.217.817.747.6315049.743.630.817.817.849.7400042.439.527.7181842.4500041.538.626.118.218.241.5630039.135.82318.318.239.1800037.6342118.518.437.61000033.529.619.418.518.433.51250029.625.71918.418.329.61600025.822.318.818.518.425.8SPL55.752.942.230.530.355.7N9.47.73.61.41.49.4median 35.9Razer Blade (2017) UHDmedian 33.6median 26.1median 18.5median 18.3median 35.9Delta4.54.821.81.24.5hearing rangehide median Fan Noise

Temperature

Max. Load
 39 °C50.2 °C44.2 °C 
 33.2 °C47 °C35 °C 
 34.2 °C35 °C34 °C 
Maximum: 50.2 °C
Average: 39.1 °C
44 °C51.9 °C39 °C
36.5 °C45 °C36.4 °C
32.9 °C36.4 °C34.2 °C
Maximum: 51.9 °C
Average: 39.6 °C
Power Supply (max.)  61.2 °C | Room Temperature 21.8 °C | FIRT 550-Pocket

The same must be said about the temperatures. As long as the load is low enough, the Razer Blade remains cool to the touch. As soon as the device is put under high load, temperatures can rise to 50 °C (~122 °F) and more. The FHD variant remained below the 50 °C (~122 °F) threshold - the high-resolution display takes its toll.

At least the hotspots are located in the center of the unit. The sides (for example around the W-A-S-D block on the keyboard) remain somewhat cooler and max out at around body temperature.

top (idle)
top (idle)
bottom (idle)
bottom (idle)
top (load)
top (load)
bottom (load)
bottom (load)

Speakers

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2031.633.231.62531.73031.73135.331.435.34030.229.930.25030.538.330.56329.827.229.88033.92633.910043.226.443.212550.723.850.716051.723.451.720046.222.546.225050.321.150.331556.920.456.94006219.96250061.519.361.563060.418.360.480065.517.865.5100068.317.568.3125065.417.865.416006617.66620006917.769250068.117.768.1315063.517.863.5400063.51863.5500061.718.261.7630063.318.263.380005318.4531000049.918.449.91250046.718.346.71600041.718.441.7SPL7730.377N38.91.438.9median 61.5Razer Blade (2017) UHDmedian 18.3median 61.5Delta7.41.27.435.335.132.931.831.83236.535.132.428.93328.936.328.848.32761.52752.924.860.92462.822.763.32269.521.267.82174.82075.919.472.718.97117.770.117.86917.671.817.668.117.671.417.673.717.670.417.571.617.671.617.669.617.459.717.583.630.662.51.5median 69.6Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHzmedian 17.84.62.4hearing rangehide median Pink Noise
Razer Blade (2017) UHD audio analysis

(-) | not very loud speakers (69.03 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(±) | reduced bass - on average 11.6% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (13.1% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 3.6% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (6.1% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 4.7% away from median
(±) | linearity of highs is average (7.4% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (16.7% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 43% of all tested devices in this class were better, 12% similar, 45% worse
» The best had a delta of 6%, average was 18%, worst was 37%
Compared to all devices tested
» 24% of all tested devices were better, 7% similar, 69% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (83.6 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(±) | reduced bass - on average 11.3% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (14.2% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 2.4% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (5.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 2% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (4.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(+) | overall sound is linear (9.3% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 1% of all tested devices in this class were better, 1% similar, 98% worse
» The best had a delta of 9%, average was 19%, worst was 47%
Compared to all devices tested
» 2% of all tested devices were better, 0% similar, 98% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Frequency diagram (checkboxes selectable/deselectable!)

Power Consumption

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.26 / 0.82 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 8.1 / 14.3 / 16.3 Watt
Load midlight 74 / 164 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Battery Runtime
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
5h 40min
Razer Blade (2017) UHD
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 70 Wh
Razer Blade (2017)
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 70 Wh
Razer Blade (2016)
6700HQ, GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 70 Wh
Gigabyte Aero 14
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 94 Wh
Battery Runtime
WiFi v1.3
340
545
60%
243
-29%
524
54%

Pros

+ rigid high-quality aluminum case
+ thin and sleek
+ good Wi-Fi performance
+ very good matte display
+ Thunderbolt 3.0 + HDMI 2.0

Cons

- susceptible to finger prints
- very loud under load
- no SD card reader
- significantly shorter battery life than FHD model

Verdict

In review: Razer Blade UHD. Review unit courtesy of Razer.
In review: Razer Blade UHD. Review unit courtesy of Razer.

In our verdict of the FHD model we have already concluded that the Razer Blade is a premium device. The case is exceptionally well-made, performance was more than decent, and battery life was at an expected level. Surely, this design would find its audience. The keyboard backlight may not be to everybody’s taste;  nevertheless it remains impressive from a technical point of view. Suffice it to say that all this is also true for the high-resolution UHD model. At 4K it is well-nigh impossible to make out individual pixels on-screen and overall image and color quality were significantly improved through calibration. Unfortunately, these pros come at a price. Not only literally (the current premium for the UHD panel is $500) but also figuratively: battery life has dropped from around 9 hours to no more than 6 hours.

The Razer Blade would be the perfect Windows MacBook - were it not so loud.

And once again we are faced with the arduous task of classification. For gaming purposes, we highly recommend the FHD SKU - battery life is much better and color accuracy is not as relevant in a gaming notebook. On the other hand, the UHD SKU is much better suited for all multimedia purposes due to its higher color accuracy and representation.

Razer Blade (2017) UHD - 12/11/2017 v6
Florian Schaar

Chassis
93 / 98 → 95%
Keyboard
79%
Pointing Device
89%
Connectivity
63 / 81 → 77%
Weight
64 / 10-66 → 96%
Battery
86%
Display
92%
Games Performance
91%
Application Performance
86%
Temperature
87 / 95 → 92%
Noise
75 / 90 → 84%
Audio
66%
Camera
71 / 85 → 84%
Average
80%
86%
Gaming - Weighted Average

Pricecompare

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Razer Blade (2017) UHD Laptop Review
Florian Schaar, 2017-12-12 (Update: 2018-04- 6)