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Razer Blade 14 (2024) review: Ready for AI

Razer Blade 14 (2024) review: Ready for AI

Razer Blade 14 (2024)

At first glance, the latest Razer Blade 14 (2024) looks like a minor refresh. There's a new AMD processor, but it has the same Nvidia graphics as the 2023 edition. The design is unchanged, the ports, battery capacity, and even the screen are similar. However, I did see a slight improvement in gaming performance. And like many PCs this year, the Razer Blade has a built-in neural processing unit (NPU) in the AMD chip for AI workloads. There's also Wi-Fi 7 support. So depending on your current gaming rig, it could be a decent upgrade.

Quick specs

  • 14-inch 2,560 x 1,600-pixel IPS display (240Hz)
  • AMD Ryzen 9 8945HS chip with Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 Laptop graphics
  • 2x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, 2x USB-C (with Power Delivery and Display Port 1.4), HDMI 2.1, audio jack
  • 68.1 watt-hour battery

The new Razer Blade 14 looks identical to the previous version. I tested the silver, Mercury version that substitutes the green backlit Razer logo for a plain non-LED version. It's relatively slim for a gaming laptop, and is handy enough at around 1.8kg. Build quality is excellent. The chassis and the lid are stiff without much flex. I could open the lid with just one hand. There's a good mix of ports, with the USB-A and USB-C ports evenly distributed on either sides. A SD card slot would have been the icing on the cake, but alas, it's unavailable. The keyboard feels shallow, but it didn't affect my typing speed. The touchpad is wide, and smooth.

Razer Blade 14 (2024)
Credit: Vincent Chang/Can Buy or Not

Its 14-inch display is sharp, with a fairly effective anti-glare finish. Viewing angles are excellent. It's decently bright, and the colours look spot-on. No HDR support, though. Gamers probably won't mind that much since it does have a 240Hz refresh rate. Like last year's model, there's a disappointing lack of Nvidia G-Sync. The screen bezels, though, are narrow. Its infrared webcam supports facial recognition. But it's a 2MP camera (with a privacy shutter) that exhibits a fair amount of noise. Not the best. However, the webcam does have features like auto-framing, which can be offloaded to the integrated NPU — it's considered an AI workload. But since older laptops already had such webcam features, it's unlikely to wow anyone.

Razer Blade 14 (2024)
Credit: Vincent Chang/Can Buy or Not

While the AI aspect is currently undercooked, there's a clear, but slight improvement in gaming performance from the previous version — despite having the same graphics chip. In Watch Dogs: Legion, the new Razer Blade produced 65fps on average at its native resolution and Ultra setting, up from 56fps for the 2023 model. However, the CPU performance is largely unchanged. The new AMD Ryzen 9 8945HS scored 7,878 overall in PCMark 10 compared with 7,820 for the older AMD Ryzen 9 7940HS. As usual, the performance comes at a cost. You can feel the heat emanating from between the keys while typing. The bottom of the laptop, and the area above the Function keys are too toasty to touch during intensive tasks. I could tolerate the fan noise, which isn't too different from other gaming laptops.

A new feature that makes the Razer Blade 14 (2024) more futureproof — besides the improved AI capability — is Wi-Fi 7. The new Wi-Fi standard promises significant upgrades in performance, and Wi-Fi 7 routers, and compatible client devices are starting to hit shelves this year. Singapore is also upgrading its fibre network to support 10Gbps. Battery life is decent for a gaming laptop at around 5 hours — it's one hour longer than the previous version. The older model was also more expensive — the RTX 4070 version was S$4,399. Perhaps Razer had the same feedback from others, because the 2024 version with the RTX 4070 chip is S$3,999. Razer still sells the older 2023, and even the 2022 models. They remain viable options, if you choose to save a few bucks. Get all these laptops from the Razer Store.

See Also
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Note: Review unit provided by Razer.


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Verdict



CAN BUY

AI, Wi-Fi 7, and slight boost to gaming performance

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