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Razer Blade 14 review: Portable premium gaming

Razer Blade 14 review: Portable premium gaming

Razer Blade 14 (2023)

The Razer Blade 14 is probably the most powerful 14-inch gaming laptop I have tested. Of course, there aren't as many gaming notebooks of this size. It's portable enough to function as your daily work laptop. However, the Blade 14 is also expensive compared with the alternatives, which makes it tough to recommend despite its solid performance.

Quick specs

  • 14-inch 2,560 x 1,600-pixel IPS display (240Hz)
  • AMD Ryzen 9 7940HS 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

At around 1.8kg, the Blade 14 is handy for a gaming notebook. Not an ultrabook, of course, but you won't break your back carrying it everyday for work. The design is Razer through and through. The distinctive backlit snake logo on the lid, the clean, all-black unibody metal chassis, and the generously-sized touchpad. Build quality is excellent with barely any flex. The 14-inch screen looks great: A crisp IPS display with a matte finish. And more importantly for gamers, it has a 240Hz refresh rate. It's overkill in my opinion, but I'm not playing competitive CS: GO at 240fps. The screen bezels are thin, with a Windows Hello-compatible infrared camera (with physical privacy shutter, too) at the top.

Razer Blade 14 (2023)
Credit: Vincent Chang/Can Buy or Not

Despite being sandwiched by speakers at the sides, the keyboard doesn't feel cramped. It's shallow, though I liked that the keys aren't mushy, and have a bit of resistance. Naturally, it's backlit with per-key RGB lighting. For a 14-inch laptop, the Blade 14 has a good selection of ports. There's HDMI 2.1, two USB-A, and USB-C. The palm rest gets warm during games, but the hottest part is the area just above the Function (Fn) keys. A Fn + P shortcut lets you cycle through Balanced, Silent and a Custom power profile, while Fn + R lets you switch between the screen's 60Hz and 240Hz refresh rate. These gaming and other system settings can be adjusted using the preloaded Razer Synapse software. The fans go up to 5,400RPM, which is pretty noisy, as you'd expect of a gaming notebook.

Razer Blade 14 (2023)
Credit: Vincent Chang/Can Buy or Not

The Blade 14 comes with AMD's latest eight-core Ryzen 9 7940HS chip. This AMD processor can definitely go head-on with Intel's best, with an overall PCMark 10 score of 7,820. That's similar to the 7,895 score from the Razer Blade 18, which uses the Intel Core i9-13950HX. Of course, gaming performance will also depend heavily on the graphics chip, which is the upper mid-range Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 for the Blade 14. It's good enough for most games at 1080p resolution at the highest settings. For example, the Blade 14 managed 78fps at Ultra setting at 1,920 x 1,200 pixels, and 56fps at its native resolution in Watch Dogs: Legion. In Metro Exodus, the laptop produced 80fps at 1080p using the RTX profile. On battery, the Blade 14 lasted around four hours in a video playback test at maximum brightness.

With its compact form factor, I can see myself using the Razer Blade 14 for work and play. Just plug in a monitor and keyboard/mouse when you're at home, and have the space for a larger display. Its plain looks (after disabling the logo lighting) is suitable for the office, too. But as is often the case with Razer's gaming laptops, the price tag is prohibitive. My review set costs S$4,399. Even the base GeForce RTX 4060 model is S$3,899. And while the Blade 14 is a good gaming laptop, it's not so far ahead of the competition to justify this premium. For example, the 14-inch Acer Predator Triton 300 SE is around S$3,000, albeit with an Intel CPU and a 165Hz display. But if you do have the spare cash, the Blade 14 is available now at the Razer website.

See Also
Creative Zen Air Plus

Note: Review unit provided by AMD.


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Verdict



CAN BUY...BUT

Portable and capable, but probably not worth the premium

Buy it from Razer

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