February 23, 2024

Byte Class Technology

Byte Class Technology & Sports Update

The Razer Blade 16 is The MacBook Pro of Gaming Laptops

The Razer Blade 16 is The MacBook Pro of Gaming Laptops

The Razer Blade 16 is finally here, following in the footsteps of Apple after the Cupertino company shifted its MacBook Pro design to a 16-inch model. This lets the high-end gaming laptop continue to claim the “MacBook of gaming laptops” title for another year, but even if Razer hadn’t upped the computer’s screen size, it would be a hard comparison to shake. Just like Apple’s high-end laptops, this is a gorgeous machine with an aluminum unibody design and a trackpad that’s way bigger than it needs to be.

But while Apple’s pro-level laptops are limited to what the M2 Pro and M2 Max can do, the Razer Blade 16 is equipped with the best processors and graphics cards from Intel and Nvidia, respectively. For the unit I got in for review, that means an Intel Core i9-13950HX and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090. But unlike something like the MSI Titan GT77 HX, the focus is on portability rather than raw power, so you’re not getting quite the same level of performance with the Razer Blade 16.

If you’re in the market for a portable gaming laptop that can easily handle most games at 4K without batting an eyelid, the Razer Blade 16 definitely gets the job done. And the bonus is that you won’t look like a gamer when you whip this laptop out at the coffee shop – aside from its copious RGB lighting, of course.

Razer still charges an Apple level premium

The Razer Blade 16 is an expensive gaming laptop. The Razer Blade in general has been one of the most expensive gaming laptops on the market for a long time, but the new model takes it to another level. This laptop starts at an eye-watering $2,699, and that model comes equipped with an Intel Core i9-13950HX and an Nvidia RTX 4060.

You can upgrade the laptop from there, though every single model comes with the same high-end processor. The price goes all the way up to $4,299, which will get you an RTX 4090, 32GB and two(!!) 1TB SSDs. That’s the model I got in for review, and I can confirm that it’s absolutely overkill for most people.

The happy middle-ground will probably be the model with 16GB of RAM and an RTX 4070, which clocks in at $2,999. That’s still an extremely expensive gaming laptop, but the display is really what you’re paying for here, and there’s nothing else on the market like it.

What’s funny is that even though Razer has had to put up with being compared with one of the most expensive laptops on the market for years now, its flagship Blade laptop is now more expensive to start than the MacBook Pro 16, which starts for $200 less at $2,499. So, maybe now the MacBook Pro is the Razer Blade of professional laptops.

Razer Blade 16 from back

Photo: Jackie Thomas / Gizmodo

The Razer Blade 16 is prettier than most gaming laptops

The Razer Blade 16 is gorgeous. There’s no other way around that. Every single year that Razer puts out a new laptop, it improves upon the already fantastic design to make an even more luxurious gaming laptop, and the Blade 16 does exactly that again.

You’re getting the same aluminum unibody chassis, punctuated by more ports than anyone would expect out of a laptop of this size. You get three USB-A ports, an HDMI connection, 2 USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4, an SD card reader and a dedicated charging port. This isn’t the thinnest laptop out there, but it’s still way thinner than a gaming laptop with these specs has any right to be, making the port selection more impressive than it would be on other gaming laptops.

The Razer Blade 16 measures in at just 0.87 inches thick, and weighs in at 5.4 pounds. That’s not quite ultrabook-level dimensions, but even after carrying this thing around in my backpack for weeks, I can attest that it feels pretty similar to a specced-out MacBook in my backpack. The only difference is that this can capably run The Witcher 3 after its next-gen update without any issues.

The only thing that really weighs it down from there (literally) is the huge power brick. That’s kind of a necessary evil with all the power-hungry components in this laptop, but if you’re carrying around the charger, it adds a few pounds to the weight. And, trust me, you’re going to be carrying around the charger if you’re going to be working on this thing for any extended period of time.

4K gaming at higher than 60 fps is no problem for the mobile RTX 4090

The mobile Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 is an absolute beast of a graphics card. It doesn’t quite reach the same levels as the desktop version, of course, but this level of GPU performance in a laptop is a big deal.

There are going to be gaming laptops out there that outperform the Razer Blade 16 with a similar graphics card. The MSI Titan GT77, for instance, has much more space for cooling and runs the RTX 4090 at a higher wattage than the Razer Blade 16 does. So, if you’re after raw performance, you’re probably better off getting a bulkier gaming laptop.

But if you’re looking for something that balances portability with gaming performance, you’re in for a treat here. There isn’t a single game in the Gizmodo test suite that the Razer Blade 16 wasn’t able to run way above 60 fps, usually while also running at 4K. The lowest performance was in Metro Exodus, but even that managed 68 fps at 4K, and even when I enabled ray tracing without DLSS, it was able to get around 49 fps. Enable DLSS, and that number goes all the way up to 79 fps.

Razer Blade 16 left side ports

Photo: Jackie Thomas / Gizmodo

Far Cry 5 shows just how much of a 4K powerhouse this gaming laptop is, with the laptop managing 94 fps at the native resolution of 3,840 x 2,400. Even in games that aren’t part of our usual test suite, this is one of the gaming laptops to beat. I took the Razer Blade 16 with me to MagicCon Philly, and basically spent an evening playing the Witcher 3 next-gen update at 1600p. At that resolution, and with all the eye candy turned way up, I was able to get a solid 80 fps.

That’s less than the 2400p native resolution, but the Witcher 3 next-gen update is notoriously hard to run and I notoriously don’t compromise on visual quality for nothing. The Razer Blade 16 enables my bullshit pickiness with PC game graphics, and I love it for that.

The Razer Blade is still one of the best gaming laptops for productivity

Even beyond gaming performance, the Razer Blade 16 is a beast of a laptop. The laptop manages a Geekbench 5 score of 19,820 in multi-core and 1,975 in single-core. That’s less than the fully unlocked MSI Titan, but again, the cooling allows the MSI laptop to push the CPU harder than the Razer Blade 16.

In Blender, the Razer Blade 16 is able to push through the BMW demo in just 1 minute and 27 seconds, which actually beats out the Titan in the same test. It does fall behind the Titan in Handbrake, but not by much, processing the same video file in 2 minutes and 50 seconds, just 6 seconds slower than MSI’s flagship.

The sleek design of the Razer Blade 16 makes it less obnoxious in the office, and if you need a high-power workstation as a creative professional, I’d be hard pressed to find something more fitting for your needs – at least without forking over the cash for an actual professional workstation like .

Razer Blade 16

Photo: Jackie Thomas / Gizmodo

The keyboard and trackpad are a weak link

The Razer Blade 16 has a fairly average chiclet keyboard, backed with some juicy RGB lighting. I was able to keep my unimpressive 89 WPM typing speed with no errors, so you don’t have to worry about repeat key presses or anything.

One thing that has come up in my time with the Razer Blade 15 is the large trackpad. It’s nice having a huge space for Windows 11 gestures as such, but the palm rejection really should be better for a trackpad that takes up so much of the chassis.

While working on this device, I’ve regularly accidentally triggered the touchpad, losing my place in documents or even clicking into an entirely different tab or window. You can get over this by using a gaming mouse and disabling the trackpad, but you really shouldn’t have to do that when you’re spending this much on a gaming laptop.

One of the Razer Blade 16’s biggest selling points, and probably a huge reason behind the high price, is the display. You’re getting a 16-inch mini-LED display with a ‘dual refresh rate.’ Basically what this means is that, at the native resolution of 3,840 x 2,400, you’re getting a 120Hz refresh rate. But if you lower the resolution to 1,920 x 1,200, you can up the refresh rate to 240Hz. This is great news for esports gamers that might want to use the laptop’s horsepower to drive high framerates in games like Valorant or Overwatch.

The only catch is that, to switch between these two modes, you can’t simply navigate to the Windows 11 Display Settings page and change the resolution there. Instead, you need to go into Razer Synapse, look under its display tab, and change the “Native Display Mode” to your desired resolution and refresh rate. Then, you need to restart the system.

It’s not the biggest deal in the world, but it would have been nice if you could have switched between the two resolutions on the fly when you’re playing different games. Maybe in a future release.

The display itself is gorgeous, however. The mini-LED technology that drives it allows for incredible color accuracy with some of the deepest blacks I’ve ever seen in a laptop display. It gets pretty bright, too, measuring in with a peak brightness of 473 nits. That’s not quite as high as something like the MacBook Pro, but it’s more than you’ll find on most gaming laptops.

If the luxe chassis design isn’t enough to sell you on the high price tag, the display might just be the thing that convinces you to drop thousands of dollars on the Razer Blade 16. Especially for creative professionals that’ll want the power of the RTX 4090 behind a display that can keep up with their Adobe needs.

The Razer Blade 16‘s speakers make gaming headphones optional

To test the audio, I pulled up “Heart & Feather” by Twin Tribes, and the Razer Blade 16 passed with flying colors. Unlike a lot of Windows laptops, the Razer Blade 16 has two giant speaker grilles on either side of the keyboard, each of which is equipped with a tweeter and a woofer.

It’s not going to be the same as a dedicated set of computer speakers or anything, don’t get me wrong. But it’s still more than enough for room-filling sound with actually audible bass. This means that even though the fan can get extremely loud under heavy load, you don’t need to break out a gaming headset just to play some games.

Even at max volume, there’s no hint of cracking or shaking, even in bass-heavy tracks. This is yet another way the Razer Blade just exudes luxury out of every pore.

Razer Blade 16 right side ports

Photo: Jackie Thomas / Gizmodo

Less than 4 hours of battery life on video alone

The Razer Blade 16 is a gaming laptop, packed with the most powerful and power-hungry components on the market today, so from the get-go, the outlook for battery life isn’t great.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like the Razer Blade 16 is going to die after an hour of browsing Chrome. But at the same time, I wouldn’t trust it to get through a workday without packing the charger. In Gizmodo’s simple video playback battery test, where we stream a YouTube video at 200 nits, the Razer Blade 16 lasts just 3 hours and 43 minutes. That’s enough to get through most movies in one charge, so it’s not the end of the world.

But with so many laptops able to hit the 10 or 12 hour mark these days, the Razer Blade 16 simply isn’t the laptop to get if you’re looking for a device that will last through a long flight without having to break out a charger.

Unfortunately the charger is a bit of a chore to carry around, too. Because of the requirement for a 330W GAn charger, the power brick is huge and heavy. So, while the laptop itself weighs just over 5lb, if you’re going to be carrying it around with its power brick, the total weight comes in closer to 8lb. That’s not a deal breaker by any means, just something to be aware of if you plan on commuting with the thing.

Razer Blade 16 with lid closed

Photo: Jackie Thomas / Gizmodo

The Razer Blade 16 is gorgeous, luxurious and powerful. That’s enough to get a lot of people on its side, but all of that comes with a dark side: the price. This is one of the most expensive gaming laptops on the market, even with its base configuration. You can absolutely get the same level of performance for less money elsewhere, and you probably should if all you care about is your raw frame rate in PC games.

But, like the MacBook Pro, if you want a nice looking product that you can carry around everywhere you go and not get awkward stares, the Razer Blade 16 is hard to beat. It’s a quality machine that will last you years before it starts to have trouble running the latest PC games. And the dual display mode means that even if you do have to shift down to 1080p in the distant future, you’re at least going to be getting a better refresh rate out of the deal.