The New Razer Blade Is Basically A Better, Cheaper MacBook Pro

Image: Razer

If you were waiting for Razer to finally refresh their sexy Razer Blade laptops with the latest generation of GPUs from NVIDIA, especially after the somewhat disappointing MacBook Pro refresh, I have good news. They're here, and you can buy them right now.

Sporting the 6GB model of the GTX 1060, the bottom end Razer Blade laptop features the slightly older Intel i7-6700HQ CPU, 16GB of DDR4-2133MHz RAM, a Killer Wireless-AC network card, a 14.0" IPS 1920x1080 monitor, a Kensington security slot, a 3.5mm headphone/microphone jack, 3x USB 3.0 ports, a USB-C port, Chroma-enabled backlighting for your keyboard rave party, a 2.0MP webcam, a HDMI 2.0 port, and a 70Wh lithium-ion battery.

It's interesting that the Blade refresh doesn't come with a Kaby Lake CPU, when the Razer Blade Stealth does. As far as storage goes, you can choose from an 256GB PCI-e M.2 SSD all the way up to a 1TB model. The Blade with a 1080p screen is only 1.89kg, while the not-yet released IGZO QHD+ model (that's a resolution of 3200x1800) weighs in at 1.95kg.

Images: Razer

Both models are only 17.9mm x 345mm x 235mm, which is more or less Macbook-esque sizes. The same could be said for the price: the baseline Razer Blade will set you back $2599.95, with the 512GB and 1TB models costing just under $3000 and $3600 respectively.

For comparison, the baseline 13-inch MacBook Pro with the Touch Bar will set you back $2700. But that only has 8GB of RAM, an Intel Core i5 CPU and no discrete GPU. Even the $3000 model MacBook Pro with the Touch Bar doesn't have 16GB of RAM, and it'll cost you $3600 to get a MacBook Pro that doesn't have use integrated graphics.

Oh and in case you were wondering: yes, the Australia Tax is alive and well although it's not too bad. The cheapest Razer Blade is US$1799 ($2413.40), which isn't too bad converted to dollarydoos, while the baseline QHD+ model is only US$2099 ($2815.86). You'll get two free games with the Blade (Rainbow Six: Siege and Warhammer The End Times: Vermintide) at checkout regardless of where you buy.

In other words, unless you really need the MacBook Pro in your life, the Razer Blade gives you more for noticeably less. You could draw the same comparisons between Razer and other laptop manufacturers, but people have been happy for years to pay more for style. Or for the Mac ecosystem.

If the cost-benefit equation still works for you, you can check out the details at the Razerzone store.


Comments

    And just more proof the Macs are overpriced nonsense. They could actually make them with decent modern day specs if they wanted, but they dont have to as it will still sell like hot cakes and be the "OMG bestest thing evar!!!1!".

    Now how on earth can I go about convincing the wife to get me one of these Razer beasts?

      Specs are meaningless when you're comparing devices running completely different OSs. That's not to say Macs are better, only that you can't call it proof unless it's actual benchmarks.

        Well sure but under no worthwhile circumstances is 8gb ram and Intel Iris Graphics 550 going to out perform 16gb and a GTX 1060.

          Is it worth it to deal with Windows though? For consumers like me, no way. I don't want OSX running on a windows computer either. Hardware / Software optimisation is why Apple products can compete with higher specced devices.

          The new Macbook Pro sucks. Even the most zealous Apple fans will admit that. But you gotta see past the numbers and look at the product / brand experience as a whole. It's intangible, but not ineffable. Until Apple detractors can see the world through someone else's eyes and priorities, they will forever be frustrated and confused by the brand's success.

            For people in certain situations you would pick one over the other. Graphic design and music creators would and should go Apple. Gamers should always go the Razer. Average person, well is up to you and what you prefer. In each of those situations one out performs the other extremely. But has always been this way.

            Now if this was on Gizmodo I would expect to see more of a swing towards Mac for the sake of being better with certain job industries. But this is Kotaku, a gaming site, and never would the $2700 Mac perform better than the $2600 Razer. But that applies to each of the price jumps. The Razer is always more powerful. And windows does not affect the power under the hood so much to gimp it back to Mac specs. Nor does OSX perform so well to jump pretty average specs up to the Razer component specs.

            I can appreciate Apple for what it does for certain things. But lets not kid ourselves they make extremely expensive computers for large profit because they can and know people will buy it anyway. They could quite easily make them more powerful and sell at the same price but they just dont have to.

            Last edited 07/12/16 9:50 am

              My 2009 desktop outperforms MacBooks. If you want to do shit you use good specced Windows machines. If you want to brag about how much your fancy laptop cost you you get Apple. I work in a games company and the creatives don't use Apple. The only ones using Apple products are the producers because they don't need performance, they need battery life and light weight.

                I am a creative (graphic designer) and creatives definitely do use Apple (Games development is a very PC centric industry, it'd make sense that more designers and the like might use PC vs. Apple there). I am not sure for how long though.

                I think that surface studio whatever it's called with the hockey puck you can put on the screen made a lot of Apple creatives sit up and take notice. People are getting fed up with moves like the new Macbook Pro, that's for sure.

                Since Jobs died, the brand has definitely been slipping. It's becoming more and more clear that so much of Apple's success was because of him.

              Yeah definitely if you're wanting to play games on it, PC's the obvious choice. For me, I use my Apple computers for graphic design and music recording, and consoles for games. Just what makes sense for me as a consumer, everyone's different.

              I just wanted to make the point that each platform would fail when held to the criteria of the other. PC will always fail at the designed elegance and headache-free Apple experience, and Apple will always fail at the freedom and raw power of the PC experience.

                What graphic design do you do on your Apple computer that you couldn't do on a PC?

                  1. Use an operating system that is far nicer and usable in its design than windows.
                  2. System fonts on Apple products are far better Helvetica vs. Arial, for example.
                  3. Use a product that's far more aesthetically appealing and more carefully designed.
                  4. Far cleaner file management, crucial for the industry of design where each job might involve dozens of files and file types.

                  And so on and so forth. If you're interested in why less is more, look up anything to do with the concept of "flexibility / usability trade-off". I can simply explain it as a TV remote you've never used with 30 buttons, vs a tv remote you've never used with 10 buttons. You'll find the button you need far quicker on the simpler remote. People often claim the rigidity of Apple operating systems is a flaw, but it's actually a key selling point for lots of people.

                  But ultimately your argument shouldn't be "why should I not use PC?" because it assumes PC is the default choice, the one you need to argue against, not for. The real question is "which product is right for me?". And you need to ask that without any pre-existing prejudice.

                  Last edited 09/12/16 2:23 pm

                "PC will always fail at the designed elegance and headache-free Apple experience."
                Really? Still this excuse? I have nothing but trouble using MacOS because Finder is a piece of shit and file navigation and window management is a massive pain the arse. Can't put two windows side by side, can't delete files by pressing either of the two delete buttons, can't easily find windows that fall behind other windows. It's a massive headache

                  You 100% can put two windows side by side, what are you talking about? Two finder windows? Definitely. Command + delete will delete files for you rather than dragging into the trash, and in my opinion, having a single button press in charge of deleting files is a bad idea. There's also a specific button on the keyboard that is designed exactly to find different windows that are behind each other, it zooms out and shows you all the windows you have open in an easy to see / select way.

                  Most of my recent experience with windows has been on university computers which specifically use the old XP-esque interface, so my knowledge of Windows is probably a little out of date. But it seems yours with OSX is too. Or at least you haven't taken the time to learn these basic functions of the operating system.

                  Ultimately though, you can't argue with the design principle of more flexibility equalling less usability. The more options you have, the harder it is to navigate and execute those options quickly and efficiently. Apple's simplicity is its greatest strength for many users.

    But then you won't have MacOS, which is what you buy a Mac for.

      except you can install mac os on a pc

        It's rarely pleasant or smooth sailing though. You generally have to pick all the right parts for it to work well, and I doubt the Razer Blade hits all those marks.

          We put MacOS on our build machine, and even though there's no graphics drivers for the GTX1070 it's still a much faster and much better deal then paying $3k for a less powerful machine. It also runs Windows and can do VR, which no Mac can

    I'm sorry but comparing it to a mac pro I'd apples and oranges. They are designed for 2 different purposes. I'm one of the first to have a go at Apple but yeah.....

      Both are computers designed for doing things. You can't get away with "but MacBooks are designed for creatives, not for games!" when the Razer can do both and does it cheaper. Saying that, the Razer is overpriced too.

    I'm sorry but comparing it to a mac pro is apples and oranges. They are designed for 2 different purposes. I'm one of the first to have a go at Apple but yeah.....

    I dunno, you're still stuck with Windows (which drivers are basically an afterthought for in my industry) and on top of that it is Razer, which in my experience (multiple items, foolishly) is extremely unreliable and poorly built.

      Exactly. Windows takes even good hardware and severely dampens its overall value. Although, yes - the Razer isn't even that well-built. I know someone who has a previous Razer model (the OG Retina MBP look-alike), and it wasn't even built as well as my first-gen unibody MacBook Pro from 2009. I was opening it up to fix the issue it had with its cheap cooling fan rubbing against its own housing.

        Windows just doesn't have the kind of performance overhead you're suggesting. I'm sure that's something you've told yourself at some point to justify choosing between operating systems, but it's simply not true.

        Most recent comparison benchmarks (same hardware) put OSX 8-20% behind Windows in performance (Chrome is 8% slower, Photoshop is 20% slower on OSX) and 25-30% slower in gaming, in large part because of OpenGL dependence. Vulkan will close that gap somewhat, but benchmarks still show DX12 with a ~10% lead over Vulkan.

        Apple's strength lies in its simplicity - unified hardware leading to simple driver architecture is one possible solution for stability. But performance is not their strong suit, never has been. Even the potential performance gains from a Unix-like kernel are largely wiped out with Ubuntu/Linux performing 30-40% faster than OSX on compute tests.

          Isn't there something to be said of software & hardware synergy though? There's gotta be a natural loss in software performance that has to account for dozens if not hundreds of hardware configurations that might happen with PCs, vs Mac computers which have specific, static configurations that developers can directly benchmark for.

          I don't know much about this side of thing, but common sense would suggest there's gotta be some sort of compromise on PC performance / efficiency in this regard, right?

            Microsoft has had a long time to work on their driver architecture, to the point where it's actually really efficient these days. Because OSX runs a Unix-like kernel it still has a driver layer that supports multiple devices, even if they're not used and drivers don't actually exist for them.

            That aside, higher levels of "we'll manage stuff for you" (ie. Apple's approach to computing) also means more things being managed by the system that you don't necessarily want. In OSX a lot of those things are transparent to the user, while in Windows you have more control to switch things off, and true Unix/Linux systems of course give the most user-side control in exchange for the best performance, if you configure it to be that way.

            Think of it this way: more control means more range of performance, for better or worse. Linux will give you anything from a 1 to a 10 on performance, but you have to do everything yourself. Windows will give you a 3 to a 8, because you can't fuck things up quite as badly as you can in Linux but you also can't strip as much out. OSX gives you a 5 to 6, where you have almost no power to either fuck things up nor make things great.

            The latter isn't necessarily a bad thing, as there are certainly a lot of people out there who just want to use a computer and not be concerned at all about fucking it up or making it better. The three operating systems target different types of consumer, and that's perfectly fine.

            Last edited 09/12/16 3:05 pm

              Yeah I'm definitely in the group of people that wants to turn it on and have it work and not think about the details.

              That's why I use mac, that's why I play consoles. I use computers for work (graphic design and music recording) and have never had major performance issues with even 5 years+ old macs, but yeah I don't push it with video editing or hardcore music production (I just use it to make demos mostly). I think most people would be surprised that most of the Adobe suite, Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign, etc. Don't actually need much graphics card performance, it's more about ram, harddrive speed and processor speed.

              Anyway, thanks for clearing that up for me, you definitely explained it well.

                I guess this ended up being a mini-rant, but the TLDR of it is you should go with what suits your needs best. If OSX and consoles do what you want them to do then you don't need more than that, regardless if it's available or not.

                I've always been of the opinion that people should use the OS or device that best serves their needs. If that's Apple, go with them. If it's Microsoft, great. If it's something else, more power to you.

                I hate tribalism in most every form, but brand tribalism (ie. fanboyism) is basically the worst of the lot. I read the article on the new Holden Commodore, for example, and just rolled my eyes at some of the comments. Microsoft vs Apple or Samsung vs Apple is the same thing. People get so fired up to defend their choice of brand as though the idea that someone chose differently is an attack on their ability to make well-considered decisions, and the easy fallback is to just declare that anyone who disagrees is stupid or used faulty reasoning.

                Apple don't make products for someone like me, who likes to tinker and get the best out of my stuff. But I'm not stupid enough to not understand that there are tons of people out there that Apple do make products for. They're not stupid and neither am I, we're just different. And we live in a world where we have the luxury of there being products available to suit both our wants.

                  Yeah 100% agree, you need to make the decision that suits you best. And never say never. When windows release a product that makes more sense for me than Apple, I won't be in denial about that.

                  Dogmatic thinking is a plague. You shouldn't call yourself anything politically, you should look at the facts and vote for who is making the most sense for you. The whole Democrat / Republican dynamic is so messed up in America, for example. It's the same with consumerism. We are all individuals, we're not our gender, our race or the country we live in. We certainly are not the console brand we own or the type of phone we use. Our identity might be shaped as a result of all of these different decisions we make each day, but it's so important not to build your entire worldview around any one decision you make in your day / week / year.

                  I actually love talking about the PC vs. Apple dynamic because it perfectly highlights how consumerism is really about individual wants & needs, not objective truths. It's a pity most people can't step back from things and see that what might be right for them won't necessarily be right for someone else though.

    I suspect there isn't a huge amount of overlap between people who would want these Razer laptops and people who would want the MacBooks.

    While the Razer systems might have significantly better GPU performance, they're also larger, heavier, and likely have worse battery life than the Apple systems. And the lower end Razer system has a markedly inferior display panel.

      Well given the Razer are more powerful in just about all the specs I would be surprised if it had a better battery than a less powerful machine.

    So I'm looking at getting a blade very soon but have been reading that they will refresh them again in 2017, January maybe, with the Kaby Lake processors. Firstly, any merit to this claim? and secondly, worth the upgrade to wait?

    Cheers team.

      The latest Razer Stealth Blade has got a Kaby Lake CPU and it would be staggering if the next Blade refresh didn't have at least that. But it might not be next year: they could just keep the older CPU and jump to Cannonlake when it's out next year. That's due out second half 2017, from memory.

      Is it worth the upgrade to wait? If you're going to be gaming on the device, probably not - the GTX 1060 is more than fine, especially if you're only using the 1080p model. If you're obsessed with battery life, maybe. But then I'd wager if battery life is that high of a concern, the Razer Blade might be overkill in the first place. You have to really assess it against what programs you use most often, how much use you'd get out of it during a day, and tally it all up.

        The Stealth has a low voltage Kaby Lake dual core core processor same as other ultrabooks. Performance driven desktops and laptops still use Skylake quad core processors because Kaby Lake quad cores do not yet exist. So when you say, "It's interesting that the Blade refresh doesn't come with a Kaby Lake CPU, when the Razer Blade Stealth does..." really, it's not interesting. It's the opposite of interesting. Every other normal laptop is still using Skylake and every newer ultrabook has moved to Kaby Lake. Maybe when Kaby has finally replaced all of the Skylake line we can start worrying then about the next model, Coffee Lake (not Cannonlake).

          Coffee Lake is still on the 14nm process, even though you're right in that it's the next model. We already know Coffee Lake and Cannonlake will coexist in 2018; Cannonlake is still scheduled to land in 2017 sometime (probably just before the holidays) and it might be more appealing for manufacturers to wait for the smaller CPU so they can start touting all the benefits from that. Although if they just want to pop for the annual refresh straight away, I imagine swapping out the Skylake CPU with Coffee Lake in 2017 would make a lot of sense. (There's certainly more leeway on the timing.)

          Of course, if there's another manufacturing delay then that all goes to pot.

    OS is important. I've been using my MacBook Retina 2012 till now. Not a single problem.
    My friend bought a Sony Vaio with better specs. It broke within a year. Windows 7 software issues, bugs, programs requiring you to press alt + Ctrl + Del all the time.

    Im so glad i have a macbook ;p

    Portable gaming computers are stupid for 99% of people. Desktop or nothing. Regret buying my Alienware M14x R1 5.5 years ago when I knew nothing... $2500 wasted (probably $3000 equiv these days).

    Seems like a nice laptop. Wish I could afford one :)

    The Australia Tax comment seems unwarranted once you take GST off the AU prices, since the US prices don't usually include tax. The base model even seems cheaper than the US price.

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