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Razer Blade Pro 17 (2021) review

The ultimate gaming laptop?

Razer Blade Pro 17 (2021)
(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

Packed with the brand-new RTX 3000 series laptop GPUs from Nvidia, the Razer Blade Pro 17 (2021) is an immensely powerful – and expensive – device. While it's a beast at playing games, it's also an excellent creative workstation as well, so if you're looking for both, then the price will seem more palatable. For most people, however, it will simply be too expensive.

For

  • Extremely powerful
  • Gorgeous display
  • Great performance at 1080p
  • Plenty of ports

Against

  • Very expensive
  • Gaming at 4K needs tweaking
  • Short battery life
  • Not the most portable

Two-minute review

In many ways, the Razer Blade Pro 17 (2021) represents the pinnacle of gaming laptop design. It packs some of the most powerful mobile hardware you can get right now, including a new Nvidia RTX 3080 laptop GPU and eight-core Intel 10th generation processor, along with a 120Hz 4K 17.3-inch screen, and all packaged up in an impressively thin body.

This all comes at a price, though. A very high price, in the case of the model we review here, with an Intel Core i7-10875H CPU, Nvidia RTX 3080 16GB GPU, 32GB RAM, a 4K 120Hz touchscreen, and 1TB SSD, coming with a whopping $3,599.99 / £3,299.99 / AU$6,499 price tag.

This makes it one of the most expensive laptops on the market right now, and will put it out of the reach of many people. Also, those kind of specs will be overkill for a lot of people.

However, for the money you are getting an incredibly powerful gaming laptop in a gorgeous design. Sticking to Razer’s tried-and-tested aesthetics, the Razer Blade Pro 17 (2021) is rather understated as far as gaming laptops go, which means you could use this in an office or studio for working on, and it won’t distract co-workers with RGB lights flashing away like a mini disco.

Razer Blade Pro 17 (2021)

(Image credit: Future)

But, that doesn’t mean it’s a boring design, and there’s enough subtle – and not so subtle – hints at its gaming heritage, with RBG keyboard lighting, a glowing Razer logo on the lid, and more.

Performance-wise, this thing is a camp at 1080p with even the most ambitious modern games running brilliantly with all graphical bells and whistles turned on – including ray tracing.

However, at 4K, you’re still going to need to compromise by turning down some features to get a good frame rate. Probably not something you’d be happy to do after spending well over $3,000 on a laptop.

Somewhat justifying the price is the fact that this is a great productivity machine. Its 10th generation Intel processor and 32GB of RAM means even the most demanding of tasks are handled ably, and the 4K screen offers 100% Adobe RGB coverage, so for digital creatives this could be a worthy investment. A big investment, mind.

Battery life is also pretty poor, with around four hours of usual use, and less if you’re gaming or using intensive programs. This means this is a laptop that you’re going to need to keep plugged in.

But what a laptop. It’s ridiculously powerful, beautifully designed and with a gorgeous screen. If you have the budget, this is a laptop that will last you for years, but for most people, it’ll be far too expensive to ever really consider.

Spec sheet

Here is the Razer Blade Pro 17 (2021) configuration sent to TechRadar for review:

CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-10875H (octa-core, 16MB cache, up to 5.1GHz)
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Laptop GPU (16GB GDDR6 VRAM)
RAM: 32GB DDR4 (2,933MHz)
Screen: 17.3-inch, 4K (3,840 x 2,160) 120Hz, touch display
Storage: 1TB M.2 PCIe SSD
Ports: 2 x Thunderbolt 3 (USB Type-C), 3 x USB 3.2, 1 x HDMI 2.0b, headset jack, 2.5Gb Ethernet LAN, UHS-III SD card reader
Connectivity: Intel Wireless-AX210 Wi-Fi 6E (802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax), Bluetooth 5.2
Camera: HD webcam (720p)
Weight: 6.06 pounds (2.75kg)
Size: 15.55 x 10.24 x 0.78 inches (39.5 x 26 x 1.99cm; W x D x H)

Price and availability

Razer isn’t a brand you’d associate with budget devices, and with the Razer Blade Pro 17 (2021) packing some of the highest-end mobile components you can find in a laptop, we weren’t expecting this to be a laptop that will be affordable for many people.

Still, even when preparing ourselves accordingly, we still couldn’t help but be taken aback by the price. The model we’ve got in to test, with an Intel Core i7-10875H CPU, Nvidia RTX 3080 16GB GPU, 32GB RAM, a 4K 120Hz touchscreen and 1TB SSD costs a staggering $3,599.99 / £3,299.99 / AU$6,499.

That’s a phenomenal amount of money for a laptop, and will instantly put it out of most people’s budgets. If you’re looking for a pure gaming laptop, there are cheaper options out there. If you don’t mind sitting at a desk, then buying or building a desktop PC will give you much better value for money as well.

But, with the kind of spec the Razer Blade Pro 17 (2021) would be wasted as just a gaming laptop – especially that 32GB of RAM. As the ‘Pro’ aspect of the name suggests, this is more than just a gaming laptop – it’s a workstation for professional as well. If you’re going to be using this for work as well, then that price may be a (little) bit more justified.

There are other more ‘affordable’ configurations as well. You can get the Razer Blade Pro 17 (2021) with a 360Hz Full HD screen for $3,199.99 / £2,949.99 / AU$5,899.

You can also get the new Razer Blade Pro 17 with RTX 3070 and RTX 3060 GPUs as well, with the most affordable model coming with a 1080p 360Hz display, RTX 3060, Intel Core i7-10875H CPU, 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD for $2,399.99 / £2,249.99 / $4,399.

While still incredibly expensive, this is a little bit more realistic for many people. However, Razer is clearly pitching the Razer Blade Pro 17 (2021) as an extremely premium laptop, and that’s going to limit its appeal.

It’s also noting that at the time of writing, RTX 3000 series laptops, including the Razer Blade Pro 17 (2021) are difficult to come by, and that’s a situation that is unlikely to change any time soon. While the high price of the Razer Blade Pro 17 (2021) means it’s very unlikely that cryptocurrency miners are going to bulk buy this laptop (which is happening with other RTX 3000 laptops), it does seem like stock is still very low.

Sadly, this could mean that even if you have the budget, you may struggle to get your hands on a Razer Blade Pro 17 (2021).

Razer Blade Pro 17 (2021)

(Image credit: Future)

Design

Razer has one of the most distinctive design languages of a laptop and peripheral maker, which means even without looking, if you’ve seen previous Razer products, you’ll know what to expect here.

That means an all-black design with green highlights (including in the USB ports). For Razer fans this means the Razer Blade Pro 17 (2021) will fit right in with your other Razer kit. It’s also one of the more understated designs for gaming gear, so you can use the Razer Blade Pro 17 (2021) in a meeting or an office, and it won’t stand out too much.

It’s not boring, though, and the iconic Razer logo on the lid (which lights up in green, of course) means any other gamers in the meeting will instantly recognize the hardware.

When it comes to ports, the Razer Blade Pro 17 (2021) has an excellent selection. On the left is an Ethernet port, two USB-A ports, a USB-C and audio jack. There’s also a proprietary power connection. While this means you’ll need to carry the power supply around with you when you need a top up, there’s no way around this, as a USB-C power connector, while more convenient, won’t be able to provide enough power to run the laptop.

Razer Blade Pro 17 (2021)

(Image credit: Future)

On the right-hand side there’s a full-size HDMI port, a USB-A port, USB-C and an SD card reader. The amount, and choice, of ports on the Razer Blade Pro 17 (2021) is excellent, and means you should be able to plug in most peripherals without the need of an adaptor.

The Ethernet port is great for people playing multiplayer online games – where a fast and dependable internet connection is essential – and the SD card slot will please photographers. It strengthens the case for the Razer Blade Pro 17 (2021) being a formidable content creation workstation, and not just a very expensive gaming laptop.

With the laptop open, you’re presented with a gorgeous 17.3-inch screen, with slim bezels on either side. The top bezel is a bit thicker, but it holds a webcam with Windows Hello support, so you can log in just by looking at it.

The lower half of the Razer Blade Pro 17 (2021) is also quite restrained, with a simple keyboard with per-key RBG lighting and a large touchpad that responsive and comfortable to use. Two upward-facing speakers sit either side of the keyboard.

With dimensions of 0.78 x 10.24 x 15.55 inches (19.9 x 260x 395 mm) and a weight of 6.06 lbs (2.75 kg), this isn’t the easiest or most comfortable laptop to carry around, but then 17-inch laptops rarely are, and it remains impressively thin for such a powerful laptop.

Overall, the design of the Razer Blade Pro 17 (2021) is sleek and sophisticated, and means professionals looking for a powerful workstation laptop, which can also be used to play the latest games, can comfortably use this in the office or studio.

However, compared to some bolder designs, especially from the likes of Asus, the Razer Blade Pro 17 (2021) can also feel a little bit plain. The anodized metal body gives it a solid heft, and while that means it’s not the most portable of laptops, it feels solidly built.

Razer Blade Pro 17 (2021)

(Image credit: Future)
Benchmarks

Here’s how the Razer Blade Pro 17 (2021) performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

3DMark Night Raid: 29,152; Fire Strike: 19,180; Time Spy: 9,432
Cinebench R20 CPU: 2,566
Geekbench 5 Single-Core: 1,284; Multi-Core: 6,559
PCMark 10 Home: 5,560
PCMark 10 Battery Life: 4 hours 13 minutes
Battery Life (TechRadar movie test): 4 hours 3 minutes
Metro Exodus: 127.06 fps; (1080p, Lowest); 74.11 fps (1080p, Highest)
Total War: Three Kingdoms:
213 fps; (1080p, Low); 84.1 fps (1080p, Ultra)

Performance

We certainly don’t have any complaints with the performance of the Razer Blade Pro 17 (2021) – during our time with it, it kept up with all our demands.

As you’d hope from a laptop with a spec list (and price) that the Razer Blade Pro 17 (2021) comes with, this is an absolute beast when it comes to performance.

The model we reviewed comes with an RTX 3080 laptop GPU from Nvidia, and it’s currently the most powerful gaming GPU you’ll find in a laptop.

At 1080p, the Razer Blade Pro 17 (2021) can easily handle even the most demanding of games. Metro Exodus on Ultra settings scored an excellent 74.11FPS, offering a visually stunning experience that plays incredibly smoothly.

With less demanding games, you’ll also be able to make use of the high refresh rates of the Razer Blade Pro 17 (2021)’s screen as well.

If you get the model with a 4K screen, then it’s not quite as clear-cut. Metro Exodus dropped to 19.59 FPS at 4K on Ultra settings, so if you want to play at higher resolutions, you may need to tweak a few settings.

As it’s an RTX card, ray tracing and DLSS support is included, and if you’re happy with playing at 1080p, you’re going to get a great gaming experience that very few gaming laptops will be able to compete with.

Of course, the spec we have here is also great for digital creatives. In fact, that 32GB of RAM is going to be overkill for anyone who is just after a laptop to play games on. However, for multitasking with numerous apps open at once – or playing games and streaming them live on Twitch, for example – then the Razer Blade Pro 17 (2021) proves to be a very accomplished workstation.

Along with the built-in memory card reader, photographers and digital creatives will be impressed by the 100% Adobe RGB coverage that the screen provides. It allows colors to look bright, vibrant and most importantly of all, accurate. It won’t just benefit digital creatives, though, as games and movies look fantastic on this screen as well.

Razer Blade Pro 17 (2021)

(Image credit: Future)

Battery

While the Razer Blade Pro 17 (2021) certainly excels in many areas, one area it struggles with is battery life – and that may not come as much of a surprise.

With powerful components like the ones found in this laptop, battery life was always going to be on the short side. We got just over five hours in our video playback test, and only four hours in PC Mark 10 (which replicates intensive day-to-day tasks).

This is pretty poor for a laptop in this day and age, and it means you’re going to need to have this thing plugged in most of the time you’re using it. As a desktop replacement laptop, that’s not going to bother too many people, but if you want a laptop to use on the road – this probably isn’t it.

Razer Blade Pro 17 (2021)

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if...

You want the most powerful gaming laptop
Packing a new RTX 3080 laptop GPU in some configurations (and still great RTX 3070 and RTX 3060s in others), this is one of the most powerful gaming laptops you’ll get your hands on.

You’re a content creator
The 32GB of RAM and Intel Core i7-10875H CPU, along with an Adobe RGB display, means this is a brilliant workstation for creatives as well.

You’re a Razer fan
Razer has a strong following, and the Razer Blade Pro 17 (2021) is a great example of why. It’s sleek, powerful and over the top – and any Razer fan is going to love it.

Don't buy it if...

You want long battery life
The battery life of the Razer Blade Pro 17 (2021) is pretty poor, and if you want a laptop you can work on all day without charging, you’re going to be disappointed.

You just want to game
The configuration we tested is overkill for just gaming. You’d be better off with a more modest configuration, or a cheaper alternative. 

You’re on a budget
The Razer Blade Pro 17 (2021) is expensive. Very expensive. It means for most people it’s just not going to be a realistic purchase.

Matt Hanson

Senior Computing editor

Matt (Twitter) is TechRadar's Senior Computing editor. Having written for a number of magazines and websites, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. If you're encountering a problem or need some advice with your PC or Mac, drop him a line on Twitter.