The Razer Blade is an iconic brand in the enthusiast-flavoured gaming laptop category, and it’s not hard to see why.
The 2023 revision of the company’s 16-inch Blade features beastly specifications, from Nvidia’s RTX 4090 laptop GPU to Intel’s top-of-the-line Core i9-13950HX processor but it will cost you an arm and leg to own. So is it worth it to break the bank for this?
The Razer Blade 16 seems fairly unassuming when you first look at it. It doesn’t have any loud LED lights that scream “Gaming Laptop!” but relies on a more subdued approach.
The light-up Razer logo is edgy enough to remind you that this isn’t your normal laptop but it isn’t overbearing. If I could sum up the design in one word, it would be understated.
It isn’t until you open it up and are greeted by the dancing LEDs on the keyboard that the Blade 16 truly breaks cover. Then when you hold it in your hand, you begin to notice the fantastic engineering work with a premium build quality that feels sturdy.
The basic design is rectangular like most laptops but it’s broken up by rounded corners on the edges and a sharp ingress in the centre to lift up the screen. Despite what the specifications would suggest, this feels like a streamlined design that, while heavy at more than 2kg, still allows you to pick it up in one hand.
As for ports, the laptop has one USB-C 3.2 port and one Thunderbolt 4 port. There are three USB-A 3.2 ports, and HDMI 2.1 port for output and an SD card reader. The Blade 16 also supports Wi-Fi 6E which will allow you to use the 6GHz frequency on your network.
The keyboard that Razer has gone with has membrane switches that feel decent but aren’t as responsive when compared to some of the competition. It also feels really mushy to the touch and struggles with accurate feedback, leaving you wondering if it registered a press.
The large glass touchpad has a wide area but like the keyboard feels a little mushy to the touch. Thankfully, it is quite responsive and picked up Windows 11 gestures and clicks without any problems at all.
This is probably the best display on a gaming laptop right now giving you near OLED-quality blacks and a brightness of 1,000 nits.
The real story here is the dual mode which allows you to switch between 4K (3840 x 2160) 120Hz and FHD+ (1920 x 1200) 240 Hz but there is a catch to this.
You can’t change these settings on the fly, you will have to use Razer’s software to do it or change it in the BIOS at startup. Changing it through the software will require a restart. This means that you will effectively pause all your work while you wait for the screen to switch. Given the technology, however, it’s a small price to pay.
The display uses Mini-LED backlighting along with local dimming to put out sharp images with rich colour and detail. In my time with it, the screen was an absolute treat, whether it be gaming or entertainment, all of it looked phenomenal on this display.
It’s not perfect, white backgrounds tend to get washed out and I noticed a lot of ghosting with some videos, but it gets enough right to be consistently excellent.
Like their understated design, Razer has gone with a less-is-more approach in terms of pre-loaded software. Out of the box on Windows 11, you get an all-in-one HUB called Razer Central and that’s it.
It gives you access to everything you might need by letting you customise or even create new keyboard light patterns using the in-built editor, assign function keys, change trackpad settings, flip the screen modes and more.
The software runs in the background on startup and stays there not consuming too many processing resources. It’s lightweight and has a decent interface that allows to you access what you are looking for quickly.
Performance and battery life
With Intel’s Core i9-13950X processor and Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 4090 laptop GPU, together with 32GB of DDR5 RAM, the performance as you would expect is awesome but with a few caveats.
As powerful as the hardware is, they are still mobile components based on their desktop counterparts. 4K in particular is seriously demanding in some titles but at 1080p, the laptop more than holds its own.
In synthetic benchmarks, the Blade 16 scored 17599 in 3DMark’s Time Spy test, 31000 in Fire Strike and 12960 in 3DMark Port Royal. The PCMark 10 benchmark gave it a score of 7992.
Coming to gaming, In Cybperpunk 2077, we were seeing frame rates of 70 fps with Ray Tracing On and higher than 100 fps with DLSS 3 turned on.
Hitman 3 was even better, running at more than 100 fps with RTX On and breaking the 120 fps barrier with DLSS 3 to support it. The Witcher 3 also pushed more than 120 fps at 1080p but dropped to the near 40s when testing in 4K.
Similarly, Cyberpunk 2077 when pushed up to 4K, dropped to nearly 47 fps while Hitman 3 remained close to 60 fps with an average of 55 fps at 4K.
For thermal management, Razer is using a vapour chamber on top of the CPU and GPU that works in tandem with two fans to push the hot air out. I can say that the system is extremely efficient, even when stressing the laptop in benchmarks, the maximum temperatures reached a high of 92 degrees.
There is a problem however, the underside of the laptop does tend to get quite hot under load but let’s face it, you are not going to be carrying this around.
If the weight doesn’t deter you, then the battery life will. Under heavy load with all components being stressed, the Blade 16 barely lasted 2 hours. Even under normal usage, don’t expect more than 5 to 6 hours before you are reaching for a charging point.
If that’s not enough there is the bulky and unwieldy power brick. It’s not obscenely large or anything but carrying it around is bound to get painful. Alternatively, you can charge the Blade 16 using one of the USB Type-C ports but with components like these, it’s going to be really slow.
If you are in India, then this laptop is not officially available here, which means either importing it or getting a friend or relative to carry it.
That’s an expensive proposition on its own, but then you factor in the starting price of $2,699 (about Rs 2,22,000) that can easily shoot up to nearly $4,000 (about Rs 3,29,000) by the time you are done adding extra components.
Another problem is the lacklustre battery life, which to be fair is common in this category, but it pretty much restricts it to being a desktop replacement system, rather than your daily laptop.
Nonetheless, if you are one of the enthusiasts that this is aimed at, it is guaranteed to satisfy all your gaming and entertainment needs.