Gaming

Small Frame, Big Results: Razer Blade 14 Gaming Laptop Review

Small Frame, Big Results: Razer Blade 14 Gaming Laptop Review

During the remote E3 2021, Razer unveiled a collection of products. The most notable product was their new Razer Blade 14. As of the time of that announcement, the Razer Blade 14 (2021) was released as the smallest 14-inch gaming laptop on the market. However, it also endeavors to be the most powerful 14-inch gaming laptop as well, packing an AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX processor and up to NVIDIA GeForce 3080 graphics. At face value, we liked what we saw from Razer’s presser on this mini powerhouse. Fortunately, we got to take the latest Razer Blade 14 laptop for a spin, before, during and after Pax West 2021. Now, after a month with this little guy, we are ready to share our thoughts in a full review.

Here, we are going to dive into the 2021 edition of the Razer Blade 14, and focus on the RTX 3070 model.

First, let’s revisit what we know so far about the latest Razer Blade 14.

Base Razer Blade 14 Specs
ProcessorAMD Ryzen 9 5900HX – 8 Cores, 16 Threads, 3.3GHz Base, 4.6GHz Max Boost
Storage1TB PCIe SSD (Upgradeable)
Memory16GB dual-channel DDR4-3200MHz (Fixed)
Connectivity/InterfaceWi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2, THX Spatial Audio Speakers, built-in array microphone
PortsTwo USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, Two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C w/ Power Delivery & Display Port 1.4, HDMI 2.1, Kensington security slot
WebcamWindows Hello IR HD (720P)
Dimensions0.66″ x 8.66″ x 12.59″ (16.8 mm x 220 mm x 319.7 mm)
Weight1.78 kg / 3.92 lbs
Battery61.6WHr rechargeable lithium-ion polymer battery
Taken from Razer Blade 14 spec listing.
Razer Blade 14 Display and GPU Pricing Variants
DisplayFull HD 144Hz, 1920 x 1080, 100% SRGB color coverageQuad HD 165Hz 2560 x 1440, 100% DCI-P3 color coverageQuad HD 165Hz 2560 x 1440, 100% DCI-P3 color coverage
GraphicsRTX 3060RTX 3070RTX 3080
Prices$1,799$2,199$2,799
Taken from Razer Blade 14 product comparison page.
Build and Appearance

At its base, the new Razer Blade 14 comes out strong, packing that AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX processor and 16GB of dual-channel DDR4 memory. Whether you go for the Full HD 144Hz display or the Quad HD 165Hz display, both IPS-grade panels come with integrated AMD FreeSync™ Premium technology.

The new Razer Blade 14 has been slimmed down to 0.66” x 8.66” x 12.59”, which is in line with Razer’s goal of making this into the world’s smallest 14-inch gaming laptop. Like with previous Razer Blade iterations, its all-aluminum chassis is forged from a single block of CNC aluminum, giving it a body that is lightweight yet sturdy. The 16GB dual-channel DDR4-3200MHz memory is onboard and cannot be upgraded. Yet, this helps facilitate the very compact size of the Razer Blade 14. As for storage, you have a 1TB PCIe SSD. However, this IS expandable, supporting an M.2 SSD up to 2TB in capacity.

Despite its small frame, the cooling of the Razer Blade 14 more than stacks up with that of competing products that are larger in size. Razer’s latest-gen vapor chamber cooling solution allows for efficient heat dispersion in a space-conscious frame. Air intake occurs through the bottom, which then goes through the process of evaporation and condensation of an internal fluid. This process allows heat to be moved away from internal components, such as the 83-fin integrated heat exchanger that is connected to the graphics card. All of this heat is then exhausted out the rear of the PC by dual fans. The fans themselves are also an innovation of space-saving performance, with each fan featuring 88 blades that are about as thin as the human hair. 

Cooling graphic taken from Razer Blade 14 product page…

As for connectivity, you have two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports, two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C ports, an HDMI 2.1 port, and a Kensington security slot. HDMI 2.1 is impressive enough, supporting 8K resolution video at 60 frames per second and 4K at 120 frames per second. However, if you want to go the Display Port route, those two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C ports support power delivery as well as Display Port 1.4 connectivity.

Opening the laptop, you are treated to a Quad HD 165Hz display, with a maximum resolution of 2560 x 1440 with 100% DCI-P3 color coverage. This display also features an IPS-Grade, wide viewing angle panel with a 10ms response time.

The monitor’s AMD FreeSync Premium technology provides you with a low latency experience with tear-free visuals. Above the display, you have a 720p IR HD Webcam flanked by a microphone array.

At face value, while the 2021 edition of the Razer Blade 14 matches many of the aesthetics of Razer’s laptop DNA, this laptop is as stunning as it is portable. Here you have a machine that weighs under 4 lbs. while being impressively slim. When you open up the Razer Blade 14, you are welcomed by a colorful display from not only the monitor but also the Razer Chroma enabled keyboard. On the laptop’s top, you have the Razer LED logo, shining in a bright Razer green. The Razer logo LED, keyboard lighting, and all other aspects of the Razer Blade 14 are all customizable via Razer’s free Razer Synapse software.

The keyboard features per key lighting, allowing you to customize it to your own personal aesthetics. Through Razer Synapse, you can customize the keyboard to react to launched games and applications, applying unique behavior and lighting profiles automatically.

Default keyboard feedback integration with Apex Legends and Razer Synapse

Whether it be for work or play, the Razer Blade 14 is ready to match your very own style and sense of aesthetics.

Base Usage and Feel

Starting off with the Razer Chroma™ N-Key rollover keyboard, the laptop’s chiclet keys were actually a delight to use. You do not get the same kind of clicky tactile feedback that you would expect from an externally-connected mechanical keyboard. Instead, the keys on the Razer Blade 14 are soft and springy, making general typing into an enjoyable experience. When it comes to gaming, the keyboard is more than serviceable for your run-of-the-mill WASD style gameplay.

Interestingly enough, the Razer Blade 14 cooling system actually played a part here. Parts of the laptop’s surface becoming hot during gameplay is to be expected. This is especially the case given the high graphic settings I applied in every game I tossed this laptop at. However, the areas of the keyboard where one would rest a palm and reach for the WASD area of keys remained surprisingly and refreshingly cool.

I am no stranger gaming straight off gaming laptop keyboards, where I would expect my left hand to get as sweaty as the gameplay. Therefore, it was interesting to feel this area remain this cool during game sessions. At times, when I had the Razer Blade 14 processing at its highest settings, this section of the keyboard would definitely become slightly warm. However, it was never uncomfortably hot. This was a large boon when gaming directly off of the Razer Blade 14’s base keyboard.

Outside of gaming, day to day tasks and work-related endeavors comfortable to handle on the Razer Blade 14. Taking the Razer Blade 14 with me to Seattle to cover Pax West 2021, I got an appreciation for the trackpad as well. The trackpad is exceptionally smooth and precise, at times making me forget that I had a brought a mouse to use. The trackpad is large enough to comfortably facilitate multi-finger inputs and gestures yet stays out of the way of your typing and gaming.

Performance

Starting with the Razer Blade 14’s monitor, the Quad HD 165Hz display is impressive from the moment you turn on the machine. That 100% DCI-P3 color coverage comes through in a big way, as you are treated to a vibrant display with precise color representation. Black and dark color representation is sharp and clear, which plays quite well in games or movies with dark settings that are full of shadows. Whether you are on a 9-to-5 work grind or fighting for your life in an explosion-filled warzone, it is all easy on the eyes through the Razer Blade 14’s anti-glare display.

Going deeper into gaming, I was sure to set any game I played at high to highest graphical settings. Despite that, this PC’s display did well in handling my quick 180-degree turns to catch players sneaking up from behind. AMD FreeSync Premium got the job done here, as my spins in Destiny 2 and Apex Legends were tracked perfectly and without any image tears or noticeable frame loss. This display is built to keep up with you, and it does so seemingly without any sacrifice in quality.

In the audio department, there is a pair of stereo speakers surrounding the keyboard. I spent some of my lazier moments in my hotel room during Pax West, playing Iron Banner matches in Destiny 2. It was then where I used the laptop speakers as my main audio source. The speakers on this machine produce loud and strong sound. Vocals are clear, music plays smooth, and action sounds like gunfire and explosions come across nicely as well. I often preferred to use a headset with the Razer Blade 14. However, whenever I did not, the speakers offered solid sound that kept me immersed, whether it be in gaming or any other form of media consumption.

As for the meat and potatoes, the CPU and graphical processing power of this small 14-inch machine is something to behold. As I mentioned earlier, wherever possible, I used the highest visual settings, with a couple brought down to just “high”, for any game I threw this PC at. Benchmarks are great, but I prefer to see how the machine handles the games that I live in at their best. I connected the Razer Orochi V2 wireless gaming mouse and the Razer Barracuda X wireless headset, and played using the Razer Blade 14’s keyboard. Outside of the Mass Effect Legendary Edition scenario, the Razer Blade 14 was plugged into external power and running in High Performance mode.

First up, Apex Legends

At these settings, Apex Legends played smoothly, with no input delay, screen tears or clunky mishaps. The game steadily hung between mid-70 and high-80 frames per second throughout gameplay. (See upper right of screenshots.) I did my best to take screenshots either in combat or whilst moving quickly while facing vast landscapes. The Razer Blade 14 hung in there quite well, while providing a very smooth experience.

Next up, Destiny 2

Here, frame rates were a bit higher, whether I was doing some PVE strikes or PVP in Iron Banner. Frame rates mostly danced between mid-80 and high-90’s, with very infrequent dips to the 60’s here and there. (See upper right of screenshots.) Throughout gameplay, lighting, reflections and shadows were clean and sharp, with gameplay flowing more than swimmingly. Since I always wear golden armor in Destiny, seeing my character in shiny and highly-reflective armor tear through Iron Banner was particularly enjoyable, even on hotel wifi. I personally liked how well the Razer Blade 14 handled more-advanced lighting effects here without taking a hit in frame rates.

Here we have some single player action with Mass Effect Legendary Edition

Now, I did not check the framerates here, but that is not to say the game did not play as smoothly as ever. I particularly went with Mass Effect Legendary Edition here because I wanted an offline game to mess around with on the plane ride to Pax West. It should be said, not even the legendary edition of the Mass Effect trilogy was going to be as graphically taxing as the previous games. The game played as well as it possibly could on the overpowering Razer Blade 14. My personalized Commander Shepard looked as sharp as ever.

Here, the Razer Blade 14 was unplugged from power, running on the default “Balanced” performance mode, all LED’s were turned off, and screen brightness was set to less than 50%. I was able to play Mass Effect Legendary Edition for a solid 2 hours before the Razer Blade 14 complained about low battery. Not a bad amount of game time for rendering a 3D game at high settings.

My airplane’s seat automatically cut the power from the outlet whenever too much power was drawn from it. This gave me an opportunity to tinker with the Razer Blade 14’s power settings to see if I can bring it down to the metered outlet’s threshold. Sure enough, setting the system to the lowest, battery-saving settings allowed me to hop back on the outlet, powering my laptop while continuing to play. Sure, the game took a little bit of a graphical hit. However, the game was still very playable.

Outside of gaming, the laptop powers through a whole workday on its battery alone, especially with the above settings in place.

Overall, the Razer Blade 14’s processing power, graphics, and battery performance did not disappoint. When I connected it to my standard PC peripherals and my Samsung Odyssey G7 monitor, I almost forgot at times that I was playing off a 14-inch laptop. That is just how well that AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX processor and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 graphics card carried the gaming experience.

Final Thoughts

As I drafted a Pax West article on the plane ride home, my overall appreciation for the physical build of the Razer Blade 14 was fully realized. While powerful, here is a 14-inch laptop that is attractive aesthetically and is fundamentally easy to use, despite its small size. Its thin body is easy to store anywhere that has a laptop sleeve. At its base, if you are looking for a powerful machine with stunning visuals, portability, and ease of use, the Razer Blade 14 knocks all of that out of the park.

An all-aluminum chassis, Razer’s own vapor cooling solution, and two ultra-low-profile 88-blade fans keep this laptop both looking cool and feeling cool. Even when it is performing at its highest level, it is not overwhelming you with heat. Outside of the obvious boost in processing and graphical power, I was particularly impressed by the number of ports available in a 14-inch laptop with such a small frame. Whether you are using it on the go or in a full desktop layout, the Razer Blade 14 can be your all-in-one PC solution.

The Razer Blade 14 admirably powers though current-gen games while giving you a quality gaming experience. At its highest settings, the laptop deals solid frame rates for games running on high to highest graphics settings. The experience is then backed by a solid Quad HD 165Hz display that does not break, literally, courtesy to AMD FreeSync Premium technology. On top of all that, the colors in the display pop thanks to the panels 100% DCI-P3 color coverage. You will enjoy what you see with the Razer Blade 14.

I have nothing but praise for the Razer Blade 14. Even using the laptop variant of the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 graphics card, this laptop does not skimp on display quality. This laptop is the perfect gift for college student looking a space-saving PC setup that allows them to engage in both work and play to the fullest. Its horsepower even makes it a solid solution for graphical professionals on the go.

If you are looking for your next space-conscious gaming PC or even a mobile powerhouse workstation, the Razer Blade 14 should be the first PC you look into this year. Do check out the Razer Blade 14 for yourself by clicking here.

As usual, there are no affiliate links contained within this post. We were provided a Razer Blade 14 loaner unit and some product stock images for review purposes and were not compensated for this review.