The 14-inch gaming laptop computer house principally has two merchandise in it. Positive, there are others right here and there. However when you come as much as me saying you need a 14-inch gaming laptop computer, barring very excessive circumstances, I’m going to be recommending you considered one of two.
There have been years when the choice between the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 and the Razer Blade 14 was a troublesome one. However 2023, it seems, will not be a kind of years.
The Blade 14 is Razer’s quickest 14-inch laptop computer thus far. It has considered one of AMD’s strongest cell CPUs inside, the Ryzen 9 7940HS — and it’s a monster of a chip, with eight cores, a 5.2GHz increase frequency, and 54W TDP. It’s, in a vacuum, an excellent gadget.
However the pricing relative to its closest competitor makes little or no sense to me. The Blade 14 mannequin I acquired (which has a 16:10 / QHD+ / 240Hz display, 1TB of storage, 16GB of reminiscence, and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 inside) is $2,699. An Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 with the very same decision, storage, reminiscence, processor, and GPU is at the moment obtainable for $1,849.99 — with the one distinction being a barely lower-refresh-rate display. (Heck, you may even get a 14-inch MacBook Pro with this storage and reminiscence for fairly a bit cheaper.)
To justify that $850 value enhance, the Blade 14 would have to be an distinctive, sensible, out-of-this-world performer. It isn’t. It’s simply good.
I received’t be going into all that a lot element in regards to the Blade 14’s chassis right here as a result of when you’ve seen one Razer Blade earlier than, you’ve principally seen all of them. Uniformity is a trademark of the Blade line: they’re smooth, they’re skinny, they’ve refined RGB keyboards, and there’s a inexperienced snake emblem on the lid.
Since final 12 months, the Blade 14 has gained a 16:10 display, a barely larger touchpad, and a few new battery optimizer factor (plus you may improve each RAM slots now, which is useful), however gaming on it doesn’t really feel broadly totally different from gaming on its predecessors, or on the assorted different Blades that I’ve puttered round with throughout my profession. It stays a premium black construct with a colourful keyboard. It nonetheless retains fairly just a few fingerprints. The massive updates are on the within.
The Blade averaged 220fps on CS:GO at native decision and 67fps on Crimson Useless Redemption 2, additionally at native decision. I noticed a median of 99fps on Shadow of the Tomb Raider with ray tracing off and 64fps with ray tracing on. Don’t get me incorrect: these are nice scores which might be consistent with what we’d count on to see from an RTX 4070.
However I’d wish to, simply as a thought experiment, examine them to the scores I noticed from the Razer Blade 18 earlier this 12 months. That gadget had an RTX 4080 in it, and the scores on these titles at QHD decision should not even shut. They aren’t batting in the identical league. They’re hilariously far aside.
Now, clearly, we’d not count on a 14-inch laptop computer of this dimension to be performing wherever close to an 18-inch-plus gaming rig below principally any circumstances. I do, nonetheless, really feel that the sheer dimension of the hole between these two methods (the Blade 18 did nearer to 50 p.c higher on Tomb Raider) can maybe assist for example the extra energy that an RTX 4080 can present. As of this writing, you should purchase a Zephyrus G14 with an RTX 4080 for $2,499.99, which is $200 lower than this take a look at mannequin of the Blade 14. That… properly, it doesn’t make an entire lot of sense.
There doesn’t even seem like a Blade 14 with a 4080 obtainable
One different remark from my testing interval: I used the “Max Fan Velocity Mode” in Razer’s Synapse settings with a view to eke out probably the most efficiency I might, and I assume that different patrons might need to do the identical. Simply be ready: the followers lose their minds if you flip this on. They gun, they usually gun, and they don’t cease. The Blade’s audio system, whereas not horrible, didn’t have quantity sufficient that I might hear recreation audio at any comfy diploma over the followers’ fixed commotion — music got here via, however dialogue was typically muddled. I don’t illustrate this as a criticism; it’s not a criminal offense for one thing known as “Max Fan Velocity Mode” to trigger followers to maneuver very quick. I simply need to be sure you are warned.
(These very excited followers did, happily, do their job. The 7940HS stayed inside the mid-70s to mid-80s (Celsius) for many of my recreation testing, with solely very occasional jumps to the excessive 90s. That’s spectacular, contemplating that we’re coping with a 14-inch chassis and in addition that Razer Blades are typically recognized to be large fireballs.)
Battery life didn’t blow me away. I obtained six hours and 13 minutes of normal use and an hour and 9 minutes of gaming battery (about 56 minutes playable, examined with Crimson Useless Redemption 2). That’s an honest lifespan amongst immediately’s gaming laptops and definitely beats different Blades, but it surely’s not the earth-shattering all-day end result that we’ve seen from AMD methods of yore. And, prone to sounding like a damaged file, I have to notice that the extra reasonably priced G14 has a much bigger battery.
Total, the 2023 Blade 14 is a stable laptop computer with a very robust processor inside that may very well be an actual mainstream success — besides that its excessive value pushes it into a reasonably area of interest class.
I can consider three attainable benefits that the Blade 14 might have over a Zephyrus G14 that has the very same chips inside. There’s the higher-refresh-rate display. There’s the RGB keyboard. There’s the truth that it’s three-tenths of an inch thinner (although it’s also, I’ll level out, near half a pound heavier). After which there’s the final aesthetic; some folks little doubt want the Blade’s unobtrusive black to the G14’s barely extra eclectic dot matrixes and such.
However that’s it. And even when all these issues are true, I don’t see the $850, and I can’t think about my eventual testing of the G14 altering my thoughts except our take a look at unit is an entire potato. Even in that eventuality, I feel even somebody keen to pay this amount of cash must be critically contemplating the G14’s 4080 mannequin in its place, which is able to ship considerably higher body charges for nonetheless lower than this Blade mannequin prices.
Once more, I received’t say that no person should purchase this. However it’s good to actually, actually need a Blade.