Razer blade 14
RRP $ 2,200.00
"The Razer Blade 14 steals the crown as the best gaming laptop you can buy right now."
The gaming performance is excellent
Colorful 1440p display
Cheaper than Razer Blade 15
Great battery life
Warm surface temperatures
The Razer Blade 15 was already the smallest gaming laptop in the world. Building an even smaller version of the Razer Blade 14 is, on the one hand, exciting. On the other hand, I had serious concerns about how Razer could possibly keep these components cool enough.
Add in an AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX processor and up to an Nvidia RTX 3080 – and you have the potential for a hot mess. Fortunately, the Razer Blade 14 is anything but.
Razer did the impossible and delivers an amazing gaming experience in a tiny form factor. With a lower starting price of $ 1,800, there's little reason to pick the Razer Blade 15 as its smaller brother stole the crown from the best gaming laptop. A new king has arrived.
Despite its smaller size and asking price, it looks almost identical to the Razer Blade 15. It has the same completely black aluminum housing, the green snake logo on the lid and few large ventilation openings or gaudy design elements. It's the same kind of minimalist gaming laptop with amazing build quality that the Razer Blade line has always delivered. There's a reason people call these laptops the MacBooks of the gaming laptops.
The most important change in the Razer Blade 14 is of course the size of the screen. The 14-inch gaming laptop is a new trend led by popular options like the ROG Zephyrus G14 and the Predator Triton 300 SE. This isn't actually the first 14-inch Razer Blade – there was a model back in 2013. But apart from the screen size, this new version has little to do with the 2013 model. The processor, graphics, and cooling technology have finally caught up with the demand for smaller gaming laptops – and the 2021 Razer Blade 14 is the answer to that desire.
The Razer Blade 14 is the thinnest 14-inch gaming notebook and the smallest overall in terms of volume.
With a smaller screen, however, there is also a smaller footprint overall, which is why I am a little unsure in this test whether this laptop can keep the components sufficiently cool. The Razer Blade 14 is the thinnest 14-inch gaming laptop and the smallest overall by volume – just 0.66 inches thick and 3.9 pounds. That makes it an insanely portable gaming laptop, especially considering how powerful this thing is.
Because of its size, it's also a great regular laptop. It's just 0.08 inches thicker than the Dell XPS 13 and only 0.03 inches thicker than the MacBook Air. It's an incredible feat of engineering.
Of course, Razer already makes the Razer Blade Stealth 13 and Razer Book 13 – if you really just want the Razer stylings with no power. But the Razer Blade 14 feels like the laptop that can do it all without sacrificing portability or design – or performance – too much.
That has been the promise since this laptop was announced. I was thrilled to learn that the Razer Blade 14 delivers on that promise. Mainly.
As can be seen in many photos, the Razer Blade 14 is an absolute fingerprint magnet. That was always the case with these black Razer Blades, which is why I wish the Mercury White option would be offered for the 14-inch model. The latest update to the Razer Blade 15 tried to fix this issue with a fingerprint-resistant coating, but the Razer Blade 14 didn't.
The Razer Blade 14 has a healthy range of ports available. On the left you'll find USB-C, USB-A, a headphone jack, and the proprietary Razer charging port. On the right side you get a USB-A, another USB-C and even HDMI 2.1. HDMI will likely be your primary method of docking the Razer Blade 14 to a monitor, although both USB-C ports also have DisplayPort 1.4 and power.
When gaming, however, you should use Razer's own power adapter, which has a nicely braided cord that plugs into a 230 watt power adapter. It's big for this size of laptop, but when you're juicing performance-hungry components like this one, it's inevitable.
I would have liked the Razer to have a full-size SD card slot like the Blade 15, which is extremely convenient for photographers and videographers.
The Razer Blade 14 also offers Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 for the latest in wireless connectivity.
In terms of screen quality, the Razer Blade 14 is on par with what the 15-inch model offers. It is a 16: 9 1440p IPS display with a refresh rate of 165Hz. That's both high resolution and high refresh rate that is the best of both worlds. That's no surprise as it's becoming the norm for gaming laptops.
The picture quality is the real surprise. The Razer Blade 14 offers fantastic color saturation that reaches 90% of the AdobeRGB and 100% of the sRGB color space, which is virtually unknown for gaming laptops. The color accuracy is also pinpoint accurate and the maximum brightness is 315 nits. That's nowhere near as bright as the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro, the brightest gaming laptop I've ever tested.
Would I wish it looked more like the Razer Book 13 with its 16:10 screen and tiny bottom bezel? Absolutely. A larger screen would have allowed a smaller bottom frame and more screen space without having to shrink the overall area. For now, Razer seems to be sticking to 16: 9 for its gaming laptops. Despite my affinity for thin bezels, it's hard to complain about a screen that looks this good.
I never doubted that the Razer Blade 14 would be a beautiful, well-constructed laptop. Performance and thermals worried me. But once I started using the Razer Blade 14, many of those worries were aside.
In some ways, the Razer Blade 14 is actually more powerful than its bigger brother. This is thanks to the processor inside, which is the 8-core 16-thread AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX. In terms of sheer performance alone, this is the king of gaming laptop processors right now. The fact that it finally has a home in the Razer range feels like an important moment for AMD.
I know Cinebench isn't the be-all and end-all of processor performance, but it's overwhelming that installing this Ryzen chip in the Razer Blade 14 beats the Razer Blade 15 out of the water in this benchmark. It's a similar result in a video encoding test in Handbrake, where the Razer Blade 15 with its Intel processor was 25% slower.
Add an RTX 30 series graphics card to the mix and you will be very happy with the content creation performance.
Speaking of graphics, my configuration came with the RTX 3070. It's still hard to grasp that you can put an RTX 3080in here too if you want to. The 3060 is the base model option, which will still be pretty impressive, but on other laptops I've tested there's a big leap in performance between the 3060 and the 3070. Either way, you get a full 100 watts of power to the GPU, which is why I was so worried about the temperatures too.
In terms of cooling, Razer has achieved the impossible.
But I'll just say this – Razer did it. You get really good gaming performance, even at 1440p, and I've never seen GPU temperatures rise above 87 degrees Celsius. Well, that's not exactly what I would call "cool", but for a laptop this size and with so much power, I'm impressed. Here is a massive steam chamber that covers almost all of the built-in components and is supposedly even larger than the 15-inch model.
There are also some new fans inside, each with 88 0.1 mm fan blades. Of course, the huge vapor chamber means you can't swap out the memory, but it protects the performance and thermals that actually make the Razer Blade 14 such a great gaming laptop. Fortunately, all configurations of the Razer Blade 14 come with 16 GB of dual-channel RAM and a full terabyte SSD.
How good is the gambling? Well, most of the games I've tested hit at least 60 frames per second (fps) on max 1440p settings, including Fortnite, Battlefield V, and Civilization VI. The Battlefield V performance was particularly noteworthy at 78 fps, which even beats the much clunkier Lenovo Legion 5 Pro, a thick 16-inch laptop that we also tested with the RTX 3070.
Overall, this Lenovo laptop averages better frame rates, especially in Fortnite where it was up to 18% faster. Better airflow in a thicker case always means better temperatures and ultimately better performance – but the Razer Blade 14 isn't as far behind as you might think. It really makes you wonder why we don't see high-end graphics options in laptops like the Zephyrus G14.
The table below shows 1080p performance for an on-par comparison to cheaper 1080p laptops like the ROG Strix G15. Here you can see how closely the Blade 14 can often keep up with much larger and bulkier laptops like the 16-inch Lenovo Legion 5 Pro or the 15-inch MSI GS66 Stealth.
|Laptop||3DMark time spy||3DMark fire strike||Assassin's Creed Valhalla (1080p Ultra High)||Battlefield V (1080p Ultra)||Fortnite (1080p Epic)||Civilization VI (1080p Ultra)|
|Razer Blade 14 (RTX 3070)||8605||19673||60 fps||96 fps||96 fps||84 fps|
|Asus ROG Strix G15 (Radeon RX 6800M)||10504||26800||77 fps||109 fps||108 fps||91 fps|
|Lenovo Legion 5 Pro (RTX 3070)||9175||21033||61 fps||73 fps||101 fps||101 fps|
|MSI GS66 Stealth (RTX 3080)||9097||19175||70 fps||97 fps||140 fps||140 fps|
There have been a couple of heavier titles I've tested that put the Razer Blade 14 in a fight for its money. Assassin's Creed Valhalla and Cyberpunk 2077 both couldn't quite reach 60 fps in 1440p. They arrive in 1080p, however, and Cyberpunk plays well enough if you turn up the DLSS settings.
Surface temperatures are a different story. The Razer gaming laptops are notorious for being hot, largely because there just isn't a lot of ventilation here. They have a few vents along the hinge for the vapor chamber as well as two above the fans in the back, but Razer sacrifices a lot of airflow by not drilling holes throughout the case. And the Razer Blade 14 is no different from previous blades in this regard.
The palm rests of the Razer Blade 14 tend to get nice and warm, which can be uncomfortable.
It can get really hot at certain key points, for example in the space between the keyboard and the display. But that's normal. However, the palm rests bothered me the most and set it apart from other gaming laptops that I have tested. The palm rests of the Razer Blade 14 tend to get nice and warm, which can be uncomfortable. If you're at home and have a long gaming session ahead of you, you'll likely want to dock it and use an external keyboard.
Even when not playing, the palm rests of the Razer Blade 14 stay at a warmer temperature than other laptops. The fans spin even if you're just using a web browser, and the case never feels cold to the touch. It's unfair to compare the Razer Blade 14 to an ultra-efficient laptop like the M1 MacBook Pro, but surface temperatures are a compromise for being able to play modern 3D games anytime.
Keyboard and touchpad
Everything else is what you would expect from a Razer laptop. The keyboard and touchpad are both great, and the RGB backlighting per key is as customizable as it gets with an insane 15-level brightness control. It sounds over the top, but compared to the three or four tiers that many gaming laptops have, I can't fault it.
Razer even adds some nice touches like the above-screen Windows Hello IR camera and some decent speakers. They're upward facing and THX certified, which basically just means that THX helped test them to make sure they weren't causing any distortion at high volumes. The result is decent speakers for watching videos or listening to music. Unfortunately, the fan noise disturbs the appreciation of the speakers when gaming.
Razer promises 12 hours of battery life with the Blade 14. That's unheard of on a laptop with a beefy RTX 3070 or 3080, but the Razer Blade comes surprisingly close. In our local video playback test, it landed 11 hours and 20 minutes, which is almost three hours longer than the Razer Blade 15. It's a similar comparison in our light web browsing test, where it took eight hours and 17 minutes.
The Razer Blade 14 also outlasts the ROG Zephyrus G14 and Predator Triton 300 SE, which were previously champions in gaming laptop battery life.
You only get that much battery life from a laptop with an RTX 3070 inside, but Razer got more out of the 61.6 watt-hour battery that I thought was possible.
There are many cheaper gaming laptops that are just as powerful as the Razer Blade 14, such as the all-AMD ROG Strix G15. But none of its competitors have the premium fit and workmanship of the Razer Blade 14, nor the extremely small size. Add in good battery life, a colorful display, and surprisingly good gaming performance, and you have what it takes to become a new standard for gaming laptops. The fact that it's $ 500 cheaper than a similar configuration to the Razer Blade 15 is the icing on the cake.
Are there alternatives?
Other 14-inch gaming laptops are the Acer Predator Triton 300 SE and the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14. Both are limited to an RTX 3060 and are a few hundred dollars cheaper than the Razer Blade 14.
The Razer Blade 15 obviously has a bigger screen, but costs $ 500 more for the same configuration.
How long it will take?
A couple of Razer Blade reliability issues have been well documented online, including the problem with the high battery, which is apparently the most notorious culprit. However, it is still not an issue that has been officially addressed by Razer.
Barring potential reliability issues, the Razer Blade 14 should last four or five years before it needs to be replaced. The vapor chamber makes it difficult to replace or repair yourself, but RazerCare offers up to three years warranty over a thorough (and expensive) upgrade to the standard one-year warranty.
Should you buy it?
Yes. It's the best gaming laptop you can buy right now, especially if you want your gaming laptop to be just as suitable for non-gaming activities.