2014 Razer Blade Review


As I said my last Blade post, my initial experience with Razer was…perplexing. After navigating  through an impossible checkout system I was informed that I’d actually failed to place an order. Nevertheless, and without further action, the Blade arrived and, being the inquisitive kind of guy that I am, I tried it out. Amidst falling in love with the quality, design and power I realized that the computer screen had a few dead pixels. Razer customer service was very responsive and the computer was quickly sent back to them via a 2-Day FedEx label they provided,

Turn around was quick. Monday was a holiday so my computer shipped from Razer on Tuesday and I had it back in my hands Thursday. They ended up shipping me a brand new laptop. In some ways it was too bad- I’d customized a lot of settings and had installed quite a few applications on my original unit. However, the new laptop they sent seems superior in a number of ways and there were zero dead pixels!

Razer's initial presentation is exceptional.

Razer’s initial presentation is exceptional.

Quickly I’ll go though the pros and cons of the 2014 Razer Blade:


• The QHD+ touchscreen is gorgeous! I love not being able to actually see the pixels. I was a little worried about the glossy finish but I’m sold at this point. Not to mention gloss is much better suited to a touch screen. I don’t know that I’ll use the touchscreen but it’s nice to have it just in case.
• Amazing build quality and aesthetics. The laptop just feels… right.
• The keyboard is second to none- no sponginess and the illumination doesn’t really bleed out from between the keys. The trackpad is super responsive and also feels nice.
• The sound is excellent. The speaker placement is ideal and the quality and volume levels exceeded my expectations.
• No bloatware on board. That’s always a wonderful treat.
• The Razer is whisper quiet. Sure you can hear the fans when you play something demanding, but even at their top speed they aren’t bothersome.

• A little surprised that there isn’t a network jack. And the omission of an SSD card reader is also perplexing. Yes, you can buy USB adapter for the missing items but I feel like they should have been integrated to begin with.
•  Expensive. A lot of what you’re paying for is the compact design. For the same price you could get a much more powerful, albeit much larger, laptop.

Not good but not really bad…
• The black aluminum case retains finger prints / smudges. I’m sure there’s a simple way to clear things, but I haven’t found it yet.
• The trackpad buttons are a little spongey. This is surprising given the quality of the actual trackpad. Interestingly I much prefer the buttons on my replacement Blade- they seem to have a much better feel and lack the “boink” noise of the others.
• You can’t change color on keyboard.  It could be nice to alter the colors, but the green does look great.
• Some programs (i.e. Chrome) really don’t really support the higher resolution screen. That’s not a Blade issue, per se, but it is a consequence of the higher res screen.
• With the only vents on the bottom and using the case act as a heatsink the Blade can get hot when doing serious gaming. Under normal use the unit temp is comfortable. I was surprised at how much cooler my replacement Blade runs. The returned model got extremely hot to the touch under fairly light loads, but my new Blade has remained comfortable thus far no matter what I’m doing (excluding intensive benchmarking / gaming).

Performance on my games seems excellent. The Cloudgate 3D Mark results for the Razor Blade was about 15,600. For the sake of comparison the Cloudgate score on my Pulse 17 was in the 12,600. And if you’re interested: Maingear Pulse 17 laptop review.

I think Razer is really getting close. I would like to see the next Blade with the addition of an SSD reader, a network jack, customizable keyboard colors, 16GB ram, TB SSD and a 15″ screen in same chassis. Because… why not? But all things considered the 2014 Blade is a phenomenal computer with nearly everything going for it. I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a compact gaming computer.

UPDATE: I purchased a 2015 Razer Blade (same model but with an upgraded graphics chip), Here are a few 3DMARK test scores from the newer version of the Blade.



Hughes Family: April 2014

Since May’s more than halfway over I guess it’s time to post some highlights from April (maybe a few lowlights too).


Fran finally busted out the trailer! This was the first time I saw it hooked up to the Yukon- looking good! Destination-: Goblin Valley for a rendezvous with the Wilson family (no plans to push over any rock formations though). I’m not a four hour drive to visit sand kinda guy so I opted out of this trip.


Fran needs to come along and fill in some of the captions in this post. Usually I write something and she’ll read through the post and say “That’s not what was going on there!” I wasn’t there but I’ll give it a shot. Here’s Chloe walking through bacon. The kids loved climbing on the Goblin Valley rock formations. Mike & Gabe resting under two rock mushrooms.


But seriously- the rock formations are really cool. Some of the kids adopted frogs. The landscape almost makes me wish I’d gone…


A good time was had by all. The kids had a blast playing together and everyone came back dusty, bruised and tired (all the hallmarks of a fantastic trip).


While the family was gone I decided to tackle the repair of our basement couch. The kids had jumped on it so much that part of the frame had broken- although I didn’t realize this until I got inside. Since the couch had originally been pinned together I had to use right-angle braces (16 of them) to reattach things together. Then springs needed to be stretched and hooked back into place. I wasn’t strong enough to do it (they are are tough!) so I had to wrap rope around the springs and tie weights to them. Makes my top 10 list of most difficult projects. Elapsed time: 8+ hours.


And since I was on a project role I redid some of the caulk in our upstairs bathrooms. Caulk seems to wear out pretty quickly so it’s important to keep an eye to make sure things remain properly sealed. Bathtub tip: Fill the bathtub up with water before you caulk. This will help mimic the weight the caulk will experience later and help prevent it from pulling apart.


Activity Highlight: Marshmallow towers. We go all out on our FHE activities. Who built the tallest tower? Please.


Activity Highlight: In addition to the basement couch the kids also ruined the couch upstairs. Since the repair was such a nightmare I decided to have my kids help me with this repair. Haha… that made it so much worse. They really tried, but in the end I just gave up.
For another FHE activity we did some limbo! I can’t really compete with the kids so I got to hold the stick (I actually resisted the urge to conk anyone).  Fran and the kids all put fourth a valiant effort but in the end it was Claire who became the limbo champion.


In honor of the resurrection of Christ we colored eggs. Nice eggs, kids.


And then, in an effort to continue our Easter worship, we hid the eggs and tried to find them. It’s very similar to the Biblical account of Christ rising and then Mary being unable to find him. Except in that story Christ appeared to her and the eggs rarely reveal themselves to the lookers.  Although religious leaders would probably agree that Christ is not hiding from us it is a good reminder that we must seek him out. Maybe. I don’t know how the rabbit fits in.


Here are a few pictures from Easter. We went to my parent’s house for Easter dinner where we ate and made merry with some of our extended family (Uncle R2 D2 was present but is not pictured).


What do I like more than spending an evening doing something enjoyable? Why making a rain gutter regatta, of course! As responsible parents it would be all to easy to let our son become a victim of his failure to plan and prepare. But naturally Fran and I helped get the regatta preparation moving along. Michael kicked in some spray paining at the end. A fine water craft indeed. It’s not about whether you win or lose- it’s about whether you have a boat at all.


Check out this hole. Legend had it that a small neighbor child fell in the hole and skinned his knee. It took his several minutes to find his way back out. Luckily they filed the hole up with this foundation (more on that later… maybe). We’re on our way! Scheduled completion of our new residence is mid August. Frankly if they get it finished that quickly I will have to assume it sucks. I waved to an old guy and he waved back- great neighborhood to boot! 

Goodbye Old Friend…

In retrospect it seems silly of me to have ever owned more than one car. I’m not exactly sure what I was thinking (nor do I require a third party analysis). I suppose that as I’ve gotten older many of my priorities have drastically changed. I still love cars, but I think at this point I’m more enamored with the idea of cars than the actual cars. And these days I’m much more interested in comfort and reliability as opposed to speed. How the mighty have fallen…

And so…


I definitely feel some regret- I have so many good memories with this car. It was almost like a friend. I put a lot into this car – and I’m not just talking about money. I had always planned to keep it forever and if circumstances had been a bit different I think that I would have.

I had a blast building the Vette and achieving my horsepower goals. It would have been fun to to track it a bit- run a nine or ten second quarter – but I can walk away at this point feeling satisfied. Driving around a 1000 rwhp Vette is a feeling that’s hard to describe and it was cool to have the experience.


It’s kind of funny- the Vette’s is headed to Florida, which is where I originally bought the car from. I guess in a way the Vette is going home. Goodbye old friend. I wish you all the best!

Razer Blade Laptop

Update 5/23/2014

For whatever reason I ended up being sent a Blade Laptop (I was charged for it, don’t worry). Since I had the computer in my possession I decided to at least take it for a test spin. I’ll do a more in-depth review later but I’ll just say that the build quality is amazing, the machine is lightning fast and the screen is gorgeous. A definite keeper.

However, in addition to being gorgeous the screen also had several dead pixels. I almost didn’t care enough to do anything but I figured it would be a good chance to test out their customer service. I emailed them and explained the situation. They responded quickly offering to repair the laptop. I was given a postage paid return label and comprehensive return instructions.

A couple of days later Sean called me. He said he had the Blade but he couldn’t find any dead pixels. “Oh really?” I said incredulously. He asked if I’d pulled off the screen protector yet? “There was a screen protector?” Absolutely- he’d just pulled it off and anything that looked like a dead pixel came off with it. How embarrassing for me! That had never happened to anyone before. I apologized and felt like an idiot… Luckily he called me back and said he was looking at the wrong computer. He noted that mine had no screen protector and that he saw the dead pixels right away. New computer incoming. I’ll write up a review when it gets here.


Update 5/12/2014: Yesterday I got this email from Razer:

Hi Cam,

It looks like your order did not go through correctly. Please try placing another order. We highly recommend you clear your cache and try a using a different web browser.

The error you describe is normally caused by a mismatch of payment information. Please check the information you are entering including the billing address, phone number, and billing name are an exact match with what is on file with your payment provider.

Thank you for your time and support.
Best Regards,
Razer Order Support

So… I guess my ordering efforts (described below) were in vain. Hilariously the ticket they replied to was the one where I told them I had tried different browsers. I will definitely not be going through their checkout process again so it appears that I am not getting a Razer Blade. At least I’ll save some money.


Razer recently announced their all new Razer Blade gaming laptop. I had strongly considered the Blade earlier this year when I bought my Maingear Pulse 17 but ultimately decided against it because of the screen quality and resolution (1600 x 900).

While I have enjoyed the Pulse 17 immensely I’ve decided it’s simply too large to use the way I had intended. With the new upgraded QHD screen and and the Nvidia 870M I can’t resist the chance to check out Razer’s new system. Unfortunately it looks like the ship date is still three weeks away so I’ll have to be patient. I’ll post a quick review once the laptop comes! razer-blade-gaming-notebook

As a quick aside, ordering from Razer’s website presented one of the most frustrating experiences I’ve ever had ordering a product online.Their estore perpetually rejected my emails, address info, password choices, credit card numbers to such an extent that I almost decided to skip the purchase altogether. I tried over a dozen times to submit my and finally succeeded after I created an account independent from the checkout process.


Processor: Intel® Core™ i7-4702HQ Quad Core Processor with Hyper Threading 2.2GHz / 3.2GHz (Base/Turbo)
Chipset: Mobile Intel® PCHM 8 series chipset, HM87
Memory: 8GB onboard memory (DDR3L-1600MHz)
Graphics and Video: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 870M (3GB GDDR5 VRAM, Optimus™ Technology)
Display: 14.0″ QHD+ 16:9 Ratio, 3200×1800, with LED backlight, capacitive multi-touch
Storage: 512GB SSD (SATA M.2)
Power: Compact 150W Power Adapter
Built-in 70Wh rechargeable lithium-ion polymer battery
Webcam: Built-in HD webcam (2.0MP)
Additional Features
Razer™ Synapse 2.0 Enabled
Multi-point touchscreen interface
Built-in stereo speakers
Backlit anti-ghosting keyboardt
Communications: Intel® Wireless-AC 7260HMW (802.11a/b/g/n/ac + Bluetooth® 4.0)
Size and Weight:
Width: 13.6” / 345mm
Depth: 9.3″ / 235mm
Height: 0.70″/ 17.8mm
Weight: 4.47lbs / 2.03kg
Operating System: Windows® 8.1 (64-Bit)